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Enter Kris Tearse's Dark World

By midlandsmovies, Jul 14 2014 06:00PM

Ever since an obsession with horror and supernatural films from an early age, Leicester-based filmmaker Kris Tearse explains how his first encounter with The Amityville Horror has led him to make his own frightful films. Midlands Movies Mike delves further into his dark world.

Keeping the volume low, Kris Tearse would have got in trouble if his mum knew he was watching horror films from the age of 10 and subsequently (after being suitably terrified) Kris’ love for horror was born. Kris’ connection with the Midlands extends from film into music as well, gigging on a regular basis around the area and after stints in Nuneaton and Newcastle, he finally settled and grew up in Leicester.

Then, five years ago, Kris was involved in the making of Zombie Undead, his first major film project and has since shared his time between playing in bands, writing music for short films/commercials and writing the odd script here and there. Kris adds, “To be honest it was only really as late 2012 that I really got back into the film side of things, though that has been mainly writing music for films & commercials. The directing side of things is very new to me”.

In late 2012 he wrote ‘The Terror’ and wanted to direct this short so got a team together, set up his production company Mute City and just went ahead and “did it”. Kris adds. “I loved it so much that I was crazy enough to do a second short ‘They Never Forget’ which again I really enjoyed. I would currently say my roles move between Audio Designing/Composing and Directing.”

Despite leaning towards the darker genres such as horror, sci-fi and thrillers, Kris has written music for a number of adverts and short films that are actually much lighter. “I think the film ‘Drive’ is a perfect example of mixing beauty and darkness”, says Kris, “certainly when it comes to the soundtrack”. Kris plans to branch out into other genres but feels his writing skills definitely edge towards horror but like many filmmakers, the two main hurdles he faces are time and money. Kris explains that working fulltime when trying to make a film or write music for other projects is exhausting and like a lot of people doing this around their day job, the hours can be crazy. “When I wrote the music for Zombie Undead with my friend Dave we were both doing something like 50 hours a week at work (we both managed teams on the same project at work and had to sit next to each other) and then spent 5/6 hours on the music – it was extremely tough both physically and mentally”.

Kris essentially funds his own films which instantly limits what he is able to do but thanks his great crew for helping, particularly the DOP and co-producer Fraser West (wetheconspirators) who he works with on more or less all of his projects. “I am also extremely hands-on… probably too much so. Being a jack of all trades is fine but when you’ve got people around you who are masters at certain roles it would be crazy not to utilise them. I think a big part of taking on so much is the fear that people won’t follow through with promises and that your project is going to sit in limbo… that’s certainly been a big fear of mine, and others I’m sure, but luckily the people I work with always deliver which removes a great deal of stress”.

On set, Kris believes if you want to get cast and crew on your side right from the start make sure they’re fed and watered properly all day and whilst everyone enjoys the breakfast, Kris and Fraser tend to go through the shooting schedule and make sure they’re fully prepared. “As someone who has been part of both cast and crew there is nothing worse than sitting around on an unorganised shoot not knowing what’s going on so ensuring everyone is comfortable with the schedule is essential”. After shooting right through till lunch, they again review the schedule (with the assistant director given the opportunity to shout if they’re running behind) then run through till the end of the day sometimes up to 12/13 hours depending on the location and people’s availability.

Having to cram a lot into the shoots is normal from Kris and thinks one of his heroes, director John Carpenter, is a perfect example of someone that has produced great results with relatively low budgets. Other influences include Alfred Hitchcock and Ridley Scott and Kris has gained great satisfaction with his latest personal achievement completing his film ‘They Never Forget’ and is currently working on a script for another short film he’s looking to shoot entirely within one room.

From the Carpenter classics of Big Trouble in Little China, Halloween and The Thing, Kris also cites Blade Runner amongst his influences. “It ticks all the boxes for me. Great atmosphere both in terms of set and the music and really good performances too.” British-wise, Kris says The Wickerman was another film he caught when younger and one with a “unique vibe” that has stayed with him.

With all the above on his plate, Kris feels there are now are tons of people making films in the region at the moment and he’s always looking for people who want to get in front and behind the camera. Alongside Keith Allott and Alexzandra Jackson of 7/5 Productions and Rhys Davies of Hive Films, Kris believes it’s a great time to get involved so asks any interested people who want to be in his cast or crew to drop him a line via www.mutecity.co.uk or at Facebook https://www.facebook.com/mutecitymedia

Watch "They Never Forget" here: http://vimeo.com/86264200

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