Originally posted on 2010-09-11 13:52:23 by
Australian filmmaker Brett Anstey gave us some comments and exclusive photos from his chiller DAMNED BY DAWN, which has attracted quite a bit of positive attention at festivals over the last year or so. Produced by Anstey and Luke Gibson, the movie debuts on U.S. DVD November 9 from Image Entertainment (see art and details here).
“The film centers on a banshee whose wailing wakes the dead,” Anstey, who scripted the film from a story he wrote with Russell Friedrich and Rob Townshend, tells us. Specifically, it raises walking corpses during a thunderstorm, and the creatures terrorize a family. “The original idea was to make a period horror, one heavily influenced by the classic Hammer films. But it soon became apparent we couldn’t afford Christopher Lee, Ingrid Pitt, horse-drawn carriages and boobs. Fog, atmosphere and heavy doses of Irish mythology were all within our budget, though, so those elements remain.”
DAMNED BY DAWN’s cast is headed by Renee Willner, Bridget Neval, Dawn Klingberg (also be seen in another pair of Ozploitationers, THE OUTBACK, a.k.a. PREY, and the upcoming THE GATES OF HELL), Danny Alder and veteran actor Peter Stratford, whose credits include Simon Wincer’s thriller SNAPSHOT, a.k.a. THE DAY AFTER HALLOWEEN. This is the first feature from Anstey, Gibson and their cohorts in The Amazing Krypto Bros., a filmmaking collective who previously made the award-winning short ATOMIC SPITBALLS.
“The film was shot during winter over 26 grueling days and nights in Ballarat, Victoria,” the writer/director says. “The cast and crew had to endure many nights in near-freezing conditions whilst working in forests and paddocks. In other words, the circumstances weren’t ideal. But in the end we all survived…just! And despite the lowish budget, every cent is up on the screen. The film looks incredible, thanks to the production design of David Jackson, the cinematography of Reg Spoon—with additional photography by Tom David and Mick De Montignie—and the amazing work of makeup effects artist Justin Dix [whose bloody work on STORM WARNING won the Best Special Effects award at 2007’s Screamfest] and his crew. Justin and I have been collaborating on numerous projects since the early ’90s, and in many ways he’s similar to Tom Savini, in that he’s just not a makeup artist, he’s also a stuntman and a talented director.”
Dix helped bring the central banshee creature to life in collaboration with concept designer Seth Justus, performer Bridget Neval and audio designer Tristan Meredith, the latter of whom Anstey cites as another key contributor to DAMNED’s horrific impact: “Tristan created a sound for the banshee’s shrieking that seriously makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.” To get the skin crawling, the filmmakers also employed a multitude of real cockroaches. “We purchased 950 of them!” Anstey says. “Dealing and controlling that many insects is a challenge at the best of times. Throw cold weather into the equation, and even the roaches struggled. They can survive a nuclear war, but barely made it through the nightly weather in Ballarat!”
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