09th Feb2018

Horror-On-Sea 2018 Interview: Will & Maria Lee Metheringham on ‘Pumpkins’

by Philip Rogers

Following the world premiere of Pumpkins at Horror-on-Sea I got a chance to talk with co-writer and composer Will Metheringham and director Maria Lee Metheringham about writing together, the origins of the Pumpkin Man and their band Great Northern Hotel.

Photo courtesy of J. Douglas Imagery

Photo courtesy of J. Douglas Imagery

We are here for the world premiere of Pumpkins, is this the first feature which you have directed?

Maria – I have done other feature films, but they have all been about an hour long

Will – Around 69 minutes

Maria – We never took them around festivals either, they were straight to DVD releases and only went to America

Will – We kept testing and learning, that what I like to think of them as

Maria – We like to think of this as our first feature film

You both co-wrote the film, where did the idea come from originally?

Will – It is kind of a long story. It basically started at college and during the Halloween season we thought wouldn’t it be great if actual Jack Lanterns did do weird things at Halloween. My best friend who sat next to me at college at the time said, “let me do some drawings”. He drew a basic story whilst I was describing it to him and that’s it, we folded it up and put it away. Then years later you (Maria) turned around and said were gonna make Pumpkins.

Maria – It was supposed to be a short script, but I turned it into a full feature length.

Will – Originally, we were writing another film but the cost of it was too much and she (Maria) was like no, I found this one, a bit of your past and we are going to roll with this.

What is the process with you writing together?

Maria – Will makes notes on certain scenes and dialogue. I am the one who makes it into a story that’s full and complete. We come up with scenes ourselves and put them together, make them all go in the right order and match up with the story.

Will, you play Pumpkin Man in the film – how did it come about that you would play the character?

Will – I was cheap (Laughs). I was reasonably tall and also, I wanted to be in it. I tried out for other roles, but my wife wouldn’t let me in it, because I wasn’t good enough.

Maria – You are a big fan of the slasher characters

Will – I am, things like Jason from Friday 13th, I’ve always thought you can tell from the movement, who’s playing it or if it’s the original one or the first three. I thought you’ve got to get this right, you can’t just put on a suit, you have to act.

Maria – There is a particular way of playing a slasher. He is a geek of all these kind of films, so he knows all the characteristics and movements very well so that was idea.

Maria, you directed and acted in the film…

Maria – I only have a small role in the film because directing there are so many things that you have to do, and concentrate on, I didn’t want a role which I was playing throughout the film. I am literally in the beginning, once in the middle and then once at the very end of the film. The bit that I did appear in there were only five cast members on set for three days, so it’s easy for me to direct and be on those scenes at the same time. Gary (Rogers), he’s the DoP. If I am not behind the camera and he say shots good, I am happy with that because he can see it from a director’s eye anyway, he is pretty good with that sort of thing.

Will – He is an excellent Director of Photography

Maria – I’m just playing a weird sort of ranch, cowgirl character with a gun

Will – Originally you weren’t meant to play it

Maria – No we a few casting swap arounds when we started filming so a few people had to be replaced because they dropped out or something happened. We replaced three cast members a day before the shoot on some days, but the people that we cast were awesome, so it was better in the end.

What do you have planned next?

Maria – We are planning to go into production in September on a new film. Pretty hush hush at the moment. It’s totally different from Pumpkins, a different type of horror film. We are kind of going for an old school feel, not like an 80’s style but further back old school. (looks to Will) is there anything else we can say about it or is that vague enough?

You will see though because it will appear somewhere.

Will – There will probably be a trailer around the end of the year

You also appear in another film at the festival Mask of Thorn. How did you feel about the release of that film as well?

Maria – I loved that. I thought it was really suspenseful, full of action and horror. It’s weird because it’s like action, horror, sci fi, so it’s a good combination of my favourite genres I’ve done. I am playing the badass character, I get type cast as badass, but I am ok with that, because that’s cool. I loved my character in Mask of Thorn, it’s awesome and it looks great because they did a good job with the editing, everything looks great. There are one of our songs in the film as well.

What band is that?

Maria – Our Band The Great Northern Hotel

Will – It was a song you (Maria) co-wrote with me

Maria – The scene in the power station where guys are turning the buttons on and off, that was our song. They featured some of our music which was very kind of them.

Did you do any of the music in Pumpkins as well?

Maria – Yeah, we have got two tracks from out band in Pumkins and the rest of the track was composed by Will. He did the full soundtrack.

Will – The song that we done with the guy from EMA, James Atkin and one other track by the group. The rest I just carefully watch the film, tried to place and not over do it as well.

Maria – You’re not composing the next film we have someone on board potentially, I am not going to say who it is yet.

Will – I was like “I am composing the next film” and then we got this message and I was like OK, maybe he can do it.


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You can keep up to date regarding Pumpkins and the film’s release on Facebook.

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