Michael J. Bassett was initially planning to be a vet or get a Zoology degree, but ended up hosting UK kids’ show Get Fresh Sunday, which also featured the Gummi Bears and Teddy Ruxpin. Bassett also worked as a puppeteer for Scally The Dog.
And now, he’s doing the new Silent Hill movie.
DON’T STOP READING! Bassett was able to move out of kiddy TV and start writing and directing low budget British horror flicks – first, doing Deathwatch in 2002. Deathwatch is a zombie World War 1 flick, and while it’s not the greatest film, it did show promise. In 2006, Bassett followed the flick up with Wilderness, which was a horror film with shades of Battle Royale. Likewise, it wasn’t the greatest flick! But once again, the movie did show promise with flickers of brilliance.
From interviews with Bassett, much of Deathwatch’s shortcomings seem to be due to the then novice director not sticking by his guns and telling the producers his vision for the film, leading to a watered down final project.
Finally, in 2009, Bassett directed his best picture to date, the big screen re-imagining of Solomon Kane, the character created by Robert E. Howard of Conan fame. It was an origin story conceived by Bassett and the movie was well-received, showing the filmmaker coming into his own.
One thing that’s always been consistant is Bassett’s desire for realism – even if he’s talking about zombies and mythical kings. For example, during Solomon Kane, he wanted the sword fights to look real. “I even went to the trouble of getting a dead pig on the set and having my sword master slash, stab and cut the body so we could see what a real sword did to flesh,” Bassett told website Opium. “Let me tell you it is pretty surprising how much damage the sword can do but also equally surprising things it can’t do.”
Likewise, during the filming of Deathwatch, he brought in riverbed sludge to ensure the trenches were muddy, and he even got a “trenchfoot” foot injection from standing in the mud all day while filming. “It was all my fault, of course, so I couldn’t complain but it was hard,” the director told website Horror Asylum about the shoot. “I was pouring about 60,000 litres of water onto the set every day.”
Set pics of the upcoming Silent Hills: Revelation 3D leaked onto the internet, showing another moody environment for Bassett. All of his movies tend to be focus on wet and cold elements of nature – Silent Hill: Revelation 3D looks to be no different.
But, if you did like the look of the first Silent Hill flick, you’re not alone. So did Bassett. According to the director, “I say, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, so I’m bringing back as many of that core creative team as I can – but I’m probably going to bring just a little more darkness and fear into the mix as well.”
Bassett, who idolizes Ridley Scott and who taught himself how to make films, seems sharp enough. This is a guy who rightly said that the new Star Wars films were “horrible”, adding, “They’re supposed to be kids films…so what the hell is all this trade federation stuff?” There is, of course, a disconnect between talking movies and making movies, but his goals do appear lofty.
“I’m determined to deliver a film that builds on the qualities of the first film and draws on the best aspects of the games whilst giving the audience more nuanced characters, a compelling story and introducing some terrifying new monsters (as well as bringing back a few favourites) and, most important of all…just scaring the shit out of everyone.”
Slated for a 2012 release, Silent Hill: Revelation 3D stars Adelaide Clemens, Carrie-Anne Moss and Malcom McDowell.
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