One of our favourite shorts from last year was The Clown Attacks from director Martin Stocks. Martin has a new horror comedy short called The Ex which will be making its debut on the festival circuit very soon and the trailer has gone live on You Tube today (28 April 2017)
More on the new film later but first we wanted to get to know a bit about Martin and what made him interested in making his own movies:
‘I’d always been really into films, but studying screenwriting at University was when I really started to develop my own creative ideas. Through years of writing and re-writing various screenplays, I gradually developed my voice as a writer – and the range of projects I was working on. After several feature scripts struggled to get off the ground, I started to realise that the quickest way to get your stuff made was to do it yourself. That way you can also keep creative control and make the film you want to make.
Most of my own projects tend to be dark comedies. I’ve been influenced by many British comedies like The Full Monty, Brassed Off, and some of the older Ealing comedies like Whisky Galore and School for Scoundrels. I also think Dumb and Dumber is one of the most consistently funny comedies ever made, and one to inspire towards.’
Martin’s first film took a wry look at last year’s Killer Clown craze what made him want to make a Killer Clown film?:
‘The idea for The Clown Attacks came from a random conversation about the killer clown pranks around Halloween last year. Seeing the sensationalist press coverage, I thought it would be interesting to show this craze from the perspective of a genuinely nice clown who bears the brunt of the public outrage. I also wanted to make a silent comedy inspired by the style of the Buster Keaton films. I wanted to show visually how the public’s contempt turns this clown from nice to nasty.’
Back to Martin’s new film where did the idea for The Ex come from?:
‘The idea for The Ex came when I fell out of the bed of the girl I was dating and injured my arm. I joked that her flat was haunted by the spirit of an ex. She broke it off shortly after to get back with her ex, so perhaps I was right. Either way – the premise was born.
Co-Director Gareth Brown and I set ourselves the mission of creating the most excruciating date of all time. We liked the idea of a man, already struggling with first-date nerves, having to contend with the angry voice of her ex from beyond the grave. We thought it would be funny for him to be able to hear the ex’s voice – but his date cannot. This also raised the question of whether or not this was all in his head.
An increasingly surreal encounter unfolds, as the ghost of her ex-boyfriend tries everything to sabotage the date. Beginning with childish taunts, this quickly escalates to dark threats and culminates in something more metaphysical – and disturbing.
We are currently submitting The Ex into a range of film festivals throughout the UK and internationally, and are hoping for a long festival run.’
W”e like the sound of that, but what’s next from Martin Stocks filmmaker?:
‘I’m just finishing off another short film I’ve written and directed called Toll Booth. This is a suspense film about a man who starts working in an isolated toll booth following the disappearance of his predecessor. As the night unfolds, he starts to become unnerved by the strange locals and suspects that something is out there. We’re just finishing post now and am really excited by how it’s turned out. We used many of the same cast and crew as The Ex, who were all excellent again. I’m planning on entering it into festivals in the next month or so. I’m also developing this into a feature film, which I’m hoping to direct.
I also have another feature Humble Pie in development with Artful Films. This is a feel-good comedy about a struggling Yorkshire pie factory who compete to make the world’s largest pie. This is based on an actual tradition in my hometown Denby Dale believe it or not.’
We believe you Martin, save us some of that pie!