Specializing in one particular genre is a tough feat. Horror for example requires a tremendous amount of talent and patience to be successful with. A great horror is not just a scary story, but it is timing, pacing, editing, camera angles, lighting, music. All these elements have to be on a higher level to be considered great. Comedy requires the same amount of attention. Movies are not just funny, they are presented in a way that are funny using timing, pacing, editing, etc. When the two genres blend together and blend together seamlessly, the audience has a treat to be devoured. Films like Evil Dead and Shaun Of The Dead have perfected the horror comedy. Horror comedies have explored the sub genres of zombies, demons, and even haunted houses but has there ever been a horror comedy with Cannibals?
Filmmaker James Bushe is tackling the subject with his upcoming project, which he is currently crowdfunding, Cannibals & Carpet Fitters. In the same vein as the previous films mentioned above, Bushe plans to seamlessly combine gruesome and brutal horror with an absurdest fun comedy. Cannibals & Carpet Fitters tells the following story:
A group of carpet fitters who are sent on a job to an old Country house in the middle of nowhere. However they soon discover it’s a trap set up by the savage, cannibalistic family, The Hannings. The carpet fitters are forced to fight for their lives or risk ending up being the evenings dinner. Unfortunately they are not quite your typical heroes!
Based on a 19 minute award winning short film of the same name, Cannibals & Carpet Fitters sounds like The Hills Have Eyes meets Shaun Of The Dead. The cast is jam packed starring the returning duo from the short film Richard Lee O’ Donnel and Darren Sean Enright. Joing them will be the likes of Meg Foster, Ian Whyte, Jessica-Jane Stafford, Zara Phytian, Jason Cermak, Lee Charles, Mingus Johnston and Rory Nolan
James Bushe is an incredibly talented filmmaker with stylized, well done, and award winning short films under his belt. His shorts have been featured all over the world including Cannes, Leeds Internation Film Festival, Hollyshorts, and Shriekfest in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. His previous horror comedy Blackout won Best Horror Short at the Los Angeles Shriekfest. His claim to 15 minutes of fame is the YouTube sensation Predator Dark Ages. A Predator fan film based in medieval times has seen over 1.5 million views on YouTube and is receiving incredible support from all over the world. The skills learned in all his previous films will be on showcase with Cannibals & Carpet Fitters
We Are Indie Horror had an opportunity to speak with James Bushe and ask him some questions about the upcoming project.
WAIH: Can you go into detail as to what is expected from the short to the feature?
JB: The short film was made on a very small budget and crew, and was more to try and give a taster of what we wanted to do with the feature. But we had to work around a lot of our limitations. So for example we was not able to have any gory deaths or wounds. This is something we can’t wait to rectify in the feature. We also have a larger group of carpet fitters and cannibals, and some great set pieces revolving around them. The feature has horror and comedy elements but we also have some great suspenseful cat and mouse battles and full on action fight scenes planned too.
WAIH:. With both scripts being written at the same time, how did the development of one story affect the creation of the other story?
JB: The original script for the feature was actually fairly different to what it has evolved into now. Richard (the writer) had to compress some of the ideas into the short to try give a basic idea of what we was aiming for and then we tweaked it to fit best what we had access to. But upon watching back the short there was many things that revolved organically. With it a feeling of being a little wackier and funnier then originally planned, which actually worked very well. And so Richard went back to the script and changed a lot of things to fall in line with the short. We then tweaked the set pieces and characters and the film is much better for it.
WAIH: Horror Comedy is a delicate balance between two difficult genres, how do you pull it off without breaking the barrier into one side or the other?
JB: I’m a huge fan of horror comedies and basically grew up on them. Lost Boys, Evil Dead 2, Fright Night etc. So for me it’s actually feels like a natural fit. I think the way is to not play it as a full on comedy. The situation and the horror elements should still be horrible. The bad guys or monsters or whatever still need to be something the audience should fear. But the comedy comes from the characters thrown into the situation, every day normal people in way over their heads. For example, a witty remark during an intense scene. Not to be cocky but more out of fear or nerves. Some horrors are all about the dread but I also like to have a little fun.
WAIH: Your cast is beyond stunning! What is the story as to how you landed them?
JB: We’re so happy to have such a great cast on board. Some we contacted through our casting agent, while a good few are actors we’ve wanted to work with so approached them directly. Luckily everyone loved the script too. Of course our final budget will play a key part in keeping such good talent on board. So here’s hoping.
WAIH: With this being your first feature, what challenges are being presented to you that were unexpected coming from short films and how are you overcoming them?
JB: At the moment it is trying to secure enough budget to make the film we want to make. Filming for 3 to 4 weeks in a intense block is vastly different to a few days shooting a short over a weekend. So we’re busy juggling how best to tackle each scene and maximize our production value.
WAIH: All three of your shorts are different visually, so for the feature which visual style are you looking to encompass?
JB: The feature will obviously resemble the short compared to the others. Hinting at a 80s/grind house vibe with bold colours. Although we will tone it down a little for the feature and work more on the grade. I’m also hoping to bring some of the crew and equipment from my other short film Predator Dark Ages to add some cinematic steadycam and drone shots.
WAIH: What advice do you have for any up and coming horror filmmakers or artists?
JB: I think to just go out and start shooting your first horror. It’s a great way to see what works for you and to start trying out things. There’s a great horror community out there and they are all pretty supportive of each other.
Cannibal & Carpet Fitters is currently raising funds on their Kickstarter campaign. The campaign pages has all of James’ previous short films including the original Cannibal & Carpet Fitters. We Are Indie Horror found it to be a riot! If the feature film is half as good as the short, we can expect one hell of a feature film. It is the perfect dose of fun comedy mixed with gruesome horror. To make this film correctly they are looking for a budget just over $71,000 which in retrospect to make a feature film off of that is incredibly cheap! The team promises to have more gore, more characters, and actual fight sequences and still are asking only that much.
Besides the standard physical and digital copies of the film mixed with artwork and signed elements for perks they have a few fun and worth while opportunities. By donating you can earn yourself a spot as a dead corpse. Seriously who wouldn’t want to get made up and play dead in feature film? If you live in the London area you can meet up with the two stars of the film who play Colin and Dean for “Pie and Mash” or a drink. If playing dead is not up your ally, contributing a little more allows you to be one of the cannibalistic villagers.
Cannibals & Carpet Fitters is tentatively scheduled for a Summer of 2017 release but if you want a taste of what to expect, check out the short film which we have posted below the hilarious and brilliant pitch video from the team. Remember if you cannot contribute monetarily, it is important to share the campaign all across your social media platforms. This is We Are Indie Horror’s Blood Bank Where Every Drop Counts!