Horror-on-Sea interview with Polterheist director and co-writer David Gilbank
Writer: David Gilbank
Stars: Sid Akbar Ali, Hayley B, David Berryman, Huw Blainey, Ikram Butt
Two gangsters are given 72 hours to discover the whereabouts of a stash of drug money stolen by their boss. There’s only one problem…they just murdered him. Frantic to find the cash, the hapless criminals kidnap a psychic medium and force her to contact the dead gang boss. Unfortunately for them, they only succeed in unleashing an evil spirit bent on revenge.
Date & Venue: 18 Jan 2019 at 20:00pm
Park Inn by Radisson Palace Southend-on-, Church Rd, Southend-on-Sea SS1 2AL, UK
Polterheist is a gangster horror-comedy from director and co-writer David Gilbank, which has been selected to play at the Horror-on-Sea Film Festival. I got a chance to ask director and co-writer David Gilbank a few questions about what we can expect from the film.
Q. Polterheist has been selected to play at Horror-on-Sea on, what can we expect from the film?
Expect an entertaining romp through the dark heart of the Yorkshire underworld, guided by a nasty gangster ghost with revenge on his mind. You can expect great dialogue, some wince-inducing violence, buckets of humour and some supernatural shenanigans. The acting and screenplay are superb and will carry you along for a fund ride for 90 minutes.
How did you come up with the original concept for the film and why did you decide to cross over genres; writing it as a crime horror-comedy?
I love gangster crime films such as Get Carter (1971) and The Godfather (1972), but I also love the classic horror films of the 70s like The Exorcist (1973) and The Omen (1976). I also love Ken Loach films, so I decided to combine gritty realism with supernatural evil and modern day mafia. As a commercial filmmaker I wanted to make a film that people might like to see rather than one that I’d like to see. Horror and Gangster genres are the post commercially successful, so I thought I’d make something that ticked all the boxes to sell more popcorn. I’m ambitious.
What were your inspirations for the look and style of the film?
My inspiration is the great Australian cricketer, Steve Waugh. He fought and fought and fought to achieve and he did it against the odds with grittiness and guts. That’s how I got the film made. The style is my own and my DOP Charlie Leeks. He’s a great documentary filmmaker and that’s the vibe I wanted. I also liked a film from the 1980s called the Wanderers (1979) which inspired me.
Q. Were there any elements of the original script which had to be changed during filming?
We cut out loads from the screenplay. My co-writer and I Paul Renhard worked with another Leeds-based drama writer named Gemma Head who was brilliant to work with. We all added loads of great stuff to the script, but for sake of expediency and flow of the film we cut quite a bit of great dialogue. Sadly, Gemma passed away in 2018 and the film is a testament to her great talent as a writer and actress (she plays Tracey in the film).
Q. What were some of your favourite moments during filming?
The séance scene was definitely my favourite. Followed closely by the car park machine-gun scene. Lots of fun and rewarding.
Q. What makes Polterheist stand out in the horror genre?
Polterheist steals well-trodden elements of horror and plants them in a Northern Gangster setting. I would say it’s a gangster black-comedy that has elements of horror in it.
Q. Did you come across any difficulties or experience issues during filming?
Many. We had all kinds of dramas behind the scenes. All the usual frustrations that are part-and-parcel of low-budget film-making. It was filmed over eight months so all the normal life-happenings that can occur to anyone during that time, happened to members of the team. Sickness, anger, laughter and stupidity.
Q. Do you have any other projects which you are currently working on?
I certainly do. The big one is a political horror story set in the USA. I’m looking for investors in the UK so call me!
Q. If someone was looking direct their own horror film, what advice would you give them?
I would say, write, write and re-write. Only use good actors who are professional and theatre-trained and use good a sound recordist.
You can find out more about Polterheist on the website: http://polterheistfilm.com/ and the following social media pages:
You can find out more about the feature films playing at Horror-on-Sea Film Festival and details of tickets on the website.