One of the unexpected treats of Fright Fest was new brit/ horror combo Double Date. Telling the duel stories of desperate virgin Jim, wanting to pop his cherry before he turns 30, and two women intent on picking up men and killing them. It’s gory when it needs to be, laugh out loud funny and an all-round great piece of entertainment – as such, it’s no wonder Danny Morgan won the festival’s rising star award for 2017. Just prior to its English premier, Horror Cult Films met director Benjamin Barfoot and star/ writer Danny Morgan to discuss jokes, fighting and finding the right balance.
Hello guys – first off, loved the movie
It was a nice mix of The Inbetweeners and The Devil Rides Out
DM: Yeah, it sort of fluctuated during the whole process. Originally I wanted it to be more of a horror that happened to be a bit funny, and that takes the pressure off. Like it’s not a comedy, but it’s got a few jokes in there. But then as we went along it became clear it was turning into comedy more and horror second. The once we embraced that we said let’s go all out and Ben would say to push it more – let’s go bigger and sillier so we make a splash. And even if people don’t like the film I think they’ll remember it because it’s pretty bonkers.
At the start you got a cool kill sequence, to a tune I can’t remember the name off for the life of me…
BB: Yazoo, Only You
That’s the one.
DM: Great song
Now there you got a great horror opener, then it cuts to two guys talking about shagging. When directing it was it tricky to capture these very differing moods?
BB: It wasn’t, but that’s because I’d just go for it. When it needed to be violent, or suspenseful, I’d treat it as that. And when it’s funny, just treat it as that. But then I’m always photographing it as one world and keeping one style between the two. Also, we found in the edit suite that the film came out as 1:57, it’s now 1:27 so 30 minutes have gone – and with them some scenes were too dark or too brutal so we took them out. We had to find a balance – sometimes I would just go so heavy that it wasn’t a comedy any more, and was just really harsh.
So it’s smart that you have the whole thing told from both sides – it gives a dramatic irony
DM: That’s it – that was the original idea: the one joke I managed to stretch out for an hour and a half. Basically I thought there was potential there to have a lot of fun – two idiots not knowing they’re walking into certain death with an erection.
BB: Or into hell, where they’re on fire forever.
While avoiding specifics, I was wondering if the family song sequence was based on anything real?
DM (laughs): No, my family are much more normal and sweet than that. But that was another of those scene that started out more real and gritty, but then as we went on it just felt flat so we beefed it up. Because we got Jim in the middle, who’s our eyes in this crazy word, and he’s drugged up so we thought we’d go crazy. The girl in it, who plays the sister, wrote the song and she’s a great comedian.
BB: We shot that scene at five in the morning so everyone’s absolutely fucked.
DM: Right, everyone get up and do the song again!
BB: The shot where the mum says ‘oh he’s met a nice one there’ – that was Rosie and she’d been asleep for two hours and we woke her up for that line then she went back to sleep again.
There’s an elaborate fight scene towards the end. As a first time feature director did this present many challenges?
BB: That was a bit of a baby of mine, that scene, and I knew what I was doing a bit. When I started out making films, and I was 14 or whatever, it was all comedy or action so doing that I went to a dojo and drafted it all out exactly. So I did it twice, planned it very carefully, and when we did it the magic worked.
DM: Literally, in the script I wrote ‘they have a fight’ – one line. Then he asks if he could do something that that and I said ‘go for it’. And I came back and he’d written a 10 page fight scene and he had a blast doing that. It was amazing.
So with your first big feature down are you planning on working together again?
DM: Definitely – we worked together on a bunch of shorts and we love working together. We’re mates as well. We’re working on the next one now – can’t give too much away, but it might have something to do with ginger hair.
Thanks guys, looking forward to seeing it again on the big screen.
BB: No problem, thanks.
Double Date is reviewed here