Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Cannes 2016

Now that we're back from Cannes, it's time to debrief. What happened there? First, we got a lot of exposure on Parkland's booth: the poster was attracting people's attention, and we were able to show them the first few minutes of the film, which were not quite finished (sound mix is still a few days away) but were good enough to start a conversation.

Usually at the film market, sensational posters are used to promote very cheap movies with low production values. In our case, the footage always surprised the viewers because... well, it looked good. Shane Briant is very classy, John Lebar is menacing, Stephanie Campion is a perfectly british Mrs Hudson... Those of you who pledged for the DVD on the crowdfunding campaign should be able to check for yourself when you receive it in a few weeks. As for the others, the campaign is still open, you can join the project right now if you want to be a part of it: igg.me/at/holmes-vs-frank

What else happened there? Lots of meetings regarding possible coproductions, sales of our movies Revenge, The Girl with Two Faces and House of VHS (which will be on DVD in the UK in September, under the title Ghosts in the Machine) and of Ian Powell's Razors (which will also be released in the UK in a few months)...

But of course, the film we all want to see come to life is Sherlock Holmes vs Frankenstein. Any good news on this side? Probably, yes. We still can't announce who will play Holmes and Watson, but the financing part is progressing nicely, and we're still looking at shooting in Belgium soon. Keep supporting the movie by joining the Facebook page and the Twitter account, by getting the book from Amazon (version française disponible bientôt !), and by mentioning it to everyone around you. Needless to say, we would rather be filming right now than wait a few more months!

Favourite titles and posters from Cannes film market

Monday, 25 January 2016

Sherlock Holmes vs Frankenstein: off to phase 2

Three days of filming! That's how far we've gone to this day. Which is really exciting, and at the same time incredibly frustrating, because there's so much to tell and we have to hold back until the budget is assembled.

photo by Alex Pixelle
But still, we have a few nice scenes in the can, including footage with the awesome Shane Briant, who had no problem returning to the world of gothic horror 42 years after Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell. I think the conditions were a little more extreme last weekend than they were on the set of Hammer Films, with a temperature culminating at zero degrees! (celsius of course) Shane was so dedicated that he suggested putting ice in his mouth to avoid making breath vapor when saying his lines.

What are the next steps for Sherlock Holmes vs Frankenstein, you might ask? Of course, completing post-production on what we've shot so far (roughly 5 minutes of film). And then, finding the first real chunk of the budget, the one that will allow us to secure the actors for Holmes and Watson, and set the filming dates later in 2016. Fan support can be provided on Indiegogo as always (and helps a lot), but we're also welcoming private investments: if you're interested in that, you should contact us at marteau at marteaufilmsproduction.com , and we will send you details about the investment opportunities.

Let us know what you think of the first images by leaving messages on Facebook & Twitter!




Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Igor, pull the switch!

In the recent Victor Frankenstein with James McAvoy in the title role, we have seen Daniel
Radcliffe as his handsome but hunch backed assistant, Igor. To many, it seems that Frankenstein has ALWAYS been assisted by a hunchback called Igor. But in fact, it's one of those urban legends like Sherlock Holmes stating “Elementary my dear Watson” (not once does he utter these words in the original Canon) or Johnny Weissmuller's Tarzan saying "Me Tarzan you Jane” (he only says “Tarzan... Jane... Tarzan...”)

So no, there isn't a single trace of an Igor in Mary Shelley's novel, nor is there any character who could have inspired the deformed valet pulling switches in the popular imagery. No Igor either in any of the theater plays that have been staged throughout the 19th century. No Igor in the first film version of Frankenstein in 1910.

Could we date the creation of this character with the release of James Whale's Frankenstein in 1931? Everyone remembers Boris Karloff being persecuted by a hunchback holding a torch, played by Dwight Frye... Unfortunately, the guy isn't called Igor, but Fritz. Damn. In fact, Dwight Frye appeared in most of Universal Frankenstein films, as a different character each time, but he never played an Igor. J. Carrol Naish plays another hunchback in House of Frankenstein, but his character is called Daniel!

The first time a Frankenstein met an Ygor (with an Y) was in 1939 Son of Frankenstein, the third entry in the Universal saga. Played by none other than Bela Lugosi, this Ygor introduces himself to Wolf von Frankenstein (Basil Rathbone), and says he used to be his father's assistant – which is rather dubious since we haven't seen him in previous movies. Besides, he's not a hunchback at all, he simply has a broken neck due to his attempted hanging by the townspeople. Lugosi's Ygor returne in the sequel Ghost of Frankenstein, then lived on as the Monster's brain in Frankenstein meets the Wolf Man.

There was no character called Igor in the Frankenstein movies produced by Hammer Films, and the only occurrence that can be spotted in the 60s is the western schlock Jesse James meets Frankenstein's Daughter, where said daughter renames her creature Igor for unknown reasons.

By the time Mel Brooks made his Young Frankenstein in 1973, the hunchback assistant Igor was a given in most people's minds, probably because of a confusion between Dwight Frye and Bela Lugosi's characters. However, Young Frankenstein's Igor played by Marty Feldman marks his real screen debut. Innumerable other Igors would follow, in movies such as Mistress Frankenstein, The Nightmare before Christmas, Frankenstein Italian Style, Return of the Killer Tomatoes, Van Helsing, Crazy Dracula Spring Break Weekend, Christmas at Draculas and even... wait for it... Daughter of Werebitch Meets Skankenstein.

In 2008, there was even a feature animated film starring Igor, with the voice talents of John Cusack as Igor and John Cleese as Dr Glickenstein. In this (dark) comedy, Igors are a race of slaves doomed to assist crazy scientists in their experiments. But our hero has higher ambitions!


There is no character called Igor in Sherlock Holmes vs Frankenstein.


Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Shane Briant's Hammer films

Shane Briant, who was recently seen in the series Serangoon Road and in Roland Joffé's The Lovers, will play the Burgermeister of Darmstadt in our movie Sherlock Holmes vs Frankenstein. Fourty years ago, he starred in several Hammer films before the company sadly went out of business.

Shane started his screen career at the age of 25. After a bit part in Von Richthofen and Brown, directed by Roger Corman, he landed a key role in Hammer's Demons of the Mind (1972), which can be considered as his true screen debut. Oddly enough, his face is proeminently featured on the original poster, even though his name does not among the main actors. Directed by Peter Sykes, who would later direct Christopher Lee in the famous To the Devil A Daughter, Demons of the Mind is not one of the most successful films produced by Hammer. Still, Shane's performance was so remarkable that the studio offered him the lead in their next production.

Straight on Till Morning is a dark thriller directed by Peter Collinson (The Italian Job with Michael Caine). Shane Briant co-stars with Rita Tushingham, who becomes his victim when he reveals himself to be a vicious serial killer. Cruel but handsome, cold but elegant, the young actor came across as a perfect fit for one of Hammer's most famous franchises...

Logically, in 1973, Shane is cast as Peter Cushing's co-star in the new installment in Frankenstein's saga. Playing the immoral young Simon Helder, he becomes the doctor's assistant in Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell, directed by the legendary Terence Fisher.

The infamous baron and his new assistant team up to create a new monster, played by David Prowse (Cushing and Prowse would eventually meet again in Star Wars, where the former plays Grand Moff Tarkin and the latter Darth Vader!). Madeline Smith, Bernard Lee and ex-Doctor Who Patrick Troughton complete the wonderful cast of this incredibly atmospheric entry. Unfortunately, Monster From Hell would end up being both Hammer's last Frankenstein and Fisher's last film, which prevented Helder from ever returning.


The next and last Hammer film for Shane Briant would be Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter, a pre-Buffy vampire caper written and directed by Brian Clemens, showrunner of the BBC Avengers. Shane plays the decadent Paul Durward, and shares the screen with Horst Janson, scream queen Caroline Munro and ex-Avenger Ian Hendry. Captain Kronos could have been a great TV series or movie franchise, but Hammer's reign was about to end, along with an era of gothic horror that had started with Curse of Frankenstein in 1957.

Now, Shane Briant is set to return to the world of Frankenstein, where he will also meet Holmes and Watson. You can be a part of this adventure by joining the ongoing crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, which is now collecting funds for the January shoot with Shane. If you want his costume and the set to be gorgeous, contribute now: http://igg.me/at/holmes-vs-frank

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Sherlock Holmes vs Frankenstein - November 2015 Indiegogo video





In case you missed it, here is the updated Indiegogo video. If you like the project, support 'Sherlock Holmes vs Frankenstein' NOW!