The journey of Point of View began when my mother, a wildly entertaining horror film aficionado, announced to me she wanted to produce a short horror film which I would direct. My mother was quite ill and producing a horror film was a major bucket list item for her. As an experienced TV director and aspiring filmmaker I was excited about sharing screen credit with my mom on a film project designed to absolutely terrify audiences.
Clearly inspired by the Weeping Angels in Dr Who’s Blink, I thought this would make a fantastic “monster movie” and I knew this was the short film I needed to craft. The writer Jon Hill also mentioned the story was inspired by the Boo Ghots who follow you when you're not looking in the Mario Brother's video games.
I always believed the best monster
movies are the ones where you
barely saw the monster (or never saw the monster at all) because the audience’s imagination is limitless and will always project their own demons into the monster. Think of how much more frightening Jaws became when Spielberg's malfunctioning shark forced him to tell the story with an unseen enemy. In Spielberg’s own words: “I had no choice but to figure out how to tell the story without the shark, so I just went back to Alfred Hitchcock: ‘What would Hitchcock do in a situation like this?’ ... It’s what we don’t see which is truly frightening.” I’ve always loved that idea but with Point of View I was intrigued by a twist on this idea because In Point of View we see the monster vividly in close-ups under bright lights but what we never see is when or how it moves! I was also intrigued by the idea of making a horror film without any gore or actual death portrayed on film. Instead, I approached Point of View an exercise in building tension.
For the corpse I needed someone that could strike interesting poses and not be intimidated by the gruelling nine-hour head-to-toe makeup in the nude! So the talented and beautiful interpretive dance expert Kristy Kennedy was a no brainer but I also knew that this film would only be as good as the monster make-up so I contacted the most talented make-up effects artist I could find, Kenji Sato. With Kristy, Kenji and my two talented actors Jessica Hinkson and Peter Higginson, I knew we had the right team.
“I think of horror films as art, as films of confrontation. Films that make you confront aspects of your own life that are difficult to face. Just because you're making a horror film doesn't mean you can't make an artful film"
– David Cronenberg
A tired coroner is stalked by the living dead -- but only when she isn't looking!
Going into pre-production I was excited about designing a sequence of unique shots to tell this story while avoiding the need to shoot traditional coverage. After many months of negotiating, I finally found a morgue that we could film in but there was a harsh caveat, we could only film in the morgue for five hours, that’s it!! With the various setups and shots I needed to tell the story, it was painfully clear that this would be a challenge unlike any other I have encountered.
My approach was to build a detailed 3D rendering of the morgue to scale in a filmmaking pre-visualization program called FrameForge Previz Studio which is an optically-accurate 3D storyboarding and previz program. In FrameFordge I could make the entire film as an animatic from beginning to end knowing exactly what shots were possible within the actual space. After months of experimenting with shots and animating a pre-viz version of the film (which looked like some kind of cartoon nightmare complete with music and sound FX) I felt confident that we could capture all 80 shots needed within the five hours but we would have to move FAST… yikes!
On Halloween night, armed with a my storyboards, animated pre-viz, two Red cameras and a bad-ass cast and crew of talented filmmakers, we began shooting and it was a blast! we moved from shot-to shot capturing each in one or two takes and made it out alive with every single shot as planned. In post-production I had 31 visual effect shots that needed to be completed which took much longer then expected but with a haunting original score created by Sean Baillie and Steven Stergui of Music Corazon the film was finally complete. Although sadly my mother (and executive producer) passed away before seeing the film, in the end we made a spooky, slightly funny, very tense and creepy short horror film that is a successful accomplishment, in that it is a terrifying movie my mother Mary-Lou Harding would be proud to have her name attached to.
— Justin Harding