The Butcher's Block: Paul Davis And HIM, INDOORS Are Coming To Kill You
You may remember the name Paul Davis. Awhile back he made a minor stir by landing his Beware The Moon documentary onto the latest dvd/bluray release of the classic John Landis film An American Werewolf In London. While it was a little rough around the edges, Davis' love letter to his favorite werewolf film was a solid indicator of just how much this guy lives for genre film.
Now Paul is moving into the narrative realm, with his forthcoming, high aiming short film Him, Indoors. This being the third installment of the now-and-then Butcher's Block, I am making the call right here and now...Paul Davis is one to watch. I chatted with "the tallest man in horror" recently about his new project, which in my prediction is going to open a lot of doors when it hit's the festival circuit. Him, Indoors is a forward thinking take on the "slasher" film (a term I use loosely here) which stars Shaun Of The Dead/The League Of Gentleman cast member Reece Shearsmith, and Pollyanna McIntosh, who you may remember from the recent extreme horror hit, The Woman. Enough of me blabbing though, let's meet the man behind the madness, Paul Davis, and hear more about Him, Indoors.
TWITCH - So, Him, Indoors...spill the bloody beans and tell us about this new project.
PAUL DAVIS - HIM INDOORS is a black comedy.horror short about a serial killer who happens to be agoraphobic. The idea is one that's been with me for the best part of fifteen-years. I used to watch a BBC sitcom back in the mid-90s called GAME ON, in which one of the characters suffered from agoraphobia. I just remember distinctly thinking, 'Wow, would suck if he were a serial killer!' and being really tickled by that concept. I could have come up with any profession or 'label' that would require someone to leave their home to accomplish what they need to do, but I went straight to 'serial killer' - which speaks volumes about what goes on in my head, I'm sure. So with that it created this wonderful little idea of a mass murderer who affectively can't leave his own home and has to work around that.
Fast forward to earlier this Summer and I found myself with a little downtime while financing my feature project (SILENT NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD) and figured, considering my background prior to this is in documentary filmmaking, that it would not only be fun, but generally, a good idea for me to direct something with a narrative and work with real actors. The idea popped right out from the depths of my memory and I knew that it was now the right time to bring this neat little idea to life.
TWITCH - This is your narrative piece. It was also filmed incredibly fast. Tell us about the shooting schedule, and what were the benefits and setbacks of knocking one out, even by short film standards, so quickly?
PAUL DAVIS - Well, it's not only the shooting schedule that was quick, this whole project has only existed for about six weeks. I got in touch with Reece Shearsmith (The League of Gentlemen, Psychoville, The Cottage) about the idea. I was introduced to Reece last year by John Landis and we've stayed in touch and I actually cast him in SILENT NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. I know Reece loves horror movies and if you've seen 'League' or Psychoville, you know he has an interest in the psychology of serial killers - so I knew I had a subject that would grab him. I pitched the idea with him, which he liked, and then went to a producer friend of mine, James Pears (THE OTHER SIDE) to help me bring this thing to life. We knew that the only way we would be able to get things moving as soon as possible was to crowd fund the project. Literally two days after I sold the idea to Reece, James and I launched a fundraiser on Sponsume.com and managed to raise over £5,700 ($8,900) - after fees - to make this film. THEN I wrote the script and thankfully, Reece seemed to really like it.
So we started this in the last week of June and we had cameras rolling by mid-July. We were very lucky in terms of crew. James was able to land several key members of the crew - such as Sound Recordist, Paddy Owen (Moon). I was able to fill the gaps and ask a handful of people working on SNOTLD to lend their talents to this - including Director of Photography Eben Bolter (Confine), SFX Artist Dan Martin (Sightseers) Make-Up Designer Jenna Wrage (Cockney's Vs Zombies) and Composer Osymyso.
The reason we're doing this so quickly? That will be revealed VERY soon! I do promise though that just because the turn around on this has been pretty rapid, the quality hasn't been compromised one bit. I'm not settling on anything. I'm actually VERY happy with how it's turned out.
TWITCH - Introduce us to your formidable cast.
PAUL DAVIS - Playing our lead character of Gregory, the agoraphobic serial killer, is the wonderful Reece Shearsmith. I've been a fan of the League of Gentlemen since forever and then again with Psychoville. I've seen Reece on TV, in movies and on stage and he's just a remarkable actor. His portrayal of Gregory is utterly mesmerizing. It's difficult because he's playing this character that you know has done and does these really horrible things, yet you can't help but like him. That's all Reece. Opposite him, as his intrusive next door neighbor, is the brilliant Pollyanna McIntosh (The Woman), who again is just amazing at what she does. There were a couple of times during the shoot where the AD had to nudge me to say cut because I was just utterly absorbed by their performance. I forgot that I was actually there, doing a job. It doesn't feel like work when you've got so many wonderfully talented around you. Both were just an absolute joy to work with. Consider myself very lucky and humbled to have had the opportunity to work with them.
TWITCH - How is HIM going to drop?
PAUL DAVIS - HIM INDOORS will do the festival circuit for the next six months or so, after which it will live on himindoors.com - free to stream, for all to watch and enjoy.
There you have it ScreenAnarchistss. Keep your eyes peeled for Him, Indoors coming to a festival near you this season, then directly into your homes and mobile devices via the wonder of digital technology. I have a feeling this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship between a twisted visionary and an audience hungry for a different spin on an old trope. Bring it on Mr. Paul Davis. We are watching!
Also, check out Paul in the short The Other Side, where he steps in front of the camera to play one of the scariest lumbering killers I've seen in a long, long time. Read about it HERE!
Last but not least, I gotta say, I really dig the elegant simplicity of the promo poster by Colin J. Smith.
OK. Back to the bloodshed.