Interview with ‘Pumpkins’ co-writer and director Maria Metheringham

Pumpkins

Director: Maria Metheringham

Writers: Maria Metheringham and Will  Metheringham

Starring: Dani Thompson, Maria Lee Metheringham, Craig Edwards, Samantha Hindman, Marcella Edgecombe-Craig

In a new interview on House of Tortured Souls I got an opportunity to talk with the multifaceted filmmaker Maria Metheringham about the throwback horror Pumpkins which has been released on DVD and Digital from High Octane Pictures on DVD and Digital in the US and Canada.

Q. Your latest horror film Pumpkins has just been released on DVD in the US. Can you tell us what people can expect?

Pumpkins is an atmospheric, slasher horror film set in North Yorkshire.  Expect all of the usual elements which make up a good 80s style teen horror movie, except less gags and a bit more toned down. It’s a light-hearted and fun horror.

Q. You co-wrote the original script with Will Metheringham. What is your process writing together and how did you come up with the original idea for the story?

We usually sit down with the laptop and hash out scene ideas together. I do the writing and he tells me what to write, whilst I also add in bits and scenes that come to me whilst we’re doing it.

Pumpkins started off as a short film within another feature film we were writing and ended up being turned into a full feature because I loved the story so much. The short ‘The Pumpkin Man’ was only meant to be 10 minutes long originally.

Q. The film introduces us to a new horror character the Pumpkin Man, how did you come up concept for the character?

Will was sat at the back of the classroom when he was 16 with his mate Tom Jordan. He came up with the pumpkin man character as a drawing and Tom drew it. We found the artwork in a folder in a cupboard in our house when clearing out and thought it looked very cool, so we stuck him in the film with a backstory.

Q. What were your influences for the overall look and style of the film?

We just wanted it to look and sound as 80s as possible. To capture the feeling of watching one of those old school slashers but have a bit of our own style about it. Films we had in mind when getting that style right were Friday the 13th (1980), An American Werewolf in London (1981) and Halloween (1978).

Q. Did you make any changes in the film from the original script during filming and were there any scenes which you were unable to film?

Yes, there were a few changes mainly towards the end of the film, during the climax with the ending etc. The film didn’t finish how it was written in the script because we had no money for special effects people and my knowledge was pretty limited. We had very little time to film it without the option of returning an extra day. It’s usually the really cool elaborate stuff I have to cut out but give me a budget and I’d go hell for leather

Q.Did you experience any issues during filming?

Only the weather really which wasn’t an issue much. We had one night of filming outside for all the scenes and it was chucking it down. We needed lighting which needed power and we were filming up in muddy woods up a soggy hill from a house we were staying in. We had 5 extension cables plugged into each other with bin bags wrapped around them.  Safe to say we wouldn’t do that again ha ha. Other than that, it was just a few of the special effects going wrong for me, but we managed in the end.

Q.What were some of your favourite moments during filming?

The location where we filmed all of the Uncle and Shelly scenes at their house was brilliant, we had a great time there.  No internet, tv, phone or any mobile signal, as weird as it may sound was a really pleasant experience. Also filming inside the pub in Lincoln for the local’s scene was so much fun and we had a good laugh doing it!

What makes Pumpkins stand out as something different in the horror genre?

I don’t think it’s hugely unique for the Horror genre as we were trying to do our own version of an 80s style slasher film, but we’ve brought a new killer to the table and I hope you can see our own style. We like sound and visuals and don’t really go dialogue heavy with Pumpkins which we hope creates more of an atmosphere. We didn’t want to shove the film full of all the cliché one liners and banter between the characters but have slipped it in subtly every now and again.

What do you hope people take away after watching the film?

That they will have fun watching it, like our style and want to see more of our films because of it.#

You also feature in the horror film Mask of Thorn which is being released in November. Can you tell us a little bit about that film?

I can’t wait for the release I absolutely loved working with Mike (Director) and Anna (Producer). Mask of Thorn is a great horror/sci-fi slasher film in my opinion.  It has an evil bad ass Thorn and a not so evil bad ass Mina Adams who I play.  It’s got action, gore and good suspense I think lovers of indie films will really dig it.  Anna and Mike also work a similar way to me and Will, doing the jobs of 20 people with barely and money or time and I respect that.

You play Mina Adams in the film can you tell us a bit about your character?

She is tough and hardened by a difficult life but has a strong emotional connection which is her weakness. Mina was a lot of fun to play because she takes a battering put will pick herself up and carry on fighting until she has done what she came to do.  Also, her costume is very cool despite it pretty much falling off me and disintegrating during filming.

Do you enjoy playing these strong characters and do you think they reflect some of your own personality?

I think that’s a why I like these characters so much. It’s like the element of when something is bothering you or life is trying to get you down, don’t moan just do something about it. Put your hardened face on and get things done no matter what. This can sometimes appear as cold or overly stern but I understand these characters, they act on actions and not emotion which is more what I’m about.

Do you have any other projects which you are currently working on?

Yes I’ve got a few going on. Me and Will have just finished another horror feature script which is another 80’s style film called Creeps at the Gym.  We’re just trying to find some money to make it. I’m also working with Kat Clatworthy at Lynx Elite Productions in Wales on a comedy feature film called Cowgirls Don’t Lie and we’re directing together.  The film only has less than a third left to film so almost done!

What advice would you give someone who is interested in getting into filmmaking as an actress?

Do not let people down. When you say you will do something or you are given a deadline, make sure you do it. Reply to messages as promptly as you can. Make yourself available too as filmmakers don’t like having to work around your ‘Nanas 60th’ or your ‘best mates baby shower’. Another big one is promote and support the films you are cast in! Talk about the films you are in, do interviews and share social media material to help gain followers etc.

You can purchase a copy of Pumpkins from Amazon Here:

 

 

 

Posted by Philip Rogers

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