Horror-on-Sea interview with writer-director Keith R. Robinson ‘Sniper Corpse’
Sniper Corpse (2018)
Director: Keith R. Robinson
Writer: Keith R. Robinson
Stars: Howy Bratherton, Tony Eccles, Gareth Gower, Eleri Jones, Jordan Murphy
The undead are former militia soldiers that are now indestructible snipers. A widow goes looking for the body of her husband but comes across a corpse that wants to end his new unjust life.
Date & Venue: Sunday 13th January 2019 15:00hrs
Park Inn by Radisson Palace, Southend, Church Rd, Southend-on-Sea SS1 2AL, UK
Sniper Corpse is a new horror film from writer-director Keith R. Robinson, which has been selected to play at the Horror-on-Sea Film Festival. I got a chance to ask Keith R. Robinson a few questions about what we can expect from the film.
Q. Sniper Corpse will be making its World Premiere at the Horror-on-Sea Film Festival, what can people expect from the film?
A kick ass movie, I hope. Something, which engages and entertains. I’ve tried to pull out all the stops on this one with action and gore. We’ve got exploding heads, arms and legs being blown off… real killer action, but also at its heart is a sad and sympathetic story about a dead soldier who suddenly finds himself alive again and he has to deal with the heartache of dying and his memories and also trying to come to grips with what’s happened to him and why has he been brought back…
Q. How did the concept for the film come about?
wanted to make a really action-packed film, something which leapt out at the audience. I thought up the notion of zombie soldiers and as I thought about that I wanted to take the story down a different route to most films with zombies in, I wanted to make the monster the hero, I wanted us to feel sorry for this dead soldier, to feel his pain and to have a film where a beautiful girl befriends a monster and they have to help each other get through to the films conclusion.
Q. Zombies may not be the most accurate description for the sniper corpses as they look as though they have been genetically modified. How would you describe them?
The zombies are re-animated corpses, dead soldiers brought back to life. Obviously along the way there were many mistakes where they didn’t get it right, some have medical pipes and drips coming out of them and the army keeps these failed zombie soldiers as cannon fodder for the successful Sniper Corpses to use as live target practise.
Q. What was your biggest challenge in bring the sniper corpses to life on screen?
Budget and time. Obviously working on quite a low budget we had to get the best make up effects crew we could. Dave Foxley and his crew were excellent at making outstanding dead soldier masks and make up very effectively and cheaply. Dave and his crew were really creative with the way they designed the main soldier and the secondary fodder zombies and made amazing results with real limited budget and resources. Then it came down to lighting the night time scenes just right to show the corpses and to make them look good and scary. We had some short night shoots, so time was always a factor, but we managed to pull it off and make the zombie soldiers look dark and menacing.
Q. What were your inspirations for the look and style of the film?
My main inspiration for the lighting look was Ridley Scott’s work on Alien (1979). I back lit everything and used smoke and shadows. We didn’t have huge exterior lights, so we couldn’t light up the whole woods we were shooting in but keeping it small meant more darkness and more shadows which makes things tight and scary. I also wanted the film to have a cool lighting style, so I used colours like green lights with flashes of lightning, things to give it more atmosphere and ambience. The film was meant to be stylish and look like a living comic book, so I tried to get as many effects and things as I could.
Q. What makes Sniper Corpse stand out as something different in the horror genre?
The fact that the monster is the hero and that the film has a heart at its centre, that it’s not just about blood and guts (even though it has plenty) but that it’s a sad story that focuses on death and what happens when we die, where do we go and what would happen if we came back. Those are big issues which we don’t normally confront in our everyday lives, so Sniper Corpse has something to say as well as its action-packed story of zombie soldiers and their revenge on their creators.
Q. Did you have to change any elements of the original script during filming?
Not much at all. I was lucky that I was able to get pretty much my vision completely to the screen. The only thing which changed was the RED EYE character (who wears a gas mask with glowing red eyes) he was meant to be a zombie with glowing red eyes, but my effects man (Dave Foxley) came up with the gas mask idea and it kind of fit as you never knew what was lurking under the mask and it made a cool reveal, so it added another idea and look to the film that I hadn’t anticipated. Which was cool.
Q. What was one of your favourite moments during filming?
Our first night of shooting was really great fun. We were all out in the woods all night and just having a ball. We were in some big woods without any idea who or what might be lurking in them, so it was like a dare really, we never knew what would happen or what might be out there. It really gave the actors a creepy edge and the cold sent shivers down their spines. We were on a hill overlooking fields and we would watch these lights in the sky in the distance and there were just a lot of strange lights in the sky that night, things where we’d stop and ask each other did you see that? Things got kind of like the Twilight Zone as we were out in this dark place out of touch from everyone else and it was a long and strange night…
Q. Do you have any other projects which you are currently working on?
I’m working on some new ideas for my next project. I’m looking at making something with more monsters in. I’d like to expand on the type of film that Sniper Corpse is and broaden the scope of the story and the emotional aspects. I think Sniper Corpse is a good mix of horror and story with deeper meanings and things going on, not just at the basic horror film level. I think films should entertain as well as challenge and enlighten.
Q. If someone was looking direct their own horror film, what advice would you give them?
Really work on the script. The story is king, and you must pay attention to every detail of the story to make it work well. Then choose the best actors you can. Great actors (and I had many, Eleri Jones, Kit Smith, Jordan Murphy & Howy Bratherton contributed so much to the film) they really bring your story to life. You have to get all the elements in place and then just go for it. Don’t worry if your budget is low or you have few resources, just go do it and give it your all, you can achieve a great deal with hard work and persistence.
You can find out more about Sniper Corpse by following the film on Facebook