Owen Tooth is an east Midlands film-maker. He has been making shirts for ten years and made the horror feature Devil's Tower (2014) - starring Jason Mewes, Roxanne Pallet and Jessica-Jane Stafford. Tooth was even a camera assistant on the British horror Mum & Dad (2008).
Can you tell me a bit about Devil's Tower?
Devil's Tower is my debut feature film. It's a horror with a healthy dose of comedy, and it's a crazy ride. We made it on next to no budget, spending most of what money we raised on getting stars like Jason Mewes and Roxanne Pallett to act in it. It's set in a tower block where a malevolent spirit is haunting the flats and controlling the residents through their TV sets. It's out now on DVD & Blu Ray from most high street stores like HMV, plus online at Amazon etc. You can also stream it via iTunes, BlinkBox and 4oD (or Hulu if you're American).
What was Jason Mewes like to work with?
Jason Mewes.... With Jay, what you see of him as Jay (as in Jay & Silent bob) in Kevin Smith's films isn't him acting, it's him being himself. In Devil's Tower, Jay plays Sid, a squatter, who's a different character to Jay. When we were filming, as soon as I called 'CUT!' on each take, he'd suddenly turn back into Jay - fellating everything within reach, dry humping the cast and crew, cracking jokes non stop. He was just fantastic fun to be around from start to finish and had this unstoppable energy that was infectious. The shoot was grueling so having someone bringing 100% non-stop like that really kept us motivated.
What films influenced you growing up?
As a kid I had Back to the Future pretty much on a loop. It's probably got the tightest script in existence.
My parents were always renting foreign films and I remember they kind of thought that America was evil so any violent kids films were frowned upon apart from Star Wars and Indiana Jones (they were borderline according to my parents); but if a film had subtitles, that somehow made it okay for me to watch so there's always be 18 certificate films playing around my house, just in different languages. I remember seeing Tampopo when I was about seven and it making me want to learn all about cookery. I still love film from all over the world, and it's a treat to see into different cultures by watching how they define their fears or desires through film. As I grew up, I remember The Crow having a huge effect on me when I was 14 - that film acted as a gateway to get me into darker movies, horror films and graphic novels. From there, I started watching as many horror films as I could.
What are your favorite horror films?
That's a tough question because there are so many different genres within horror and I just can't compare them. I could pick my favourite early horror film (Todd Browning's Freaks is just phenomenal) or later on, The Haunting still blows me away. My favourite Giallo is Tenebrae (and the 2014 movie The Editor is a brilliant comedy love letter to the genre). My favourite 80s American teen horror is still Nightmare on Elm Street with Brainscan in second place. My 90's teen horror would be Scream. The best horror comedy would be Sean of the Dead or Severance, but with a special place for Behind the mask: The rise of Leslie Vernon. Slasher would be Halloween, but maybe that's too easy an answer. The horror that scared me the most is Ringu, that properly terrified me. Folk horror would be Wicker Man, but it's a genre I adore generally, even the bad entries. In recent years, I thought The Conjuring was brilliant. But now I'm going mad thinking of all the genres - body horror, Hammer horror, existential horror (if you haven't seen Dellamorte Dellamore AKA Cemetery Man, drop what you're doing and watch it now!), Zombie films, monster movies, New French Extremity (Martyrs - holy shit!!!) the list goes on and there's no way I could choose between something like Cronos and Evil Dead II. If you put a gun to my head and asked me to choose between Re-Animator and Kwaidan, I'd tell you to pull the fucking trigger.
Who would you like to work with next?
First of all, I'd like to work with all the people who helped me get where I am today! Making a film is pure teamwork and if it's not broke, don't fix it! Having said that, I'm excited to work with new cast and crew all the time. I've got a director-crush on Domnhall Gleeson, I think he's incredible. I think Ethan Hawke's an amazing talent. Maika Monroe is a real rising star I'd love to cast in an upcoming script I'm launching.
What is next for you Mr Tooth - film/media-wise?
I've got two amazing feature scripts I'm in talks about at the moment. It's early days but hopefully I'll be behind the camera again soon! Besides that, we're still working hard at getting Devil's Tower out there and trying to get it picked up in more territories worldwide.
Thank you, Owen - Devil's Tower is out now Blu-Ray/Dvd on Amazon. DT also stars Jessica Ann Bonner and Jessica Messenger as party-goers/zombies!