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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with Director DARREN WARD! (A Day of Violence, Sudden Fury)

Interview with British director Darren Ward

Director Darren Ward at Work!

TDH: Cheers Darren and first of all many Greetings from Steve and our whole Editorial Crew at!
It’s a great pleasure & honour for us to have You here for an exclusive interview today!
And by the way: Happy Birthday to You in the aftermath!! 🙂

DW: Yeah – Thanks and Cheers to You, Steve!

TDH: Ok – then here we go with the questions, Darren:
Can You please tell us first of all: when did You first got in touch with the medium Film/Movie and how did You start Your work as a director…?

DW: I used to watch the Hammer movies when i was very young and instantly fell in love with cinema.  I was always fascinated with special effects and wanted to know how it was all created.  From Hammer i moved onto watching the so-called video nasties in the UK (Zombie Flesh-eaters, Cannibal Ferox etc).

I directed my first short horror film under the Giallo Films banner in 1991 ‘Paura il Diavolo’, but had been involved in making at least fifteen other short movies, mainly gangster/action movies from between 1989-91.

TDH: As You seem to be a big admirer of Italian poliziotessco (Italo Crime / Euro Crime) Movies and the whole Italian Giallo Movie Genre:
Which movies, directors or actors have been Your main inspirations for Your work as a director and which time period do You think was the best for these movies ?

DW: The list is long; Sergio Leone, Sergio Martino, Umberto Lenzi, Dario Argento, Fernando di Leo, Lucio Fulci, Ruggero Deodato and many many more.  Without doubt the best of this genre was mid seventies to early eighties in my opinion.

A Day of Violence - British Uncut DVD

A Day of Violence – British Uncut DVD

TDH: With Your last finished & released Movie “A Day of Violence” we heard from Italian actor icon Giovanni Lombardo Radice (Hooper in Your Movie) that You were always working with Your film crew on the weekend for a time period of about one full year… Was this a very difficulty task to perform and how about the financing of the movie ?

DW: A DAY OF VIOLENCE took 15 months to film due to the fact all the cast and crew were also working full time in other jobs and having commitments, so planning times when we could all get together was sometimes more than a little challenging. I have worked with the same special effects team since the nineties and wouldn’t dream of going anywhere else. It allowed me to have plenty of time editing the scenes and having the luxury to go back again and again on the edit to get it pinpoint.

The film was part financed by myself and private investors. It cost just over £50k to make. Everybody worked for free and the money is up there on the screen.
TDH: Do You work full time as a movie director or do You also have other jobs besides this? Furthermore: Do You also work as a cutter and editor in the post production of Your own Movies ?

DW: I do in fact work in I.T and have done for over 15 years, you know it pays the mortgage and feeds the kids, so until a time when directing is a permanent job, it gets me through life LOL.

ADOV was the first time i have edited my own movies, up until then Peter Dobson was my regular editor (Sudden Fury, Nightmares), but with ADOV I wanted to do it all in house and for 99.9% that worked for me. I enjoyed it so much that when BEYOND FURY is in production, I will again wear the editors cap.

TDH: As I am myself a big fan of Italian Crime and Horror Movies, I did enjoy Your “A day of violence” very much and must say that it is one of my favourite Movies! I think You did make a perfect combination between Fulci’s Horror Style (regarding the Special Effects and some camera work) and also more modern Scandinavian Cinema in the vein of Pusher by Nicolas W.R. for example. Your movie got a modern, but also very dark retro-atmosphere… what do You personally think about this?

DW: Thats great you enjoyed the film so much and yes Fulci style violence does indeed inhabit my films. Raw, bloody and practical (no CG). The feel of the film was always going to be gritty, I wanted it to hark back to the late seventies and early eighties. Gritty, brutal and in some cases unrelenting. Even the great score by Dave Andrews in steeped in 80’s electronic and grubby analogue riffs.

I always like the camera moving and have been greatly influenced by the likes of Sergio Leone and Dario Argento. The camera tells the story and can really by one simple movement bring a scene to life in a way that completely drags you into the film.

ADOV’s style was to have creeping, dolly and jib shots during the story and then to go into hand held lingering violence and action. John Raggett did a great job on lighting and camera and will again work as DOP on BEYOND FURY.

Poster Artwork a day of violence

A Day of Violence Original Cover Artwork Movie Poster

TDH: Regarding the Torture Scenes in “A Day of Violence” (e.g. the castration Scene) You really pushed the borders to new Dimensions in shock reality. The most effects of Your movie seemed to be handmade, which I like much more than the newer Stuff with CGI … as I think this is the best way to shock the Audience even more! What is Your personal opinion about classic hand-made effects vs. newer CGI Effects regarding the gore scenes ?

DW: I just love practical effects and feel today most films rely too much on CGI. You can’t beat a real bloody squib and films that use CG to replicate blood and gore effects just instantly lose my attention. Going back to the 70’s & early 80’s everything was practical and look at the great fx’s we were getting from the likes of Tom Savini, Giannetto de Rossi, Gino de Rossi et al. You can’t capture that gritty realism with CG and I will continue to make movies where the special effects are brutally realistic.

CG should be used to subtly blend with practical effects, small amounts that make a scene seamless not a cinema monster that totally overpowers a movie.

ADOV had 95% practical effects – The only ones being CG were two gunshots (Boswell torturing Smithy) and this was only because it would cost over £1000 to have an gun armourer on set. It wasn’t cost effective for two shots so I had a muzzle flash and shell ejecting added in post.

The other scene involved the car smash. I had the characters of Mitchell & Holly digitally added inside the vehicle. The rest is all real on-set practical effects and pyrotechnics.

Stuart Browne and Alastair Vardy have been handling the special effects and pyrotechnics on my films for years and both work professionally in the industry (Alastair has just worked on Die Hard 5 and Stuart is in India working on The Dead 2). Their work is simply amazing and always delivers on the brutality for my films, especially in the case of ADOV. The castration scene has caused many walkouts around the world on the festival circuit.

Screenings and Audience Reactions

Screenings and Audience Reactions

TDH: What about the reactions of the audience at the festivals and Your first screenings, when they first saw You’re A.D.O.V. ? I think the reactions must have been be very emotional… (laughs)

DW: We had a couple angrily leave the showing at FAB Fest in Edinburgh, they then verbally attacked Nick Rendell (Mitchell in ADOV) for the films graphic portray of violence. An official complaint was made to the Scottish film board – who I believe replied along the lines of ‘You came to an exploitation film festival and watched a film called ‘A Day of Violence’ and what you are offended?’

We’ve had couples leave during the tooth extraction scene as well. Everywhere we have been with the movie has had great reception. The film has won 6 awards to date including Best Feature, Best Director and Best Special Effects. I am very proud of the film.

TDH: With Your own Label “Giallo Films” You are paying tribute to the Giallo genre I am guessing… will You also release movies from other directors on Your own label and if so what are the main preferences for being included on Your list?

DW: I grew up watching Dario Argento movies and fell in love with the genre. My films aren’t Giallo but have a small element of the thriller genre. I try and take the camera work from the Giallo genre into my films. I love dolly and steadicam shots with a lot of hand held thrown in for good measure.

At the moment I am not looking to release other directors work, maybe later in the future, but at the moment I am using all my time to try and secure finance for my next film Beyond Fury.

Darren Ward and Crew with Olaf Ittenbach

Darren Ward and Crew with Olaf Ittenbach

TDH: What about other horror/thriller and giallo directors in the U.K. ? (e.g. the Director of “Kill List”) Do You have good contacts and relationships to directors of the same genre and how about the relationship to directors from other Countries like Germany for example ?

DW: I know a few other directors here in the UK (James Eaves, Johannes Roberts, Andrew Jones amongst others). We don’t see alot of each other as we live in different parts of the country, but check in with each other now and again to see what each other are up to.

I have known Olaf Ittenbach for a while now, we first meet in 1998 at Crimson eye film festival in Stuttgart and more recently at last year’s ‘Weekend of Fear’ in Germany, where ADOV won the Golden Glibb for Best Feature.

TDH: When it comes to extremity, most people always mention one movie: “A Serbian Film”
What is Your personal opinion about this extreme movie ?

DW: I have seen it maybe twice and was like most other people shocked at some of the more nasty scenes in the film, most notably the baby scene. However it does lose much of its power on a second viewing and the effects for that scene are ultimately quite bad– I went out to dinner with the director at Fantasporto in 2011. We both had our films screening at the festival.

TDH: Do You think the Horror/Crime/Extreme Movie Scene in the U.K. is much different from the scene of other countries ? I really like the British humour and so I think it must be different… am I right ?

DW: I think at the moment the British scene is really coming alive with fresh ideas where say America are still just churning out shitty remakes or sequels.

TDH: What is Your personal opinion about movie conventions like the “Weekend of Horror” or “Movie Days” for example here in Germany ? Will we be able to see and meet You on a convention here in Germany soon ?


Director Darren Ward and actor Giovanni Lombardo Radice

Director Darren Ward and actor Giovanni Lombardo Radice

DW: Conventions are great, you meet so many people and having them say they enjoy your films make it all worth while. Some even come up to say they didn’t like it! But hey that’s ok too.

I would love to be invited to a convention in Germany, just waiting to be asked…..LOL

TDH: With “A day of violence” You received many good critics and nominations on well-known movie festivals… how do You personally think about such awards and do You think “A Day of Violence” was Your best movie so far ?

DW: Yes, ADOV has been getting great reviews and winning awards around the globe, which makes me very proud of all the cast and crew for all their hard work. I love to win awards who doesn’t… After the long haul of making a movie, it is great to then see the finished product played in festivals around the world. I think so far ADOV is my best film. I had a much higher budget than before and had exactly who I wanted in front of and behind the camera! However I intend to top it on all levels for my next film BEYOND FURY and already have a great cast lined up!

TDH: What do You think about special Movie festivals like the Fright Fest ? Are they the most important thing for promoting movies of new directors ?

DW: Festivals are a great way of getting your film promoted. You instantly grab the eye of the worldwide festival circuit (more so if you get your film accepted into some of the bigger festivals), but other factors are also needed to keep the public awareness going. Social media sites are a great way of keeping people up to date with your production news.

Beyond Fury - Part 3 of the Crime Trilogy by Darren Ward

Beyond Fury – Part 3 of the Crime Trilogy by Darren Ward

TDH: Your next to-be-released Movie is called “Beyond Fury” I saw on Your website… Are You in production now and what can You tell us about this 3rd Part of Your crime trilogy ?

DW: The script is ready and the majority of the cast is in place, now we are currently seeking finance for the project to go into full production. I have secured three Italian horror legends for this movie; Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Barbara Cupisti & Bobby Rhodes. Nick Rendell is reprising the character from SUDDEN FURY, Walker and Spaghetti Western legend Dan Van Husen are also on board. So it is going to be a very cool shoot indeed!

It is as you mentioned the final part in my crime trilogy, where we see the return of ‘Walker’, a hitman character from my first feature film ‘Sudden Fury’. The character of Walker is now in his 40’s with a civilian lifestyle, the mercenary of old long gone.

Walker and his pregnant girlfriend Claudia are brutally attacked one evening in a park by a gang of youths, resulting in the death of Claudia and their unborn child. Walker having been seriously injured is rushed into hospital with multiple stab wounds… He recovers and his only direction in life is to track down and kill those responsible for the attack.

The film is a revenge/vigilante thriller with smatterings of splatter and gun play which people have come to expect from my films. I really want to pull out all the stops with ‘Beyond’ and make it a non-stop action/gore epic! However at the heart of it, is one man’s mission for justice and if that means getting real down and dirty then so be it.

TDH: I noticed that Your Movie “ADOV” really had a very atmospheric and back to the roots- Soundtrack… I liked it very much as it reminded me of the good stuff from the 80’s.
Who did the Soundtrack and what is Your personal Music Taste, Darren?

DW: Dave Andrews did a fantastic job with the music. We worked very closely together on this, as i wanted a really dirty gritty analogue sound that harked back to the 80’s. A lot of electronica with guitar riffs and even a Soprano track for the end. I am very pleased with the music and it would be great to see the soundtrack released one day!

I very much like Depeche Mode, Kasabian, I like a wide variety of music.

Director Darren Ward shows the middle finger...

Director Darren Ward shows the middle finger…

TDH: What is Your opinion about Internet Bashing and anonymous postings from people, who just wanna drag people/directors down by faking their own identity and posting shit about them? I think in England it’s nothing new as the Daily Mail and Your tabloids are violent and brutal as Hell to prominent people all the time, too… Am I right ? (laughs)

DW: I think if people have no life and just want to rip the shit out of other people for no reason then they are fucked up! You hear of it happening a lot – personally I just don’t bother reading about it.

TDH: What are Your Plans for the future, Darren ?

DW: Hopefully to carry on making movies!

TDH: Tricky and funny question: If You had a budget like Hollywood for “Titanic”… Which kind of Movie would You like to produce ?

DW: I would make the maddest, badass spaghetti western I possibly could!

TDH: The last words are Yours… You can leave some Comments, Greets or whatever here 🙂 For example to Your fans and our readers…

DW: I would just like to thank Steve and the team for this interview and for all you guys’n’gals reading this, go check out ADOV, which is being released real soon in Germany by Illusions Unlimited.

I would like to thank fans of my movies for all their continuing support and I hope sometime soon I can be at one of the German conventions and meet you all.

TDH: Thanx a lot for the very cool and informative interview, Darren! We will promote You in every possible way and “A Day of Violence” really kicks Ass – cannot wait for Your Screener and will write a detailed review about it as soon as I have received it from You. We hope to see more great stuff of You soon… It would be great, if we could do a follow-up to the interview then.

Cheers and Greets! We are looking forward to meet You personally on a convention here soon!

[- Interview made by Mister Diabolo in April 2013-]

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