The launch of pathiggins.me.uk

We’re still working on this site, which will hopefully end up as a one-stop-shop to keep updated with all my stuff. This year has been more than a little insane, to be honest, and it felt like a good time to launch a new presence to keep everything (or, at least, the links to everything) in one place.

Please bear with us whilst we get it perfect.

The Devil’s Music hits VOD

Our award-winning horror mockumentary THE DEVIL’S MUSIC has arrived on VOD and Amazon Prime just in time for Halloween! The Amazon version is free to subscribers, whereas the version on Vimeo is packed with extras, including the notorious ‘director’s breakdown’s commentary. 

At last, the tale of Erika Spawn can be told.

Hellbride – Filming a Wedding… With Added Gore (Part One)

I’ve filmed a few weddings in my time. When my awesome brother Colin got married to his lovely wife Nancy nearly eight years ago, I arranged discreet multi-camera coverage and cut that footage together like an epic. I’m a film guy, so people are never too surprised to see me turn up with a camera. Hell, I was even slightly too interested in the filming of my own wedding when I really should have been worrying about other things.

No amount of filming weddings, however, can prepare you for the nerve-shredding experience of filming a fake one. Particularly when there are a few additional ingredients in the mix; namely ghosts, gangsters, guns and gore. See, just because those elements are there too, the real problem is that the other things that you have to worry about with weddings don’t go away.

And thus was the experience of filming the finale to our movie Hellbride.

Rebecca Herod as the beautiful bride in Hellbride

So, yes, you need to make sure that the blood sprays up the drapes in a particularly cinematic way when one of the ushers gets slaughtered by a monster with a weird beak-face, but you also need to make sure that the bride’s hair looks beautiful and that the flowers haven’t wilted since yesterday. Because whereas a real wedding takes place on just one incredibly intense day, a fake wedding for a horror movie can be stretched out into several. Each one presents their own continuity nightmares.

So, without further ado, here are some of the issues we experienced when filming the blood-drenched wedding finale to the movie, which has just been re-released on high definition VOD and can be purchased or rented from http://www.jinxmedia.co.uk and http://www.hellbride.co.uk

Prop hand from Hellbride

The first five issues we encountered, in reverse order:

10) Balloons
Yes, white balloons full of helium are a nice way of ‘filling the space’ in the background of a shot. However, as the days pass whilst filming during a ridiculously hot summer, these balloons lose their lift. They droop. They sag. Some of them pop. And of all the millions of things that you remembered to get when prepping the set, spare balloons were NOT on the list.

We got around the droopy balloons by introducing them as a plot point. When the ghost appears, we cut away to the balloons dropping to the floor as if the atmospheric pressure change had caused this. Because we’re geniuses. But not genius enough to bring spare goddamn helium, obviously. Probably shouldn’t have inhaled so much of it.

The cast of Hellbride - Horror Comedy

9) Flowers
Yes, even getting flowers for a fake wedding is extremely tough, because as soon as you say ‘wedding’ and ‘flowers’ the average florist adds a zero to the quote. We were shooting on a shoestring but needed this to look reasonably convincing. One of my amazing crew (can’t remember who, sorry folks) managed to convince a florist to give us some arrangements that were just about to wilt, and they looked amazing as the bride (the wonderful Rebecca Herod as Nicole Meadows) carried them down the aisle. Unfortunately, they looked a whole lot less wonderful on the second, third and fourth days of filming the sequence. See ‘Balloons’ for more information. Our solution was the same. Ghosts turn up, flowers rot. Because science.

8) Hair and make-up.
We had an amazing, unstoppable genius in the form of Beverly Chorlton sorting out our hair and make-up. Somewhere along the line, however, we sort of forgot that the wedding sequence would require far more ornate hair and make-up for all the female cast (not to mention a full makeover for our ghosts and monsters, too), yet Bev would only have the same amount of hours in every day. For us to be filming by 9am, Bev had to be onset with someone in her chair at some ungodly hour in the morning that shame has made me forget. Sorry, Bev. You were absolutely amazing.

7) Wedding dresses
We got our wedding dresses off eBay. This being a horror movie, they were all destined to get drenched in blood. Funnily enough, that’s a fairly drastic step to take with that particular item of wardrobe. Once a delicate wedding dress gets drenched in gore and bits of fake brain, you can probably forget about going back and getting pick-up shots.

Bride Nicole Meadows, bloodied but unbowed

6) Guns
Specfically, not enough of them. The wedding in Hellbride is attended by a lot of gangsters. All of these gangsters are meant to be armed. Our prop gun budget never stretched that far, so we ended up sharing a single gun between all of my cast. A quick-cut sequence of them pulling their guns out of their jackets? Same gun over and over, passed down the row as each shot was set up. Oh, the miracles of micro-budgets.

The final five problems of filming a gory fake wedding are heading your way soon. In the meantime, why not go and buy Hellbride? It’s available in glorious HD for the first time, for a stupidly small amount of money. Plus this time, for the first time ever, Jinx actually gets some of the money that you spend on buying the movie. Around a third of a million people have watched Hellbride in the past decade, yet the purchases made through this particular download are the first time ever that Jinx has ever seen any of the cash generated when people watch our film.

Hellbride – The Most Terrifying Romantic Comedy Ever! (2007, Pat Higgins) from jinxmedia on Vimeo.

We hope you enjoy it, and we’ll see you for the last five problems soon!

 

Star Wars Day

I don’t often use this site to talk about non-Jinx stuff (I’ve got my Huffington Post blog for that), but I thought I’d just pen a few words to mark the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and to try and briefly explain what it means to me.

I was taken to see the original Star Wars on opening night at the Southend Odeon by my parents, who’d won tickets for the screening from our local paper. I was three years old, and it was an evening screening – thus, instantly exciting and unusual. My brother had been following news stories about the impending release for weeks, and had been piecing information together as best he could. For some reason, I turned up at the screening expecting the cast to be there (particularly, oddly, Peter Cushing), but felt no sense of disappointment that they weren’t. It just felt so insanely big, exciting and grown-up to be going to the cinema in the evening.

I absolutely loved the movie, right up to the point where my three year-old body staged its own rebellion and I fell asleep. My mum took me back to watch it again the next week, at a more pre-schooler friendly time, this time I made it through to the credits grinning and over-excited.

Thing is, it’s pretty traditional for writer/directors who were taken to see Star Wars at a tender age to cite the movie as the reason they became filmmakers. That would be a lie (or, at very least, an act of mental revisionism). I decided I wanted to be a filmmaker whilst watching the squid fight in the cinematic re-release of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea a few months later. Star Wars didn’t make me a wannabe filmmaker. What Star Wars made me was a fan. A fan of movies; big, bold, amazing movies that have this weird power to take you someplace else for a couple of giddy hours.

By weird coincidence, my parents won tickets again to the opening night of Empire three years later. By that time I was six or seven, and determined that I wouldn’t fall asleep. I emerged triumphant as the credits rolled, and said to my brother Col “and Han DIDN’T get frozen like we’d heard”. Col advised me to the contrary and I realised that yes, goddammit, I’d fallen asleep again for about twenty minutes towards.

Return of the Jedi. Southend Odeon again. Opening night again. Tickets from the paper AGAIN (Jesus, did nobody else enter those competitions?). That time I stayed awake, and watched the end of the story.

Except, of course, it wasn’t the end of the story. Tonight, over 30 years later, I’m heading back to Southend Odeon to see the story get picked up. That’s kind of a long journey to go on; kind of a ridiculous level of expectation. I’m spending the day ducking spoilers (in fact, I’ve written this as a kind of mental diversionary tactic to stop me reading ‘just one’ more review, which might be the one to trip a landmine of information I really didn’t want to know.

There’s an appendix to this story, related to those pesky prequels and their own respective opening nights, but that appendix is a diminished thing in my mind in comparison to how I felt on those nights in the 70s and early 80s and hope I hope against hope that I might feel tonight.

Just a kid in a cinema being taken somewhere far, far away without ever leaving his seat.

Wherever it takes me, I’m sure I’ll see some of you there.

UKquad

Full Day Screenwriting Masterclass with Pat – VERY limited tickets!

Ever wanted to write a movie or a TV show?

In this special one-day event, acclaimed screenwriter and lecturer Pat Higgins will take you through the tricks and techniques of successful screenwriting.

From creating characters to idea generation, from how to get those first words onto the paper through to constructing an emotionally satisfying ending. This is a one-day crash course unlike any other; jam-packed with inside information and ways to make sure that your screenplay doesn’t fall at the final hurdle.

Be sure to bring a notepad (be that a tablet computer or good old-fashioned paper) and a sense of humour, and prepare to turbo-boost your writing career like never before!

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VERY limited tickets available – ON SALE NOW!

The Witchpit Awaits

The long-awaited fifth feature from Jinx Media, The House on the Witchpit, will have its world premiere at the awesome Horror-on-Sea festival in Southend, Essex on January 23rd 2016. This will be straight after the first performance of Pat Higgins’ 2016 live show/masterclass/thing “Watch Horror. Write Horror. Make Horror” – full details can be found over at the Horror-on-Sea website.

The House on the Witchpit is an unusual movie for a number of reasons, some of which are discussed in Pat’s latest article for Huffington Post – “Why You Can’t See my New Horror Movie”

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Bad Things Happen to Eyeballs Again

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On the set of House on the Witchpit last month, I had a conversation with my DoP about imagery cropping up over and over again in films that I’d written or directed. I sometimes lecture about film theory, and have therefore spent many days of my life discussing the recurring imagery of the great filmmakers, but I’d never particularly thought about it in the case of my own flicks. Other than Kim Newman once calling me an “Essex Auteur” in Empire a few years back (many thanks, Kim!), I’ve never had any cause to wonder whether the tiny-budgeted horrors that I’ve introduced to the world (or, indeed, the scripts like Strippers vs Werewolves that I’ve sold to other people for them to do with what they will) have featured any commonality of theme or image. I certainly never consciously intended there to be any.

That being said, surely I must have experienced a sense of deja-vu at trying to get fake blood out of tuxedos or evening gowns at the end of a feature shoot? Five out of eight scripts/movies have resulted in a tick in the ‘Bloody Formal Wear’ box. That’s nothing, of course, compared to the ‘Female Stabbing Someone’ motif, which I only seem to have avoided in one script, including those that haven’t been produced or sold yet.

These recurring visuals weren’t a conscious decision, but now I’ve started picking through my stuff looking for them I’ve a feeling I’ll be extremely aware of them from this point onwards. That’s not to say I’ll avoid including them, of course, just that I won’t be able to do it in quite such a state of blissful ignorance.

And what’s the deal with me and eyeballs?

Only 36 People Will See House on the Witchpit This Year

Last week, we wrapped principal photography on our new movie, The House on The Witchpit. I’d love to show you images or a trailer. I’d love to talk about the plot. I’m not going to, however. We won’t be releasing a synopsis, images, cast list or clips. We have no plans to list details on the IMDB. The only visual that we plan to release at this point is the teaser poster that you’ve already seen.

Our current plan is to show the completed movie to 36 people this year, and then never screen that version to anyone ever again.

We’ll then screen a different version at the 2016 Horror-on-Sea festival. Once the film has screened at the festival, that version will also be scrapped and not screened again.

We’re not planning to release any version on DVD, Blu-ray or VOD. No DVD copies will be sent to critics, no password-protected Vimeo links sent out. Any festival wishing to programme the movie will have to take a leap of faith. The only people to watch any version of this movie for the foreseeable future will do so in a room with me in it.

The cast and crew who worked throughout the main shoot have not been provided with the entirety of the script or story, although when watching a test grading of one day’s rushes our lead actress commented “I’m not sure I’m going to be able to watch this movie”.

We made this film to tell a great story and to scare the living shit out of those few who watch it.

My name is Pat Higgins and my conscience is clear.

The House on the Witchpit – Now Filming

We’re delighted to confirm that Jinx Media’s fifth feature film, The House on the Witchpit, is currently filming.

We aren’t going to be releasing a cast list, plot synopsis, trailer or any stills. The poster below will be the only official imagery connected to the film.

No release is planned for any home media formats.

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