Back from FrightFest, only got slightly brain damaged, which was nice. A mixed bag of films, some very good, some very bad. Horror movies go through phases, but at the moment, many of them seem to be stuck in a rut. Everyone seems to want to make the same movie over and over: some stupid people get tortured and killed by lunatics for no apparent reason. Which is NOT a story, it's just people being brutalised for 90 minutes. I love horror movies, so I'm perfectly happy (oh, you know what I mean) watching trauma and gore, but if there's no story, then it's boring and pointless, I'm not invested in it. "Ah yes, but in life, there are no easy answers, sometimes bad things happen for no reason." Hey, in life, sometimes cats take a shit in your garden, doesn't mean we have to make boring movies about it. Write a story! Make it interesting! Is that too much to ask? The best films at FrightFest had stories, they had something to say, they didn't virtually tell you everything that was going to happen in the first 5 minutes. Time Crimes, Dance of the Dead, Freakdog, Let The Right One In, Martyrs - all proper movies, all crowd pleasers, all clever and interesting. None of them were a short film spun out over an hour and a half. Martyrs was about torture and revenge, but it had a lot to say, and kept you guessing for quite a while, it had a *point* to it. Give us something to think about, or at least show the characters trying to escape in a variety of ways.
Also, if you have several scenes where your main characters could get themselves out of trouble, easily, or just leave - then fucking rewrite it. We will notice. We are not idiots. If you have a scene where the main characters get themselves into the trouble in the first place - then fucking rewrite it. If you have a scene where someone comes across a load of potential weapons, but doesn't take any because otherwise the movie would end too early - then fucking rewrite it. There is no excuse for laziness. Even so, I'm amazed at some of the plotholes and logic fiddles that got through to the finished product. My agent would never let me get away with any of them. Here's a revolutionary idea for you: when you write your horror movie, why not pretend that it's a normal movie with normal characters who behave in a somewhat realistic fashion? If a killer chases them, they run away. If things go wrong, they call the police, or try to get help. I know people get scared and make mistakes in real life - but this is a movie, and you have to convince the audience. Rewrite it. Blimey. It doesn't cost you anything but time.
Anyway, fun time had by all, lovely atmosphere as usual, and lots of cool people to chat to. Hello to everyone I met, and hello to everyone I didn't meet, too. My Asus/Jesus/Anus came with us, and performed very well on the go. Full review coming soon, hopefully.
So my Code 9 came and went, and if you didn't catch it, you'll have to wait for the DVD which seems to be out next month. I mean, you don't have to get it, you don't have to watch anything just cause I say so, I'm just saying that it would be lovely if you choose to watch it, or rent it, or buy it, or something. And if you don't, I'll come round your house and kill you dead with an elephant gun. It fires thirty elephants per minute. Takes eight months to reload. I don't know where this paragraph is going.
Filming has officially started on Torchwood series 3! You may clicky clicky on the link for more details, fresh juicy details, get 'em while they're hot. I'm hoping to get along to see some of it soon, now that I have less of a hefty workload. Things are calming down, which means I can work on one thing at a time. It also means that I can soon start work on one of the 4 spec films I've been waiting to write. They're all outlined, ready to go, just dying to get out into the world. I'm going to start the first one very soon, while I have a break. And I can't wait.
Edit: I didn't wait. I started. I have a brand new thing. Nobody knows what it is, only Jo knows the plot, I haven't even told my agent. So right now, it's all mine. Nobody to give notes, no budget to worry about, no guidelines to stick to. Anything goes. Blimey, the power.