If you’re reading this and you haven’t yet watched Death Scenes, the seventh link in the Bloody Cuts chain of horror, then rectify that this instant. Once you’ve done that, get your freshly-enlightened ass back here for a Q & A with Robin Berry, one of the stars of Death Scenes and also the man behind the mask of that lovably lethal critter, the Suckablood.
Question: Where did you first hear about Bloody Cuts and how did you get involved?
Robin Berry: I heard about Bloody Cuts through Ben Tillett (one half of the directing team of Suckablood), who I went to college with and have unfortunately been friends with ever since. He had met up with [Bloody Cuts creator/producer] Ben Franklin and co. at a networking event after making a short called The Intention of Miles for the 2011 Sci-Fi London 48-Hour Film Challenge (incidentally, our film won… nice).
Ben T and Jake Cuddihy, a friend of his from drama school (also a director on Miles), had been offered the chance to write and direct a film in the Bloody Cuts series – Suckablood – and they then offered me the title role. The rest is gruesome history.
Q: When did you first hear about Death Scenes, and when did you decide you wanted to get involved?
RB: After working with Bloody Cuts on Suckablood and seeing the ridiculously high standard of production they brought to their projects, I obviously wanted to be involved with them again.
I had met Joel Morgan (Bloody Cuts head writer, and director of Death Scenes) over a few beers during the Suckablood shoot and we had chatted about ideas for the next few films. He mentioned a part he would like me to have a look at and a few months later I was riveted by the first draft of Death Scenes (then called The Interview).
Joel went out on a limb and offered me the role of ‘John’ and there was no way I was gonna say no. The script was by far one of the coolest things I’d read in ages. I was proper onboard.
Q: Your character, ‘John’, is a pretty mysterious fellow whose motives need to remain veiled for a lot of the film. How did you approach playing such an enigmatic figure?
RB: I think I treated it quite theatrically. I loved the romantic idea of a Latin-speaking, wandering pilgrim/scholar-type character, who also kicked some serious butt if it was called for, but in a modern day setting: that mix of being completely still, relaxed and focused, but ready to pounce at any moment.
I wanted to try and support the twist by making my voice and manner a complete surprise when it finally came out. Having done a bit of meditation in the past, focused breathing proved a real help in achieving a stillness which was still imbued with energy – and that was key to the role. I chucked that all in and essentially just went for it.
But until you actually see the finished project you’re never sure if you’ve got it quite right. I’ve often been typecast as fairly nasty characters so ‘John’ was a real treat for me.
Q: How did the role of ‘John’ compare to playing the Suckablood?
RB: Suckablood was a much more physical role. Because of the prosthetics you have to make all your expressions much bigger as they don’t move as much as your skin. John in comparison was all about stillness and hidden motives. I couldn’t pick between the parts. I love playing creatures but John was a fantastic role too. Really chuffed to have worked on such varying projects with such a good team.
Q: ‘John’ gets to indulge in a lot of dark deeds over the course of the film – how did you find filming those? Did you have a favourite death scene to play?
RB: It was just cool. There is no other word. Just really, really cool. The action sequences in Death Scenes were great fun to shoot and have come out gore-ishly well in the final cut.
I got the chance to cut out a vampire’s heart, cut off a vampire’s head with a samurai sword, and launch a wooden stake attack. What more could a slightly twisted individual want?
If I had to pick a favourite, I think filming the blood splatter section of the stabbing scene would win. Being sprayed in the face with blood from a drinking straw whilst stabbing directly at the cameraman was a challenge, but also great fun.
Q: And do you have a favourite movie death scene of all-time?
RB: I think it’s Friday the 13th Part Seven maybe? I saw it when I was very young and it’s probably damaged me for life. Jason comes into a sauna on a cruise ship and is asked to make more steam by the unsuspecting moustached man in the dodgy trunks. Jason then picks up a hot coal and burns through the man’s stomach. I’ve not been in a sauna since.
Q: Do you have a dream horror role or project you’d love to play/make?
RB: I think a feature-length Death Scenes would be brilliant. The opportunities are endless and it’s a world I’d love to explore.
Q: What did you reckon to the finished Death Scenes?
RB: I’m really pleased with Death Scenes – over the moon. The postproduction is fantastic and it’s really added a lot to the performances. The look, the colour – I think they’ve got it right in every area. It’s one of the most fun projects I’ve ever worked on and the finished product is something I’m really proud of.
Q: What can we look out for you in next?
RB: I’m currently appearing in One Man, Two Guvnors in the West End until the 2nd of February and I have a nice part in a sci-fi feature call Unidentified which will hopefully be in cinemas next year. After that, who knows? But I hope to be teaming up with Bloody Cuts again in the near future…