The pile of tickets that hadn’t been picked up and spare seats testified to the fact that England was playing, though as I entered the auditorium, armed with the tie-in comic Scrawl: Dead Games which we were all given, I began to forget all about it [though for some reason I’m not too interested in the World Cup this year anyway for some reason], and those people who had the opportunity to come and see Scrawl [i.e.The Film Starring Daisy Ridley Before Star Wars] for the first time really missed out. As you will no doubt be aware of if you are a regular reader of this website, Scrawl is a new independent horror/fantasy feature film written and directed by Peter Hearn, and is the product of collaboration between industry professionals and in-training actors and technicians of Andover College. In the words of the film’s Official Synopsis, Scrawl is about:
Simon Goodman (Liam Hughes), a 16-year boy living in a rundown seaside town. With his best friend Joe Harper (Joe Daly), they create a comic book called SCRAWL as a way to escape their reality, gain some notoriety and more importantly – pick up girls. Along with the appearance of a mysterious girl, Hannah (Daisy Ridley), events in the comic book start to invade their reality and situations in the comic book come to life. At first it’s great, girls start to become interested in them, and all seems fun, except the monsters of the comic book also begin showing themselves and worse still they’ve written a huge bloody massacre. With the help of Joe’s father, Frank (Mark Forester-Evans), their friends and family, the boys are forced to face their horrific imagination made real. Are Simon and Joe able to change their reality? Only if they can rewrite death.
The evening began with Scrawl: The Documentary, which I hope will make it on to the DVD. This slickly edited making-of had cast and crew talking about the project with infectious enthusiasm and a healthy sense of humour. The highlight for me was when artist Jay Boulton, who created the comic book used in the film and basically designed the look of most of the characters, saw the guy playing ‘Leonard’ come in and he being the spitting image of how he’ d drawn and imagined him. A more sobering note was added by talk of the death of actor Derek Jones from cancer not long after the main bulk of the film was shot. Planned reshoots involving his character didn’t happen, requiring much alteration of the script. But then again, Scrawl’s script has altered greatly since its conception three years ago and it seems that Mr Hearn, if he had the time and money, could shoot another film of two using his discarded concepts for Scrawl. The documentary benefitted for me by not giving away too much and keeping the film clips very short.
Scrawl itself began to cheers and claps during the opening credits from the audience, many of whom of course were cast and crew, whenever somebody’s name came up. Now I’m not going to say too much about the film itself, because I don’t think Hearn is ready for his film to be ripped apart [only joking!] by Yours Truly yet. This is because it’s not 100 % completed, so there are a few sound effects missing and bits of ADR’d dialogue to do. In any case, Scrawl is ‘rough and ready’ in the way you would expect but is stylishly edited, admirably dense [Shock horror: you actually have to pay attention to the plot!] and packs a lot into its 80 mins, from comic book people becoming reality to a girl who photographs and captures souls to slasher woods-set shenanigans, as well as showing Hearn’s love of the genre including a certain Sam Raimi once-banned horror classic from 1981! It’s also very, very bloody, though in a humorous way: I doubt the film will get more than a 15 certificate.
The end credits rolled up to more cheers and clapping, and Hearn was presented with a gift from his students for making this project happen. Then I had to make my way home, so wasn’t around for the aftermath. As I said, Hearn needs to put the finishing touches on his film before getting it out to festivals and hopefully shown again to people like myself. It was a good evening, with a great ‘we’ve just made a film’ atmosphere. Though I couldn’t get away from the bloody football. Everyone at Andover train station was listening, watching or talking about it. And we lost anyway.
Scrawl is written and directed by Peter Hearn. It stars Mark Forester Evans (The Cave), Daisy Ridley (Star Wars VII), Elizabeth Boag (Metro 7 bis/Chasing Robert Barker), Nathalie Pownall (White Box/Twin Suns), Liam Hughes and Joe Daly. Produced by Annabelle Le Gresley and Peter Hearn for Half Day Wednesday and Red Scout Films.