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Interview with Frazer Lee - January 2005

Frazer Lee - January 2005

Oh My Gore : "Hello. Could you introduce yourself to the readers of Oh My Gore! who might not know about you yet?"

Sure! It's nice to be a complete unknown... like a rolling stone : Hello to all at Oh My Gore! I'm Frazer Lee, from London UK and I make horror movies. Here's my website: http://www.frazerlee.com.

Oh My Gore : "Why, when and how did you career turn toward cinema?"

I remember being at school, aged 10, and my teacher asked all us spotty young kids what we wanted to be when we grew up. I said, "A film director!" So I guess the seed was planted back then - I had actually meant to say "Astronaut!" so I must've been possessed by the horror movie demon or something. At university I was studying to be a journalist and then got involved in a screenwriting class. I wrote a couple of screenplays and decided I had to try and make some movies. Once I get a movie in my head, I can't sleep. It's an obsession and I have to try to get that movie made for the sake of my sanity!

Oh My Gore : "Which movies and / or which directors influenced you in becoming involved in the cinema industry? "

Oh my gore - lots of them! My earliest exposure to horror was on the telly, watching Universal and Hammer Horror double bills on Friday nights. Also the monsters in "DOCTOR WHO" were a great initiation into horror for a young boy. Later I discovered the works of John Carpenter (especially "THE FOG", "HALLOWEEN" and "THE THING") and Val Lewton and Jacques Tourneur ("CAT PEOPLE") - awesome stuff. Then it just exploded
and I was watching Raimi, Dante, Argento, Romero, Ridley Scott - anything I could rent from the video shop. And finally, I remember sitting in a cinema watching the first "HELLRAISER" film and thinking, "I must make horror movies - they are important."

Oh My Gore : "You first started your career as a director with a short movie called "ON EDGE" and then followed "RED LINES" in which Doug Bradley was starring (see review part of the site). How did you get to work with such a horror star as Doug Bradley for your first movie? How did you feel about working with him? I guess you're basically a "HELLRAISER" fan?"

Yes - I am a big "HELLRAISER" fan! I always think you should aim to get the best, most talented people, in your movie - there's a lot of money and risk involved. So when I wrote the "ON EDGE" screenplay, I imagined Doug Bradley in the role and sent a script to his agent. Doug had a meeting with myself and producer Joseph Alberti and agreed to do the movie because he loved the script and had fun with us. Doug is a very professional actor who embodies the role he is playing, so it was a lot of fun working with him. I learned a lot from Doug. When "RED LINES" came along, the teacher character was really homage to Peter Cushing in "FEAR IN THE NIGHT", so only Doug Bradley could do this. Thankfully he said yes!

Oh My Gore : "You're also a writer and part of Robber Baron Productions... Is that to keep total control on your work? Or anything else?"

I've learned that total control is impossible. It is better to employ the best people who you can also trust. I writebecause the story tells me too - I can't ignore that voice, I'd go mad. I'm part of Robber Baron Productions because from a practical angle, I also help produce these movies. We are a small family and so have a lot of input into these movies - it is my vision, yes, but it is also a team effort.

Oh My Gore : "Isn't it hard in independent cinema to raise the necessary funding to make a movie? Could you tell us as well how you finance your movies?"

Financing a movie is HELLISH. HELLISH I tell you! You have to push and push and push every day of your life. Nobody is going to hand you several million dollars and say, "There you go - go make your movie." It just doesn't happen that way. You have to fight every single day of your life and never give up. If you aren't prepared to do this, you can't make independent films. Go do something else instead because you'll just hurt yourself! "ON EDGE" was mainly funded by my producers, "RED LINES" was mainly funded by myself and my producers. So to do this, you have to spend a lot of your own money too! I worked in an office for many years to scrape together the budget for "RED LINES", and to support myself during scriptwriting. So I was working 5 days a week and writing in the evenings and at weekends. It has taken me 6 years to make 2 short films and to write 11 drafts of "URBANE"..

Oh My Gore : "You're preparing a movie called "URBANE" (about which we already talked in our news section). Doug Bradley is once again in the cast. About the cast you said: "horror fans WON'T BELIEVE who we are in talks with to star alongside Doug Bradley..." Could we know a bit more about who you're in talks with for the cast of this movie? I heard a rumour about Philippe Nahon... is there anything confirmed yet? When is the shooting supposed to begin?"


Hehe, I'm afraid I can't reveal anything yet until contracts are signed and money is paid. We did meet Philippe Nahon at Fantasporto Festival in Portugal though, and he is a very lovely man. We offered him a role in "URBANE" and he was interested - hopefully we can make this happen, although the role is now more of a cameo appearance. All the really scary actors are such nice men in real life! We hope to shoot "URBANE" in summer 2005, so you're looking at a 2006 release all being well! Check this out: http://www.urbanethemovie.com

Oh My Gore : "I heard about another project you're working on: "CROWLEYMASS". Could you tell us more about this one?"

Ah, "CROWLEYMASS" is my dream project really. It is a bio-pic of Aleister Crowley's life and would feature Doug Bradley as "The Wickedest Man in the World". We have done a treatment and a lot of research - you should check out http://www.crowleymass.com if you're interested in this project. I feel it would be quite an expensive movie to make, because the story takes us up mountains, to the pyramids, Sicily and beyond. It would be a great movie about a very interesting and flawed character. Strangely, investors don't seem that interested, despite Crowley making it into the BBC's "Top 100 Britons" list, alongside people like Winston Churchill.

Oh My Gore : "Is there any other project that I haven't talked about in which you may be involved?"

Well, last year I shot my first TV promo - it was for a Discovery Channel documentary show called "TRUE HORROR" with Anthony Stewart Head (Giles from Buffy). We shot all day in a Victorian crypt in London with lots of dry ice and candles - it was like a mini Hammer Horror movie! I really enjoyed working with Anthony Head - he's a very nice and patient man. I do have many other projects including feature and short screenplays and story ideas. But I don't want to curse them by talking about them too soon! Recently I've had some short stories published in paperback anthologies including "MAELSTORM VOL.1" alongside Brian Lumley and "DARK ELATION VOL.1" that features another hero of mine, Poppy Z. Brite - you can check these books out at http://www.lighthousemediaone.co.uk

Oh My Gore : "If you were proposed to, would you direct a sequel to "HELLRAISER"? What kind of movie would you make then: more like the first ones? Or the last ones?"

Oh man, I would LOVE to do a "HELLRAISER" movie. But only if I fell in love with the screenplay, or was given creative rights to write one of my own. I would make a 35mm cinemascope "HELLRAISER" movie with a contract guaranteeing a major theatrical release, so we could put Pinhead and "HELLRAISER" back on the big screen! I would hire Bob Keen to create new Cenobites, as he was responsible so much for the aesthetic of the first movies - those effects were mind-blowing back in the 80s, and are still pretty damn good now! The story would perhaps take place after "HELLBOUND" and would reference the sequels, without them actually being canon. The movie would definitely have the tone and scope of the first two movies and would, I hope, belong to the mythos much more than recent sequels have.

Oh My Gore : "What do you think about the horror movies made nowadays? And, as a British citizen, what do you think about the cinema "made in the UK"? Finally, as Oh My Gore! is a French website, I'd like to know what you think about French cinema."

There are a lot of great horror movies being made nowadays. I see a lot of great movies at film festivals, at the cinema, and on DVD. My favourite movie of last year was "BUBBA HO-TEP" - a true original. Like all good movies, the story has to grab me first. I don't often enjoy movies that are lazy in terms of storytelling. A lot of cinema made in the UK just loses me! I don't understand the constant obsession with predictable romantic comedies and dramas set on council estates. Of course, there is an audience for everything but I really look on the output of companies like Handmade Films in the 80s ("TIME BANDITS" for example) as SO important, because they were British films that dared to take you to somewhere "other". "DOG SOLDIER" is the best recent UK horror movie for sure - I have a lot of respect for Neil Marshall and am looking forward to seeing his new movies. I enjoy a lot of French cinema! Vive la France! "LA REINE MARGOT", "SUBWAY", "GISELE KEROZENE", "DELICATESSEN", "SEUL CONTRE TOUS" are all classics. Gaspar Noe is a genius - we met him at the Stockholm film festival and he invited us to his room "to watch some porno" - it turned out to be 2 "safe sex" commercials he made for Canal Plus! But only Noe could make them in this porno style - wonderful.

Oh My Gore : "What kind of music do you think suits horror movies the best? If you could chose any band or artist, which one(s) would you use to create a soundtrack to one of your movies?"

I think the best soundtracks use different artists and sounds to reflect the different moods and locations. When the soundtrack to "URBANE" is complete, you'll hear Claudio Simonetti's score but also lots of goth, rock and alternative bands. To be honest, it's a great honour to be working with another of my idols - Maestro Simonetti! My favourite band is The Cure (I've seen them 22 times since 1987) so I'd love to collaborate with them one day. Fields of the Nephilim would surely compose the perfect horror movie score too - maybe one day?
I'd also love to see a slasher movie with an entire score written by Slayer - that would be intense! Christopher Young, Jerry Goldsmith, Ennio Morricone, James Horner, John Williams, Trevor Jones, Graeme Revell, John Carpenter, Danny Elfman, Bernard Herrman and Howard Shore are some of my favourite movies composers. Music is the beating heart of the horror movie!

Oh My Gore : "Which movie would you like or would you have liked to direct?"

Always the one that's in my head, baby. Always the one in my head.

Oh My Gore : "Which actor would you like or would you have liked to work with?"

A great question! Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Vincent Price, Donald Pleasence, Alec Guinness, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Englund, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton and... William Shatner! Clare Higgins, Barbara Steele, Audrey Hepburn, Ornella Muti, Asia Argento, Nastassja Kinski, Mia Sara, Keira Knightley, Thora Birch, Eliza Dushku, Angela Bettis, Kate Beckinsale, Winona Ryder and Rose McGowan... (I hope my wife isn't reading this!)

Oh My Gore : "What do you think of Oh My Gore ! ?"

Oh My Gore! is the ultimate in bi-lingual horror news, chat and entertainment. Long may it "reign in blood"!

Oh My Gore : "Thank you so much for answering this interview. Is there anything you would like to add?"

Thank you for your interest in my movies - it really means a lot to me. Keep watching horror movies and opening your mind to the fear that can oppress us all. Be fearless!
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