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Martin Stocks

Welcome back my horror loving audience. We have a fangtastic guest today…

Tell us who you are and what you do?

I’m Martin Stocks and I write and direct horror/thriller films. I have made 3 shorts so far and have a couple of features in development. My films tend to have a darkly comedic style to them, blending comedy and horror.

How long have you been making films?

I have been writing and developing films for years. I come from a screenwriting background, and studied that at Uni. I developed several decent feature screenplays, but since they take years to get made (if ever), I decided to start directing shorts. I only moved into directing over the last couple of years. I felt that I needed to build up my knowledge and contacts before moving into directing myself.

What awards have you received?

My previous film Toll Booth has done really well on the festival circuit, winning 7 awards so far. These include for Best Screenplay at Canada International Film Festival, Best Thriller at LA Shorts Awards, Best Actor at Unrestricted View Horror Festival, and recently the Audience Choice Award at Cardiff Mini Film Festival. We were also nominated for the Yorkshire Film Award at Oscar-qualifying Leeds International Film Festival.

Can you tell us about “Black Lake”?

Black Lake is a short, animated thriller. It follows a character who wakes up in a mysterious, hostile world after causing a fatal car crash. The world is foggy, ethereal and initially enchanting, before taking a very dark turn. Our character is forced to face his darkest fears to save his soul and escape this bleak world. It’s a very tense thriller about someone going through the toughest living nightmare imaginable.

We’ve got some stunning concept art from Gabhriela Swann which captures the stark beauty of the world we’re creating here. We’re currently building a multi-award winning animation team to bring this to life, and are really excited by the talent the project is attracting.

We’ve also got 2 excellent voice actors on board. Richard Glover (Sightseers, Darkest Hour, Casual Vacancy) and Andrew Shire (Toll Booth, Ripper, Law and Order UK).

Which program are you using to accomplish this project?

This will be a 2D animation so we’ll be using After Effects most likely, although we’re experimenting now.

What is “Toll Booth” about?

A man starts work at an isolated toll booth following his predecessor’s disappearance. Throughout the night his confidence erodes as he finds out more disturbing details about what may have happened. Twin Peaks was an influence and the local characters are all eccentric and add to the feeling that something sinister is happening.

There is also lots of comedy throughout, much of it coming from our lead Andrew Shire. We also just got nominated for Best Dark Comedy at New Renaissance Film Festival, which is nice for a film that is mainly a horror.

Can you tell us about your Horror Trailers you tube channel?

You can also catch my other short films on the same channel. Dark comedy The Ex (co-directed with Gareth Brown) and The Clown Attacks.

What are your future goals?

I am currently drafting Toll Booth as a feature length film which I’m very excited about. A major goal is to get this made as a feature film, with a proper budget, and a cinema release. Getting another of my feature scripts made, Humble Pie, is also a huge goal. This is an out and out comedy and a very different tone and style to Toll Booth. I’m also interested in exploring Black Lake as a feature film, but we’ll see how the short goes first!

What is it that inspires you about horror?

I like the freedom you can get with the genre. I think you can go into some surreal and interesting directions, which you might not be able to with a straight drama for instance. I also think that horror lends itself to comedy, and comedy/horrors tend to go down well with audiences. Perhaps it’s the heightened state you’re in watching a good horror, and laughter can be a nice release.

I also like the new wave of genre bending ‘smart horrors’, although I hate the term. Films like Get Out, The Endless, and Hereditary have all shown the depth and critical and commercial acclaim that horror films can get.

What’s your favorite horror film?

Silence of the Lambs.

What’s your favorite horror character?

Hannibal Lector. It has to be doesn’t it.

If someone wanted to find out more about you and your films, where can they go?

Take a look at my website, or get in touch on social media.


Thank you for joining us Martin, but it’s time to go my little tasty treat. Until next time…Scares, fears and tears my horror loving maniacs.

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