The Jason Impey Interview
Jason Impey: Hi, thank you for taking the time to interview me, I hope I can shed some light on what me and my films are about. I have a bit of a reputation of making some quite sick & controversial films which is fine with me as these are the films that get me excited!
TDBS – The same goes for us! There's no need for censorship here.
Can you tell us what you’re working on currently? Shamelessly plug away!
JI: I am keeping myself very busy, I have been editing a trilogy of films in which I was also involved with in the shooting. These are spoof horrors starring Eileen Daly and known as the ‘Daly Does The Dead’ trilogy which contains, Mr Crispin, Hollywood Betrayed & First Bite Is The Deepest. I am also 95% complete in post production of my erotic thriller ‘Lustful Desires’ which is quite a roller coaster of a short film that will hopefully have the audience on the edge of their seats. I am also battling through an edit of a film I have been making on and off for the last 8 years that follows Jack Hess - a psychopathic filmmaker who is creating the ultimate snuff movie. This film titled ‘Exploited’ will be the true and ultimate version of my early feature ‘Home Made’ that I was never truly happy with. Lastly I have just finished - today in fact editing ‘Boys Behind Bars 2’ my new feature film that I must say is truly a disgusting and vile film!
Though your filmmaking has been in the realm of sexual fetish and horror, obviously we’re mainly interested in the horror side of things here (talk for yourself Feind*), but do you prefer one to the other or is it about equal for you?
JI: I would say it is equal for me, I think erotic/sexual filmmaking & horror go well together and can work along side one another nicely to create a thrilling journey. I enjoy watching both these genres of movies as well as making them.
TDBS – Feind: You looked pretty young in your first feature, Woods of Terror!, how old were you when you shot that and first started filming for that matter? How long did it take you to complete?
JI: 'Woods of Terror!' was in fact two of my early films put together to create my first feature. The first made of these two films was ‘Zombie Village’ that was shot in 2004 when I was 20 and finished editing it in 2005 which is when I shot the second film ‘Nightmare in the Woods’ in which by this time I was 21. The whole project took about a year to make, I also shot a fake trailer that plays in the middle of these 2 short films titled ‘Zombie Terror’ that I was lucky enough to get shot on 16mm. I actually started making films when I was as young as 10 that I used my dad’s camcorder and had him edit it straight into the VCR. I went to college straight after school at the age of 16 to pursue a career in filmmaking which is where I began to make student films, finishing college at 19 to move on to my own independent flicks.
TDBS – Feind: Impressive Sir!
I noticed several of your horror films are zombie affairs, are zombies a personal love of yours or just the ideas that have happened to come to you?
JI: I love the zombie sub-genre & grew up watching classic zombie films like Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead & Zombie Flesh Eaters. I think they are great fun films where you can go all out with the gore and special effects and come up with some real inventive deaths. I also have a real soft spot for the zombie sub-genre as one of my early shot films ‘Zombies in the Wood’ one me best film!
TDBS – Feind: Ahhh some of The Scribblers favorites there!
TDBS - Cult - Erotic Nights of the Living Dead feat. George Eastman, not his real name of course, is one of the only ones I can currently think of much in the same vein.
JI: Thanks, the film was born off the idea of spreading the zombie disease through sex instead of biting giving a modern twist on the genre - using sexually transmitted diseases as the plot that is something that is forever in the media these days. The original concept was for it to be a zombie feature film that VIPCO were backing but unfortunately they closed down resulting me having to finance it myself and as it was shot on super 8 it cost quite a bit which is therefore why it ended up being a short, I really wished it was a feature. I wanted to make the film as shocking and graphic as I could, it played at a festival here in the UK and divided in the audience in half, in which half loved it & half hated it - I believe that it was it being too graphic!
TDBS – Feind: The controversial tends to do that but we consider that a good thing!
TDBS - Cult - Ahh! VIPCO what fond memories I have of those releases!
TDBS-Feind: On the zombie theme outside of the obvious Romero influence on all things zombie, what other directors are you most influenced or inspired by? Favorite Zombie flick?
JI: I would have to say Lucio Fulci, my favourite zombie film is ‘Zombie Flesh Eaters’, its amazing, full of gore, great atmosphere, fun story and a shark vs zombie battle with a topless scuba diver caught in the middle! What more could you ask for!?
Other directors I admire are Ruggero Deodato - Cannibal Holocaust is one of my all time favourite films, such a powerful and thought provoking movie. I also have a lot of respect for David Cronenberg - the visuals in his films are just stunning.
Cult - That is actually one of my favorites too (Cannibal Holocaust), an unflinchingly intense and brutal flick that more than holds up top this very day.
TDBS - Feind: I personally enjoyed Tormented very much as I’ve written some things in a similar vein. Do you have more ideas along these lines or another project already in the works? Any thoughts to expand on Tormented or come back to it later?
JI: I do have an idea for a feature I plan to write & direct in which a woman is stalked and trapped - made a prisoner in her own home. I was pleased with howTormented turned out, I just wished I was able to do more with it, but it was a n awkward length for festivals and distribution, I did however manage to get it in the ‘Killer Stories’ anthology feature I got released on DVD. I find Tormented quite a simple idea and film yet effective, and I find sometimes the more simplistic the idea the better that can work for you, especially on budget restraints, time restraints, location restraints and people restraints!
TDBS: Absolutely agreed there. Follow the golden rule – KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid.
TDBS - Cult: Hi Jason. Have you ever produced a film overseas? If not is there a particular country/ historic region you have thought or have desires to film in?
Are there any costs or permits a viewer might not be aware of while filming in England, rather than in say other countries?
JI: I have been lucky enough to film in Spain, France, Turkey and America. I would like to film in Italy as that is where so many of my favourite horror films were shot. England can be a real pain to film in, so much red tape to cut through. You are suppose to have permits to film pretty much anywhere over here, which can be very hard to get - especially if it is a horror film! Most of the time I admit we have gone guerrilla style and just ran out and filmed - and yes the police have turned up to my sets a few times! But fortunately we have got away with it!
While we’re on filmmaking, up to now your work has been underground, guerilla filmmaking if you will, do you plan to stay on that path or do you have aspirations of more? The Scribblers have massive respect for underground filmmaking so nothing wrong with staying that course.
JI: To be honest I really like underground films and am very happy I am apart of it, it was one of my goals in life, however I would not say no to a higher more mainstream budget as it would be nice to try a few more techniques etc out - but I would still like to make the film quite extreme and controversial which I know studios would not be happy about! I’ve already had one studio phone me to tell me that my film 'Tortured’ was disgusting and even the dialogue was too much for them - I would not mind but the version they saw was already a cut one!
TDBS – Feind: You should consider that a compliment Jason! On Troubled, you attempted to film by the Dogme95 rules (take a look here). Obviously the strict rules weren’t 100% adhered to as they seem a bit strict for anyone but did you enjoy trying to film in that style or was the experience a “well that was fun to do once” type of thing? Anyone you were attempting to emulate from the Dogme95 world specifically? *On a sidenote I enjoyed the film very much.
JI: Nice to hear it was a fun watch for you. I am a big fan of Lars von Trier and really like his style of filmmaking, also while I was doing film studies at college many years ago they introduced us to the world of Dogme95 filmmaking which I found quite an eye opener, my first real experience of this type of film was with the movie ’The Idiots’ that got screened to me during a film appreciation club I went to which I thoroughly enjoyed and found a very challenging movie. I’ve always had an interest in mental illness and wanted to do a new feature that focused more on this subject. I found by just going out and shooting a film in this vein made it achievable rather than sitting there getting wound up on how, if, but why etc. The best thing to do was for me to pick up my camera run out there and shoot the damn thing. I really enjoyed making the film and going through the process, I’m certainly glad I did it, but it was not the movie I set out to make. Some of the cast did not quite get and fully understand what I wanted in which I find a bit disappointing and the film took on much more of a comedy element than I wanted it too, it is one of the rare occasions where this is a film I would like to go back to and remake.
I have to ask as I saw Trigger pop up a few times and I have a black lab myself, is he yours? Does he enjoy being a star?
JI: He is my family dog that has been in the family since I was 16. He is a very old struggling man now, but he did really enjoy being on set, getting a load of fuss and running around the woods while filming, he has become a bit of a legend around here. Its safe to say he was my mascot.
TDBS – Feind: Very cool! I’ll leave any further Brit type questions to my partner but just for fun since I enjoy tossing back a few from time to time, do you have a favorite pub and more specifically a favorite pint, hard liquor or wine?
JI: I love drinking Coca-Cola - I have a reputation of living on the stuff, especially on film sets and while sat at home editing. I’m really a recluse who spends most of my time sat at home editing and watching films & playing games when not out filming.
TDBS - Feind: Hey, you sound like a writer! I’ve have been accused of being a hermit, I sadly can’t argue with that.
Cult - I would be too if anyone saw hide or hair of me anymore!
I'm originally from the Gloucestershire area, have you filmed in or around the Cotswolds? Is there a place in particular you usually film, if so any specific reason why?
JI: I would like to film in the Cotswolds, beautiful area, I filmed there once but that was for a promotional video for a new drink! I film a lot in Milton Keynes which is where I am based which is the main reason I film here, easy access and cheap on travel and just all round convenient. I have filmed all over the UK over the years, I find London a real pain, nightmare to drive in, nightmare to park in, and just such hassle for exterior locations, you can’t really get away with guerrilla filmmaking there - especially if you pull a tripod out!
TDBS - Cult: I whole heartedly agree about London. I always avoid that place like the plague!
I'm fascinated with the 'Video Nasties' un-gore-tunate period of ignorance of the mid eighties (I was a very young bloke then!) Do current Censorship laws hamper your creativity or finished products release in any way? Are there any instances you can recall?
JI: It has made it extremely difficult to gain distribution over here. Some distributors just don’t want to pay the BBFC for a rating and sometimes just gamble the chance they may ban it as they simply loose too much money, its a real shame. I have been told as I stated earlier that ’Tortured’ came across too strong and that was after I pre-cut it myself in fear of censorship, it really annoys me and takes enjoyment out of the art of filmmaking. I’m all for rating something 18 to protect minors but to cut and ban and to be told what we can and cannot watch is outrageous.
TDBS: Amen to that! Mark it Adult and let people decide what they choose to see themselves! It’s Ridiculous!
JI: I am not really a sports person at all but would go with football, and my dad supports Arsenal as he was brought up in that area and as a young kid I grew up supporting the team with him, he used to take me down to the matches etc.
TDBS - Cult: Do you have any other hobbies other than film-making that you wish to share, wargaming or competitive Darts perhaps?
JI: Apart from filmmaking I am a huge fan of gaming. I love getting one of my many game consoles out and have a good game - especially survival horrors like 'Resident Evil' & 'Silent Hill'.
TDBS – Feind: Hey two of my favorites! We may be able to be friends!
Last one from me: Cult and I are metalheads deriving much inspiration from music in general, has music been an influence on your work at all and what are some of your favorites? We won’t hold it against ya if you’re not a metal guy (it takes all types to make the world go round unfortunately) , we can’t all be perfect hahahaha
JI: I do enjoy music and find it very emotionally engaging. Songs and music in general can certainly inspire me and I have had great fun bringing a horror film to life scoring it in the edit. It can make or break a film sometimes. I listen to a lot of soundtracks, that is what I listen to the most really. I adore the ‘Cannibal Holocaust’ soundtrack & the ‘Nekromantik’ soundtrack. Other music that I like a lot is country & western music, I grew up to my granddad listening to a lot of it as well as him being well into is western films. I also enjoy relaxing and listening to chillout music like Coldplay.
Cult - Well you can call me a goddamn Hippie cus' I've never liked it! I was raised on Bowie, Queen and The Police. Perhaps you would appreciate our friend, Werewolves in Siberia's work, he writes and produces music in much the same vein and style, mostly in homage to cult film's of the eighties (primarily Fulci material ) Beyond the City of the Dead is a release I personally recommend.
TDBS – I think that’s all we have Jason so the floor is yours feel free to say anything you’d like or make a few shameless plugs.
JI: Thank you, it has been a real pleasure sharing some insights with you, I hope you have found it interesting and I hope to have many more films released over the coming years. My feature film ‘Twink’ has just been released on DVD. It is a bit different for me but am proud of what I have achieved. It is again a simple film but I feel it is a challenging and thought provoking film that will hopefully make a strong point and leave you the audience with something to think about.
TDBS: It was very much our pleasure Mr Impey and we look forward to following your career to see how it and you progress. Perhaps we’ll be able to do this again sometime when we’re all rich & famous!