Paul W. Franklin talks Croc! ahead of Frightfest

Regular readers of Bloody Flicks know we love a good croc movie and we may just have another to add to the watch list with Paul W. Franklin’s Croc!, which screens at Arrow Video Frightfest 2022 next month.

We caught up with Paul to talk all about the film.

We see a lot of aquatic horror today, what makes Croc! stand out from the crowd?

It’s mostly set on land¬†ūüôā¬†

What was the thinking behind the wedding narrative?

I think basically¬†having a large concentration¬†of people in a contained area. Most of whom are in shoes that aren’t designed for running in. Plus, you can’t beat a wedding dress splattered with blood…¬†

I saw you were recently a writer on Beneath the Surface, I take it you are a fan of animal attack films?

Actually BtS is more of a thriller about the fallout of a shark attack,¬†with a bit of gaslighting thrown in. I wrote that for Scott [producer] and a few months later he asked me to write a script for (what was originally) ‘Crocodile Vengeance’. But y’know, this film is very much a B-movie animal slasher, and I think there’s a market for that. There are a lot of bloody deaths in it, but also a good smattering of humour, with a tiny bit of tongue in cheek. As the Groom poses at one point: “What’s a killer crocodile doing in the middle of Hampshire?”

It’s daft, it’s escapist, and it’s a genre I’d like to explore a lot more. I have ideas for a ‘Crocology’. 

Were there any real-life cases or movies you took inspiration from in crafting the film?

As far as real life goes, thankfully I’ve never been to a wedding where a¬†crocodile attacked everyone. Although I’ve¬†been to a few where that¬†would’ve been a¬†blessed¬†relief.¬†

I watched ‘Lake Placid’ a few times. And actually,¬†that’s a well-crafted film that’s about the same length¬†as this one. Also the original ‘Jurassic Park’. There’s a bit outside where the Maid of Honour gets in the car, tries to start it, and the croc is somewhere nearby, drawn to the noise.¬†So that’s a little bit like the T-Rex scene in Jurassic Park.

I also watched ‘Dog Soldiers’ again. Because [minor spoiler] this ultimately¬†becomes a home invasion film, where they lock up and wait for the attack. But in D.S. they built a set based on how they wanted to¬†shoot it; whereas with this, it was basically the opposite: I’d never been to the location¬†and all I had to go from was photos, so I wrote it based around the layout and hoped it worked on the day (and overall, with a few tweaks, I think¬†it did).¬†

What can you tell us about your cast?

– I never knew any of the cast beforehand. Scott threw a bunch of ideas at me, and i largely went by instinct (without any auditions or anything; there was no budget for that kind of thing). They were all an amazing bunch, so eager and hard-working, and that’s all you can ask for really. 

How exciting is it to be screening at Arrow Video Frightfest?

Cheshire Cat Smile. So good. I had a short film in a few festivals last year, but none were this big. It’s basically¬†the ultimate UK horror festival. (p.s. can I have a t-shirt?)

What can you tell us about the upcoming Haunted Hotel?

Ooh. Well, it’s based on the infamous ‘Cecil Hotel’, which was the subject of a Netflix documentary about a year ago. Although officially¬†I’m not allowed to say that and officially¬†it’s nothing like that at all. But yeah it is.

So I pointed out to the distributors that a location in Yorkshire was never going to look like a 14-storey hotel in downtown Los Angeles, so we based it in England with British characters and a few sly nods to the Cecil Hotel. I did a lot of research on Beelzebub and black magic, satanic rituals etc, which was great fun. Looking forward to seeing how it turns out!

Croc screens at Arrow Video Frightfest 2022 next month.

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