Juliette Foster in "Worst Fears"
Rebecca Santos, Maria Walsh in "We're Ready for you now"
Keith Claxton and Fenella Fielding during filming
Tincture of Vervain


DAVID McGILLIVRAY recalls the genesis of WORST FEARS
“The films I’ve been producing since 2004 are the result of meeting director Keith Claxton. He came to the first night of a play I was in, End of the Night, and we got into a drunken conversation about the scripts I wrote for Pete Walker and Norman J. Warren in the 1970s. A year later Keith asked me to play Currell in a short he directed, After Image.  Simultaneously I was in another play, All For Nothing. An artist friend came to see it and said he’d bought a camera and wanted to make a short. I sent him the synopsis of what was to become Child Number Four, but he didn’t like it. So I sent it to Keith, who liked it immediately and suddenly we were shooting it.

On the way to the location of Child Number Four I told Keith I wanted to make another film with him, this time in Portugal. And it went on like that, from film to film. Originally I thought I’d make a series of seven. But then I started selling them. So I decided to make some more. As I’m now virtually unemployable in every other field, I’ll probably go on producing short films until I die. They look like they cost more than they do. Some of the money came from my mother’s legacy, some from writing the BBC’s lottery show [Come and Have a Go, 2005]. Then, when the cash was running short, I cashed in my investments and pensions. I always seem to find more money somewhere. But nobody’s ever given me a penny. Have I asked? Yes. The answer’s always been no.

This is the first time I’ve been involved in the production of horror films since the 1980s. Although I got sidetracked into comedy for a long time, horror was my first love and it still is. I’d never had any real experience in producing films, but now I think it’s the only thing I can do reasonably well. I’m quite efficient because I spent 13 years taking my theatre company round the UK. I was always making mistakes in those days and covering them up quite successfully. For example, we’d get to some town or other and I’d remember that I hadn’t booked any accommodation. So while everybody was getting into the theatre, I’d rush round to the nearest hotel. My partner and I were also very good at casting; a lot of the actors we worked with thirty years or more ago are still friends – some of them have been roped into these films.

I’d like to think I’ve got my finger on the audience’s pulse as far as horror is concerned. But of course I haven’t. I go to see really successful movies, often with tons of CGI, and I think, well, if that’s what people like, I can’t compete. I always imagined that my audience would be half asleep in front of the TV at two o’clock in the morning, and something like Mrs Davenport’s Throat would come on, and I hoped they’d just sit up and take notice and then think, blimey, what was that?”

David McGillivray was talking to David Marx.