Wolf Manor - Horror Film Shoot
With only one month to go until Wolf Manor gets it's world premiere at Fright Fest in Leicester Square on 28th August 2022, I thought I'd better finally write my blog about the film shoot!
We became Co-Production partners on the project back in February this year, to help shoot the film in Shropshire. We were originally brought on board to just do the aerial filming with our Drone, however the project grew rapidly and the small film we were approached about, became a full feature movie, with a script that was part homage to 'American Werewolf in London' (Carl's favourite horror film). As Co-production partner on the project we agreed to provide our film equipment to use on the shoot and our roles on set subsequently expanded. The filming was to take place over the Easter school holidays, which included 14, almost back-to-back, night shoots...gulp.
The first day of the shoot arrived, with all the roles assigned. Carl was 1st AD (the first assistant director is directly responsible to the director and "runs" the floor or set), Tom was 2nd AC (second assistant camera loads the camera cards, loads the slate/clapper board, and marks the scenes) and I was Production Assistant as part of the Production team. This was ideal for me as this is my usual job title with Wild Edric; however with a full crew on set, my usual job of do everything that Carl isn't doing was much reduced. I got to spend most of the shoot in the production office with Producer Joanne Mitchell (Mitchell Brunt Films) and Production Manager, Marc Price (Nowhere Fast Productions). After the first few days liaising with cast and crew and making sure everyone was happy on set, a lot of what Marc and I did was create the Call Sheets (the next days filming schedule and which cast members were needed on set) and the Sides (the next days scenes for shooting). Jo, Marc and I had so much fun in the production office there was lots of laughter as well as getting our work done of course. I was also a runner on set at times getting things and finding people, which I did really enjoy. I did get out of the office as well with the Wild Edric team as we were still providing the aerial footage for the film. Carl, as always, was the drone pilot and I was in my usual role as the drone spotter (keeping an eye on the drone at all times). We got some brilliant shots of the Manor and the grounds from above.
Carl and Tom were in the thick of the film making action for all of the shoot, working on every scene. As 1st AD, Carl got to work closely with Director, Dominic Brunt (‘Paddy’ in ITV's ‘Emmerdale’ and Co-founder of Mitchell Brunt Films). Pete Wild the Co-Writer, Executive Producer and location provider knew that Dominic had a passion for making horror films and we were delighted when he managed to secure him as Director of the film. Pete had also hired the wonderful Shaune Harrison (prosthetics makeup artist on Star Wars, Harry Potter, Captain America and many more major film productions) and Paula Anne Booker (prosthetic makeup artist on Peaky Blinders) to create the Werewolf costume. They used real Yak's hair, that Paula hand stitched into the costume. They also created many severed limbs and gore galore for use in many of the scenes. I'm not usually squeamish and I love a good horror film but seeing all the fake stuff looking so realistic in real life was very different from seeing it through a screen and it did make me feel queasy.
James Fleet (Vicar Of Dibley and many major feature films) was brought on board to play the main character, he was such a pro and a very nice man and would sit and chat with us in the production office. We also had a familiar face involved, with Morgan Rees-Davies (he's been in any of our theatrical trailers) taking on the role of the Werewolf at short notice and doing an excellent job. On the first night we were filming at a pub in nearby Clun but the rest of the filming happened in one location, an old Manor House just outside Ludlow. Having a base for the entire shoot meant the Art Dept went to town, creating false walls in basements and also repainting some of the rooms. Lighting was incredibly key to creating the cinematic look, and Richard Jackson, the Gaffer and his team (the Gaffer is head of lighting) really made the scenes come to life for the camera. Katie Wrigley and her Make-up team did a great job of making the actors look just right for their scenes and created some amazing horror effects alongside Shaune & Paula. Lance Milligan's Costume team ensured all the actors looked the part for the characters being portrayed with great care taken on continuity. Oh and there was copious amounts of smoke to recreate spooky mist outside which Tom had the fun task of operating some of the time, I will never forget that smell!
It was so great having such an amazing team to work with and I'm sorry I haven't been able to mention everyone involved, but the cast and crew worked so hard for just over a fortnight of night shoots and each person brought their immense talent and skills to the project. There were over 24 people involved in the shoot, all ridiculously talented in front of and behind the camera, which also included the massively important on-set catering provided by the generous and very accommodating Wendy Wild…we quickly got used to eating lunch at midnight! I miss food being on tap all night lol.
The fortnight of filming went by in a whirlwind of excitement and exhaustion, the Wild Edric team had such a great time learning and making new connections. We had the time of our lives and we can't wait to see everyone again at the premiere. Here are some photo's from during filming for you to enjoy...