ON MY 18TH BIRTHDAY, MY FIRST NIGHT OUT, I WAS IN LONDON AND SPENT THE NIGHT IN AN INFAMOUS CLUB IN SOHO CALLED ‘THE BOX’. IT WAS CREEPY, WILD, MYSTERIOUS, SEXUALLY EXPLICIT AND FROM THIS INTRODUCTION TO BIZARRE CLUBS IN THE BACKSTREETS OF SOHO THE CONCEPT FOR EROTIC GREEN WAS EVENTUALLY BORN.
I had the idea of a guy coming to this sort of club for the first time and needing to investigate further, only to discover an alien creature is behind it all. Captured and enslaved by the club’s owner, the alien was the source of some strange sexual power that could only be a danger in our hands. However, this isn’t how the story eventually turned out. Many of these science fiction elements were stripped back to maintain the mystery of the film’s creature (which became a reveal for the climax of the film) though the egg still remains, as does the colour green (in both the title and the imagery). Actually, it only dawned on me on set that I wasn’t making a science fiction film anymore. Erotic Green tells the story of Max, who discovers the club and encounters a dancer (Blonde Thunder, written for and performed by Charlotte Roest-Ellis, who initially turned down the chance to play a “stripper” who slices an egg out of her guts) who begs him to destroy the egg; the egg which grants the power of ultra sexual attraction. Max, of course, doesn’t destroy it… Cue the blood, the slime and the screams!
I finished the script a year before I actually got to shoot the film, which is longest I’ve had to wait for a project to get off the ground, and my first attempt to shoot the film was actually unsuccessful. In the summer of 2013 I held auditions, cast the actors (this is where I first met Jackson Wright who plays the host and owner of ‘Erotic Green’ and also stars in my film ‘God Will Fall’ which we ended up shooting before Erotic Green), arranged a shooting schedule and even brought most of the props and costumes (e.g. lots of green velvet…). When I tried to get the film green lit by my film school (I needed their insurance and kit) the tutor in charge of green lighting projects was offended by my script, lecturing me about how it was misogynistic and too violent. They refused to green light the film unless I took out all of the horrible violence, “the ending is just a blood bath” they complained smugly, though they admitted to me they neither watch or know anything about horror films… When my lead actor dropped out due to serious, unexpected health issues just 3 days before the shoot I reluctantly had to call it off. Yet the shoot had already been postponed again and again whilst we waited for everything to be available and I took this big set back as a sign to call off this film entirely, turn my attention to other projects and return to Erotic Green when the bad vibes have blown over. That was August 2013, and at that point I worked full throttle to get God Will Fall funded then shot in October (read here http://www.darktemple.co.uk/lens_portfolio/god-will-fall/). God Will Fall was almost equally filled with difficulty and we ended our October shoot having not finished the film (we needed one more day to finish). Due the availability of my lead actor I knew I’d have to wait at least two months, so what better way to spend that two months than to resurrect Erotic Green?
With a new cast, most notably my film school friend Ed Carlton in the lead (a risky casting decision that paid off; Ed himself is everything I wanted for the character Max) I set out to finally shoot the film in December. Michael Lloyd, cam op from God Will Fall, also came onboard as the Director Of Photography. Typically, the shooting dates got postponed past December (always a tricky time of year to shoot because non-filmmakers stop for christmas) and I eventually ended up shooting the film in January, along with the final scene of God Will Fall (a bit disorientating, shooting two films at the same time). The time delay was good for the film, which has often been the case, because it meant I was able to gather more money and edit the script more and more.
The shoot was the most relaxed and enjoyable shoot I’ve probably ever had on one of my films. The dates ended up being very spread out, with all the club scenes being shot in January, the house scenes being shot in March and one final scene (where Blonde Thunder gives Max the egg) being shot in April (the following day I began editing, which was a surprisingly fast experience, compared to God Will Fall anyway). Because I’d ran out of money (and possibly a bit of director steam) when I shot the action sequences for God Will Fall, which disappointed me, I scheduled to shoot Erotic Green’s action-packed climax first, which was a great idea as the finale of Erotic Green was both a pleasure to shoot, mostly without compromise, and delivers exactly what I wanted! The following weekend we shot the basement scene (not in the location I’d wanted, which considerably weakened what is the film’s most unfulfilling scene for me) and awaited for the actor playing the Bouncer of the club, Lenn, to arrive for his brief fight sequence with the creature. Unfortunately, Lenn never showed up, and his whereabouts is still a mystery to us all… This is how I came to star in the film myself! With my shotgun and dust mask I ended up playing the unfortunate guard of the creature who gets killed, in slow motion.
In March we shot some intimate bedroom scenes at my house, where actors Kate and Ed were a joy to work with. I showed them scenes from a bunch of films, such as Basic Instinct and Eyes Wide Shut (which became quite a key influence on Erotic Green, even though I hadn’t seen it before I wrote the script) and played music from Eyes Wide Shut whilst we rehearsed the scenes. It was a pleasant sunny weekend and between scenes we’d sit out in the garden and relax whilst talking through the next scene (a bit of an unheard-of luxury!). It was great to get into the characters and the dialogue after only shooting heightened action scenes for the first two weekends. We completed filming with time to spare. A couple of months later Ed, Michael and I ventured into Chinatown, nearby the club in Soho from which I got this whole idea, and shot the short sequence in which Max discovers the hidden club. And finally Charlotte came up to finish the final scene, removing the egg from her insides, and then we were finally done.
Editing was equally smooth and I’m throughly pleased with the result! After spending over a thousand pounds on God Will Fall, returning to a small £300 budget took the pressure off this project and I decided to just have real fun and push it creatively, playing with over the top theatricality and a sometimes comic book style that only enhanced the film. The film is simply me having the most fun I’ve had making a movie in a long time and if there’s one lesson I took from the experience it’s that the amount of fun you have on set does directly relate to the quality of the film you’re making. A score was composed for the film by composer Sam Benjafield and the film is now waiting to be submitted to horror festivals as soon as those early bird deadlines open again in 2015.
WATCH THE WHOLE FILM HERE:
I STILL HAVEN’T ANSWERED THE QUESTION PEOPLE KEEP ASKING ME; WHAT ACTUALLY IS THAT EGG? SO I’LL TELL YOU, IT’S MADE OF CHOCOLATE! BECAUSE IT IS ACTUALLY AN EASTER EGG, THOUGH I’VE COVERED THE OUTSIDE IN EXPANDING FOAM (WHICH GIVES IT THE GROSS, BUBBLY TEXTURE) AND SPRAY PAINTED IT GREEN BEFORE PAINTING IT BLACK WITH A BRUSH. THEN SMOTHERED IT IN SLIME AND BLOOD, OF COURSE (BODY WASH DYED GREEN AND MAPLE SYRUP DYED RED). I MADE TWO OF THEM, ONE GOT BINNED AND THE OTHER SITS IN MY MUM’S FRUIT BOWL… (YOU’RE WELCOME MUM)