Director: I blame mum for turning me into a little
Director John McPhail says he got his love of horror films early... possibly a little too early.
The 33-year-old, who picked up a number of awards for directing 2015’s Where Do We Go From Here?, said: “I grew up with films. My mum loved John Carpenter, one of my favourite directors. She would say ‘you need to watch The Fog, it’s brilliant’ and I’d be sitting there terrified!
“For years I actually wanted to be a cinematographer, and it wasn’t until about six or seven years ago I started directing, made my first short film. I really enjoyed it and bossing people about!
“No, I love working with people and being collaborative. That’s the best part, I got to just hang about with my pals and make a film.”
Having previously worked on romantic comedies, he relished the chance to work on his favourite genre for Anna And The Apocalypse, albeit with a few nerves.
“I loved it, but I was terrified.” he says. “I wanted to make sure I did everything right by what I would want as a horror fan.”
John wasn’t, however, a musical fan, until he started doing his research for
directing this one. “If you’d have tried to take me to a musical before I made this you’d be taking me kicking and screaming,” he laughs, adding: “My favourite musical was South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut…”
John admits he’s now fully fallen in love with the genre andhailsthe cinematography of West Side Story and the fun of Legally Blonde. Anna And The Apocalypse sees La La Land meet Shaun Of The Dead, so was it a challenge for John to bring the zombie, Christmas and musical elements into one melting pot?
“The way I wanted to work it was that the first 15 minutes would be just the kids, no zombies,” John explains. “That’s the way I like to tell stories. I like you to know who the characters are and want you to love andchampionthem.
“From there, we can then get off and running and be as crazy as we wanted and have as much fun as we wanted. These kids are just incredible… well, I call them kids but they’re in their twenties! But they’re my kids and from the momentthattheyallmet they just fell in love with each other and it was amazing.
“They came in together for rehearsals and they all felt like they were back at high school again, running about the corridors causing chaos. They were all made-up in blood playing switch and scrabble in the green rooms and the energy and enthusiasm they brought to every scene was just incredible.
“We’d be two hours behind, the rain coming down and it’s freezing cold, but they always delivered with enthusiasm!”
Director John McPhail