THRILL & KILL: Paul, you did a lot of special effects and make up for well-known horror movies like ATTACK THE BLOCK, EDEN LAKE and THE DESCENT in the past and only started working as a director some years ago when you did SEASONING HOUSE. What made you change directions?
PAUL HYETT: I’d been working in the field of special make up effects for over 20 years and had slowly been getting the urge to direct for a while before SEASONING HOUSE. I really wanted to tell my own stories with my own vision. I’d been supplementing other peoples films for a long time, putting a lot of time and energy into them, sometimes to be really pleasantly surprised but more often disappointed. And it just got to the point where I had to make something. My experience on over 70 films had put me in good stead for the understanding of how films are made, so I was lucky enough to get my first film SEASONING HOUSE financed.
T & K : SEASONING HOUSE and HOWL are both horror movies, yet they are quite different. SEASONING HOUSE was a semi-realistic story that took place during the civil war in former Yugoslavia. HOWL is a clearly fictional story with werewolves that is probably less hard to watch and more entertaining for viewers. What kind of horror do you prefer?
Paul Hyett: I love both. For me each story, in each script is so different, how you shoot them, the vision, the aesthetics, the character’s journey. If I’m watching films myself, I’ll probably go for more easy to watch entertaining films, as much as I like brutal, uncompromising horror, I can only watch so much. Same goes for making them, SEASONING HOUSE was something that really put people through a harrowing journey, would I make another such harrowing film, at some point, maybe. But that was what was fun about making HOWL, just a good, fun, retro popcorn movie (and no offending anyone).
T & K: You probably had some influences or werewolf-movies you love. Can you name one or two?
Paul Hyett: I love American Werewolf in London and The Howling, both dark in humour (which made them even scarier), but brilliant movies. Both different, asthetically and in tone. I loved AWIL for its black humour and terrifiying nightmare sequences and Howling was just dark in tone and exciting. Both great movies.
T & K: Werewolves (and vampires) are probably the typical horror monsters. Was it hard to add something new to HOWL that wasn’t shown a dozen times before? Or was that not even your intention?
It wasn’t the intention to add something new or be innovative, it was more to make a fun, retro popcorn movie. The one thing I loved was the characters trapped in a train. I love the 70’s disaster movies like Earthquake, The Posieden Adventure and The Towering Inferno, and to mix them in with werewolves was great fun.
T & K: You have another movie coming out this year called HERETIKS and again it seems like this is going in a different direction, taking place in the 17th century. Can you tell us something about it?
Paul Hyett: Yes, it takes place at the end of the 17th century, a young girl accused of necromancy is saved from executution by a mysterious woman and taken to a priory to serve penance by taking care of the sick, there she encounters a much darker evil.
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