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Ben Wheatley and Alice Lowe

Why the Eighties soundtrack?

I found it hard to put music in a film I didn’t like. This is the first film where we had a big enough budget to license big tracks.

I thought about what the characters would listen to and then thought, “Fuck it, I’ll use music that I like.” I listen to Tainted Love every day, it’s so modern and clean, it could have been from yesterday. It’s not Bonnie Tyler!

Why do comedy and horror go so well together, like The Evil Dead?

It’s an interesting one, The Evil Dead is like The Three Stooges on methamphetamine. It takes slapstick and exaggerates it.

Underneath the gore it is the Keystone Cops – people being hit over the head and stuff, which never gets old. Comedy and cruelty are bedfellows. 

Both films reference current Britain – is this an intentional thread in your work?

Everything has to be about something – nothing is pure entertainment, you always need a starting point. I am interested in thinking about those things and even doing a period film like A Field In England [his black and white next project] doesn’t change that.

It’s the English civil war, England is in free fall as people were trying to grasp some kind of meaning out of the country. So not a million miles away from now. 

Not an experience left in the past...

No. I was watching this BBC show about [1600s artistic movement] The Barqoue period.

People then were not more or less intelligent, they were people going through the same shit: the king’s an idiot, everything is bankrupted, he’s done a foreign war that’s gone wrong and now the taxes are being raised. 

How do you go from that to your next big budget Hollywood movie, Freakshift?

I’m an ad director, too, so I’m not afraid of the budget or crew size being bigger – making something that engages with a big audience is exciting.

It’s about a police force in a city in an alternate future where creatures come out of the ground every night and attack.

We haven’t done the same thing twice yet and I hope we will continue [in that way] until we run out of movies.

 

Sightseers is out on DVD and Blu-ray on March 25 through StudioCanal


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Chatroom - Ben Wheatley: The Kill List and Sightseers film director on his love of Eighties music and underground creatures
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