Hi, my name is Dixon Barker. Last year, in 2014, my friend Gav and I challenged ourselves to make a horror feature for £100. The result was not only a hugely enjoyable and different movie making experience, but one which attracted a U.S producer involved in one of our favourite cult British horrors, Dog Soldiers.
Gav had been involved in several film projects before Preternatural, directing and producing his first feature, The Shadow of Death in 2012. His last short, Monitor, was featured in Michelle Smith's article here, and was selected for the Calgary Horror Con 2015 that is hosting the Re-Animator reunion.
I'm a published short-story writer and had a chance to undertake screen-writing with ITV producer Prof. Steve Hawes, and Monty Python contributor and television producer Bernard McKenna. Despite developing a range of drama and black-comedy material, for the production of Preternatural I wanted to draft a screenplay which broke some of the traditional rules of scripting, whilst making the most of our minuscule budget!
Being fans of traditional British horror such as The Wicker Man and the early Hammer series, as well as comedy features like Shaun of the Dead and Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, Gav and I decided that Preternatural should be a character-led horror. Equally, we didn't have the means for elaborate set pieces, make-up, or FX. With this is mind I set about crafting a world where we would play comically exaggerated versions of ourselves, and worked in a central plot-twist that would flip the movie in a way neither of us had seen before.
We had a fantastic supporting cast who were all super-talented and kindly agreed to work for free! One of my old school friends who had performed in numerous stage shows and looked more than a little like Jason Statham came on-board. Sadly ladies he doesn't remove his shirt, or beat anyone to a pulp - not intentionally anyhow.
Gav and I are both very fortunate to live in rural Surrey where a number of large Hollywood productions such as Gladiator, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Harry Potter and The Wolfman have been filmed. We are also a stones-throw away from many of the locations used in the most of the early Hammer films. This meant we had access to some fantastic locations for free, including empty churches, derelict water towers and an abandoned tank site.
Everything for Preternatural was done in-house. While we were both on-hand to direct, Gav turned his talents to editing and scoring the movie as well. His fantastic horn blasts can be heard ringing through the teaser above.
With a rough cut of Preternatural in-hand some 6 months after we began filming; which took place in the few spare hours between our full-time jobs, Gav contacted Brian Patrick O'Toole. Brian is a U.S writer and producer who has been involved in many productions including Dog Soldiers, Boo and Neo-Ned with the Avengers' Jeremey Renner. Gav had provided the sound design for Brian's 2008 feature, Evilution, so we took a punt and sent the rough edit of Preternatural to Brian - with a warning that the mid-point shift was a little 'out there'! Brian was very complimentary about the film and was astounded we'd made this for only £100 ($150). Brian has been fantastic to work with and gave us a short list of notes; coming on-board as co-producer, with a view to work together on future projects. He also shared the teaser trailer with his industry connections State-side and so far we have been overwhelmed with the positive feedback.
Preternatural will be released late August, 2015 from Deadbolt Films/A Gang of Giants.
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