Craig Fisher is an upcoming Welsh horror film maker who is originally from Cardiff and now resides in Neath which is a little town next to Swansea. Craig has around 9 short films under his belt.
FLY- Thank you for taking the time out to speak to us good sir. As an independent horror film maker from Wales you seem like a rare breed to us, is this so or are there others we Horror Hounds and Gore-Geeks should be aware of?
CF- I don't know that many Welsh horror filmmakers, but there are a few of us kicking about! One of them is a good friend, James Plumb. He directed Night Of The Living Dead Resurrection and Silent Night, Bloody Night: the Homecoming. He's an awesome dude and recently worked on an anthology horror, and a zombie film with a different twist, called Little Monster. There's also Phillip Escott, who directed Cruel Summer. Himself and a few others hosted Wales' first Horror Film Festival in Cardiff last September, called Fractured Visions Film Festival.
FLY- Last year you created two stunning horror flicks back to back "The Midnight Jester" and "You've Been Bad", What can you tell us about them and how has your filmmaking process changed as you've gained more experience?
CF- Well, they are what we call, Micro Shorts (Under 5 mins) Both short films are loosely based on Creepy Pastas with my own twists. And 'You've Been Bad' is my little homage to one of my favourite 80's film, The Gate. In 3 weeks we crewed up, got the cast, then filmed them back to back - one on a Saturday and one on a Sunday!
I'm not sure that my film making process has changed really, I've just been working really hard to refine my style. It's really difficult as there's little to no funding in Wales for short films, so all my films have been zero budget. That makes a lot of film making choices very hard, especially as I'm trying improve my style with each film. I think "The Midnight Jester" and "You've Been Bad" are a testament to my abilities, and hopefully, if someone sees what I have achieved with no money, maybe someone will offer me some funding for my next project.
FLY- In your awesome short 'Night Mære' you tackled the theme of Night Terrors, having suffered from them myself it particularly hit home with me, are they things you've endured yourself and if so could you tell us about your most memorable one.
CF- Yes, I do suffer from a form of sleep paralysis. Luckily, I don't suffer with the visuals, so no Old Hag or Tall Man visit me! But ever since I was a little boy, I've suffered with being conscious and aware, but not being able to move my body. It used to confuse and terrify me as a child, but when it happens now, I'm able to calm myself, and try to fall back into deep sleep so I can wake up normally.
FLY- You had one of your films selected for the 'Hammer' Channel, what an honour! Please tell us how this came about, and what are your memories of 'Hammer' movies growing up?
CF- Last year I entered Night Mære into a 90 Second Horror Competition, with London Short Film. It won Best Film, and the prizes were a slot on the Hammer Channel, and work experience with Hammer this coming Winter. I don't know too much about that yet, but it's bloody exciting! Really looking forward to that,
Always been a massive fan of Hammer, was always intrigued by their Gothic World (Which British film makers do very well!) and their Monsters. And no one could ever compare to the likes of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee! The likes of The Curse Of Frankenstein, Dracula, The Witches, Demons of the Mind and The Plague Of The Zombie were in constant cycle in my VHS player - alongside many other horrors of course!
FLY- At what age did you first discover the horror genre and which movies scared the crap out of you as a nipper?
CF- I fell in love with horror when I was about 3 years old. I watched Michael Jackson's Thriller and loved it! Straight after that was The Making Of Thriller, so I knew from such a young age that it wasn't real. It was all SFX. That moment shaped me into a music lover, horror lover, and filmmaker.
And honestly, nothing scared me - because I knew it was all fake! But one film did creep me out, and that was The Changeling (1980, with George C Scott). Because that film didn't have any SFX monsters, it was all tension, atmosphere and sounds - so that did scare my fragile little mind!
FLY- Who were the directors that really influenced you to do what you do now?
CF- Well, I'll definitely have to say John Landis! Because Thriller really was the making of me. But from the array of childhood favourites, I'd also definitely say Wes Craven, Tobe Hooper, John Carpenter, Tom Holland, William Castle, James Whale and Dario Argento - to name a few.
FLY- Great remakes are few and far between but if you could remake absolutely any film which one would you choose, and what would you add to it to put your own stamp on it?
CF- Argh! This is a hard one! Mainly because I don't want anyone to throw stones at me 🙈
But, I think, I would love the chance to remake A Nightmare On Elm Street. Freddy is my main man! Always has been. And it saddens me that the last film associated with Fred is that abysmal 2010 remake. And I wouldn't really change anything drastically or be concerned with putting my own stamp on it - I would just want to pay homage and respect to the original films. I would also love to get the chance to really explore the Nightmare Worlds more, and scare a new generation of kids by showing them the power of Mr Krueger.
FLY- If you could work with anybody at all in the film industry who would it be?
CF- I would love to work with James Wan. Because once you're in with him, you're a part of Hollywood, and I'd love to bring the indie film making style to Hollywood! HAHA I'd also love to work with Neil Marshall, James Watkins and David Bruckner. Also, would love love to work with the Soska Sisters! Although... if they fuck up Rabid... I'd be very upset😧
FLY- Do you have any plans to venture outside of horror at any point in the future and are there other genres you are especially fond of?
CF- Well, last year, I did direct an LGTBQ+ SciFi - it was the first film I'd worked on that I hadn't written myself, and it was a part of a BBC scheme called Its My Shout. And as a gay man, queer cinema is definitely a big genre for me. My main aim is to infuse both horror and LGBTQ+. There isn't really much out there in the form of gay horror, so the playing field is wide open!
But that's it really, I'd NEVER be able to write or direct a comedy or romance!
FLY- What do you consider the greatest horror movie ever made and why is this?
CF- I'm not sure I can answer this! There are too many favourites in too many sub genres over too many decades HAHA But, I will give you my Top Childhood 13 - Poltergeist. Fright Night. A Nightmare On Elm Street 3. Creepshow. Child's Play. Pet Sematary. Night Of The Demons. The Gate. Return Of The Living Dead. Waxwork. Vengeance The Demon. The Lost Boys and Hellraiser 2.
And the reason why? Because they're all part of my childhood which helped form my personality and inspired me to become a film maker.
FLY- What does the future hold for Craig Fisher? Are there any upcoming projects you'd like to tell us about?
CF- Well... it all depends on funding! I already have a scripts ready to rock n roll - one being a sequel to my 3rd film Angelystor. I did Angelystor for a horror competition a few years back, so it's only a minute long - but it's based on an ancient Welsh folklore based in Llangernyw (North Wales). The folklore says that a supernatural being from under the boughs of a 3,000-year-old yew tree, appears every Halloween and 31st July, to solemnly announce, in Welsh, the names of those parish members who will die shortly after. I fell in love with the story, and made the film - and I have created an awesome looking creature design for my version of the story. So my sequel expands on the mythology a little - leaving the major plot points for a possible feature.
My other script ready to go is an LGBTQ+ 80's Christmas horror - it's about a 10 year old boy whose homophobic parents threaten him to be a 'normal little boy' by telling him the story of an Evil Santa that comes to terrorise naughty boys and girls. Lo and behold, the Christmas Demon does indeed make an appearance.
FLY- Being an actor and a bona-fide Horror Freak myself is there any chance of you letting me audition for you at some point?
CF- Absolutely! But the question is... Are you more a Victim... or a Monster 👹
FLY- I'd say I'm most definitely a Monster, Brother! Thank you so much for your time Craig, and for giving us and our readers a great insight into the mind of undoubtedly a future legend of horror. We wish you the very best with your current projects and of course much success with your career as a whole. Much Positivity and Many Buzzing Blessings to you from myself and The Fly in Your Eye family. Will 👊🏿💀
CF- Thanks very much for the interview Will! I know how important these websites / blogs are to myself and horror fans - so having the wonderful opportunity to share my work and voice on your platform is an honour! Diolch Yn Fawr 💀
Pre Terrifier interview with David Howard Thornton. Flyinyoureye interviews Art the Clown 👁️
March 2018 will see actor David Howard Thornton unleash his first onscreen outing as incredibly unhinged supernatural serial killer Art the Clown in Damien Leone's 'Terrifier' this being David's first foray into full feature film territory, being mostly known for video game and animation voice overs and an awesome 5 episode turn as The Joker in the 'Nightwing: Escalation' TV series. The Killer Clown, Art was previously played by Mike Giannelli who appeared in the horror anthology 'All Hallows Eve' which was made up of 3 "art" films
FLY- Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview Mr Thornton, we know you are very busy at this point in time and after the release of 'Terrifier' next year we know you will be even more in demand. We would like to congratulate you on your first feature film here's to many many more! Firstly Could you tell us what kind of a childhood did you have growing up? Were you scared of clowns and at what age did you first start acting?
DHT- I would say that I had a pretty unique but also typical childhood growing up in Huntsville, AL. It was unique since I come from a diverse family of teachers, aerospace engineers of various abilities and disabilities in a city that is an innovator of science and arts (NASA was founded in my hometown thanks to men like my grandfather and my father who worked there for about 40 years) in a state that is not really well regarded for such things. Typical, in that I grew up like most boys during the 80's in America watching cartoons and movies, playing with action figures and video games, having adventures with my friends outside, and fending off the occasional bully.
Speaking of movies, oddly enough, I didn't watch many horror movies until I got to high school. My mom was terrified of them, and her fear of them bled into me at an early age. It wasn't until I saw Scream 2 with some cast mates that I fell in love with the genre and went back to start watching the classics to catch up. I loved them all, especially the likes of Freddy, Jason, Chucky, and Leatherface. Oddly enough, I was never afraid of clowns though. I always found them amusing, but I can understand why others are afraid of them.
As for when I started acting, I pretty much came out of the womb acting since my parents were heavily involved in theater at our church which they got me into at an early age, in addition to playing various sports like soccer and tee-ball, as well as a singer and pianist. I was a child of various interests, a jack of all trades, basically. It wasn't until I played the role of Bob Cratchit/ Mickey Mouse in my middle school's production of "Mickey's Christmas Carol" that the acting bug hit me. I was bullied relentlessly in middle school since I was a short, scrawny, boy soprano that wore glasses and braces. Doing that show, I discovered that I could make people laugh with me, rather than at me, so my mother got me involved in doing community theater. My love for acting grew from there, however, I did not go to college for acting but rather for teaching Elementary students since I wanted a stable career path. It was not until my mom passed away from cancer later in college that I decided that I would rather do something unique with my life with something I was passionate about, rather than settling for a stable teaching career. I talked to my father about this, and he completely agreed and supported my decision. I finished up my degree in teaching, then moved to NYC. The rest is history!
FLY- We are extremely sad for your loss but so very happy you made that choice as the horror film community needs you big time, Homie. We see more than a little of horror film legend Lon Chaney in you, are you a fan and who are your major acting influences; also are you a fan of the horror genre in general?
DHT- Wow! I take that as a compliment! Chaney is truly a legend and innovator in this field! Thanks! Yes, I am a fan of the genre and find inspiration from many horror actors that have come before me, especially Robert Englund and Doug Jones in addition to Chaney, Karloff, and Lugosi. Other than them, I found much inspiration from many classic physical comedians who I grew up watching such as Chaplin, the Marx Brothers, Laurel and Hardy, Buster Keaton, and Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean). I also find much of my inspiration from my dear friend and mentor, Stefan Karl, who many may know as Robbie Rotten from the children's show Lazy Town. I was his understudy as the Grinch for 5 years on the national tour of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical". The man is a comedic genius who I learned so much from, especially in regards to physical comedy. I've tried to incorporate a lot of what I have learned from him and these other legends into Art.
FLY- It's one of the highest compliments this here Horror-Hound could offer! If you could see absolutely any movie remade with you staring as the character of your choice what would it be and who would you play? Also, which film or show would you say changed your life?
DHT- Oooh, good question! Oddly enough, I am not a big fan of remakes, especially if the original was fantastic. Some things need to be left alone, IMHO. However, I have had this one idea floating around in my head recently due to the recent success of Deadpool. I simply loved the original version, but I would love to see a true, gritty, reboot of The Mask that was faithful to the comic. The original comic was DARK but also funny. I've always said that I am the real life version of Stanley Ipkiss and would love to tackle playing that character.
The film that changed my life though was "Who Framed Roger Rabbit". I was obsessed with that film growing up and say that that film is the reason I first started thinking about doing voice overs for cartoons when I learned that Mel Blanc did so many of the voices that I grew up hearing. That film started my love for mimicking voices and creating my own. Now I do well over 200 character voices all thanks to that movie... which is ironic since Art makes nary a sound! Ha!
FLY- We have been saying for years the film world needs a faithful ‘Mask’ adaption and sincerely we could not think of a single actor out there more suited to the role, let's get the word out! Because of how well you play him we have all assumed that you are a total fanboy of Batman villain The Joker; are you a real comic book geek? If so what comic book series or one shot could you not live without and whose Joker would you site as the ultimate onscreen portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime?
DHT- Oh, I am very much a comic geek! Joker is my all time favorite villain ever! My dream is to play him on the big screen one day, though I am enjoying playing him on the web series Nightwing: Escalation. Of course I simply love "The Killing Joke", and to me, that is the most interesting supposed origin of the character. The whole concept of one bad day driving a good man to insanity is such an interesting idea. I love that one, as well as the whole "Death of the Family" arc in the comics recently since it really explored his relationship with Batman, and his weird obsessive love for him. Those two comics gave me a lot to think about for the character. As for the ultimate portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime... Mark Hamill hands down! Romero was a good representation of who the Joker was during the campy phase of the 60's. Jack was great, but he was still Jack. Heath was great, but he wasn't the comic version. Leto on the other hand... let's not go there. Hamill though... You can't beat what he has brought to the character, which I believe is the most faithful to the comic. You truly believe he is the Joker and you love and fear him.
FLY- Yes best not speak about Leto's version 😂 We feel Art the Clown is one of the creepiest most unnerving clowns to ever feature in a film and we have seen a lot! What circumstances lead to you stepping into Mr Giannelli's "Clown" shoes and what preparations did you take for the role?
DHT- Thanks! That is what we are hoping to get across, so I guess I am doing the job well! Though I have to give credit where credit is due to the talented Mike Giannelli who originated the character. He set the bar high for me, and gave me a lot to work with. I don't truly know all of the specifics about why Mike did not return to the role. Those questions are better asked to him or Damien. I think part of that was the long make up process etc, which I can understand. As for what led me to the role, I saw a post on a casting website about looking for a tall, lanky actor with clowning experience to play an iconic horror character. I already knew about Art, so I told my reps to submit me and went back to watch All Hallows Eve to prep myself. The audition was one of the most interesting ones that I have had since I was not given any sides. I was asked to improv a scene as Art on the spot. I created a scene where Art stalked one of his victims, knocked them out, cut off their head, and then proceeded to try to eat the head. I realized that upon tasting it, it needed salt, so I whipped out a salt shaker and seasoned the head to my liking, took a taste, threw it into my bag for later, and skipped off. When I finished, everyone on the casting side was laughing and asked me how I felt about coming in for a make-up test. I was pretty sure then that I had the role. It goes to show how important improv skills are for an actor!
As for prep for the role, I watched a lot of what Mike did, so I could pick up the basic gist and mannerisms for the character, and then pulled from my experience in clowning/physical comedy to add my own dark twists to the character and build upon what Mike did. Hopefully I do him justice!
FLY- Improv has certainly helped me get some interesting acting roles myself, we would love to see that audition tape, sounds wild and from what we have seen so far you more than do him justice, Brother. Whilst playing Art the Clown was it a challenge acting with no dialogue? We love the fact he is silent for the duration of 'All Hallows Eve', this adds to his mysterious appeal; does he remain this way in upcoming feature 'Terrifier' and does this version of the creepy carnie still possess supernatural abilities as in previous outings?
DHT- It definitely was a challenge, a fun challenge! Yes, he indeed remains a silent but violent killer in "Terrifier". I've always wanted to tackle a silent character before, so it was a lot of fun blending two of my loves into a character like Art. I will say that it was nice not having to memorize lines this time though! Though that offers a unique challenge since I had to convey meaning an intention purely through my facial expressions and mannerisms. That is harder than it looks! As for him having supernatural abilities, we give some glimpses into those during this, but we intend to explore more of that in future films. There is definitely something supernatural about him.
FLY- 'Terrifier' of course started life as a 2011 short, how close in tone and story will the movie be and could you tell us a little about its transition to the full length feature coming out in 2018.
DHT- It is very close to the tone of the original, and that is on purpose. Damien wanted this to be as dark and gritty as possible as a nice homage and throwback to the original slasher films of the 70's and 80's. Damien even downgraded the visual quality from what we originally filmed to give it the gritty look of those older films. We keep it simple, but entertaining. It's a 90 minute cat and mouse game, so it gets pretty intense and brutal. We definitely did not hold back on the gore and violence by any means and have some pretty shocking kills and twists in the film. One kill, in particular, will probably have people talking for a long time to come. We had some problems finding distribution since some distributors wanted to make edits to the kills in the film, but Damien said no. After seeing how audiences reacted to those kills, I am glad Damien stuck to his guns, since those types of edits would have cheapened the film greatly. Luckily we found some great distributors that wanted to keep the film as it was and appreciated it for what it is!
As for the transition, I can't comment on this as well as Damien can since this is his baby and he has nurtured it from the very beginning. However, it was the fans' love of the character from the original short films that led to the creation of a feature film that is all about Art. Damien always wanted to do more with him, and it was the fans that made that possible. So yeah, I just want to say how much that I truly appreciate Art's fan base. We really could not have done this without you all. This is our love letter to you, and we truly hope you enjoy it because we have much more to tell about Art in the future!
FLY- Sounds fantastic, please tell us about some of your Halloween costumes growing up.
DHT- Ha! Boy did I have some interesting ones. I'll tell you about 3 of them. One was one of my own creation where I could not make up my mind of what I wanted to be, a ghost or a werewolf when I was in the 1st grade. So I was both... a Wereghost. I had the body of a ghost (a sheet) and the head of a werewolf that my mom did an awesome job doing the make up for. That was one of my favorite costumes as a kid!
The second was when I was Michelangelo from TMNT. I was a HUGE turtles fan, so I went has him my 5th grade year. The best part of the costume was the shell. My parents had made a giant turtle shell a few years prior for a church sketch that I used. However, I was a little too small for it so you just saw a giant shell walking down the street with my hands, feet, and head barely poking out. I was always falling over in it... onto my back, so my dad had to keep helping me up and pick up my candy through fits of laughter.
The third was my mummy costume my 6th grade year. We had just moved to a new neighborhood 2 weeks before, so I wanted to make a splash with the neighbors, especially the cute girl across the street. My poor mom spent an entire afternoon shredding a white bed sheet and pinning it together for me over the thermal underwear that I was wearing. Unfortunately, my wrappings kept falling off of me everywhere that I went, so I kept asking my neighbors for safety pins. The worst was when I went to my cute neighbor's house and all of my wrappings completely fell off leaving me standing there in front of her and her mom in my undergarments. Thus was the beginning of my complicated dating life. LOL!
As a bonus, I will mention that later I used to dress up in fake dummy costumes and scare trick or treaters when I got older. That was a lot of fun and a nice intro into scaring people for a living! LOL!
FLY- Wow some great very creative costumes there David! 2016 saw the rise of the "Killer Clown Craze" with folks dressed as twisted Carnies scaring the crap out of the general public all over the USA and even here in the UK. Here at Fly in Your Eye we think Hollywood set up many of last years "Clown Sightings" to secure a hit with this year's 'IT' remake, what are your views on that?
DHT- Oh, I think that was a brilliant bit of marketing on their part! Kudos for that! Oddly enough, Mike Leavy, is in our film. He is known for terrorizing residents a few years ago on Staten Island as the Staten Island Clown, which helped bring a resurgence to the scary clown craze. We had fun with him in this film! Hee hee.
FLY- Fun is certainly key, David. Do you know of the music group the Insane Clown Posse, what are your thoughts on their dedicated fans, the Juggalos?
DHT- Of course I do! I even understand that the Juggalos are fans of Art as well! I can appreciate that! They are definitely a colorful bunch. LOL!
FLY- Well this Juggalo you are speaking to is definitely a fan of Art - Whoop Whoop. Can you name a film you have seen that has legitimately scared the “Clown” pants off you?
DHT- Showgirls. LOL! Just kidding. The ones that have most creeped me out are "Texas Chainsaw Massacre", "The Omen", "The Exorcist" and oddly enough the original "Paranormal Activity" since I was living in a haunted apartment at that time. That film actually caused a girl to break up with me since I took her to see it and she could not sleep for days afterwards. Such is my life. LOL!
FLY- Texas Chainsaw Massacre is my favourite film and still find it disturbing after over 50 views; as for living in a haunted place, I can relate. Finally do you and director Damien Leone have any plans that you can speak of concerning future Terrifier/Art sequels, prequels, spin offs or TV shows and whats next on the "Jokers" cards for you as an actor?
DHT- Very much so! We are definitely wanting to do more Terrifier films since we are just scratching the surface of telling Art's story. Damien and I are constantly batting around ideas of where to go next with the films and hope to start working on the sequel after "Terrifier" finally releases in March. Hopefully the fans love the film enough that we can continue making more, because we want to! I love the character and have many more ideas for him for future films! It would be a dream come true to be the next Freddy, especially since Mr. Englund is hanging up the hat and glove. Time for someone else to take up the cause. Why not Art? You fans are the ones that can make that possible!
As for other projects, I am still working on Nightwing right now and am continuing to audition for other projects as well. I will say that I would absolutely LOVE to play the adult version of Richie Tozier in the next "It" film. Just putting that out there in the universe. 😉
FLY- Well, Fly in Your Eye would most definitely love to see you in the role of Richie and we look forward to much more Art the Clown in the future. Thank you once again David, you are an absolute diamond and a pleasure to correspond with. We wish you all the greatest luck with your career and life in general, much positivity and many Buzzing Blessings to you Brother. Will 👊🏿💀
DHT- Thanks again for reaching out to me and sharing the love for Art! It is truly appreciated! I hope you and everyone else enjoys "Terrifier" when it comes out in March! Take care!
David has agreed to a brand new interview, so soon we'll be able to find out how the release of Terrifier has changed his life! So keep your eye on the fly.