I’ve been following director Colin Clarke’s film career for a few years now and with his last two films, his vision has reached a creative zenith in terms of quality and scope.  Watch his newest short film, Slit and catch my exclusive interview with him below to find out for yourself.

 

 

Slit is an erotic thriller about two girls who get together for a night of passion but are unaware that a third party, one with murder in mind, has followed them home.
It was conceptualized as a homage to Italian “giallo” films of the 1970’s, specifically the movies of Dario Argento – like Deep Red, Tenebre and Opera. I wanted to do something that utilized an extreme version of Suspiria’s color palate, the primary reds, blues, greens and yellows. Italian films use the intrusion of bold color to signify the presence of something otherworldly or dream-like; I wanted to do something “realistic” but applying that visual look. We tried to incorporate as many signposts of giallo cinema as we could – the black-gloved killer; fetishistic closeups; a killer twisted by some psycho-sexual trauma; unusual camera angles; etc. We’ve even found a way to work in a bottle of J&B Whiskey which, for some reason or another, shows up in most of the giallo films from that time period. I also greatly admire the early films of Brian De Palma, and was lamenting the fact that no one makes the erotic thrillers anymore, the type that he became known for. Unless it’s something for late-night cable, maybe, but those usually don’t have very bold, cinematic style. De Palma applied the film language of Alfred Hitchcock to his thrillers (Argento does as well). His 80’s films, like Body Double or Dressed to Kill, could be considered American giallo, with similar black-gloved killers menacing beautiful women with razors and so forth. Slit was intended to be an homage to both directors, as if Dario Argento directed a sexy Brian De Palma movie.
It’s kind of a black magic ghost story about a Puritan minister who puts a witch to death and then finds himself on the receiving end of her curse. We shot it over the course of a week at several historical sites that were gracious enough to let us film on their grounds. It was the biggest production I’ve been involved with so far, because of its period setting. That was a lot of fun, but it involved lots of props and costumes and horses and locations, etc. Witchfinder came about because I hadn’t been satisfied that I’d made something that was a legitimately scary horror film up until that point. As a lifelong student of horror movies, that’s kind of the litmus test, right? You have to see if you can deliver the goods. Watching people cover their eyes while watching Witchfinder at film festivals was a rewarding experience, and gave me something to check off the bucket list.
Raven’s Hollow is a about a kid who’s at the drive-in with his sister and her boyfriend. He’s bugging the lovebirds, so the boyfriend tells him a spook-story about a haunted scarecrow that lives in the cornfield next door. They go investigate and bad things happen. What I loved about doing that movie was that it was short and to the point, and it allowed me to incorporate three different movie styles into one project. It opens with a movie-within-a-movie, a throwback to Hammer vampire films. Then, there’s the contemporary ghost story, set on Halloween night at the drive-in. And, there’s the flashback to the origin of the curse, which is told through 2D animation, kind of a motion comic.
Maybe. I’m satisfied now with the collaborative process of live-action filmmaking, but, there are a couple of ideas floating around in my head that are too cost-prohibitive for me to attempt as live-action, so who knows? With animation, there’s really no budget cap on the scale of your imagination. Just computing power, RAM and storage, I guess.
That’s a fair assessment. Like I mentioned before, I’m that type of horror fan who studies horror films when I watch them. I feel as if I’m deconstructing why I like what I like, why I gravitate to certain situations, atmospheres, tones, etc., as I make these films. It’s an exploration of my inner movie landscape. I don’t think I’ve necessarily nailed down a signature style yet.
Slit is my seventh film; I made my first completed short, called Sandman, in 1994. It’s a bit rough to watch now, but I like to keep it around just to keep track of my own progression as a filmmaker. I was so disappointed with the technical and financial limitations of making films on Super 8 (and never saw VHS era video as an alternative), that I opted to learn computer animation instead. I made a Spawn-ish superhero called Raven, and sent her out on two adventures, the second being a film-noir detective story. I followed that up with Frankenstein vs the Wolfman in 3D, which indulged a life-long love affair with 3D movies (and is still, according to YouTube, very popular in the Middle East!). Then, I did Raven’s Hollow, Witchfinder, and now Slit.
I’m interested in the commercial prospects of making feature films, and I’ve written something, but it comes down to available time and money. At this point, I’m not comfortable with crowd-funding, because I don’t have a large network of people outside of friends and acquaintances to draw from.
At the time I started out, it was meant to suggest the spirit of independent filmmaking. I kept using it as I made more films, so it just kind of stuck.
I’ve maintained a website, http://daredevilfilms.net over the years, as a repository of my short films. If you like what you see, subscribe to my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/daredevilfilms. You can also find me on Twitter @daredevilfilms.

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