10th Jan2018

Horror-On-Sea 2018 Interview: James Hamer-Morton talks ‘Dead Love’

by Philip Rogers

Dead Love is new unorthodox love story from writer and director Chris Gallagher, which has been selected to play at the Horror-on-Sea Film Festival on Friday 19th January. I got chance to ask the films lead actor James Hamer-Morton a few questions about what attracted him to the film, memorable moments on set and having to simulate a relationship with a table voiced by Emily Booth.


What can we expect from the film Dead Love?

Dead Love is one of those genre films that has a heart. It’s more of a romance set within a horror framework; two people that should be unsuited to being with anybody find each other and through their time together end up with a relationship that we can all root for. There’s murder, bodily mutilation, cannibalism, and of course a ridiculous love triangle with a table, that never seem to overtake the real story of the film which is about doing anything for love.

Dead Love is best described as an unorthodox love story. What attracted you to the film when you first read the script?

Frankly, it wasn’t like anything I’d read before. It was clearly rooted in the gruesome horror genre, but didn’t seem to play on those aspects beyond being a necessity to the plot. This isn’t a film designed to scare you, but more question the reasons for what is going on, and I really found myself rooting for what could only be classed as the anti- heroes.

Can you tell me a little bit about your character?

I play Allan, who is a socially awkward unconfident puddle of a man, who clings on to any affection and positivity that he is shown. He’s vulnerable and susceptible to manipulation which could have lead the film in a very different path, but grows an amazing amount through the film. Hopefully he’s someone you like, despite his actions, because the film really thrusts in your face the root causes of what is happening.

Your character has two complicated relationships, one of them being with a sentient table which is voiced by Emily Booth. Did you find it difficult to portray the relationship with the table and did you ever ask yourself whilst filming “What am I doing”?

There are various scenes that should have been uncomfortable to shoot in this film, from a quite sexy ‘death’ scene, to various intimate moments with the other lead, Anne (Victoria Smith), but they were remarkably fine, no doubt thanks to the other cast members. It was the various table scenes that really made me feel uneasy. Naturally, when you’re acting against someone that’s not ‘real’, generally it happens in films using green screens, it’s being shot like that because of some extreme action taking place, and they are relatively easy to react to. Flinch out of the way of that explosion, react in horror to this giant creature eating your friend. That kind of thing. In this case, they were quite intimate moments that had to come across believably and naturalistically and beyond the challenge of those scenes, it turns out that performing sexual acts on a table comes across a lot more raw than an artistically shot sex scene. That was when I asked myself “What am I doing?”. That said, it was an interesting dynamic to have a character that may be real or may just be something in my head. Naturally Chris (Gallagher), the director and I had a discussion about which it was, and while I’m not sure that he’d like me to reveal which way we had it in our heads, I’m really interested to see what people take from it, and how the relationship plays out to the audience.

Do you have any memorable moments from filming Dead Love?

It was a really fun shoot overall. A small cast and crew lead to a very enjoyable working atmosphere, but while you’re on a tight shoot, you rarely get the time to play around as much since you’ve got to stick to the schedule. One scene we filmed on location in a cafe with some extras was plagued by unexpected roadworks just outside the location. It could have been so stressful to try to fit everything in, but we just made such a joke of it all, playing up all of the extra noises that weren’t meant to be there that it made it a really positive day; at least for everyone except the Director and Producer who were probably counting the seconds until we had to leave.

What was one of your favourite scenes to film?

For me, I’m normally a bigger fan of shooting the scenes with more intense acting, but in this case, what sticks out is a scene involving some special effects, created by the amazing Paul While. Who doesn’t love shooting special effects? Firstly, we’re limited to the number of takes we have by the amount of ‘blood’ or prosthetics available and it invariably ups the ante of each shot. Sometimes you’ve got to pray it all works perfectly in the first shot because whatever you’re using in that shot is a one-off effect. One scene that I shall try to keep spoiler free involved the dismemberment of someone’s limb, and so many aspects had to go perfectly to pull it off. Would we hit the prosthetic hard enough to actually break the fake skin? Would the blood come out effectively? The satisfaction from watching the shot back afterwards was so great, and I can’t wait to see it all edited together into the final film to fully sell the effect.

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

I’ve just finished playing the pilot of a doomed airliner for a new short made as a proof of concept for a feature film, called Dead Air (2017). I know; another ‘dead’ in the title. Hopefully that’ll be received well enough to revisit that world, since it’s a really ambitious and exciting project. I also play a cannibalistic doctor in the quirky British feature The Fitzroy (2018) that should be out soon. You can also catch me in My Bloody Banjo (2015) and Bid For My Life (2015) (both available on Amazon Prime, I believe), and there’s a rather cool secret project for Sky that I am a part of that should be revealed soon. Outside acting, I’ve just opened an Escape Room venue in Reading called ‘Deadlocked’… yes… more ‘dead’. So, if you’re in the area and want to find out if you can escape the rooms that I’ve designed, take a look!

If someone is looking to get into acting, what advice would you give them?

Honestly, it’s about taking opportunity when it’s presented to you no matter how small it seems from the outset, but it’s also about being in a position to take that opportunity. Unless you’re doing really well, most actors need some kind of bread and butter job to keep paying the rent, so it’s important to find something that will give you the flexibility to drop everything and go to a casting. Without that, it’s incredibly difficult to get started. So, I guess find a way to be able to support yourself while not blocking your own opportunities as you chase that dream is my biggest piece of advice.


Dead Love will be playing at the Horror-on-Sea Festival on Friday 19th January at 10:30pm.

You can find out 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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