Charlie has been waiting years for this. Miskatonic University. It took him a long time to believe the letter confirming his place was even real, but it's all happening now.
He's carrying his suitcase up the stairs of his new home. Charlie thinks he can hear his new flatmates -- his new friends -- behind the door in front of him. Who are they? Are they cool? Will they like him?
He stops. Takes a deep breath. "Be normal" Charlie whispers to himself, before he opens the door to see -
This is Reanimated.
Let's go back to the start.
In 1922, a short horror story by H.P. Lovecraft was published over six parts in the magazine Home Brew.
It told the story of a twisted, brilliant young scientist and his one friend. Over the many years the story spanned, the two indulge in appalling experiments - increasingly depraved attempts to resurrect the dead.
It doesn't go well.
This is Herbert West-Reanimator. It's an awesome, terrifying story - which, as it's in the public domain, you can read here.
Reanimated is a bit different.
This is a contemporary retelling of Lovecraft's story, bringing Herbert West into the 21st century. We find him in the early days of his experiments, enrolled at Miskatonic University and slowly but surely pushing the boundaries of life and death.
There's also Charlie Hill. He's a first year student, who's rocked up with high expectations for his university life. He wants to party, he wants to make friends. He wants to enjoy a fun-filled three years on his course, graduate and start a career.
Unfortunately, he's living with Herbert West and he's just made a terrible breakthrough...
My name is Tom Byrne and I'm the writer and director of Reanimated.
Whereas the short story (and adaptations) ultimately end up spanning years of Herbert's twisted scientific career, Reanimated places its focus on the first few days of term at the infamous Miskatonic University.
We're not dealing with experienced medical students here - Herbert and Charlie are fresh meat.
Also, as a fifteen minute short film we have to be economical with the storytelling. This means we waste no time getting to the good (gory) stuff - Herbert's first successful reanimation of a corpse happens early on in the film and serves as the instigating moment of the story.
The Dead Man awakens with urges to kill, in increasingly cruel and unusual fashions. He escapes from the lab he was born and breaks out into the student town, shocked at all the life in the city. "A problem easily solved", he thinks, and starts the killing.
He ends up at a club night - Miskatonic University's Moving In Party.
It's not pretty.
In their own ways, Herbert West, Charlie and the Dead Man all start Reanimated alone.
Despite the killing, the blood and the guts, Reanimated is a story about a messed-up kind of friendship. This is a new world and it's Herbert's for the taking. You might think you know where this story is going.
You're dead wrong.
Enough about the friendship.
You're here for the blood.
We're basing the production of Reanimated around the shocking practical effects we can pull off. There are a talented number of Make-Up and Special Effects artists who have agreed to tackle the challenges the film presents - including The Dead Man himself (who can be glimpsed in the video above).
We will be utilising some digital editing and special effects practises in the cutting of the film, but as director I am keen to create a physical presence that can be felt on set. Having been in the room after Gareth Henry has been transformed into the Dead Man, I can confirm the mood change is palatable. That will definitely be felt from the performances of the actors who come into contact with him.
The violence is overt and exaggerated - taking inspiration from the Evil Dead films, paying homage like Planet Terror. This is as much a tribute to those gleeful, vibrant horror films as it is an attempt to construct something that feels new and contemporary: and that will come across in the film's visual style.
Horror has always had an exciting relationship with colour. Reanimated rejects the misconception that horror films have to be drab - washed out, sepia tinted - in order to create terror. We're opting to go in a different direction, utilising electrifying colour that runs through the Miskatonic University student town like blood. This reflects the contemporary setting of the film - there are bright lights forever perusing us and competing for our attention as well as conveying the gleeful rampage of the Dead Man.
The film will shot in Portsmouth UK, exploring the gothic and aged streets that thread through the naval town. There's a lot of history in this city that lends itself perfectly to the setting of Lovecraft's Miskatonic University.
Through our various work, be it in creating instructional videos, telling business stories or promotional films, we've raised part of the budget which we have already invested into the project.
Our aim for this budget is to allow us to realise the full twisted vision of Reanimated. We want to be able to develop the special effects freely and creatively as well as give our art department the chance to show the world what they can do with set design.
Here's a pie, with a rough budget outline.
Here's a breakdown.
Special Effects & Props - 25%
We've talked at lengths the importance of using physical and practical special effects in the production of the film. We're keen to give our artists as much resources and freedom to develop the plentiful effects in the film. This section of the budget also includes the props that will be purchased, either for featuring in the film or to be transformed into something spectacular and possibly bloody.
Art Department - Herbert's Lab - 20%
Soon after moving in, Herbert set about building a laboratory in his shared kitchen to conduct his nefarious experiments. This setting plays a huge part in the script, and we want to allow Art Department to all the create exciting machinery and lab equipment they can dream of.
Locations - 30%
We're shooting in a few different locations across Portsmouth. Different businesses and venues have kindly allowed us to use their spaces for a reasonable fee. This section of the budget will cover that, as well as transport to and from the locations.
Contingency - 10%
We've set aside a portion of the budget to cover any unforeseen circumstances.
Catering and Accommodation - 15%
Our cast and crew are kindly offering their time and talent on this project without pay. To say thanks we want to make sure they are comfortable and well fed during the shoot, as all decent productions should.
Risks and challenges
We might not get to work on another project like "Reanimated" for a long time. It's an creative, ambitious, city spanning genre film that's posing plenty of challenges and the cast and crew are putting in all the work to overcome them.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)