I recently had the pleasure of interviewing young up-and-coming British director Simon Wells. He’s promoting his latest film, CARNIVORE: WEREWOLF OF LONDON. The film is a great throwback creature feature with very good practical monster effects. Read on to see what Simon has to say about the film and some other topics.
Carnivore: Werewolf of London is streaming now in the USA from Uncork’d Entertainment! DVD is in the works for 2018 release.
Simon Wells: Having grown up loving the horror films from the eighties I have also preferred practical effects, I think they have a weight and physicality and inspire a fear that CGI effects very rarely achieve. Using a real creature helps the actors react too, they know what they need to be afraid. I think that CGI can be used to enhance practical effects, like in Jeepers Creepers; this was the perfect example of a great suit enhanced subtlety to create a more fearsome monster by giving it believable wings that couldn’t be created practically.
Horror Patch: I am a little unclear if the film’s title is Carnivore: Werewolf Of London or Werewolf of London: Carnivore?
Simon Wells: Yes! I understand this confusion, officially it is Carnivore: Werewolf of London but originally they were the other way around and some graphics still use the original title, some use the correct title.
Horror Patch: I’m a huge werewolf fan. What made you decide to write and make a werewolf film?
Simon Wells: I am too a huge werewolf fan, I actually love all movie monsters! I thought that werewolves didn’t receive enough love in cinema so I wanted to give them some attention and make it different, I didn’t want to follow the formula of my favourite werewolf films An American Werewolf in London, The Howling and Ginger Snaps; I wanted to take inspiration from them and do something different, something fun but also scary. I had so much fun writing and directing this traditional popcorn horror.
Horror Patch: What was the biggest challenge in making this film?
Simon Wells: Each project has its own unique set of challenges and that’s what makes them fun! We had a great team and we pulled together to make it work. This was a low-budget film so there was very little scope to make mistakes; we had to use our creativity to solve the problems. For example, on the first morning, we learned that our lighting rig for the exterior scenes which we were filming first was not going to arrive, after many phone calls and hasty rescheduling we managed to get it two days late. I would say choose your cast and crew well and you can use every challenge to your advantage.
Horror Patch: Was it tough getting financing for the movie?
Simon Wells: This is always tough, you have to gain trust and belief in your vision and convince financiers that it’s all very profitable. The desire for new content is constant but there are also a lot of people making it, so competition is fierce for funding especially when someone blogging on their phone can get a larger audience than a film with a large cast and crew.
Horror Patch: What is the biggest mistake most filmmakers make, regardless of experience?
Simon Wells: This is a difficult question to answer! I think it’s probably character. People forget that people want to watch other people. When you think of the most iconic horror films you remember the characters. In Halloween you remember Michael Myers, Laurie Strode, and Dr. Sam Loomis – this is why we keep wanting to see more Halloween movies; well along with the fantastic music, pacing, suspense, setting etc! Another common mistake is underestimating the audience, bigger productions have so many people involved it is much less of a problem there but low-budget films often get pacing wrong, not every detail is important, you should to be brutal with your own work and cut it down as much as you can whilst still telling the story and getting your message across, all with memorable characters.
Horror Patch: How did you get into the filmmaking business?
Simon Wells: I actually studied Computer Science as I loved computers but I didn’t think about the job I would be doing. Working in an office didn’t suit me so I retrained in TV and film. I worked in the technical and creative side for a decade before making my debut feature film Carnivore: Werewolf of London.
Horror Patch: What films horror or otherwise have inspired you the most?
Simon Wells: I love horror. It is primal, it is a feeling that we rarely experience in real life. Halloween, Alien, The Thing are all brilliant films. More recently The Descent and The Grudge amongst many others are unforgettable. I learn and take inspiration from everything I watch though. Certain characters, ways of dealing with subjects, styles of filming, it’s all a rich tapestry that inspires everything I do. New and old films, TV, online, news, real life, everything can be inspirational if you look at it the right way.
Horror Patch: Is there one or more things that would make the horror genre better? What would they be?
Simon Wells: This is a question that you should answer, it’s the fans that know what they want. Every review, every comment, everything helps me make films that you want to see. I love interacting with viewers so please involve me in your discussions, that feedback is invaluable. As a horror fan, I like modern films to be creatively interpreting old ideas or tackling relevant topics and making them terrifying.
Horror Patch: What do you think horror fans want the most and did you give it to them in your film?
Simon Wells: Every horror fan is different, what they look for is very subjective, I tried to tick all the boxes, there is lots of suspense, some good jump scares, some gore, a big monster, plenty of sex and some humor. What did you think? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you!
Watch the trailer for Carnivore: Werewolf Of London here:
Carnivore: Werewolf Of London is available on most VOD platforms including:
- Dish Network
- In Demand
- Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0778W6WTZ
- Google TVhttps://play.google.com/store/movies/details/Carnivore_Werewolf_of_London?id=hB5iF_c7jeg