Why You Can't Watch my New Horror Movie

03/12/2015 16:49 | Updated 03 December 2016

As I type these words, a team of very talented and cool people are putting the finishing touches on my new movie. It's called 'The House on the Witchpit'.

You won't find much about it on the internet. You won't find a cast list, synopsis* or trailer. At the moment, you won't even find it listed on my IMDB page. All you're likely to find if you do any digging is the poster image below (which was designed by the mighty Paul Cousins).

2015-12-03-1449151737-8763449-wpidhouse_wp_teaser.jpg

On January 23rd, we're going to screen the movie for the public for the first time at my favourite film festival in the world, Horror-on-Sea. Then, after that premiere, we destroy that version and never screen it again.

A different version will be hitting a different screen several weeks later. But my lips are sealed about that.

I've discussed the problems of having too much choice on this blog before. About how having a hundred thousand films or songs at your fingertips leads to a lack of risk-taking and a tendency to play safe. I've also talked about piracy, and the various (sometimes unexpected) effects it can have on independent films. I've even complained that sometimes things can be too easy, and that if everything's easy, nothing stands out.

'The House on the Witchpit' is the eighth movie that I've had a significant involvement in, and all of the others have followed the same pattern. A period of hype during post-production, the usual blitz of trying to get as many eyes as possible to see the trailers/stills and then the initial release at cinema or DVD/VOD. This release is followed by a total lack of control. The flick comes out in whatever territories have been sold. It gets pirated, hits the torrents and streaming sites, (often killing the chances of selling any more territories than the initial ones) and within a couple of months it's all over. Done. Old news.

This one will be different. For the first year at least, people will only see House on the Witchpit if I'm in the room there with them. No two screenings will be the same. In a world where everything is recorded and catalogued, I'm embracing rumour and misinformation like a long-lost relative. At present, we're not planning a VOD/BD/DVD release at all. If you want to see it, you'll have to go out of your way to do so. This isn't just for the reasons I've outlined, (as anyone catching the screenings will discover) but they're a good starting point.

We've run a remarkably tight ship. Nobody (not even the cast) has read the entire script. Not a single image has leaked. Everyone who sits down to watch it will be doing so with no idea what they're about to experience, which is something beyond a rarity nowadays. That factor alone is enough to make this worthwhile in my eyes. As a result, in all likelihood, less than two thousand people will end up watching the movie in 2016. A fraction of the audience that we'd reach with a regular home entertainment release pattern, but I like it that way. Hopefully, the people who go out of their way to catch it will be rewarded with a genuinely interesting experience. There's almost infinite choice in the marketplace, and if you sit down this evening to watch a horror movie you can choose from just about every one ever made. They're all just a click away.

All of them except this one.

Call me perverse, but I rather like that.

* Actually, you may find a synopsis which is a lie. That's how we roll.