A few years ago, writer Sarah Daly and director Lawrie Brewster introduced the world to a new boogieman, the Owlman, with their creepy Lord of Tears (2013). They return to the Scottish Highlands and the world of the Owlman with their latest film, The Black Gloves. This time, instead of the contemporary setting of Lord of Tears, the 1940s are the backdrop for The Black Gloves. Shot in black and white, the filmmakers are giving a film noir spin to their tale fo supernature horror. Here is a look at the teaser trailer:
It looks pretty creepy. If it lives up to the trailer and the standard set by Lord of Tears, The Black Gloves should be a solid scarefest. Here is the official synopsis:
Dr. Finn Galloway is a psychologist obsessed with the mysterious death of his young patient, and her belief in a strange and terrifying entity… the Owlman
Since her death, Finn has devoted his life to discovering the true nature of her delusion. He finds that she is not the only one to have complained of being stalked by such as a figure. Others too have described this terrifying long-limbed creature with its great black eyes, but all who spoke of the monster are now dead or disappeared.
All but one. Finn learns of a once-famous ballerina who now lives in crippling fear of the same disturbing figure… the so-called Owlman. In the desolate Baldurrock Estate, a former orphanage in the bleak Scottish Highlands, he finds the ballerina hidden away under the watchful eye of her sinister guardian, Lorena Velasco.
Finn begins to unravel the truth of the Owlman conspiracy and soon finds himself entangled in a murky web of dangerous secrets and dark desires. To survive, he must battle a force of unimaginable evil – a nightmare foe like no other.
The film is currently available exclusively via the production’s Kickstarter campaign. Perks include a digital download of The Black Gloves, a three-disc collector’s edition of the film, collectors editions of their previous films — Lord of Tears and The Unkindness of Ravens (2016), and even an Owlman action figure.
The Black Gloves is a stylish 1940’s-set Film Noir that combines spine-tingling horror with intense psychological dread, a supernatural tale where one man must battle against a terrifying stalker as ancient as time itself.
The film represents the third feature from writer/director duo Lawrie Brewster and Sarah Daly, and their burgeoning Scottish horror studio Hex Media.
The Black Gloves showcases the talents of Spanish superstar and horror darling Macarena Gomez best known for her role as the sea priestess in Stuart Gordon’s cult favourite Dagon, and her powerhouse performance in the recent Musarañas (Shrew’s Nest). The film also stars Jamie Scott-Gordon (The Unkindness of Ravens, Bonejangles), Alexandra Nicole Hulme (Lord of Tears, Girls) and Nicholas Vince (Hellraiser, Nightbreed).
An international co-production between Hex Media and Dark Dunes Productions in association with 3rd Monkey Productions and Lights Out Productions, the film pays homage to classic chillers such as Hitchcock’s Rebecca and Jack Clayton’s The Innocents. The choice to go black and white harks to cinema history, but also sees the film join a growing list of modern genre indies going monochrome, such as A Field in England, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night and The Eyes of My Mother.
What were your inspirations for the film?
We adore classic chillers like The Innocents (1961), Cat People (1942) and Secret Beyond the Door (1947) and wanted to create something in the spirit of these films, not a film that would simply emulate or pay homage to classic cinema, but our own original addition that could sit alongside these others. We were very conscious of never veering into pastiche. In terms of the look of the film, Cat People was a particular inspiration with its bold shadows and graphic lines. We wanted to capture that classic film noir look but with a gothic twist.
We also knew that we wanted to shoot the film in black and white, but were a little nervous at the prospect of alienating the audience. However, there seems to have been somewhat of a resurgence in black and white genre films of late, with gems such as The Eyes Of My Mother (2016) A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2014) and A Field In England (2013) opting for monochrome, so this really gave us confidence to be bold and go with our gut on stripping out the colour.
Were there any particular challenges with making the film?
First of all, funding a period-set, black and white, film noir horror is no walk in the park! We were very lucky to have Dark Dunes Productions on board as a co-producer as they are very open-minded about original, unusual films, but in terms of public funding, we hit a brick wall. We ended up funding the film mostly ourselves, and are now turning to Kickstarter to finish the film to the standard it deserves, as well as to allow us to give it a marketing push.
The period setting also threw up a lot of production challenges, especially as The Black Gloves is essentially a low budget, independent film. We spent a lot of time researching the production design, and sourcing props and costumes (at prices the budget could afford!). Also our VFX artist Michael Brewster spent a good deal of his time in post-production painting out modern light switches and power sockets. After the experience we could write a book on producing a period film on a shoestring! We also had some issues with our location unfortunately, which is a regular occurrence on low budget shoots. Property owners are notoriously difficult to deal with and this shoot was no exception! Let’s just say we have some stories…
Where did the inspiration for the Owlman come from?
Well, this is actually our second film featuring the Owlman. He made his debut in our 2013 film Lord of Tears, and we’ve also had some success with a series of Owlman pranks which went viral. Without giving too much away in terms of spoilers, the Owlman is based on a combination of celtic myth and ancient Carthaginian religion, with a dash of Slenderman thrown in in terms of his willowy, stalking nature. We’re all huge fans of anthropomorphic creatures, and the villains of both Lord of Tears and The Unkindness of Ravens are actually male figures with the heads of birds – so it must be kind of a preoccupation I guess!
The mainstream is becoming more and more narrow in the kinds of films it produces. To recoup their huge budgets they need to tell stories with mass appeal – and that’s fine – but it means that mainstream cinema no longer creates risky, original content. More than ever, it’s up to independents to tell those kinds of stories. Kickstarter allows niche audiences to decide what they want to see, and lets them help bring those projects to life. It’s an important source of funding for stranger, riskier films, and I think its success proves that audiences do feel starved of original content. If it weren’t for places like Kickstarter, films like ours would really struggle to get funded and produced. So, that’s a big reason. Also, we love the way that Kickstarter lets us connect more closely with our audience – you find a lot of kindred spirits who are hungry for the same kinds of stories as you are, and it really bolsters you through the often lonely and difficult process of making and marketing a movie to know that they’re on the journey with you, supporting what you’re trying to do.
What’s next for Lawrie Brewster and Hex Media?
Well, we’re currently producing a slate of films in conjunction with Dark Dunes Productions. So, once The Black Gloves is complete, we’ll be moving onto the next two films in the slate – a debauched supernatural horror and a gritty dark fairytale – and I can’t say much more than that for now! We’re also very excited to be working with directors from around the world to produce an anthology of demon-themed horror shorts called For We Are Many. So, no rest in sight!