13th Dec2017

Horror On Sea 2018 Interview: Richard Mansfield talks ‘Blood on Satan’s Paw’

by Philip Rogers

Blood on Satan’s Paw is new surreal folk horror from writer and director Richard Mansfield, which has been selected to play at the Horror-on-Sea Film Festival on Sunday 21st January. I got chance to ask Richard about his inspirations for the film, the sudden increased interest in Folk Horror and the bespoke score from Cunning Folk.

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What can we expect from the film Blood on Satan’s Paw?

You can expect a surreal trip to the woods, bad bunnies, creepy puppets, acid-laced lollipops and a demonic bear.

What was your inspiration for writing Blood on Satan’s Paw?

I was very much inspired by the Folk Horror classics like The Wicker Man, Witchfinder General and Blood on Satan’s Claw as well as all the original Hammer films from a youth spent watching inappropriate horrors I’d recorded off late night TV.

There seems to be an increased interest in Folk Horror. Why do you think the genre is becoming so popular?

I think all trends in culture are cyclical and it’s been around 40 years since the classics were released. Ben Wheatley has certainly bucked the trend with Kill List and A Field in England. I’d love to see more film makers exploring the darker side of England’s countryside and folk lore.

Were there any elements of the original script which had to be adapted during filming?

Not really, I wrote the script specific to the location which was a local park. Sometimes things changed due to the weather or dog walkers but most of what was in the script ended up on screen. The weather in the days leading up to the shoot was torrential rain so it was pretty soggy underfoot but the sun came out and you can’t really tell. I did get bitten to pieces by mosquitos though.

Did you find it difficult both directing and acting in the film?

It’s always a challenge; I’d get into costume, set the camera up, press record then pop the bear mask on and get the scene shot. It is easier to direct the actors when I’m behind camera but I’ve worked with Henry several times before we made ‘Blood’ so he had a really god idea of what I wanted. When making a feature in 5 days you have to work extremely quickly so sometimes it’s quicker to play a part myself especially if it’s a dark figure lurking in the background.

Folk singer Cunning Folk has been credited as doing the music for Blood on Satan’s Paw. Was the music made specifically for the film?

It was and thanks to George of Cunning Folk my first feature with a bespoke score. I’d wanted to work with George on a film soundtrack for a long time so in return for the film score, I made him a music video about the Pendle Witches. We spent a morning together most weeks watching the film and George would compose as we went so it was very organic and great to hear the film coming to life. I think his soundtrack really makes the film and adds to the folk feeling.

What was one of your favourite scenes in the film?

I love the scenes with the toy house and puppets particularly the large butterfly marionette but I’m very fond of the ‘Bearbadook’ scene where Tommy tries to grab Mr. Bones and gets a nasty surprise. The scene was Henry’s idea and I’m so glad we shot it.


Do you have any new projects which you are working on?

I have several! Last year I made a film called The Demonic Tapes which was quite successful (you can watch it now on Amazon Prime), so I’ve filmed a sequel currently titled The Demonic Doll which I’m hoping to have ready early 2018. I’m also writing my first ever found-footage horror starring my husband Daniel. I’m also planning to film a silhouette animated adaptation of M.R James famous ghost story Mr Humphreys and his Inheritance to follow my other two adaptations of his work.

If someone is looking to direct their first film, what advice would you give them?

Don’t spend any money, really don’t. There is this myth that movies make a lot of money. Sometimes that’s true but more often than not it’s not.  I’d advise spending any money you do have on paying your actors. Make sure every film you make is an idea you’re passionate about as you’re going to be looking at it for a very long time. Release the film yourself, getting an official DVD release is great but the excitement wears off very quickly and someone else is in control of your work. Everything’s going digital and there really is no barrier to getting your film seen and there are various sites that will allow you to sell and market your film to paying viewers. Lastly, make it creepy, atmospheric, hold back on the jump scares and have fun.

Blood on Satan’s Paw will be playing at the Horror-on-Sea Festival on Sunday 21st January at 3pm.
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For more information on the event and to purchase tickets for the Horror-on-Sea please see the website for details: https://www.horror-on-sea.com

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