Thursday, 25 October 2012

Interview - Damian Morter

To celebrate 100,000 pageviews we've got a special interview for you lucky reader. Damian Morter is the director of The Eschatrilogy. Made for no money whatsoever - it was all done on goodwill - and filmed around various locations in Yorkshire, it is a film that I don't feel that I can review due to my appearance as an extra. Yep, I got to zombie around like no-one's business. So seeing as though I have a vested interest I thought an interview would be more appropriate and Damian kindly agreed. Let's crack on with it then...

The Eschatrilogy is a horror anthology, why did you decide to dip your toes into the waters popularised by Amicus in the sixties with films such as Dr. Terror's House of Horrors?

I never intended to set out to make a zombie feature film, I'm not a huge fan. Initially we shot a short zombie film called "A Father for the Dead". We wanted to shoot a short film to test DSLR cameras, I was also excited to do the special effects and gags for the film. The film was shot in 4 days in June 2011, we had over 200 locals join in to play zombies, and everyone had a fantastic time. When I began to edit the film, I felt I had made just another zombie film, it was fun and stood out with a lot of style but it lacked any emotion or heart. I started to watch the zombies shuffling around in the movie and wanted to delve more into who they were before they became zombies... this became the perfect opportunity for a portmanteau anthology, with different tales documenting different stages of the end of the world. I didn't want there to be a virus, or a chemical spill etc., it had all been done before, so that's when I came up with a vengeful demon, who throws his wrath on man by turning them into monsters.

As a zero-budget film, what issues has the lack of funding brought to the production of the film, both positive and negative?

I have full control with a micro budget, there isn't anybody for me to answer to... I can pretty much do what I want. You don't have anything to lose, I suppose, apart from your reputation, and the pressure isn't on you about over spending because there is nothing to spend! On the other hand, without any money you have to be inventive and use resources available to you... this starts as early on as the writing, I deliberately wrote the film knowing we didn't have a penny, therefore I would have to be able to replicate all this stuff with the means around me. It's also hard for people to work full time, as they have jobs which they need to live. If you cannot afford to pay people expenses it drags the film, because you have to work around people's availability. It's the reason this film took 14 months, essentially it was a 35 day shoot!

Numerous comedy moments must have happened whilst you were making the film, but if you could only tell one story, what would it be?

Too many to list!!! I suppose the Police and paramedics turning up to set in Wakefield believing there to have been a major accident, only to find zombies and a film crew was comical. It made worldwide news. A make up artist and her boyfriend were stormed in their hotel room by CO19 at full gunpoint, because blood was not washed off a car used in the film, it was sat parked outside their room... I personally would have checked the blood/corn syrup first! Props to my make up team I suppose! My personal favourite moment is when an extra called Jim O'Connor played a corpse floating in a freezing canal, we are screaming at him to kick his legs to get into frame, but his head was submerged under water and couldn't hear us, he's just floating there! Behind camera you can hear me ask if he is actually dead!

You have worn numerous hats on this film: acting, writing, directing, editing amongst others. Which has been the most satisfying?

I consider myself a filmmaker... and that covers every job involved in the craft, and I have to be capable of all of them so I understand what's happening all the time and to be able to guide others, but my main love is directing. As a director, you need to be the person people come to, the person who needs to make the decisions and take responsibility for all involved. If people come to you, trust you, and are willing to follow you into madness... then that is the most satisfying feeling in the world!

If a zombie apocalypse actually happened - as we all know it will one day - and you were stuck in a kitchen with a zombie, which would be your preferred weapon out of the following: a) a blunt butter knife, b) a china teapot or c) a rotary hand whisk? (Please describe how you would cause zombie death with your chosen implement.)

I would use the tea pot... to make a nice cup of tea as I buttered some toast with my butter knife and whisked up a bun before I walked outside into a horde of the b*@$%*ds! There's no use fighting with those poor utensils!!

Finally, can you recommend a really obscure film from any genre? 

Ink 2009 by Jamin Winans. I'm not sure its too obscure, it's a great film with a lot of imagination and courage with a minimal budget!

(Ink is indeed pretty obscure, and funnily enough it has already been reviewed in these very pages by Doccortex. To find out more about this nosey-bonk laden Sci-Fi film have a little look at the review by clicking on this link: Ink review. Despite only receiving an average rating, I thought it was pretty impressive for a very small budget too. Many films with larger budgets would receive much lower scores, so the pounds per point ratio is not too shabby - evlkeith)

Thank you very much to Damian for taking the time to answer these questions. I agree completely with it being a fantastic time. I can remember one completely freezing day, I was covered in mud and blood, surrounded by equally cold zombie buddies and having to throw myself on to the ground for the twentieth time, thinking, "This is completely great." Top stuff. (By the way, I still think the rotary hand whisk could be useful. Sharpen up those death blades of rotation and you could cause some nasty skin abrasions on the approaching zombie horde.) The Eschatrilogy is currently playing at festivals around the country and will hopefully be on DVD relatively soon.



  1. That must have been fun to be an extra :)

    Thanks for the Ink (2009) recommendation, will take a look at the trailer!

    1. It was loads of fun. I think I ended up doing about five days on it and met loads of new zombie buddies. Driving home as a zombie got a few strange looks though...