Take a cautious look at the following trailer and see what you make of it!
Sounds absurd? Well, much horror -- and in particular horror comedy -- works by taking the absurd and running with it, pretending, just for a moment, that the absurd is not only possible but believable. Clearly the upcoming horror comedy Potato Vampires (2012- Ireland; dir. John Clerkin)is shooting for the über-weird end of the genre, giving us a new and somewhat counter-intuitive perspective on that most ubiquitous of tubers, the spud. Producer Derm McGuigan described the film as being "in the Style of old Troma-ville movies -- it's a creature feature, it's the gore and the ridiculous" and as "a high-concept Belfast comedy that’s The Hangover meets The Grudge." Personally, I would've thrown in Little Shop of Horrors, too, along with that inevitable low-budget "template", Evil Dead. And maybe Peter Jackson's early zombie gory flick, Braindead.
The good news? Genetic engineers have developed a strain of potato that gets you high! The bad news? It also drinks human blood and leaves users violently insane … oh, and it’s just got loose from the lab, so we’re probably all going to die.
Pictured (above): Helen L Murphy and Robbie Beggs
An experimental potato hybrid is stolen by a cleaner (Alan Waterman) from the agricultural research lab. He has discovered an interesting side effect, letting the seedlings suck your blood gives you a high. He takes it back to the house of some friends with an indoor weed-growing operation where under the sunlamps it grows at an incredible rate. The agri-research company boss dispatches a ‘collector’ to get the sample back.So, Spuds of Doom, Pomme de Terror, Attack of the Killer Potatoes... there was a compost heap of possible titles! But Potato Vampires it is!
The potato plant grows out tendrils which dig into anyone nearby. It gives a huge high even as it drains blood from the victim. The dealers see vast potential in this and arrange a fancy dress party to launch their new drug.
Prolonged interaction with the plant, however, causes violent insanity. At the party just as the collector arrives people start to go nuts and the few survivors immune from the effects must find a way to stop the evil plant before it spreads.
So why this film at all?
According to the press release, the script started off as a joke by writer/director John Clerkin.
When he couldn’t come up with a suitably macho sounding title for the steam-punk action movie he’d just written, he saved it under the name Potato Vampires. “It was just the lamest, least blockbuster name I could think off, but as I was trying to tell people about this other film they’d see Potato Vampires written there and that was the film they wanted to hear about,” he said, adding, “Eventually I realised I wanted to know what it was about too… and the only way to find out was to write the damn thing.”
He wrote the evil vegetable script mostly for his own enjoyment then stuffed it in a drawer. And there it would have stayed, if not for the persistence of Potato Vampires producer, Derm McGuigan.
The two met when McGuigan was working as sound man on a short film, Clerkin was shooting in the wilds of rural Fermanagh. “The place worked for the film, but it was a tin shed ... in Northern Ireland … in December. Dear god, but it was cold!” he says shivering at the memory, “We bonded while hunched over the one tiny heater in the place and when John mentioned Potato Vampires in passing I was instantly intrigued.”
McGuigan pestered until he got to read the script. “The minute I read it I knew I wanted to make it. It had everything I like in films: scares, splatter, burst-out-laughing comedy moments, weirdness, kick-ass heroines and acts of gratuitous violence balanced with wit that make you feel changed for witnessing it.”
So filming took place in September 2011, mainly in an ordinary suburban terrace house, which is apparently where most of the film takes place. Alan Waterman (pictured above), who plays the cleaner who starts all the trouble, commented: “God knows what the neighbours thought. The windows were all blacked out and people in masks are running in and out covered in blood and carrying severed limbs.”
Check out the Potato Vampires V-Log for a potato sackful of Behind-the-Scenes videos.
McGuigan had nothing but praise for the efforts of the cast and crew:
“Given the sheer number of practicals and complicated suspense set pieces in the film it’s something of a miracle that we finished on time and on budget. We got away with it thanks to the limitless patience and concentration of our actors, a director who could shoot fast, getting spectacular shots with a minimum of fuss, and a great crew who all pitched in so much effort to make this a great film. There was a really great atmosphere on set, cast and crew started turning up on days they weren’t even scheduled just to help out with that particular effect or build that prop, or even just be part of the buzz. To feel that warm potato-ey magic.”Watch out for it soon!
Sources: Derm McGuigan via Avery Guerra; Press Kit; Official website; Facebook page. Photos courtesy of Potato Vampires Ltd.
An Earlier Teaser Video ("quickly thrown together for early promotion"):