Oct 27, 2022
As always, each episode of The Nick Taylor Horror Show explores how today's horror filmmakers are getting their movies made while deconstructing their methods and career strategies into practical insights that you can use on your own horror filmmaking journey. This includes their creative processes, funding resources, favorite books & tools, key life lessons, and much much more.
From Well Go Entertainment, The Loneliest Boy in the World is billed as a modern fairytale—except with zombies. When the sheltered and unsocialized Oliver is tasked with making new friends after the sudden death of his mother, he decides that digging up a few corpses might be his best bet. However, when he awakens the morning after his excavating escapades, he discovers that his newly acquired friends have mysteriously come to life overnight, launching them all into a series of misadventures as they try to keep their secret safe from neighbors, classmates, and social workers alike.
So I enjoyed this movie a lot; it was super charming, funny, and surprisingly tear-jerking. It has many metaphors about bullying, tolerance, accepting people who are different and the notion of chosen family, and overall is a great example of mixing horror and heart, which I always love.
The movie could also be described as a family-friendly version of Idle Hands and, overall, is a great recent example of modern gateway horror, which I don't think there's nearly enough of. Despite being rated R, which I don't understand, you can totally show this one to your kids, and I recommend you do.
Also, the production design on this movie is stellar, especially considering that they were on a budget. It has a strong nod to Edward Scissorhands as well as Hammer horror, and it's the kind of movie that looks like every production design detail was agonized over and is visually just beautiful.
The screenplay for The Loneliest Boy in the World has been around since the 80s and somehow took decades to produce before landing in the hands of British Director Martin Owen and his team. The movie also stars Max Harwood and Hero Fiennes Tiffin, and we have them all here for you today.
Here are some key takeaways from this conversation:
Always play it straight. The Loneliest Boy in the World features an ensemble cast of sentient zombies, but still, the movie manages to provide a deeply moving experience. Despite the absurdity of the situation, the actors play the roles straight and take it seriously, which helps the movie reach the viewer on an emotional level. A lot of horror movies are in danger of becoming campy, which can be a kiss of death if you want any emotional resonance, the way to avoid that is to have your actors treat the material with seriousness regardless of how absurd the situation is.
DON’T overthink it. When I asked Martin, very analytically, how he balanced the tones of horror, humor, and heart, he told me straight up that he basically just did it and didn't overthink it, and it worked... The movie has a very unique tone that's entirely its own. There are all sorts of exercises, archetypes, theories, and rules, etc., about how specific genres should be done but do we really need all of that? Yes, it's important to be aware of all of these rules, but at the end of the day, directors need to rely on their own creative intuition. Which brings me to my next point...
Learn all you can, then throw it all away. In an acting context, Max was talking about how he'd spent countless hours reviewing material for a role and then throwing it away and letting the material permeate through him naturally on the day. This concept applies to writing, directing, acting, just about any creative endeavor, and it comes down to being present and working with what's in front of you. Being over-analytical or over-attached to preconceived notions of things can be detrimental in any creative pursuit. Creative endeavors rely on presence, so learn all you can, throw it away, and let it emerge naturally. Doing this leads to more authentic, natural, ultimately more cohesive work.
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