Tall Men AKA Customer 152 (2017) Director Jonathan Holbrook tells us why you should always read the small print

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DVD Box graphic

Not to be confused with the Clark Gable horse opera of the same name Tall Men is a bigger budget remake of Jonathan Holbrook’s 2006 shocker Customer 152. Despite having a dead-end distribution centre job social misfit Terrence (Dan Crisafuli) can’t control his spending and ends up being declared bankrupt. Then all of a sudden a mystery credit card application turns up and Terrence just can’t help himself. Splashing out on a new car to impress the equally maladjusted Lucy (Kay Whitney) Terrence who has not read the small print on the credit agreement finds his interest racking up daily and it’s not long before the bank sends in its collectors to get their payment and if Terrence does not have the cash fear, despair and pain might just do in its place.

We like this movie ,it’s rather different to your average chiller with a smart concept, quirky characters and witty dialogue. As to our villains the bank’s Tall Men are a lot scarier than your average banker with something of Dr Who bad guys The Silence about their physical presence. Dan Crisafuli is particularly good as the awkward Terrence  channelling his inner Norman Bates as he slips further and further into desperation and pathos.

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There’s something of Norman Bates about Terrence Mariotti

We give this quirky horror, which is due to be released on DVD and VOD later this year, a big 555/66. And it has some great surf guitar on the soundtrack too.

Since Customer 152 is one of those odd features that we love to stick our noses into we decided to find out a bit more about writer, director and part-time Tall Man Jonathan Holbrook.

‘ I always wanted to be a filmmaker since I was a child’ Jonathan told us, ‘I loved storytelling and cameras when I was in high school. I watched David Lynch’s Blue Velvet when I was 18 and that was when I decided to make it my mission pursue my dream. Filmmakers like Lynch, Cronenberg, Villeneuve, etc. are huge influences.’

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Lee (Richard Garcia) and Lucy (Kay Whitney) took a turn for the worse after meeting the Tall Men

‘The idea for Tall Men came from people I knew who bragged about how they claimed bankruptcy and their worries were over, but they didn’t understand what that does to interest rates for credit cards and what responsible people pay for it. So, I decided to make the original Customer 152 where the antagonists were originally the good guys’

‘I decided that I wanted to remake it because of the resources that I have now and make the film the way I had originally conceived it and the technology available now made it a reality. I felt that it was a great story but the original may have been a little too one-sided and preachy. The remake has more depth and the quality is so much better. Originally I shot it on DV at 4:3 aspect ratio. Now I was able to shoot in 1080p. Plus I added more ghosts and demons to the film and the TALL MEN are much creepier as they now look, as if  they have climbed out of a crypt. I used a lot more Fx makeup in the later one too.’
We noticed a reference from the bankers about being hard-working Republicans so we asked Jonathan whether there was a political subtext to that reference?

‘I swing both ways of the political spectrum for the record as I feel like politics should not be so black and white.  It seems that Republicans set out to “teach a lesson” which is not so much a bad thing, but that line works very well with the audience. Both today and back in the original film.’

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The Tall Man himself Jonathan Holbrook

So what can the future expect from Jonathan Holbrook filmmaker?

‘I am currently producing a short film called Brace Face which I also wrote after being approached by Elena Stecca with the story idea she wanted to direct. This will be her directorial debut under my company name, Chronicle Factory. The short will be in the can in a couple of months.

We will be then starting production on my new feature called Beloved Beast this summer. I will say it will involve trafficking, snuff films, a serial killer and a rabbit mask. It will be crazy. Much darker than Tall Men‘.

Jonathan Holbrook thank you very much for speaking to the Horror Hothouse

 

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