Writing the Perfect Bite we talk to Seize the Night writer Richard Humphries

As repeat offenders will know, the Hothouse is getting pretty excited about Emma Dark’s forthcoming indie short Seize the Night. After chatting with the movie’s Fang Man Steve Bosworth, we were delighted to get the opportunity to talk to Emma’s co-writer Richard Humphries about his involvement with the project. we kicked off by asking Richard how he came to be involved in the film:

Richard also gets to be a dead werewolf

Richard also gets to be a dead werewolf in Seize the Night

‘I met Emma a few years ago on social media and while talking to her offered to show her a werewolf feature I’d written. She liked it and asked me if I’d be interested in working with her on some ideas; that’s how it began. Over the years we’ve collaborated on several screenplays and stories; which is what led me to become one of the writers of Seize the Night.

The first discussion of the film was fairly broad; encompassing the elements of a lone vampire soldier versus werewolves and for production reasons, keeping it limited in cast and locations. We figured out the basic structure, but the meat of the story didn’t come together right away.

Emma Dark as Eva

Emma Dark as Eva

The story developed in part out of me pushing for having vampires and werewolves as allies, spare Eva of course as she’s ‘gone rogue’ in the eyes of the Covens and Packs. Movies have always portrayed both as enemies and we’ve now seen that so many times it’s not interesting anymore. I’m very grateful Emma agreed to the alliance angle, it gives the film a different dynamic and energy from the more common ‘versus’ film.

Before I did the first draft of the short, I wrote a two/three page back story which was put aside for another origin. The back story we use is from Merlyn’s (Merlyn Roberts who also stars in Seize the Night) mind and working along with Emma we extrapolated upon it; building the universe, characters and social structures, etcetera. Even though it’s a short film, it was important to develop the universe because it not only made the writing process easier; but it also gave the actors something to have in their minds.

Merlyn Roberts in Seize the Night

Merlyn Roberts in Seize the Night

After I did the first draft, I sent it along to Emma, she made a pass, and it went back and forth until she was satisfied. The fact we’d worked together previously made the process a lot easier because we’re familiar with what appeals to and is important to the other as a story-tellers. Honestly if we hadn’t worked together previously, the rewriting process would’ve been much more difficult.

One of the more amusing things about the writing was that for the longest time we didn’t have a title. I forget how many we went through, pretty much everyone involved contributed at few ideas but nothing ever took. I was driving home from work when Seize the Night from Meat Loaf’s Bat out of Hell 3 album came on, it clicked as good title. Obviously, Emma agreed.

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I’m very excited to hear an audience reaction to the movie and it’s going to leave fans hungry for more. I can’t give much away, but you’ll learn more about the past of Eva and Tobias, the vampire and werewolf cultures, and get into the inner workings of the sinister Cable 9. The night holds many secrets, waiting to be revealed.’

Outside of Seize the Night Richard has a number of projects in development

‘Currently I’m working on a number of feature screenplays, while I’ve written primarily in the horror genre; I’ve forayed into fantasy, science fiction, Giallo, comedy, western, and am currently developing a television series. Along with these projects, I’m developing few other stories with Emma.

Scene from Richard's first short Nightwolf

Scene from Richard’s first short Night Wolf

Emma has also been very instrumental in helping complete a short film I directed back at college called Night Wolf. In a way it brings us back to the beginning as it’s set within the world of the werewolf screenplay I showed her back when we first met.

The feature is called After Wolf which, without giving too much away, is a war film wherein humanity fights for its survival against werewolves. I wanted to write a werewolf film that grabs the audience by the throat and gives them an entirely new, more lethal breed of predator.

When you work with an iconic creature you must do something different to engage and keep the audience on their toes. Even more than in Seize the Night the werewolves in After Wolf are radically different from any other incarnation, not only biologically, but societal as well. I’ve been shopping the script around to various production companies and we’ll see what happens.

Alongside that, I’m adapting a short stage-play I wrote called Killer Culture into a short screenplay. If things work out, I’ll be working on turning that into a film before the year is out. It’s in the vein early, grounded Dario Argento rather than the slick, action-horror of Seize the Night. It has a few twists that’ll offset and unsettle an audience in that special way only a horror film can’

So there’s quite a look to look forward to from Mr Humphries magic pen, thank you so much for agreeing to talk to the Hothouse Richard

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