Lifelong friends Clif Prowse and Derek Lee are finally seeing the horrific fruits of their labours.
Four years ago they bandied about an idea for a film about friends traveling through Europe and facing the ultimate horror. And here it is.
“Clif” and “Derek” are on their grand tour when Derek begins to feel ill. Stranded and isolated, Clif looks frantically for help, but Derek gets sicker and crazier.
Slowly, steadily and against his will, he satisfies his craving for human blood while Clif watches in horror.
He is unwilling to leave his best friend disintegrating and from there it’s hell on wheels. Their impressive feature debut cost just 318 k and is gaining a big fan base.
M&C spoke with Prowse and Lee in Toronto.
M&C – It’s impressive that within the well-worn vampire movie genre you’ve created something fresh and different.
Derek Lee – It was one of those things where we didn’t set out to make next vampire movie or found footage.
It was only in combining these things that gives it a fresh take, something we haven’t seen. We took something stylized and popularized like vampirism and hopefully make it seem real.
M&C – You show us vampirism from the point of view of a half human, half vampire that has remorse and morality and doesn’t want to be a killer and has to live forever.
Lee – The thing about watching now is feeling so sorry for my character that isn’t young and hot forever, as in typical vampire movies, just like they don’t have consequences for being a vampire.
We took that idea to the bare bones, and wondered what it would be like if you had to drink human blood and there’s no way out and it’s dark and disturbing. We feel that that idea has been given short shrift.
M&C – Being sick and far away is a scary enough and it’s a real jumping off point, so you start with an anxiety nightmare. Do you know something about this?
Lee – I do know what that’s like, I had many experiences. I’ve been quite ill in sketchy parts of the world, sitting on a toilet, lancing a boil the size of a goose egg with a needle.
A friend came to India and endured typhoid and became a wizened and hardened human being. I knew the opening would resonate with young people who want to travel.
Prowse – In the film it was supposed to be their trip of a lifetime. The worst thing when you’re traveling and you’re isolated and there is no one to take care of you and it becomes an obstacle.
M&C – Clif, being the solicitous friend is a thankless job here.
Lee – He really hangs in there and he hangs in. It was funny, we were pitching the movie to an executive and he asked why Clif would hang around?
We looked at each other and we thought that it felt real. You’re going to stick with your best friend through thick and thin.
We have that; we’ve been friends since we were 13. We have a history and so that was really true to relationship and how much they care about each other.
M&C – Yes! You used home movies when you were both little, playing.
Prowse – That was one of the things we thought was interesting. We knew each other so long and the scent of reality is on the old video footage.
Those are details that you can’t recreate, starring fictional characters. It was endearing and nerdy.
M&C – So how you do the movie vomit?
Lee – For the scene in the restaurant we used a pressurized tank and filled it with minestrone. You can’t see that I’m holding the tube next to me with my other hand.
I’m only down on one hand and you can’t tell from the form I’m assuming that there is a tube there. With the blood scenes, I just filled a bag with blood and splashed a little into the toilet ahead of time.
Almost always Clif asks for less blood and I ask for more, but this was one of the few moments when we needed lots.
M&C – Looking at your resumes there seems to be a lot of dark good and evil type films. Ever consider a musical comedy?
Prowse – We talked about it, we tried to inject a bit of humor but we really are drawn to dark character driven genre movies that’s the kind of movies we’re passionate about.
M&C – Are you excited for the opening?
Lee – Absolutely! It’s an opportunity to have a few people like my parents who haven’t seen the movie, cast and crew and friends.
It’s been four years and finally there is this opportunity to get together. Some people invested money and we wondered if it ever would be released.
The woman who plays Clif’s mother is his mother. We thought if we play ourselves and get our family in and expand the reality as far as possible, we could drop the “reality” backstory. It’s horrible to say but family is cheap!