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Directed by: Alberto Corredor Marina
Country: United Kingdom
Synopsis: Haunted by grief, a man asks questions only the recently deceased can answer. The dead get their say in the hidden chamber of a mysterious pub. You may not like what you hear.
Where did the idea for the movie come from? What drew you into the script?
Lorcan Reilly, the writer, was writing micro-budget short films for an amateur filmmaking group. In micro-budget, you need scripts that can be shot in one day, in one location, with a small cast and crew and very little money. So, that was Lorcan's challenge. One room, two people are sitting at a table, write a story. He went through different scenarios until he settled on a story of a man visiting a medium who can channel the dead. The story snowballed from that concept into the creation of the witch. There are few scripts that I think are "round": scripts that are original, that surprise me and trick me but with a story that makes me feel like a truck just ran over my brain. It's not only about the film but about the time you spend afterward thinking about it. When you think: what would I do if I were in that situation?
Pub lore category: Where is the bar located? Was it all shot in the one location?
It was shot in two locations. The pub is a very well-known pub in East London: The Bonneville in Hackney. They do a lot of filming there. Luckily, the AD knew the owner and we got two hours for free to shoot the scene. The cellar is actually an old foundry that is now used as a studio (Swordtail Studios). We were lucky that they are only a 20-minute drive from each other as we were budgeted for just a two-day shoot.
After a career in media for over 20 years, this is your first short film. How's the success been and do you plan to make any others?
At the moment everything is a bit overwhelming with so many festivals accepting the movie and everyone giving me such positive feedback. I also didn't expect the festival run to be so much work so that has slowed down other projects a bit. At the moment, we are finishing the feature-long script based on the same characters and talking to producers. It is early days but everything looks very promising.
What's the secret to creating a terrifying creature and scaring the heck out of your audience? You hit it on the first go round.
Don't show too much. Everyone in the audience is frightened by different things. Just hint that there is something hidden in the shadows, watching out at you. The audience will fill the shadows with their own fears. The witch's awkward movements and the slight glimpse we get to see of her face suggests that we are dealing with something not quiet human. Just show enough to let the audience's imagination run riot. That and a fantastic production design team lead by Marie Boon; they even designed and sewed the witch's dress. And don't forget an incredible make-up artist, Alexandra Knights, who made the hands and face look really old and creepy.
Why did you choose to make what many would consider a genre film?
Why not? There is the false assumption that genre films are somehow lesser films, that they are not "serious enough." I love genre films. I grew up on a strict diet of thriller, horror, science-fiction and fantasy films and it always was my dream to make one. Moreover, I don't even think Baghead is a pure genre movie, is too strange to fit in a single category.
Are genre films underestimated when it comes to exploring larger themes? What themes were on your mind when making Baghead?
Silence of the Lambs, Seven, The Exorcist. All these films answer the question. Genre films are perfect to explore larger themes because they can take their characters to extreme places, physically and emotionally. You might explore loyalty in a war story, where life is a stake. But if your eternal soul is in danger, then the stakes are much higher. The thing with genre films is that many of the good ones get lost in the noise. I think great genre films, particularly horror, that have explored larger themes will find an audience that comes back to the film over and over again. Baghead explores the human condition, showing a character destroyed by grief and needing closure. One way or the other. I think it will make many people think about it when it's over.