The films behind Neil Marshall's 'Doomsday'
The British director of 'Doomsday' and 'The Descent' lets Time Out in on some of his filmic loves and hates
Raiders of the Lost Ark
‘The film that triggered everything off for me was "Raiders of the Lost Ark". It was a combination of seeing the film itself and a making-of documentary on TV a few days later. I remember walking out the cinema and thinking: Right, I’m going to direct movies. I was 11 years old, I made a key career decision there and then, and I’ve stuck to it ever since. There’s a scene in ‘Doomsday’ where they’re going through a mountain pass and it’s filled with wooden crates, and that’s a nod to the final shot of "Raiders".'
Saturday doubles‘The VHS onslaught was big, but every Saturday I used to go and watch a double bill. It was things like "Savage Island" and "The Dark Crystal" or "Top Secret" and "Raiders". I was just eating up films. My best mate and I got our VHS players around the same time and just immediately got lots of stuff in to watch. It was mostly just horror at the time. Aside from John Carpenter’s movies, I was getting things like "An American Werewolf in London" and "The Howling", then we moved on to stuff like "Zombie Flesh Eaters" and "I Spit on Your Grave" before they got banned.'
John Carpenter’s back catalogue'Lots of John Carpenter’s films of that period have those synthesised electronic scores, so in order to capture the whole ethos of the period I wanted to do a similar thing with "Doomsday". But, my experience, especially with Carpenter’s movies, is that kind of music works well with atmosphere but not very well for action. I wanted to combine it with this huge orchestral score for the action sequences, and it’s a tricky thing going back and forth from synthesiser to orchestral stuff and finding the right bend, so that was the challenge that I gave Tyler Bates and he sorted it out perfectly. I did at one point consider asking Carpenter to score the movie.'
No Blade of Grass'I get a bit narked when people suggest that the film was inspired by "28 Days Later". I’m hardly going to pay homage to something still in the national consciousness? Just because it has guys with gas masks on in the first five minutes… There is a film called "No Blade of Grass" which came out in 1968 and is all about this virus sweeping across Britain and gangs of bikers marauding around the place. That was a huge influence of this, and it’s one of very few post-apocalyptic movies set in the UK. The film deals with a family trying to escape from London and head up north.'
I Am Legend'For me, CG is an incredible tool when it’s used wisely, sparingly and cleverly. It can be beautiful. When it’s overused, it becomes shit. The biggest culprit for me recently was "I Am Legend". During the first half of the film, the CG was used brilliantly so show a desolate New York. It was textbook CG, perfect stuff. But in the second half, when the creatures come in, that is textbook shit CG. There was no need for them to be CG, they would have looked so much better, not to mention scarier, if they’d used actors. They were supposed be human anyway? I just could not understand the logic behind that. I’m sure the company that released it will be saying it worked fine because it was such a huge hit, but the film could have been ten times better, and still been a hit. It was frustrating for me because I really wanted to like that film.'
Albert Pyun'I haven’t seen "Cyborg" (the Jean-Claud Van-Damme film) for a very long time, but I remember quite liking it. It’s an Albert Pyun movie, and although he isn’t well respected, I like his work. He made "The Sword and the Sorcerer" in 1982 which is a great movie and came out around the same time as "Conan". There’s rumours of a "Sword and the Sorcerer" sequel coming out which is quite exiting.'
Waterworld'I mean, I like "Waterworld". I think it’s a great movie. It’s visually inventive, there’s very little CG, there’s lots of crazy stunt work. I love the boats and the scenery. I also love the idea of creating the world from scratch with the leftovers of the past. By the same rationale, I like "Mad Max 3", and I know that’s a very unfashionable thing to admit, but it’s a good movie. "Space Hunter" was another one, it’s kind of like "Mad Max" in space. It was one of those 3D movies that came out in the '80s. It also had Molly Ringwald in it. There were some great vehicles and action sequences. It was great stuff.'
Lancelot du Lac'I don’t watch any of the European arthouse fair if I can possibly help it. No, I went to film school and I had to endure an indoctrination into that type of stuff. I remember watching "Last Year in Marienbad" and "Lancelot du Lac" and just snoring all the way through them. The first five minutes when they’re chopping each other’s heads off is like Monty Python and I loved that, but everything after that…So what that succeeded in doing was putting me totally off European arthouse cinema. Ever since then, having got to know it on my own terms, I watch a lot more subtitled stuff.'
Grindhouse'When I saw it, I thought there were some fundamental problems with the idea. One, I don’t think that US or British audiences were as familiar with the Grindhouse concept as Tarantino seemed to think they were. The other thing was, the whole thing about those double bills was that the shit stuff was in between, so you could go out and get your popcorn and go to the loo. However, with "Grindhouse", the best stuff was in between.You had to sit there for three hours straight because you didn’t want to miss the fake trailers as they were the best bit. I thought ‘Planet Terror’ was entertaining. I thought ‘Death Proof’ was incredibly boring, except for the two car chases. Someone told me that the final car chase was amazing, but when I saw it, it just went on and on and on. I just thought, ‘get off the bonnet, man!’. The biggest problem with it was that they had something like $60 million each. What’s the point in making a $60 million film and covering it with scratches? They should have filmed it on old cameras and with old stock. They should have had $6000 each, and then it would have looked cool. '
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