"THE VAMPIRES OF BLOODY ISLAND"
INTERVIEW # 1
In a relaxed chat over a pint after a days filming, director, co-writer and co-producer ALLIN KEMPTHORNE
talks about the decision to film a vampire comedy and the overall styling of the cult movie "The Vampires of Bloody Island".
Two members of "The Vampires of Bloody Island" crew; cameraman Jonathan Graham and Edit Assistant Kirk Monteiro, ask the questions.
So, Allin, what possessed you and Pamela to start making a movie?
What possessed us to make a movie? Do you know what, to this day I do not know!
I've worked on all sorts of films before, usually as a lowly extra, sometimes as a stand in, and Pamela the same. An extra is the lowest member of cast and a stand-in is about the lowest member of crew you can get, and we've both worked on quite a lot of big budget and big name films and TV shows, the Harry Potters, 'V for Vendetta', David Cronenberg films and so on, but always really in those very lowly positions. And I think being involved in so many shows, seeing time and time again first hand how the biggest, most colourful fantasies are turned into a two hour mega-budget movie really gave both myself and Pamela a very strong feeling that it was something we really wanted to do, would be able to do and what's more that we both really had a unique voice that we could put to a film.
Why did you decide to make a film about vampires?
Vampire films are something that we've both always really loved.
We thought we could take the genre and take everything that everybody loves about the whole genre of vampire films and just add something new to it, bring a bit of, well, a bit of ourselves to it. A bit of our sense of humour, our sense of cartoon, our sense of the fun and the comedy that we think you should always have in a vampire film.
If you look at the old Hammer Horror vampire films, we wanted to do something in that sort of style. But to do that in the modern day you've got to stick your tounge firmly in your cheek and make it an out and out comedy.
So that's what we set out to do and I think we succeeded very, very well in that.
Comedy is something that's very hard to get right. After all if you make a drama and it's not dramatic it's just a bad film. But if you make a comedy and it's not funny it's considered a total failure.
Is this something that bothered you?
No! Absolutely no, and totally no!
Comedy is what I know. I've worked in comedy all my life. When I left school I went straight into drawing for comic books, then from that I kind of fell into the whole world of cartooning that led me into working for the Daily Star as a cartoonist and eventually jumping ship to The Sun. After that I moved on into performing live comedy on stage, which I still do a lot of, and then into writing a sit-com with Pamela for the BBC. Comedy is my skill, it's my talent. And I knew that we could not only do it well, but do it in a way we could make a film that although stylistically was reminiscent of the Hammer classics would totally and uniquely work as a very new and very exciting comedy vampire movie.
It's wonderful to see someone taking a movie genre that is often slated by the snobs seriously, and putting all of their passion into it and making a really brilliant piece of work out of it.
Has that given you a real buzz, doing that?
It's been a tremendous buzz doing it. The sort of buzz you get when you haven't slept for a year.
Yeah, that sort of buzz!
What's your next movie going to be?
The next movie? Blimey, let us finish this one first!
We're actually planning to stay with the vampire genre because it's really a genre we know and we love.
We've done so much research into the whole world of vampire movies, theory and literature doing "The Vampires of Bloody Island" that we know that there's so much more we can do.
The voice that we gave "The Vampires of Bloody Island", the comedy cartoon thing made a beautiful film, but for the next movie we'd like to make a lot grungier, dirtier and very urban.
I think it'll be interesting to see how we style the exact polar opposite, yet still stay in the same genre.
So ghetto vampires?
Urban, ghetto, slasher, vampires, gothic rock clubs, heavy music, um... dirty London streets... I think that would be a very, very exciting thing to do.
With "The Vampires of Bloody Island" we were travelling backwards and forwards around the country all the time with a crew in tow and that got very draining. It's all so worth it when you see the shots, the locations we had on that film were spectacular, it really was worth it, but emotionally we were just spent at the end of it.
We really like the idea of just staying in London for the next film, of just hiring a warehouse, building our sets and just filming in there for a couple of months without ever having to organise a convoy of vehicles down to the West Country ever again!
The locations were stunning. How much was getting the right location important to you?
Yeah, the locations were very, very important. They're the identity of the film. Knowing that we would be making this film on a very tight budget really focuses the mind. So all the way through the writing process we were profoundly aware that whatever we wrote on paper we would eventually have to deliver.
So in many cases we actually found the locations before writing the script, which results in of course us being able to use some quite spectacular, atmospheric and spooky locations to their absolute full.
Of course you directed "The Vampires of Bloody Island" yourself, but you co-wrote, co-produced and co-starred with your wife, Pamela.
Did this put any strain on your relationship?
(laughs). You know, we're asked that question a lot, and I'm sorry, but we just don't have the answer that I think you're looking for. That question is so... just so... I mean, it's just so coming from the wrong direction.
This film is OUR film, it's something we've done together, something so creative and fulfilling and intense that it's just occupied every conversation we've had over the last four years. We're just so passionate about it and of course we're so very, very proud!
If it had turned out to be a complete embarrassing turkey, then maybe there could have been some blaming each other or something I suppose. But we know we've been producing something grand, something so very much more than people have expected, the film is far far greater than the two of us as individuals could ever have done. We both think each other is immensly talented. We've always had a pretty solid relationship but going through the intense highs and lows of this together is really something a man and wife so rarely get to do.
You know, the Wachowski Brothers, Larry and Andy co-directed 'The Matrix' together. I worked with them on 'V for Vendetta' which they were producing, and they seem a pretty solid pairing, always know what each others thinking and trust each other totally. They're brothers, Me and Pamela are husband and wife! And besides, what better way to have your morning production meetings than snuggled up in bed together with a coffee?
Is there anything else that you'd like to add?
Yes there is!
This film took us four years from start to finish, concept to marketing, and cost us more money than our combined incomes could earn in another three years.
So that's a pretty major time investment we've made into what is fundamentally an hour and three quarters entertainment.
So I think what we're trying to say, no I mean what I KNOW we're saying is BUY A COPY! Watch the film, tell your friends, tell them to buy copies.
It's a fun, fun film.