An Interview with Alex Chandon
The accessibility of digital video has led to a kind of low-budget horror
renaissance, and the home-video market is filling up with independently
produced and distributed horror movies - many are utter crap, but some are
nothing short of brilliant. To elevate a film above the SOV rabble requires
talent - and above all, balls. Fortunately, British filmmaker Alex Chandon's
of the above, as evidenced by his ultra-gory cult hit CRADLE OF FEAR, which
recently hit DVD in the U.S. through Image Entertainment. I had a little
Alex about his blood-drenched cinematic vision.
I remember reading an enthusiastic review of your early shorts "Bad
and "Drillbit" something like ten years ago. How long have you been making
Well, they were 1991 and 1992... fruits of my anarchic art
degree, and they were my first 'proper' efforts. But I'd been tinkering with
8mm cameras since I was about 12, 10 years before BAD KARMA! I saw EVIL
DEAD when I was 14 and it changed my life. That was the one that really
inspired me to live in shit for years struggling to make it. I'm getting
Cradle of Filth fans know your work on several of the band's promo
When did you first hook up with Dani Filth and the gang, and what led to the
concept for CRADLE OF FEAR?
First met 'em in late 1998, I believe, when they needed a director for
ever promo (From The Cradle To Enslave). We got on like a house on fire. Me
and Dani clicked especially well... a similar fascination for the macabre,
artistic... for sick perfection and theatrical flourishes. A morbidly mutual
developed, and spawned into the film itself.
Was it always planned as a Filth feature?
Yup. From The Cradle.... was released on a video as PANDAEMONEON
(out on DVD now, I think) with 2 versions of the vid and a documentary I did
some live footage... it sold almost 100,000 VHS copies for 'em! We didnít
of that (fair enough), but it did show the potential for a Filth-related
we wanted to (and still want to, if anyone at Sony is listening!) make a
CRADLE OF FILTH film... a sick-rock opera... a double-album and themed film
where the band are HUGE demons from another dimension destroying millions
on earth. It would be epic-ly sick. But it would cost a bit. It didn't
the band's rise and rise to fame meant it was pretty impossible logistically
legally to make a film around them and their music... but that didn't stop
using the band as actors, and licensing a few tunes. So a film starring Dani
born... and the anthology idea seemed the best way to work around his
availability and stuff. The band and their management have been involved,
been brilliantly supportive and helpful from the start. I would love to do a
know Dani would as well. Or maybe that "Demon Stomping People" film... a
'proper' Filth Feature!
Are you slated to direct any upcoming promo videos from Filth's new
Well, I wasn't approached for that first one for BABYLON AD... I won't
what I think of it, apart to say I'm pissed off people think I did it! Dani
wants me to
direct the promo for DEVIL WOMAN, which isn't on the album but WAS
recorded. A lot depends on the album's success... it sounds fucking great,
anyone can make 'em big (they deserve to be... Dani works like a cunt to
things together and valid!), then Sony can. I'll forgive 'em a few 'soft'
promos if it
gets the masses into the REAL Filth to follow... only time will tell. I'd
love to help
get 'em banned again one day though!
So much of the crap on the horror market today is made by people who
even watch horror films, or don't have the balls to try and scare their
Did you consciously attack that attitude with this film?
Yup. The only good horror films these days are either no-budget stuff
(underground USA and Germany are prolific), or excellent Eastern films:
VERSUS, EVIL DEAD TRAP, SPLATTER and so many more really show what
the West should be doing but ain't. I've never seen so much shit....
WANK, 28 SHITS LATER, FINAL ARSE-DESTINATION, THE FUCKING YANK
RING etc., ad-boring-infintum. I wanted to create a throwback to sleazy '70s
'80s horror, where sex 'n' violence got bums on seats and made profits. Gore
gore's sake... sleaze for god's sake... sickness, not slickness... and real
fx and blood tubes, not CGI wank. (Okay, I used a bit... but sparingly and
effictively... the 'knife-through-the-cheek' has Hollywood FX artists
Thick idiots! No imagination... ruined by big budgets!) As you can tell the
affairs pisses me off. And when an AMAZING HORROR film IS made in the
USA, no one gets to hear about it. I'm talking about SESSION NINE - the
scariest thing I've seen in years! The reason we don't hear about it? 'Cos
the majors/studios was involved, so it can't get shown anywhere. You know
will happen? Tom Cunt Cruise will buy the original, destroy the negative and
remake it as the biggest piece of WANK since he fucked up that remake of
decent Spanish film. And I have NO faith in George Romero's new zombie pic;
will be shit... we all know it will.
FEAR is clearly the work of a dedicated horror fan. Your lighting scheme
reminded me a lot of Argento, and I saw a connection to the Amicus horror
anthologies of the '70s. What films and filmmakers inspired you the
Shit... so many inspired me in so many ways. Yeah, Argento's lighting and
camera-work and music and hard-violence; Romero (when he was God) zombies
and Savini gore; Fulci's excess; sick fucking Italian exploitation stuff;
movies for that 'real' edge I like; EVIL DEAD for everything, and BAD TASTE
for... everything... and, er... RE-ANIMATOR for... you guessed it,
Those last three have sick humor as integral elements, and I've carried that
across. You can get away with so much more sickness with humor. I couldn't
make I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE for instance... I ain't a fuckin' sick freak! But
just written a script which is a homage to Polanski's REPULSION, surreal and
quite bleak. Not funny; frightening. That's a direction I wanna explore -
gore and sex, of course! Oh yeah... those '70s anthologies! I saw TALES FROM
THE CRYPT aged about 10... then ALL the others. Loved 'em then, love 'em
now. Those and CREEPSHOW were a BIG inspiration when it came to how to do
plot development and characterizations for the short stories.
In addition to writing and directing, you also edited the film yourself.
kind of equipment did you use?
My Pentium 2 PC with Windows 98, bought a few years ago, on Adobe
Premiere... which I still love as an editing system. A lot of the digital FX
done on After Effects. My system was well configured by an excellent UK
(DVC based in Hove, Brighton!). It's as fast as fuck and never crashes...
less than AVIDS and G4's I've used!
You initially sold the uncut, unrated CRADLE OF FEAR exclusively through
own website. Now that it's seeing wider distribution, have you had to deal
censorship issues in different countries, or at home?
The uncut release in the UK was a surprise to me. Iíve been told by an
insider at the BBFC it went through on a 'good-day,' whatever that means...
they missed the various scenes that PURPOSELY flout THEIR guidelines -
scenes I expected to be cut, leaving the website release as the only UNCUT
version. But they passed it, and I was overjoyed... after the shock wore
gotta be one of the sickest films in BLOCKBUSTERS!!! In USA it's just been
released (by Image) UNRATED, therefore UNCUT. The same with Australia. It's
been banned in Ireland, and some countries' customs refuse its entry! Which
cool. If I do a sequel, or similar type of gore-fest (which I'm desperate
to), I will
attempt to be more hardcore! I've been told the BBFC are especially wary of
animals fucking arses... might try and write that into a scene.
FEAR has reared its head at several film festivals over the past year or
and it's building a cult following. What kind of feedback have you been
from horror fans?
Absolutely excellent. We get tons of e-mails at the office and I've been
cinema showings and 95 percent of people seem to love the film. The other 5
percent fucking hate it, but that's cool... hate is a potent medium for
the cinema, people were cheering at the gore, and in Dublin a few people
out at the fetus-burst, which is always a bonus! It's definitely hit a nerve
people who miss this sorta horror film, I think. People are reading so much
the film - almost to the point of obsession - which I love. As the financial
haven't shown up yet, it's been the positive feedback from all over the
has kept me going. We've seriously only had tiny percentage of bad feedback,
and no bad reviews in mags. I've been surprised at how well received it's
more mainstream circles: EMPIRE magazine in the UK gave it 4 stars, calling
ĎThe best British gore film since HELLRAISER!í Which was nice!
You mentioned you're hard at work getting a new project off the ground.
you fill us in on that?
Well, there's a few... I'm not into putting all my eggs into one
basket... that's if
I could afford eggs! There's that Polanski homage... scary and spooky.
some music promos... maybe a VERY SICK HORROR promo for the band
NECROPHAGIA. Then there's 3 treatments for horror films - all kinda secret,
plus I don't like pre-empting these things. But one is a zombie film; one is
teen/slasher/STRAW DOGS type thing; and one is bleedin' obvious... a FEAR
sequel. Oh... and I've got to edit the CRADLE OF FEAR REMIX for the 2-disc
DVD special I've promised to release this year (which is going TOO quick),
couple of things looming. I'm desperate to get busy again... always wonder
it takes to get some decent funding. I see wankers getting shit films off
ground all around me... this industry sucks... but it's people like us that
change all that! Thanks for your support with this interview! And thanx to
fellow sickos out there who have supported our worthy sick 'n' twisted cause
visiting our website and hopefully buying some of the sickness you will find
More news on my early films will be on-line there soon as well;
WWW.CRADLEOFFEAR.COM is the place to go. Dim the lites and turn up the
volume on your computer! Oh... the wickedly evil soundtrack goes on sale
sort of now. What are you waiting for?
What can we expect to see on that upcoming FEAR Special Edition?
It'll be uber-special. I wanna do lots and lots of extras and funnies,
(room) secrets... it'll be worth the wait. It sounds impossible, but I'd
like to make
the film MORE EXTREME with different edits/inserts... we'll see. I wonder if
could slip that animal fuck scene in... hmm.
Alex, thanks very much for your time.
Thanx for the interview, and good luck with everything. All the very
from me and the freakz at CRADLE OF FEAR. More horror is on its way from us
soon, so until then.... Long Live The New Flesh.
Oh yeah... my wife wants me to ask you if she could be an extra in your
Yup... she's gotta pay the air-fare though!