For people who may not know you tell us about yourself and how you got involved in the film business.
I’m a producer, which is one of those nonsense titles that could mean a thousand different things…but I work predominantly in TV, Film and Online video. I spent several years working on a film review programme at the BBC called Film 2019 (the title would change depending on the year!) It was a bit of a dream-come-true job, I got to meet famous film stars, go on film sets, meet lots of film critics, make lots of videos and edit lots of features. Since that show ended I’ve been doing lots of other film journalism and video…I make videos for the BFI (British Film Institute), Digital Spy, MTV, Disney, Netflix and other fun places!
How did the podcast come about?
Working in TV and digital video, it’s always about making everything SHORT and SNAPPY. I’ve always been obsessed with the horror genre, and one of my favourite pieces I made for the BBC film programme was a feature on the history of horror, featuring Kim Newman, Andy Nyman and a bunch of other legends in the horror industry. I’d shot and written enough material to make an entire 60 minute programme about the subject, but I was only allowed to make it 4 minutes max! I really love the relaxed, long-form nature of podcasts, and thought, why not put my producing skills (and my contacts book of film critics!) to good use and devote hundreds of hours to my favourite genre?
What was your entry point into horror?
My first taste of the scary and the macabre was the video to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. I watched it aged 4 and was instantly obsessed. My family owned the VHS of the video and according to my parents I watched it repeatedly as a young child. It also had a ‘Making Of’ featurette after the video and I found that equally as fascinating. I think this gave birth to my love of horror and filmmaking. The first real horror movie experience was Scream (1996). I was 11 years old and terrified by the opening scene with Drew Barrymore but couldn’t stop watching. I loved it from start to finish. I didn’t get any of the “meta’ references the characters made, but it didn’t matter. In fact, it gave me titles to seek out, it was my gateway drug!
What has been your favourite seasons of the podcast?
My favourite sub-genre is probably ghostly / supernatural, so I loved doing the season on ghosts and covering some of my favourite movies like The Shining, The Innocents and The Orphanage…however, the season I’m most proud of is the one on Folk Horror. It’s such a strange sub-genre that’s hard to define and this gave me license to have so much fun with such and including such a variety of films. I got to somehow argue that The Night Of The Hunter, Straw Dogs, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Wicker Man, Get Out and The Blair Witch Project were all part of the same sub-genre. It sparked so much conversations, feedback and debates with the listeners. I loved it.
There are so many, this feels like choosing my favourite child. Can I give you five? I loved episode 1 with Kim Newman, because…it’s Kim Newman! My favourite single film discussion would be The Texas Chain Saw Massacre with Jamie Graham, because it’s my favourite ever horror film and because Jamie Graham is so incredibly insightful, funny, knowledgeable and interesting. Discussing BBC’s Ghostwatch with Boyd Hilton and its director Lesley Manning was an incredible treat, I’m proud of that episode. I always love having Jen Handorf on the show because she gives a unique insight as a film producer, so talks about movies like Dawn Of The Dead from a different perspective to most journalists and critics. I could also listen to Louise Blain all day long and she makes subjects I wouldn’t otherwise be interested in (like video games or The Conjuring movies) sound fascinating. But honestly, I love every single guest.
Which non obvious sub-genre would you really like to look at in the future?
One that explores ‘the mind’…I’m not sure what you’d call it…psychological horror? Movies like Jacob’s Ladder, Repulsion and anything directed by David Lynch.
What is your Favourite subgenre? And what film would you recommend from it.
It’s got to be ghost movies. I love horror that scares me, and nothing is scarier than a well made ghost movie. I’d recommend The Innocents (1961) to anyone who hasn’t seen it. Don’t be fooled by thinking it’s a stuffy, old fashioned black & white movie. Watch it in the dark, with the volume up high. It’s still absolutely terrifying.
Favourite horror film
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is the greatest horror movie ever made, I truly believe that. But it’s hard to watch over and over. My personal favourites that I can watch repeatedly are The Shining, The Wicker Man, Black Christmas, The Descent and The Night Of The Hunter. I realise I cheated and just named six.
Worst horror film you have seen?
The Nun (2018). Of course there are heaps of cheap rubbish horror films out there, but The Nun had buckets of money behind it, a director with a great track record, a creepy setting, scary backstory, a terrifying character, yet they still somehow managed to make it eye-rollingly dull. It’s almost impressive that it turned out as bad as it was.
What advice would you give people who may want to start podcasting?
You might think that making a podcast that’s about a broad topic like ‘film’ is going to get you more listeners, but in fact it’s the opposite, pick a niche instead: Horror movies, comics, sci-fi, heavy metal music, rap, Grange Hill, fishing, whatever it might be…something specific, it’s much more likely to find a passionate (and loyal) audience.
What is next for yourself and the podcast?
The zombie series will be ending in the next few weeks and then I’ll be kicking off series 5 later this year! But I can’t reveal what that is yet…I’ll also be doing some work with Frightfest in London in the summer.
You can find the evolution of horror pod over at https://evolutionofhorror.libsyn.com/ along with any podcasting format i.e iTunes.
You can also follow them on Twitter https://twitter.com/EvolutionPod and over of Facebook.