We sat down with director Remi Weekes to hear about terrifying Fright Bites short Tickle Monster, coming soon to All4 on October 22nd, just in time for Halloween.
So tell us about where the idea for this short came from? Are you ticklish yourself?
When I was asked to write something for Fright Bites, I really wanted to see if I could take something we normally associate with horror films and make it frightening. Recently, a friend was describing an awful experience whereby they were tortured by their lover after learning they were ticklish. It brought me flashbacks of the dread when someone discovers you are ticklish and takes it upon themselves to torment you. How frustrating it is to be forced to laugh when all you want to do is escape. I thought the idea instantly absurd and playful, and was excited about the possibility of making it into something terrifying.
What other influences went into the mix on this piece?
This was also a chance to put together the different elements that intrigue me as a filmmaker. I enjoy stories that involve the many diverse neighbourhoods I’ve grown up around in London. My love of tension and suspense comes from the masters of film like Hitchcock. I also wanted to explore my cynicism about the gender, power and class structures we live our day-to-day lives around.
The cast have a really nice rapport – did you have them read together and cast them as a pair, or just trust the chemistry would work?
Percelle and Rhianne were two names suggested by our casting director Aisha Walters. We saw a lot of great actors, and we auditioned many pairs, but both Percelle and Rhianne really captured my attention. They were actually the only actors we didn’t get to pair together in the auditions, but we felt it was a gamble worth taking to match them. Both funny, intelligent, and talented they were a pleasure to work with. Collaborating with actors is one my favourite parts of the film making process, these are actors who like to be challenged, and more importantly, actors who challenge me and the material.
The six Fright Bites shorts will be available on All4 from 22nd October