Principal Learning Officer, Paul Butler, and Senior Learning Officer, Stewart Sparke, premiered their film, The Creature Below, to a sold out audience at Shepherd’s Bush VUE cinema as part of FrightFest, the UK’s largest international genre film festival showcasing the best horror, Sci-Fi and thriller films. It was then released in the USA and Canada in March this year.
The Creature Below is a horror feature film about a young marine-biologist, Olive, whose discovery of a malevolent entity sets her on a bloody descent into the jaws of insanity.
The film was financed by Dark Rift Films with a budget of £12,000 and shot in just over 14 days in locations around Yorkshire, with a little more than a £400 camera, two battery powered lamps, a smoke machine for equipment and the passion and hard work of the talented crew. The film has been proved critically and commercially successful.
Paul Butler (left) and Stewart Sparke (right) with Lord of the Rings actor, Dominic Monaghan, at FrightFest
Director Stewart Sparke said: “The Creature Below is the culmination of a great deal of work myself and my trusted collaborator Paul Butler began back in 2012, when we first discussed the idea of bringing the combined horrors of our twisted imaginations to the big screen. The two of us were lucky enough to find ourselves working a day job together in the equipment store of our local film school and through our mutual love of horror films we spent every lunch break concocting scripts featuring monstrous horrors and the unfortunate characters who would face them.
“Like many independent filmmakers we spent whatever spare time and money we had over the next few years cutting our teeth on numerous short films and were lucky enough to work with some really talented people along the way, many of whom joined us when we embarked upon the task of making our first feature film in 2015.
“As gore fans and devotees of old school practical creature effects we knew our first feature had to have a monster and, over the course of the next year, The Creature Below took shape in the damp basement we called our production office. Scraping together every spare penny we could find, we enlisted the help of some of the most talented and hardworking people I have ever had the pleasure of working with and dove head first into the most stressful and rewarding experience of my life.
“The Creature Below is now available to buy in the USA, Canada, Germany, Japan and finally the UK! It’s also coming to the rest of Europe, China and South Korea later in the year. Paul and I made the film for just £12,000 and filmed it during our holidays over just 14 days so I’m very chuffed to say you can now walk into HMV and buy our film. It’s only £7 in Morrisons!”
Andrew Fryer, Dean of the School of Film, Music and Performing Arts at Leeds Beckett University, said: “This is yet another example of the growing national and international impact of the Northern Film School, rated by the Hollywood Reporter as ‘one to watch’. I am looking forward to seeing what Paul and Stewart come up with next.’’
The team are now in the process of making their second feature film, Book of Monsters, which they plan to shoot in early September. They have launched a kickstarter crowd-funding campaign: the video of which was made with the help of students on the BA (Hons) and MA Filmmaking courses here at Leeds Beckett. To view this and to make a pledge, please click here.