Zombies, Aliens, Cats, And A Whole Lotta Gore – An Interview With Lee Hardcastle
I first became aware of Lee Hardcastle’s films from the short, T IS FOR TOILET. It is one of 26 short horror films that will be included in the upcoming movie THE ABCS OF DEATH. While 25 directors were sought out for the movie, the producers opened up the spot for the letter “T” for anyone to submit. Hardcastle did and his short will be included in the final film.
Curious over who this newcomer was, I looked up his short after I discovered it was on Youtube.
Holy. God. Damn. Motherfucking. Shit.
Take four minutes and watch this. No, seriously. Do it:
After seeing that, I quickly became addicted to Hardcastle’s films. His constant inventiveness with violence and the palpable sense of glee in downright infectious.
Not to mention that I’m a sucker for adult stop motion animation. I love the strange otherworldliness the technology gives across – yet while still retaining a sense of being physically real, something CGI sorely lacks.
I reached out to Hardcastle and had a short conversation with him about his influences and creative process.
Jeff Burk: Your short T IS FOR TOILET will be featured in the upcoming feature film, THE ABCS OF DEATH. How did that come about?
Lee Hardcastle: The ABCs of Death held a competition open to the public, where people could submit their own videos to represent the letter T in the film. And my entry Toilet won the competition, it was a dream come true and possibly my greatest achievement ever.
JB: How did you start working in stop motion animation?
LH: It was a bit of an accident, I did it as a hobby because I liked to make films but never thought it was possible to make a living from it until I started to build a bit of a following online! It all started with YouTube and the internet. Without it, I wouldn’t stand a chance in the film festival circuits.
JB: Are there any stop motion animators that you would site as an influence?
LH: Adam Buxton and Joe Cornish were my biggest inspiration with their “toy movies” on the Adam and Joe show, they didn’t demonstrate amazing stop motion a lot but it was charming and fun and made me want to have a go at it too.
JB: Your work shows an overwhelming love of horror movies with references to many classic films (THE EVIL DEAD, THE THING, DEAD ALIVE, etc…). Where did your love of horror come from?
LH: I dunno, I’m not really into horror films these days now – it’s horrible. I remember that feeling growing up, how excited I was about horror films and how I felt when I watched them, it was beautiful fine art to me. And now, I’m nostalgic and sad that I never feel like that anymore. I can’t say where it came from but I reference them out of my own bitter nostalgic reasons.
JB: Extreme violence and gross-out are becoming calling cards of your work. What were your biggest inspirations in regards to how you present your gore?
LH: I don’t know, I remember when I first watched The Thing and there were those two sequences back to back, first the guy whose chest opens up and then the blood test scene? It’s just there, all gory and crazy and it was a serious. That was love, I like to shock people and watch their reaction. It’s all about an audience reaction, it cracks me up. If I can disturb someone or make them jump, to me that’s like making a woman orgasm.
JB: Which film would you consider your greatest accomplishments?
LH: T is for Toilet, I am really happy with. It really came together, as it was for a competition I came up with an idea that would express everything I can do, my writing, my acting, my animating, my directing, my camering, my breathing, everything!! I wanted it to be the greatest representation of what I can achieve, and I achieved it against all odds too. I couldn’t even afford the 100 quid it cost to make! I had friends wire money to me via pay pal.
JB: What is the most demanding aspect of working in stop motion animation that others may not realize?
LH: It takes a lot of planning, you have to know exactly what you are shooting and in what sequence. Planning is everything, you gotta visualize for whole video frame for frame before you can pick up the camera.
JB: All of your videos are available to view via YouTube for free. As a new and independent artist, what made you choose that route of distribution? Any plans for hardcopies (i.e. DVDs) in the future?
LH: Actually, i think dvds/hardcopies are dead. The future is online.
JB: You’ve done a few music videos for a variety of groups and styles. How did that come about? Are there any special demands with music videos?
LH: Nah;, I get asked if I’ll make a music video every now and again, and I love the art of music videos. That is something I love.
JB: Several of your films are in 3-D (if you have the glasses) on YouTube. That’s not something I come across too often. What attracted you to making 3-D films?
LH: I think video is such a fun gimmick, I’ve always been obsessed with 3D and I love it when I show someone my work in 3D, they’re usually really amazed.
JB: What can we look forward to in the future from you?
LH: I don’t know, I’m a floater in a calm river this very moment, I haven’t a clue where it’s taking me or how rough/calm the ride is going to get. My goals are to employ people to work for me and get a lee hardcastle studio going so i can get bigger/longer videos out the door quicker.
JB: What is your advice to the aspiring filmmaker?
LH: Have goals, make them realistic. Don’t run out of batteries, keep going like the Duracell bunny.
JB: Thanks for your time!
You can go to Lee Hardcastle’s official website to watch all of his films for free. I highly recommend that you do.
I leave you with this, AN ALIEN CLAYMATION, his latest film: