“It really is a throwback to The Omen and The Exorcist.”
If you weren’t sure exactly how scary new film The Quiet Ones is then those are the words of President Simon Oakes of Hammer Film Studios speaking to us at last night’s World Premiere at Odeon Leicester Square in London. That can ultimately mean one thing, it is pretty wet your pants scary. So fans of Hammer and horror gathered in their drones to get a glimpse of the stars who are all set to bring terror back to life again in this movie starring Sam Claflin and Jared Harris.
Centred on a true story (aren’t they all?) The Quiet Ones tells the tale of a psychologist, Professor Coupland, who sets out to prove that all supernatural experiences are made by the mind and human negative energy. Intent on proving his theory, he grabs a couple of his students in order to create a poltergeist and he enlists a disturbed young woman who is less than willing to participate. While they set out to prove that events are all part of the mind, they find themselves tackling the terrifying consequences of their actions…
“What really entranced us to the movie was the story and director John Pogue,” Simon continues as the music blares tunes that scream less of a horror feel and more of a dance beat. Nevertheless, the President of Britain’s most lucrative horror film producers has high hopes for The Quiet Ones. “We really winded down in the seventies and it now feels as though we are catching up.”
Oakes has enthusiasm for the film that is set in seventies Oxfordshire and the era just adds to that fear factor. “There are no mobile ones and it is really isolated. The bane of horror is mobiles as you can just phone people up like ‘Help!’”
With that in mind, horror has evolved and adapted with technology, the climate has changed meaning that Hammer has to contend with a sleuth of new movies. How does Oakes feel about the change of the horror and how is The Quiet Ones going to contend? “That’s a very interesting question. I think the trend is more gore pornography and body count. With this film and Hammer, we are more interested in the psychology scares and the jumps. Plus you really care about your characters!”
Those characters are played by an epic team of young actors including Hunger Games star Sam Claflin and newcomer Olivia Cooke. Cooke has recently become a series regular in thrilling television series Bates Motel so she is no stranger to the horror fare though The Quiet Ones takes a more supernatural spin on it all. Last night saw her walk the red carpet for the first time, and two hours in make up and getting ready sees her stealing the show. “It’s weird and crazy but exciting,” the 20 year old from Oldham states after scoring the part of Jane, the disturbed girl the experiment focuses on, she felt elated and nervous. “John Pogue is truly a great director but it was like him handing me his baby with the script and letting an 18 year old play with it.”
When the topic of conversation turned to horror, Olivia was quick to mention that she was petrified of Hammer’s previous outing The Woman In Black, “I am not just saying that because it’s Hammer but I was so scared watching that.”
With three more premieres coming out this year, Olivia’s star is soaring but tackling the red carpet for The Quiet Ones feels natural to the starlet. In fact, the whole team is bouncing up and down with screaming fans shouting their name. But the best thing you get from this cast is that they are close, embracing each other and the team behind it.
“It’s been a long time, nearly two years,” says Rory Fleck-Burns who plays Harry Abrams, another of Couplands students who, as Rory tells us, suffers quite a horrible death. “I think it was difficult to film because there was this massive splurt of blood coming from my neck but John makes it really enjoyable and easy. He’s the best part of filming.”
At that point, he called John Pogue over, the American director. The previous writer of the movie Ghost Ship who’s only other directorial feature film was Quarantine 2. Seemingly a master of the horror genre already (and perhaps the cheesy supernatural,) The Quiet Ones director is supporting and loving of his cast. “They are really great to work with. In fact, we’re all getting married.”
On the top of that cast list is Jared Harris. Most known for playing Professor Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows, he takes his turn here as another Professor fascinated with the paranormal. “It’s a great company of actors, there is a really good energy coming off each other and we enjoyed it immensely.”
Recently married, did Harris have any plans for the future? Any children? “Did she put you up to this?” he laughs.
Of course, a lot of the fans are there for Sam Claflin. Now making his way through cinema, he is notably now known for playing Finnick Odair in the recent Hunger Games outing Catching Fire. In The Quiet Ones, he plays a filmmaker and student “I had to learn how to edit seventies equipment and work on my knowledge of that,” he jokes about preparing for the role, “that is something I don’t want to do again.”
“It’s nice not to wear something I am zipped into or a wig” he continues, talking about the seventies clothing. And while on a scary set and some horrific goings on, was there anything difficult to film? “It was a blast but it is certainly hard to keep a straight face. You look up and everyone has their scared expression and you have to keep it together. Especially when John is shouting sound effects because you don’t have the soundtrack.
Scary faces and spooky moments, it definitely sounds like it was an experience. But with such an investigation into the unknown has Claflin had any dealings with it?
“I am probably the first person to ever say this but I am upset that I haven’t had an experience,” he says laughing. “I am actually a non-believer but I am open to the idea of it. I’ve never had anything personally but it’s something I am intrigued by and I want to learn more. Maybe someday a ghost out there will decide to haunt me.”
With the success of The Quiet Ones, Hammer House are well and truly back. While Hammer has had a lucrative career in cinema with a long history spanning back to the early 1930s, that had a couple of year’s blip, winding down in the eighties. Simon Oakes is sure that they are catching up with this film and recently The Woman In Black but, looking to the future, there is a lot on its way including an Abominable Snowman movie and a film based on the novel The Daylight Gate with revolves around The Pendle Witches.
People emerging from the première commented on how truly scary it is so it’s safe to say that Hammer seems to have nailed it with The Quiet Ones, and it’s good to have the famous horror masters back.