Left Hand Horror was lucky enough to watch the new Daredevil Films horror short: Witchfinder, recently, and I was blown away. Everything about Witchfinder screamed of my good old days of watching Hammer movies, glued to my parents giant console set back in the 70s and 80s. You can check out the full review here. After that’s piqued your interest, read the new interview with the man behind the film, Mr. Colin Clarke.
Fister: Can you tell us how Daredevil Films came to be and what led you there?
Colin: I started out making animated films under that label in 2000 with a Spawn-inspired superhero short called Raven, and followed that up with a film noir-ish sequel called Raven 2. Each of those run about 20 minutes and were done using CGI, kind of like early Playstation graphics. I was teaching myself how to do that type of 3D animation as I went along. In 2008 I did a stereoscopic 3-D movie called Frankenstein vs the Wolfman. And then I did a little Halloween tale called Raven’s Hollow in 2011. I kind of felt that my abilities with CG animation had kind of plateaued, so after Raven’s Hollow I took the plunge into live-action with Witchfinder. You can find those available for streaming on my site, http://daredevilfilms.net.
Fister: Was there a single defining moment that made you want to be a film maker?
Colin: Oh, man. I don’t know if there was any one defining moment; I’ve been making movies in one form or another for as long as I can remember. My dad had a Super 8mm movie camera when I was a kid – and this was in the 70’s, so before video cameras were widely available. At some point, and still when I was really young, it connected with me that the processes by which movies were made professionally and what I could do at home with this movie camera were more similar than they weren’t.
Fister: Wearing so many hats in your films, have you learned to view films as a bigger picture?
Colin: Well, yeah, you have to. I’ve learned how to do everything on a film with the exception of composing the music, pretty much. I’m not saying that I’m good at all facets of making a film, or even that I’m good at any one of them in particular, but I understand enough about each part of putting a movie together that I can go ahead and… put a movie together. And, a lot of that know-how comes from watching, studying and absorbing movies… you know, finding a motivation for “why did they move that camera here”, or “this shot stands out to me – where did they put their lights?” After that, you learn by doing. And, the great thing about making live action movies is that now you can gather a team of talented folks around you who have specialized abilities, and they can give you stuff that you alone would be unable to produce alone. It becomes a collaborative effort.
Fister: When you were growing up, what were you in to?
Colin: Specifically, horror movies! When I was a pre-teen and teenager, those were the days when you got a Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, Hellraiser or Child’s Play installment every year. I ate them up. I was never scared by any of them… I loved all the special effects, and would read Fangoria, Cinefantastique, Cinefex, whatever, to see how they were done. I suppose I saw horror movies as a form of magic trick performance, in some respects. I’ve often described my designs for Witchfinder to people as constructing it similar to a roller-coaster ride.
Fister: Hands down – your favorite horror movie?
Colin: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre from ’74. There are other movies that I enjoy more, but that one is – to me – unparalleled as a full on HORROR movie. I’ve seen it so many times and reverse engineered it over the years, but that first time through – it is one unpleasant but supremely powerful movie experience. It still works, too. I showed it recently to a friend who has had little experience with horror movies and it did a number on him.
Fister: What can we expect from you and Daredevil Films in the future?
Colin: I’m developing a couple of things now, but primarily we’re focused on getting Witchfinder out the door and getting it seen. After that, we’ll re-group and see if we’ve got the means to realize the next one.
Fister: Give my viewers a little more info on when and where they can see or buy Witchfinder.
Colin: We’re actually about to have our world premiere at Panic Fest in Kansas City, MO on April 20th, 2013. My hope is that this Fall you’ll be able to see it at a festival near you. If you like our Facebook page at http://facebook.com/witchfindermovie we’ll be announcing showdates for the fests that accept us, since we’re sending out submissions now. If there’s a film festival near you that you want it to play at, let us know and we’ll see what we can do! Beyond that, we shot a bunch of behind the scenes stuff that we’re working to put together for an eventual Blu-ray or DVD; we’d like to get that out after it does whatever it’s going to do during it’s festival run – and then probably release it into the wild of the ‘net.
Fister: What are your thoughts on short films in this day and age?
Colin: There’s a lot of really cool stuff going on right now, which is fantastic – but there just doesn’t seem to be a lot of venues for shorts, outside of the film festival circuit. I know there are some new distribution models out there for web-based distribution (beyond giving the movie away for free on YouTube or whatever), but at some point it seems to come down to a question of whether you want people to see your movie, or if you want to make a couple of bucks off of it. Given a choice, I’d prefer the former. The downside to that being that these things cost a lot to make, if you’re going to try to do it right. I think for younger filmmakers, making a short gives you a calling card to show off your skills that you can use to try to get a job doing it professionally. At this point, I do it because I’m compelled to. I just can’t stop thinking about film and living in that world of making films.
Left Hand Horror thanks Colin and all the talented people behind Witchfinder. Remember, kids, there are more horror movies out there than the ones showing at the massive cineplexes – don’t forget to stop and look. Sometimes the best things are the ones you have to seek out.