In the previous blog I talked candidly about my debut feature film Young, High and Dead and how it failed to get recognition or succeed with sales. In this blog I explain how that situation inspired my second project The Highridge Massacre.
It took me a year and a half to accept that Young, High and Dead (YHAD) was not going to succeed as an independent film. I had tried everything possible to try and garner the film some attention but it became impossible to keep doing this. Releasing a film is like cutting a main artery, the blood flows fast and you have a very short window to promote it. Once the blood stops pumping and people no longer talk about your project, you are left with a corpse that cannot be revived.
I spent months noting every mistake I had made throughout the 5 year process and believe me there were a lot! I noted all the things I didn't like with the actual film itself and took onboard all of the feedback from critics, sales reps, friends etc. This creative intervention wasn't a pleasant experience but it allowed me to create a blue print of ideas that I needed to inject into my next project.
It was at this time Graeme & Chris Hirons from BeyondTheGore.co.uk contacted me, Graeme had just reviewed YHAD and we began talking about a possible sequel. He then sent me a short novella he had written which I really enjoyed so I asked him if he would be interested in collaborating on my next script - YHAD 2. This was back in December 2013, so for the next 6 months we wrote a rough draft for an extremely violent slasher film called The Highridge Massacre.
So The Highridge Massacre is technically a sequel to Young, High and Dead but it's also a kind of remake, it's everything the first film needed to succeed. Fuse that with the rocky landscape of the independent film world and you end up with a project that expands outside of a traditional film.
The Highridge Massacre was also my own personal therapy, its every ounce of anger and frustration I felt after YHAD failed. The violence and evil that lurks on each page comes from a dark place where my conscious thoughts were plagued with a psychotic rage.
And here is the ironic twist to this story, after finishing the main script for THMassacre I began to get ideas for YHAD. I started to think of ways I could improve it, maybe even revive it. So earlier this year I began chopping it to pieces and then stitched it back together. I gave it fresh colouring, tweaked the sound and ended up with a new version which I'm calling 'Young, High and Dead - the dirty directors cut'. The twist being that the original films failure inspired the sequel that then inspired the original film to come back to life! So The Highridge Massacre ended up reviving it's brother Young, High and Dead back from the dead.
This barely scrapes the surface of why THMassacre is more than just a horror film. In future blogs you will get to know the story inside out and I will introduce you to each of the weird and wonderful characters including 'The Feral'!
Stay tuned for an onslaught of #THMassacre,