Interview: Kris Carr & Sam Fowler talk ‘The Young Cannibals’

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We recently previewed new indie horror The Young Cannibals on the site and now we chat to creators Kris Carr and Sam Fowler all about the film.

Tell us where the idea came from for ‘The Young Cannibals’? Are there any films you draw inspiration from for parts of the story or characters?

We’re English guys who love American horror movies, and we wanted to make a film that fits into the genre. So we watched a LOT of ‘em for inspiration.

Although not an entirely American list, here’s what we consider to be the main influences for ‘The Young Cannibals’:

1. ‘The Descent’ (2005)

2. ‘The Evil Dead’ franchise

3. ‘It Follows’ (2014)

4. ‘Alien’ (1979)

5. ‘Cabin Fever’ (2002)

6. ‘The Blair Witch Project’ (1999)

7. ‘Dog Soldiers’ (2002)

We f*king love these movies, and if you do too, there’s a chance you might enjoy ‘The Young Cannibals’. We wanted to mash together elements from these in order to create something new and exciting, and that’s what we hope our film is. ‘The Young Cannibals’ is kind of a film student’s love letter to the horror genre.

How daunting was it to film your first feature straight out of University?

Twins often end up committing murder together because they “egg each other on”, slowly upping the ante, whist convincing themselves that what they’re doing is OK – at least this is what our Cam Op, Will, told us. He went on to say how Kris and I (Sam) are like this, and Charlie (our Producer) enables us.

Obviously we’re not murderers… but we do “egg each other on” constantly, taking things as far as we can.

I think this might be one of the main reasons we ended up making a feature film straight out of University.

Creating ‘The Young Cannibals’ was a massive learning curve for us, and we can’t wait to crack on with our second movie.

Tell us about your love for Peter Jackson as a filmmaker?

During our first year of film school somebody mentioned to us that one of Peter Jackson’s earliest movies ‘Brain Dead’ was probably the goriest film ever made – this appealed to us a great deal and we promptly sprinted back to Kris’ halls room to watch it. We put it on and LOVED it – we were actually screaming with joy at how amazing and bloody the ‘lawnmower scene’ is. We were making such a commotion that Lizz (our mate in the room next door) came in to see what the hell was going on.

After that we watched some of Peter Jackson’s other early films – ‘Bad Taste’, ‘The Frighteners’ and ‘Meet the Feebles’. I guess Lizz got used to the shouting because she never came to check on us again*, even though the shouting definitely did not cease.

Oh… and obviously everyone loves ‘The Lord of the Rings’.

*She thinks we’re weird*

How scary was it filming in a tornado in Snowdonia?

Prior to this day we’d only managed to grab about four hours sleep. So we were particularly exhausted as we arrived at our location – a stunning campsite in Snowdonia. So it’s 8am and we’re sat in the car, dozing and listening to ‘I Get Around’ by ‘The Beach Boys’ (great song) when we heard muffled screams from outside.

We span around to see half our crew fruitlessly chasing a “robust” gazebo, which was being thrown around like tumbleweed – it looked like a scene from ‘Benny Hill’. We purchased these gazebos because they were supposed to be very strong – the advert showed a couple of strapping young men doing pullups on it 😉 The tornado also wrecked our largest film light. This incident ended with a “surprise day off”, so our crew took advantage of it and drank all the “prop” beers.

I suppose that showed how much you wanted to get this film made?

We’ve been down at the beach at 4am with some beers, panic-talking about how the hell we’re going to get the movie finished more than I’d like to admit. Kris and I (Sam) even took out loans to make sure it got completed – we’re still a little incredibly worried about this, but we figured life’s all about taking risks.

Who is your favourite character from the script?

It’s an ensemble cast, so rather than having a favourite character, it’s more the dynamic between the group that we enjoy most. Pippa (Hannah Louise Howell) is a good laugh though – we love the way her and Frances (Kim

Spearman) bounce off one another. Cam (Martin Thomas) and Mike (Michael Haynes) are another fun partnership who provide some comic relief.

How much do you rely on practical effects?

Almost 100%, we’ve had very little experience using CGI or anything like that, so going into production we wanted to steer clear of it as much as we could. We wanted to capture everything in camera – to be able to see we had everything we needed to tell the story. This includes a practical monster, harnesses work, signal flares, some stunt driving and even a couple of explosions.

We were lucky enough to meet an incredibly talented special effects guy whilst working in the camera department on short film with some friends. This guy had been out of the industry since the 80’s, but had previously worked on movies like Mad Max and Red Scorpion doing stunts. He wanted to build up his showreel again, so kindly agreed to help us out. His name is John Pasternak, if anyone’s looking to blow anything up on screen.

We ended up only using CG to paint out harnesses & lights – that sort of thing.

What can you tell us about the Monster in the film?

We don’t want to give too much away. But we will say it was created entirely using practical effects, we didn’t want to have a CGI monster. We were heavily inspired by ‘Alien’ and ‘Jaws’ – it’s all about what you don’t see.

When can horror fans expect ‘The Young Cannibals’ to debut?

We’re going to start entering film festivals very soon – horror fans should keep an eye on horror festivals around the world from August/September!

Watch the trailer for The Young Cannibals below –

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