Stormhouse: The BAFTA Screening

Well, I'm still recovering from that.  Have quite the headache.  Still, if I keeled over and perished right now, then last night wouldn't have been the worst one to go out on.

It was great!  BAFTA's lovely Princess Anne Theatre was 90% full - and thankfully, the reaction to our Stormhouse film was overwhelmingly positive.

You can't help but have your heart somewhere uncomfortably close to your mouth, as lights go down.  Thankfully, one shock-jump moment in the first 10 minutes genuinely sent a jolt through the theatre, followed by that lovely shared laughter you get at the cinema, when a moment properly grabs the audience.  After that, hopefully both audience and film-makers relaxed a little.  But not too much in the audience's case, since we wanted to scare the hell out of them.

Working on a film, especially over a long period of time, is a funny business.  It's easy to lose objectivity about how effective the thing is - and also what its true nature is.  Watching Stormhouse alongside 200 other people really opened my eyes and ears as to how nasty and brutal it is.  This is a pretty uncompromising film and I'm really proud of that.  Director Dan Turner is not a man for compromise, and so this isn't just another saccharine borderline-horror film aiming for a '12A' certificate.  This is about atmosphere, scares, darkness, uncomfortable moments, wince-making moments and pure, raw horror.

After the screening, Dan, producer Dean Fisher and I kidnapped our lovely test-screener crowd, who we'd positioned in the first three rows for ease of access.  They kindly filled in our questionnaires, designed to find out what they liked least and most about the film.  Then we informally quizzed them for a while.  It was a very useful session indeed.  I quickly learnt one thing: you're looking for that moment of forest-fire consensus.  Someone asks a question and pretty much everyone makes a noise and nods.  That's when you know the point really needs to be considered.  Great stuff, which will genuinely allow us to strengthen Stormhouse in small but very important ways.

After the Q&A, we headed over to join cast, crew and industry guests at this really lovely bar...

... the Jewel in Piccadilly.  What a lovely place - especially if you like spirits and are rich.  It was great to see the cast and crew members again.  Backs were slapped and plenty of compliments on the film came from guests.  You can tell when someone didn't really like something, because they don't say any more than they need to.  People generally hate lying.  So they'll say something generic but encouraging, like "Well done!".  But when they start breaking out the "Amazing"s and the "I loved it"s, you know there's more likelihood of sincerity.  So that was nice.

And already, the buzz was starting to spread out through the Twittersphere.  People saying stuff like this:

 Lisa McLisa 
Just back home from @'s  - congrats to all concerned - I really enjoyed it! :D I likes my horror super creepy :)

 Joanna Murray 
@ Totally loved @ tonight. Can't wait til release so I can bore my mates that I've already seen it. Brilliant!

 Lisa Holdsworth 
Just had the bejesus and several other things scared out of me by @ 's film Stormhouse. Amazing new British horror movie.

 Lisa Moran 
Home from @ Dunno why I'm bothering,I'll probably never sleep again anyway.Not without my bejaysus which was scared out of me

I swear these folks received no money from us.  Incidentally, they were unaware that Dan has recently returned to Twitter (follow him here) - and this film is certainly far from being just my baby.

Thank you, again, to everyone who came to the screening and gave such valuable feedback.  You've really helped to give us the courage of our convictions.  

Hopefully, in the next month, we'll be able to make the Stormhouse announcement we've been dying to make for a few weeks now.  Stay tuned.  Do not adjust your set.



Congrats on the BAFTA screening. One question: "we wanted to share the hell out of them" - WTF? Nobody's ever shared the hell out of me. Stormhouse must be taking cinematic terror to new levels!

Jason Arnopp said...

Thanks Lord Bishop.

I have no idea what you mean - and neither will anyone who reads that blogpost after the next 30 seconds... !


Damn your editorial tendencies! Now I look like a fool, I tell you - a fool!

So, no change there then.

William Gallagher said...

If you'd just stood one inch to your left, I'd be in that audience picture. That may have made it valuable one day: the only shot of me at a horror film.

I won't half be recommending it to folk when it's playing in multiplexes.

Christopher said...

"you're looking for that moment of forest-fire consensus"

Love that metaphor embedded in a turn of phrase! It gets to the nub of what we're mindfully shooting to evoke from others when we create for them.

Would love to see this movie!

Stevyn Colgan said...

Great fun. Great film. Great photo. I can just about spot myself in the audience thinking 'I hope this Arnopp bloke gets eally rich and famous because I still have the negatives and the harness.'

Applause Sir! A triumph!