Danny Morgan & Matthew James Wilkinson | DOUBLE DATE

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STARBURST caught up with the writer/star and the producer of one of the hits of this year’s Horror Channel FrightFest to talk about the horror comedy Double Date

STARBURST: What was the idea behind Double Date?

Danny Morgan: The idea stemmed from the general nervousness I've had around women most of my life. I liked the idea that when the character got over his fear of approaching women the fear would turn out to be true. I was also attracted to the idea of a movie in which everything changes over the course of one pivotal night.

What do you think makes British horror unique?

Matthew James Wilkinson: Double Date is first, and foremost a comedy. We weren't deliberately ploughing horror fiction. I wouldn't want to create the definition of what is a British horror and what is American but in the past few years, I've noticed a shift away from torture porn and towards horrors that rely on fear through atmosphere. People are embracing movies that encourage the audience to use their imagination.

DM: The recent horror movies I've loved have been British. When it comes to horror, I think we tend to value realism over relying on a shock factor to carry a movie.

Was it difficult to maintain the right comedy/horror balance when making the movie?

DM: The balance did shift at various stages while writing the movie. Double Date is a comedy at heart, so we wanted the horror aspects to give it a sense of genuine danger.

MJW: The horror represents the jeopardy of the movie. But what I liked most about the script is that it made me laugh, and keep laughing. I liked the characters and found myself wanting to see them succeed. The heart of the movie is what kept me engaged. The horror is the cherry on top but the true entertainment comes from the banter between the characters.

Often a horror is let down by the characters putting off the audience. How did you keep your characters sympathetic?

DM: This was a big thing for me. It was important that all of the characters, even the girls were sympathetic. I didn't want the girls to come across as two dimensional, especially Lulu who is the just going along with what her sister is doing to an extent. The heart of the move is important. Heart is why I enjoy watching films.

MJW: In the movie, we don't have any characters who are just there to be kill fodder. What makes Danny's characters great is that they are all flawed.

DM: Mitch (played by Michael Soccha) is kind of a dick, but at the same time he is also very vulnerable. As a character, he is very loveable.

MJW: We have a scene in which we see Alex's dad, and it serves as a reality check for the character. They see the ghost of their future reflected back at them through their father.

Throughout the movie, the ghostly figure of ‘Daddy’ is a lingering presence over the girls. Would you say that parental expectation is a theme in this movie?

DM: The relationship between parent and child is definitely a theme in the movie, which came out quite naturally during writing. It can be quite tough for someone to live up to the expectations of their parents. I definitely tapped into some daddy issues that I wasn't expecting of myself.

MJW: It is interesting that all of the main characters visit their parents at one point or another during the movie.

A pivotal scene in any horror movie is the moment when the main characters realise the danger they are in. How hard was this moment to get right, for you?

DM: It was quite difficult and it was something that changed over years of development and many drafts. I think it is more entertaining that the guys don’t know the danger they are in until the end of the movie, though Jim [Danny's character] is a bit more aware. We wanted it to be very believable.

MJW: It was a hard thing to do because the story is quite crazy. It was difficult to get the pitch right so that it could be crazy, and still be believable.

DOUBLE DATE is in cinemas from October 13th.

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