Crew get their teeth into werewolf flick being shot in Black Country
Stories of werewolves can be found as far as back in history as ancient Greece.
Now the folklore is being brought to life in a new independent movie being shot in the Black Country.
Cameras have been rolling on short film Snarl in the woods at Park Lime Pits nature reserve in Walsall.
It is set in England in 1934 where a young man, Elijah has been captured and accused of being a werewolf by Clyde, a bounty hunter from a nearby village.
As Elijah is brutally tortured in a vain attempt to get him to confess to his alleged shape-shifting, he suddenly finds himself covertly released by two villagers, Faye and her younger brother Benjamin, who believe his cries of innocence.
As they attempt to help the young man flee through the woods, all the while pursued by the maniacal Clyde, the night time forest suddenly reveals that some legends are not myth at all.
It’s a dream project for first-time director L.J. ‘Stark’ Greenwood who says she grew up watching horror films.
“I’ve always been fascinated by werewolves and this genre of horror film,” she says. “When I saw American Werewolf in London for the first time I was entranced. It was also this that got me interested in the making of films.”
L.J., who lives in Wolverhampton, usually works as a production designer and art director so has stepped out of her comfort zone for Snarl.
“I’ve always wanted to try my hand at directing but so far have never had the chance to fully immerse myself into it.
“So I couldn’t have asked for a better cast and crew to help me bring this story to life, one that I am very excited about, because it is so scary and really plays directly into what story elements I think helped make some of the best Werewolf films we’ve already got,” the Navy veteran adds.
The script has been written by Dave Hastings, a lecturer at Walsall College, who is also producing the 20-minute film which has Will Bradshaw as director of photography.
“Originally starting out as a small two to three-minute film idea, L.J. approached me a few months ago, about her dream of making the ultimate werewolf short.
“She had been wanting to have a go at directing for some time now as well, and we all really wanted to help give her the platform to do this and combine a project with her love of wolfman folklores,” he explains.
Dave said he set out to write a script that would grip an audience and also challenge the team creatively.
“There have been some amazing werewolf films but they are few and far between.
“This is because the werewolf film is the most difficult horror film to do.There is a lot involved because you have to show the transformation.
“You can’t go from a man straight to a werewolf, you have to show all of the stages of the transformation for it to be effective,” says Dave.
They have been shooting at Park Lime Pitts, but using sunlight to look like moonlight on camera.
Troy Dennison is playing bounty hunter Clyde and also providing some of the special effects along with Gary Hunt, Steve Bosworth and Alex Bourne.
“Clyde is the antagonist of the piece, he is very driven and thinks he is doing the right thing,” says Troy, who lives in Cannock. “He makes some poor choices that have some dire consequences and that’s all I can tell you without giving too much away.
“There are not enough good werewolf films and I think from what we’ve captured so far we should have something amazing that everybody can be proud of and people will enjoy watching.”
Actor Jay Podmore, from the Wirral, plays hunted man Elijah and said he jumped at the chance to be involved in Snarl.
“It’s got a werewolf in it, that’s why I liked it,” he says. “I think every actor wants the chance to play with monsters as it’s not often those scripts come about.
“It’s a simple script but it’s been nicely nurtured and you can tell that L.J. and Dave are passionate about the subject.
“It’s also great because of the technical challenges it poses and how we can handle that on a small budget.” says the 39-year-old, who runs interactive theatre company DBY Interactive.
Walsall-born Jack Knight, 23, plays Benjamin, who is ‘reluctantly’ dragged along on the rescue mission by his sister.
“You would expect the male character to take the lead and be pulling along his reluctant and scared sister but it’s the opposite,” he says. “My character really isn’t happy with what they are doing and is scared.
“For me it’s great to show that it’s okay for a guy to be scared and not to be confident. It’s refreshing to play a male damsel in distress,” says Jack.
Charlie Clarke, who plays Faye, adds: “This is 1934 so you would expect the female character to be the damsel in distress but she’s not at all. She’s very headstrong and doesn’t show any fear.
“I just like having a challenge as an actor, I have no frame of reference for a werewolf so I have to use my imagination,” says the 28-year-old who lives in Nottingham.
The next stage of filming for Snarl, a co-production between Lightbeam Productions, Brumtown Films, Pat The Bull Films and 5cm/Sec Films, takes place in June for an intended Halloween release.
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