HCF Exclusive Interview with Ben Franklin of Online Horror Anthology, BLOODY CUTS

As many of our readers will know, HCF is an avid supporter of independent filmmakers and review and feature many short films on the site. So when we found out about British independent film series, Bloody Cuts, we were ecstatic. Bloody Cuts is a horror film anthology of 13  short 2-3 minute films that will be released over the coming months. Their first short entitled ‘Lock Up‘ was released earlier this month and you read my thoughts on it here.

Intrigued with their ideas and exceptional quality of their first film, I decided to hunt down their Post Production Manager to get the story behind Bloody Cuts and their aspirations for the upcoming anthology.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’ve been the industry as such, for about 6-7 years now. However that’s generally all corporate based work which is a great day job, but my real love is for film, and of course horror.
I think from when I was a child that films was always something that I was fascinated in. And some of my earliest memories are of watching movies, and being able to remember how I felt at that moment in time. For example, the first time I saw the Nazi’s meet their doom in “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, the many occasions I hid behind the sofa in the cyborg scene in “Superman 3”, and watching “Stripe” take on the Peltzer family in a particularly scary Xmas in “Gremlins”.
It’s funny how those distant memories nearly always involve the thrill of being scared, so I guess horror was always destined to be the genre that interested me the most.


How did you get into films?
I got into working in the Video Production industry through having come out of University with a good degree. I was then slightly fortunate when trying to promote myself to my current employer, who I think happened to be looking for someone like myself that very day when my letter landed on their lap. One interview later and I’ve been at the same company ever since.
I’m now employed as a Head of Post Production, though I’d say my strongest skill is in editing, which I think I’ve always found quite natural. That might be because of my musical background in that I’ve always been quite comfortable in finding rhythm and timing, but generally it’s probably due to having watched enough films and TV to know the conventions of storytelling.
Although I’ve delved into small personal projects outside of work, including most recently the successful Sci-Fi 48hr Film “2 Years of Summer”, it’s only now with “Bloody Cuts” that I’ve been able to find time to really get down to doing what I love best: scaring people!


What films have you worked on previously?
Although some other members of the team have feature film experience, most of the stuff I’ve done has been quite personal, including a 40 minute Documentary I made very specifically to celebrate my Grandfathers life, a Halloween film called “The Children of Holt House Lane” I filmed and edited in a day for a family party and the aforementioned “2 Years of Summer”. There have been other bits and pieces, but nothing significant.
In my day to day work, I’ve worked with hundreds of clients, producing all manner of different types of work. From music videos, to dramas, to web series, promotional films and shorts. So it’s been very varied, to say the least.


What is the concept and inspiration behind Bloody Cuts?
I’m a huge fan of anthologies, from books and comics, to TV series and films. I like that every tale is different and you don’t know what to expect, and that there’s nearly always a good twist at the end that you spend the entire time trying to guess beforehand. If we take Twilight Zone for example, the episodes usually have some kind of thought provoking moral or put the character in a philosophical choice situation, and I like that they leave something with you long past the close of the program.
Again, having seen Romero’s “Creepshow” when I was younger, and being scared to death by some of the stories in that, I think it really appealed to me that you could tell multiple stories during a movies runtime, like an EC Comic come to life. Masters of Horror was another recent TV series that I was a big fan of, even if it didn’t hit a home run every time.

I could talk for hours about these anthology shows (another good one is the Spanish series “6 Films to Keep You Awake”), but that would bore people senseless! However I do know that there’s a market for this type of short form entertainment, and you only have to look at YouTube to see that. Take the film “Bedfellows” by Fewdio, which has almost 1 million hits. Clearly viewers all over the world like being scared, and then in turn seeing the effect it has on others when they send it around to their friends. But interestingly they generally aren’t cheap scares, and are well executed stories that wrap up in just a few minutes. That’s quite a difficult thing to do, and was of great interest to me not least because I knew that I could do the same and fit it in with my busy work/family life.

I felt that with my love of the genre, I could put together a UK version of a short anthology myself, and then get it across the internet to a massive audience. I have reliable (and professional) friends and family members, access to a lot of free equipment and facilities through my work, and a desire to put out some really great horror of my own. So there was nothing stopping me.

I formulated the idea of 13 part series, all with a different unconnected story, that would be a made up of original work, stories inspired by urban legends, familiar ghost/monster tropes and everyday situations that make us feel uncomfortable. So for “Lock Up”, that was easy because most of us have been in an empty building at some point, and for whatever reason felt uneasy. Where did that noise come from? Am I alone here? Am I being watched? I think a lot of it comes from being a child, and wondering if there really is a monster in the cupboard, and what really happens at night when everything goes dark.


Who is part of the Bloody Cuts team and what is their experience?
Aside from me, there’s my brother Jonny, Ben Kent and Anthony Melton. But just listing those people would be a disservice to the others involved, who are made up of a mix of younger family members (who are all within the industry to some degree) and other work colleagues who share a similar passion to myself in making film.

Experience wise we’re all doing very similar day to day work, in the corporate sector. Again lots of the team have private projects and other freelance opportunities, but none of them are really doing anything like this. My brother Jonny does have some feature experience though, as well as TV drama work for the BBC.

We’re a relatively small team and we’re adding new members all the time. For example we’ve just had a great artist come on board for concept art and storyboards, and a really talented writer who will really help us to deliver some top quality scares over upcoming films in the series.

How long did it take to create Lock Up, the first
of your horror anthology, from conception to final cut?

In terms of “real time” spent on the production it was fairly quick. We spent just a few hours shooting, and a 12 hours editing and sound mixing, and that was pretty much it.

The pre-production time is harder to account for, but aside from recruiting people to be involved, a lot of it was actually done on the fly. It did take an hour or so to write, and someone had to sit and design the mask for the end shot, but we were so confident in what we were doing we were probably quite lazy in preparing for the shoot. That said, I think that’s a knock on effect of having worked on the Sci-Fi 48 Hour Film project, where we actually couldn’t really prepare beforehand due to the nature of the competition.

Future films will be better prepared though, and I’m interested to see the results in doing so versus going with what feels natural at the time as we did with “Lock Up”.


What has the reception been like for Lock Up? I hear James Wan (Insidious) and Adam Green (Hatchet) are quite the fans?
I wouldn’t put them down as fans, and I can’t even be sure they watched the film, but we did get some support from them on Twitter (@BloodyCutsFilms, and @little_horror). In general though it’s been pretty great, especially when you get well known reviewers such as Quint (Eric Vespe) of Ain’t It Cool News writing to you with positive comments.

As well as the great review HorrorCultFilms gave us, we got a fantastic write-up on Dread Central, and other big sites such as Bloody-Disgusting and Run Riot have really helped in getting us coverage.

Just as recently as Friday we found that we’d been featured on the homepage of Black Box Television, who are doing what we want to do, but to a US audience. They have an awfully big fan-base, so it was quite an honour to see that they “Loved” our film.

We have received some very positive feedback, so we know we’re doing something right, which motivates us to do better the next time around and hopefully build on the small audience that we’ve already gained.


Where you would like Bloody Cuts to lead to and what do you want to gain from Bloody Cuts?
First and foremost we want to keep making great horror, and we’ve got some really awesome stories coming up. We can do a certain extent out of our back pockets, but to get the best out of the series we’re going to need to look for funding/sponsorship. We aren’t interested in making money out of it, but we aren’t naive and know that things like locations can get very pricey.

That said, we’ve found some great generosity so far, even to the point where we’re on the verge of partnering up with a massive practical FX company, who’ll be building future monsters/creatures for us over the series. This is pretty much an exclusive, and I’m trying not to get too carried away with it until it’s all underway, because it all seems too good to be true, but it could be massive for us and the series. So we’re crossing our fingers that it does all happen, and you could see the results as soon as the next film (due August).

In the long term, I’d personally like to see the series run indefinitely, and we’ve got plans that might hopefully mean that the 13 episodes we’re planning aren’t just that. We’ve drawn out an 8 page proposal (with funding in mind) and its clear from that that there’s a plan of action as such, so we’re definitely trying to do this in the best possible way rather than it being a hobby that’s dipped into here and there. Ideally we’d like to see an episode at least every month, and eventually every couple of weeks.

Past Bloody Cuts I’d like to take what we’ve learnt and put it into a feature. That’s a long way off, and we’ve barely talked about it, but it’s definitely something I know we all want to do. Ultimately we’d all like to be working on big budget feature productions, but its baby steps right now, and I know I’m thinking more about doing the very best with this series rather than getting carried away with what I could be doing in 5 years. Still it’s nice to dream!

What’s your favourite film?

In general terms, if I was to choose I’d have probably say “Pulp Fiction”, which has a masterful screenplay. In horror I’d have to go for “The Shining” which I just love and think will still be scaring audiences 50 years from now. If you asked me which horror was my guilty pleasure, I’d probably say “Return of the Living Dead”!


Thank you to Ben Franklin for sitting down with HCF and if you are interested in supporting Bloody Cuts, you can contact them via their website  www.bloodycuts.co.uk
Follow on Twitter @BloodyCutsFilms
Join the Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bloodycuts

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About Bat 4305 Articles
I love practical effects, stop-motion animation and gore, but most of all I love a good story! I adore B-movies and exploitation films in many of their guises and also have a soft spot for creature features. I review a wide range of media including movies, TV series, books and videogames. I'm a massive fan of author Hunter S. Thompson and I enjoy various genre of videogames with Kingdom Hearts and Harvest Moon two of my all time favs. Currently playing: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Yakuza Zero and Mafia III.

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