With its British premiere at the Edinburgh Film Festival, Stormhouse is a new horror film bearing the tagline “The military have captured and imprisoned a supernatural entity, and now it wants to play.” Director Dan Turner, writer Jason Arnopp and actors Grant Masters, Major Lester, unstable head of the project, and Grahame Fox, Lieutenant Groves, first to be possessed by the entity, were kind enough to chat to Geek Chocolate while promoting this gory and claustrophobic film in Edinburgh.
Geek Chocolate – How did Stormhouse come about?
Dan Turner – It’s kind of based on a real life story. Up in the military base where we actually shot, there were Government documents released about a black ops project that happened there. I heard about it, researched it, and passed the concept onto Jason who wrote it.
GC – Were you already friends?
DT – Yeah, we had been working together for a while, but when I found out about the mystery in the secret base, I passed the information to him and he just ran with it, wrote the whole script very quickly.
GC – Jason, as soon as your name came up on the credits, I was like – I know that man, I’ve seen that man’s name on reviews and articles.
Jason Arnopp – Yes, my background is in journalism. I started off in music journalism, media entertainment, Heat, Doctor Who Magazine, lots of good stuff, but then over the years I’ve changed the balance from journalism to making things other journalists can write about.
GC – So this is allegedly based on released or discovered documents.
JA – Yes.
GC – Elucidate.
JA – Obviously if we had such documents, we couldn’t really confirm or deny that. Best to keep that side shrouded in mystery for many reasons.
GC – It’s going all House of Cards. “You might think so, but I couldn’t possibly comment.”
JA – Well, indeed. I think it’s good. The whole film, there’s a certain amount of fun to be had from things that are based on real events, and all that kind of deal, people can watch the film and make their own minds up whether something vaguely similar happened. We shot it in a real military base in Rendlesham in Suffolk, where there’s all kinds of mythology and stories, UFOs and supernatural stuff linked to that.
GC – Dan, are you happy with it?
DT – Yes, I think so. I’ve seen it, I don’t know, a thousand and thirty times, so now it’s just a series of cuts and dodgy lighting to me.
GC – There was lighting in that film?
DT – Some. Well, at the beginning and the end there was some lighting provided by the sun, the rest of it was pretty dark.
GC – Grant, Grahame, how did you feel about working in the Stormhouse?
Grant Masters – It was great, actually, really enjoyed it. There were a lot of flies, weren’t there?
Grahame Fox – It was short but intense. But, yeah, a lot of flies.
GC – I only noticed one fly, in one of the last scenes in the sickbay.
GM – There were a load of pigs farm nearby, so we had an infestation. They were everywhere.
CG – Did you enjoy the film?
GM – I did, yeah. I think it looks terrific, I think what we’ve achieved in two weeks is absolutely phenomenal.
GC – That was done in two weeks?
GF – Twelve days, yes.
CG – On the one hand, interior filming is a controlled environment, but the flipside is, you can’t say, the sun’s gone down, we finish, you just keep working until…
GM – Yes, it was pretty much everyone just mucked in to get it done, but everyone was in it for the same reason. It was Dan’s first proper feature, and everyone was behind him to make it work.
GC – And how did you come to be involved?
GM – Just through the normal channels, the casting director, went along, had a meeting, and they said “would you do it?” And that was that.
GF – Exactly the same thing. I was originally up for Lester, but it just didn’t suit me, I don’t have that sort of authority, so I asked to go back for Groves, and they said “yeah, we’ll have a look at you.”
GM – I was holding out for Hayley.
GC – You just have to grow your hair a little bit longer.
GM – I just didn’t look good in a dress.
GC – Have you got a distribution deal yet, or are you shopping it around at the festival?
JA – Release date to be announced and to be confirmed. Follow us on Twitter at stormhouse_film.
DT – We’ve got this festival, and we have another festival in August, one of the big Horror festivals in London, we’ve got one in LA in October, so the idea is to let the film find its voice.
GC – Get the right deal rather than the first deal.
DT – We’ve had distribution deals on the table, and they’ve all been straight to DVD, take a bit of cash and very little else, end up on the supermarket shelf, and we want a bit more that.