Countdown to Markham – released in 2020
My debut as a director Markham will be released in 2020. The film is a low-budget ‘rubber reality’ horror which was shot in Staithes, Whitby and Leeds throughout 2018 and 2019.
The film was made on a micro budget, shot on digital and super 8mm. It’s an ‘arty’ horror film loosely inspired by H.P Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth. The film uses the uniquely bleak atmosphere of the Yorkshire North Sea coast to cast a spell of doom across the proceedings.
I’ve been editing the film over the last few months and as it’s my debut as a director I’ve noticed reoccurring influences in the film (often visual influences which are sometimes done unconsciously when I, as a director, have set up a shot.)
Reflecting on these influences, I’ve noted a few films that visually must have had a very big impact on me.
This film by directed by Francis Ford Coppola is a favourite from my teens. It’s visually amazing, using black and white photography and expressionistic compositions that reference Orson Welles and Citizen Kane.
This film is obviously still a key influence on my style as a director.
I’ve noticed a number of key shots in the film echo set up from Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket – it’s true that this is one of my favourite films by Kubrick. It’s also notable that much of this film was improvised (Much of Markham is also improvised on location and the set ups work as compositions, but are also practical shots that allow the actors room to embellish a scene)
2001: A Space Odyssey
This science fiction masterpiece sometimes has an air of paranoia, something which is very much present in Markham (we also have a monolith – a real actual one, in a church yard in East Yorkshire). 2001 is a visual feast and it’s obviously seeped into my consciousness as a director.
John Carpenters classic film, a horror masterpiece is a very effectively shot. I have noticed set-ups that echo Carpenters’ style in Markham (we were shooting at the coast, often at night and in the fog). And of course, the music…
Below are some stills from Markham- next to stills from the films that visually influenced my directorial style… although I’m not laying any claim to being anywhere near as accomplished a director as the guys who influenced my style!
Matthew Cooper has been a script writer for hire, UK Script editor and script doctor for over 20 years. He’s written for most of the UK soaps, including writing award winning episodes of Emmerdale, EastEnders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs and has been BAFTA shortlisted and Royal Television Society nominated as a script writer. He’s also a leading UK script consultant. You can find some of his broadcast credits on the IMDb. You can get in touch with Matthew on firstname.lastname@example.org or hire him on Peopleperhour
His directorial debut, the rubber reality horror thriller Markham will be released in 2020.