Wicked Witches will hit select movie theaters on Friday, 9 August 2019. The production will also be available on VOD and DVD. Martin J Pickering, in addition to co-writing the screenplay with brother Mark Pickering, was the director, producer and cinematographer on this production. With Wicked Witches being released in these United States next month, Mark took some time out of his busy day to converse with me via Twitter direct message about the production.
Shain Thomas: I saw Wicked Witches. It made me think of An American Werewolf in London. There is also a hint of Hammer Films tucked in between the lines which is readily apparent.
Mark Pickering: Literally, Hammer hits nail on the head. The idea is that classic Hammer luring idea set in a modern context. There’s without a doubt echoes of American Werewolf… that aims at putting the audience in the head of ‘Mark’ as he is u sure if his visions and nightmares are just that or… is this really going on what that might mean. We kept the camera framing deliberately right and clean in order to attempt to plant that with the audience.
ST: You worked with your brother on getting this film done, I see. Was it a lengthy process?
MP: Yes, the film from concept to completion was close to three years. Working on a micro budget forced the slow workflow and the post-production process was also very lengthy as Martin and I literally did everything. Editing, sound and score.
ST: What was the inspiration for the film?
MP: I was living at a place called Dumpling Farm as I was just hitting my 30’s. We partied hard and lived an almost hedonistic lifestyle, but it was time to grow up. I had a nightmare one night that, to be frank, was absolutely horrifying. In my dream I was with a beautiful girl who changed into a horrible hag, dribbling black tar like evil from her mouth, screaming as the sound of a horrendous drone was deafening me. I then wrote a song about it and Martin said to me, ‘we have to make that into a film’. So, we’re drawing on personal experience as well as generally loving horror.
MP: I think there’s an undertone in the film about growing up. The character ‘Stevie’ reflects the side of us that just wants to carry on like kids in a hedonistic lifestyle whereas ‘Mark’ is doubting all of that.
ST: That explains the original title. For various reasons, a lot of films see the title changed for foreign markets. Was it your idea to change the title from The Witches of Dumpling Farm to Wicked Witches?
MP: I kind of see changing titles is making assumptions about an audience that they won’t get it or something. I think, particularly with genre films like this, that the audience would get it. [Mark] was initially against it but now the film is coming out, I’ve completely changed my mind. I just want people to see it and if simplifying the name a bit helps that then I’m all for it.
ST: In the closing scene of the film, the lead character can be seen tied to a bed. He is at the mercy of the remaining witches. Does this leave the door open for a sequel?
MP: The last scene does leave it open for a sequel yes absolutely. I see the character, Mark as kind of an Ash Williams deadite slayer by the end of the film (minus the catch phrases and chainsaw). There are so many ways this story can go so it’s definitely open.