One of the films that caught us (pleasantly) by surprise at London’s recent Frightfest was creature feature Blood Hunters – you can read our review here http://bit.ly/2bClmNJ

So much so in fact that we had to track down Canadian director Tricia Lee so we could talk about it – and the great thing was Tricia was more than happy to field our questions.

With two features already in the bag (Silent Retreat and Clean Break), Blood Hunters marks the next stage in Lee’s career, and here she talks about the film’s genesis, the creatures themselves and her plans for the future:

 

Q.This is your third feature, and once again you have collaborated with writer Corey Brown – how would you describe your working process?
Corey and I have worked together on almost everything since we graduated from film school.  I won’t tell you how long ago that was or it will show my age.  But needless to say, we have developed a good working relationship over the years. Creatively, we don’t always agree, but we are always fighting for what’s best for the story, not just to be right. I think, if you made us into one person, we would be a writer-director. But it’s nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of.

 
Q. Although in essence Blood Hunters is a ‘creature feature’, there is far more emphasis on the characters and human relationships – without giving too much away, could you talk us through the genesis of the idea?
Corey came to me with the premise that has never changed in the 3 years of developing it. It was always about what must it be like for a woman to wake up in a deserted hospital not knowing how you got nine months pregnant. Originally, the creatures were vampires. Not the type of vampires that glisten in the sun, but rather the type that were viscous and terrifying. As for the human relationships, that is something that is very important to the both of us in every movie we make. No matter what genre it is in, the characters, story and theme always come first.

 
Q.Speaking of the creatures themselves, in previous contact you let me know you were ‘darkening’ the print to keep them in the shadows a bit more – as a director is it a  difficult balancing act to keep things mysterious, but also give the audience what they want?
Yes, particularly with darkness and brightness. When we first colored the film, we were in a dark room with perfectly calibrated monitors. I wanted the creatures always to be lurking in the dark. It’s part of their character and nature. But when I watched the film on my laptop (which lets face it, that’s the way most people will end up watching it), and I couldn’t see anything!  So I called th Colourist and told him to brighten them up a bit. Perhaps I should have went in or been more specific, because when I got the next cut, it was too bright!  And you saw too much!  That was the version you saw. So we went back in and darkened it to a happy medium.

 
Q.Can you talk a bit about the casting? You managed to get some really strong performances from the likes of Lara Gilchrist.
We actually put out offers to all the actors we cast except the character of Ellie. She is the main chia artery and we wanted to make sure we got it right. When Lara came in for the audition, she really made me feel like Ellie was a human being. I asked her to do it in a couple of different day opposite ways and she blew me away with every adjustment. We didn’t even do a callback, we had our Ellie.

 
Q.In my review I also talked about the sets, which I described as ‘claustrophobic yet labyrinthine’ at the same time – how easy/difficult was the film to shoot?
We actually built that set in an empty warehouse thanks to the talented and hard working Vince Moskowec and his art team. It was very difficult on such a low budget. Sometimes I would go home and the set for the next day (for instance the kitchen and the generator room) were not built and I would show up the next morning and a new world will have been created overnight. Believe it or not, the film really only shows 3 different hallways that we shot in. He set was basically a square and an entrance that lead outside.

 
Q.One of the things that most impressed me about the film was the amount of twists and turns the storyline took – I really appreciated going in to the film ‘cold’, but that seems so much more difficult now with the internet, bloggers etc….
Except for a couple of reviewers, many of the people who have written about the film have been kind enough not to give too much away. I really appreciated that because so much of the way we constructed the movie is to reveal things at a certain time, and making you feel certain emotions at certain times. Hopefully people will continue to not give away too much!

 
Q.Having had the world premiere at Frightfest (to critical acclaim), what’s next for Blood Hunters?
Our sales agent High Octane Pictures will be launching it for sales at the American Film Market so hopefully we can sell it to different territories and get it out for audiences to watch!

 
Q.Anything else on the horizon for you?
Corey and I are developing another horror film. This time it is a satirical horror called Clean Up In Aisle 666. We also have a Sci-fi drama called Buying Time and a supernatural family adventure called Tin Cans.

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.