Richard Oakes & Adam Leader (Writers/Directors, Hosts)
The Horror Revolution: What's your favorite horror movie? What movie scared you the most?
Richard Oakes: Alien is probably my favorite horror film, it creates such an atmosphere and tension without really showing much, the scariest film I’ve seen though is probably goes to the Japanese ‘RINGU’. I had to sleep with the light on for quite a while after watching that movie.
Adam Leader: A Nightmare On Elm Street. First movie I ever saw, I was eight years old and that’s where the obsession started, so that’ll always be a favourite. But the movie that scared me most was probably Hereditary; the way it so flawlessly executed the theme of grief and how it can destroy a somewhat normal family in the most heart wrenching way resonated hard with me.
THR: Hosts was so good! Where did you guys come up with the inspiration for the film?
AL: One night, my ex-girlfriend swore that she saw a blue light at the window to the garden, so I went outside to check it out, knife in hand just in case. Luckily I lived to tell the tale to Rich, and it was this experience that inspired both to cook up the storyboard for Hosts.
THR: You co-wrote and co-directed and were the cinematographer for Hosts. What's your favorite role? Would you rather write or direct a film?
RO: We write the stories together but Adam is the killer script writer so I guess it’s between Cinematography and Directing for me. I take the visual side of the directing with blocking and Adam takes the characters and dialogue side, so for me the directing is an extension of the cinematography but including set design and costume etc., so it’s hard to pull them apart in a way to answer what I prefer. When I DOP for other directors my job is to realise their vision but when combining directing with cinematography on our own films I am realizing mine and Adam's own vision which has a lot more freedom but also a lot more responsibility.
AL: I adore directing. There’s a sense of calm and happiness I get like no other when I see an actor bring a character to life that once only existed on paper. It’s an even bigger trip to see this when it’s a character I emotionally invested so much of my own personal trauma and traits into. It’s incredibly overwhelming and fulfilling to see.
THR: If you could work with anyone in the industry, alive or dead, who would you choose and why?
AL: Shane Meadows. You can tell that he wears his heart on his sleeve when he writes, and his direction is just beautiful. Real people and very real situations that cut deeper than anything else I’ve seen.
RO: I would love to work with Roger Deakins, He is such an incredible DP and I would just love to watch him work before stealing all his ideas :P
THR: If everyone watching your films could know one piece of trivia about you, what would it be?
RO: I once threw my underpants off a 40 foot cliff before jumping off after them into the sea.
AL: I once sold a chair to Tom Conti.
THR: There were some outstanding gory scenes in Hosts. Who did the special effects for the film, and how did you navigate that as a cinematographer?
RO: Those effects were done by an amazing SFX artist called Kate Griffiths. We initially thought we would have to CG a lot of it but Kate turned up with the whole shebang allowing us to shoot the entire thing in camera. Kate's assistant had never done a horror film before and her task was to sit under the table pumping blood up a tube. I heard that after the infamous scene she was actually crying under the table because it sounded so horrible, bless her.
THR: What was it like having your first feature film get picked up by Shudder? That must have been amazing!
AL: Incredible but strange to see our movie on one of the biggest platforms for horror in the world.
RO: Yeah, we didn’t really have massively high expectations for the film as it was essentially a group of friends who decided to make a micro budget horror film in the directors house. But after it was complete we started receiving really good responses from the industry, getting picked up by incredible distributors like Dark Sky and Shudder before landing an 83% critic score on rotten tomatoes. It really took us back and legitimized what we wanted to do as filmmakers.
THR: What's next for you guys? Tell me about your upcoming film Feed Me.
RO: ‘FEED ME’ is inspired by the true story of a man who offers himself to be eaten alive by a deranged cannibal. As you might expect there are some truly shocking scenes that play out within this scenario. However, this film is a lot more bananas than Hosts, both Adam and I come from a more comedic background so we wanted to inject more humor into this Movie than our previous work. The film seems to start kind of serious but becomes more bonkers as the events unfold.
AL: It’s certainly a trip. Beneath the surface, it’s a tragic story with an underlying theme so relatable in this day and age, which takes the most unexpected turn for the worse and becomes more batshit crazy from hereon after. You’ll wince, you’ll laugh and you’ll cry, so if I were you, I’d brace for the ride of a lifetime.
THR: If you were given unlimited funding and access to every actor in the world, what film would you make?
AL: I’d spend most of that money on a time machine to go back to 1972 and make The Exorcist myself. Then out of guilt, I’d probably hire William Friedkin as my assistant. After that, I’d probably adopt Shane Meadows.
RO: Hopefully our next one :)
THR: What inspires you in general? What made you want to be a filmmaker?
RO: I’ve wanted to be a filmmaker for as long as I can remember, I used to cycle around my yard as a child dreaming up crazy horror film ideas, but making one was an impossibility. I remember seeing ‘Shaun of the Dead’ and that film in particular had a big impact on me. It felt more achievable to make a great film like that. After watching it, all I wanted to do was make a movie. I had a great moment the other day while I was showing my son Shaun of the Dead for the first time. I hadn't seen it for about 10 years and I remembered that same feeling I had of longing to make a film. Then I looked up from the screen to see the 2 posters for the films I had co-directed hanging above the tv. That gave me a warm fuzzy feeling deep down in my special place.
AL: I was making and directing stupid horror films with my friends when I was a teen, and I kid you not when I say I’ve got hours of footage on tape. Every last movie we ever made I have right here at home. Prior to that I was putting on plays for my grandparents when I was growing up. I was always into drama I guess, but I went down the path of music first, and whilst I’m still heavily involved in the music industry, I can finally say I’ve found my way into the world of filmmaking too, which feels great.
THR: What do you think are the key differences between British and American horror films?
AL: Regardless of the genre, British movies feel so much more real for me and resonate more than most American films I’ve seen.
RO: British horror films are cheaper because we are all skint!
THR: Finally, how long do you have to wait after having your first plate of food to go back and get a second plate?
RO: What is wait?
AL: Depends how many severed fingers I can fit on the first plate.
Thanks so much for agreeing to answer the questions, you've been awesome!
Check out THR's review of Hosts, spoiler alert: LOVED it!