Back in October 2015 we talked to director David Hutchison about his forthcoming Celtic horror feature Baobhan Sith (pronounced Bavanshee you Sassenach bystanders) (White Fairy) which was then soon to start the festival rounds. The great news is that Baobhan Sith (White Fairy) is now available to stream from Amazon and it’s a lot of fun too.
David told us that the Baobhan Sith is ‘a Celtic demon, a bit like a vampire with talons instead of fangs and hooves instead of feet. The myth predates vampire yore such as Vlad The Impaler and Countess Bathory.’
In the movie a cinematographer Senga Sutherland (Janet de Vigne) and her estranged daughter Freya (Larah Bross) are tricked by Laird Jeremiah Clate (Greg Dysdale), into visiting his isolated Scottish island to film a rare flower, the bog bloater, as it blooms . However what Jeremiah really needs Senga for is to complete the horror film that will break the family curse. You see all the Clate women are cursed to become Boabhan Sith when they produce a male heir and the only way to break the curse is by three score people witnessing the Baobhan Sith when the bog bloater blooms. Which obviously is why Jeremiah needs Senga to finish his movie in time to be shown at a horror movie festival on the mainland that will take place during the flowering.
Yes it really is as mad as it sounds and for good measure there is also a bonkers housekeeper, a mad egg lady and a possessed chicken to push this crazy Celtic folk horror even further over the comedic edge. David told us that he film was based upon ‘ the true story of South Korean filmmaker Shin-shang Ok who along with his wife were kidnapped and made to work for seven years for North Korean dictator’s son Kim Jong-Il. They made the cult movie Pulgasari ( a Godzilla rip-off) and eventually escaped while attending a film festival. I liked that story but didn’t have funds to shoot it so I moved the location to a Scottish island and instead of a dictator I had a laird (a nod here to Lord Summer Isle of The Wicker Man; I grew up next to the Summer Isles). Instead of a director and his wife I made it a cinematographer and her estranged daughter. I wanted the story not to be based on real people, just inspired by them so I also wanted to add a supernatural element.’
‘Secondly, I was looking for a creature that hadn’t been used in film before and came across the Baobhan Sith.’
Hutchison made Baobhan Sith (White Fairy) over three years on a micro budget of under £10,000 and eagle-eyed Edinburghers may spot the interior of The Banshee Labyrinth, Marlyns Wynd and The Rowantree standing in for parts of Clate Manor. David told us that ‘I used the base of Lamb Island in the Firth of Forth to build Clate Island. The beaches were Seacliff and Cockenzie, where we had to wait a year for the towers of Cockenzie Power Station to come down when the demolition was delayed for a year. The glasshouse and standing stones were on a hill near Kirkcaldy and the small castle was at Mortonhall. Peatcutting scenes were shot at our family peatbank in Assynt, Sutherland.’
We throughly enjoyed Boabhan Sith (White Fairy), it is a well made movie that is both original and very funny despite the limitations of its low, low-budget. There is something very healthy going on in Scotland with filmmakers like Lawrie Brewster, Craig-James Moncur, Grant McPhee, Andy Stewart and David Hutchison all creating top quality work, keep it up folks.
We liked Baobhan Sith (White Fairy) very much so we gave it a 666/666