Samera Entertainment and the Chloe Chronicles catches up with Director, Cinematographer, Writer, and Producer Christine Parker
Written by ~ Chloe Brown
Samera Entertainment and the Chloe Chronicles catches up with Director, Cinematographer,
Writer, and Producer Christine Parker about her new film Blood of the Mummy, the importance
of career versatility, and what’s next for her and the world of film.
Q: First off, Christine, it is very nice to meet you. You are a very talented artist within the film
industry. Can you tell us a little bit about how your career in this industry came to be and what
inspired to pursue entertainment?
A: It really started when I returned to college in 2004 and took a really boring class on broadcast technology. The instructor had made a few indie films and to spice up the course he challenged us to create a short zombie film that he would produce and direct with us. That was how Second Death was born and from there I was completely hooked along with many of the people I made the film with.
Q: Christine, you are from Leicester, Leicestershire, England, how do you think growing up and living in the UK influenced your film style and your creative process and inspirations?
A: I was born in Leicester, England but was did not grow up there other than the first few months of my life. My dad was in the US military and we moved about every 2-4 years. So I really grew up all over the world. My mother however, was born and raised in Leicester and she was the one to introduce me to horror films. We would often stay up late to watch anything with Christopher Plummer, Christopher Lee, or Vincent Price, pretty much any Hammer film or weird scifi B-m0vie that we enjoyed laughing at. This definitely influenced my tendency toward making B movies and since we loved the old Mummy films I just had to make one.
Q: From a writing, directing, and cinematography standpoint who would you say have been role models for your career and projects?
A: I was initially inspired to create my films from Bruce Campbell's book "If Chins Could Kill." So Sam Raimi was definitely an influence as well as Peter Jackson. I loved the over the top gore in their horror films to the point of being ridiculous. As a B movie filmmaker a certain amount of humor is required. I've also always loved the way the Hitchcock's films were shot but no specific cinematographers just a certain style that lends itself well to horror.
Q: Christine, your earliest credit is for the short film, The Second Death (2005) as a writer, what did that introduction into making a film teach you both as a writer and as someone who would go on to direct and produce countless future projects?
A: It taught me that I didn't want anyone else directing my movies. :-)
Q: Your first feature film was the cult horror film Forever Dead in 2007, what was the creative process like not only directing that project but also collaborating and co-writing it with Bill Mulligan? And, what was the biggest challenge taking it from page to screen?
A: It was difficult. I had no idea what the heck I was doing so I really stumbled along learning many important lessons as I went. Such as, zombie rabbits are not easy to work with, and no matter how little time you think things will take they always take WAY longer. I learned not to be so naive, and who truly had my back. One of those people was Bill Mulligan who continues to be a great friend and someone I can always turn to for an honest opinion. We've written 3 feature films together, he's an excellent writer who I enjoy working with. My biggest challenge from
page to screen has always been managing my expectations and compromising due to budget limitations etc.
Q: You are also the creator and director of the film series Fistful of Brains (2008) and A Few Brains More (2012) how did that film concept come about and what led you to wanting to make a sequel/spin-off? The second film also deals with time travel with the two leads ending up in the 1970s, why did you pick that decade and what was your favorite part of committing to doing so?
A: Well our little filmmaking team had talked about how fun and unique it would be to do a zombie western. Adrenalin Productions at that time was really wanting to not make cookie cutter films so we often Brainstormed the craziest, out there concepts we could come up with. So we thought it would be fun to do a different take on Fistful Of Dollars and For A Few Dollars more, really only borrowing the names of those films for inspiration. We found the perfect western town at the end of a neighborhood in the backyard of a former western actor Bill Drake. He built it out of scrap wood to relive his glory days so much of the inspiration came from that town. Until Blood of the Mummy that was the most fun I’d had making a film. It was also incredibly difficult! Costuming, covering light switches, hiding anything modern, working with limited resources on a truly shoestring budget was hard. We thought for our next one setting it in the 70’s would be easier but we were wrong. It was an absolute nightmare, mostly due to the fact that we had to change all our lead actors right in the middle of production. It ended up being a really good film, but as always I learned a LOT during the filming. Mainly what my limits were. I stuck to making short films after that one for a while to allow myself more time to hone my craft.
Q: Your latest project Blood of the Mummy has become a success in the Indie Film Festival circuit, how has that experience been and what has been the biggest difference in this film from your others?
A: Oh my gosh Blood of the Mummy has been so much fun! For one we had the biggest budget to work with. Though by many people’s standards it was small. Because of our micro budgets on previous films we really learned to make a little go a long way. So it was such a relief to be able to actually do the things I wanted to do with this film. Absolutely everyone involved was terrific to work with! It’s been so well received at the festivals and by critics which reinforced my initial feeling about it when I made the final edit. I had always wanted to tell the story of the princess because she doesn’t usually get a lot of attention in other Mummy films. They’re really just all about the Mummy and stopping him from killing everyone. I
wanted to show how the Mummy’s curse shaped her life and understand her relationship with him more. And we killed a lot of people in horrible ways, which was a lot of fun too! :-)
Q: Christine, many of your films fall into the Horror and Supernatural genre, how did you get interested in that subject matter of zombies, time travel, and the supernatural?
A: I’ve always loved the idea of time travel and have probably seen just about every film horror and otherwise about time travel. I myself often feel out of my time. And if you grew up with a British Mum like I did you hear all the best ghost stories and get to visit haunted castles and such. Zombies, believe it or not never really interested me. That’s something I’ve gotten into since meeting and working with my fellow filmmakers during the Adrenalin Production days. They have educated me on everything “Zombie.”
Q: Given the subject matter of Blood of the Mummy, as well as some of your other films how would you say the process of adding effects and makeup play a part in your storytelling?
A: Well a lot really. You have to make it believable which is why we mainly use practical effects for our creatures and gore. We could not pull off what we do digitally and make it look good. It’s also important for the actors to react to the gruesomeness. If they don’t believe it it’s not going to
work. We’ve made more than one actor gag.
Q: Christine, you wear many hats writer, director, producer, effects, and cinematographer how would you say learning all these skills has helped you as a storyteller and filmmaker? What advice would you give to anyone trying to make their way in this industry?
A: Well when I first started I wanted to just do cinematography and editing. But I couldn’t find anyone really interested in Directing or Producing. So I took on those roles so I could get my films made. I don’t do the practical effects just the computer effects involved with editing. We did some green screen work with this last film that I had a lot of fun manipulating. It absolutely helps with the storytelling because as I’m writing I’m thinking of all the camera angles and locations I want to incorporate. And then when I’m behind the camera I’m thinking how it will cut together in the editing so I know when my shot list falls short and we need to add in more footage. For anyone wanting to take on all those roles I’d say wearing that many hats at once can be really exhausting. Truthfully I was doing a lot more than that on my first few films and it was really difficult. My advice would be to know your limits and reach out to the talented people around your for support. But also try to learn and practice a bit of everything because it really does help with how you tell your story and even if someone else is filling one of those roles it will help you understand what they need from you and how to communicate what you need from them.
Q: On top of everything else, you also run two production companies Adrenalin Productions and Sick Chick Flicks, what is like running these two companies and how does this position allow you more creative freedom? For our audience who may not know can you also explain the
different film agendas each company has?
A: We really only produce under Sick Chick Flicks now. If one of our guys has an idea to make a film we use Adrenalin Productions with Sick Chick Flicks if they need us because Sick Chicks is mainly focused on the women making the films. Often during the 48 competitions we do we use Sick Chicks on Adrenalin since we are all creatively involved, guys and gals.
Q: Your latest endeavor has been starting the Sick Chick Flicks Film Festival in Cary, North Carolina. What inspired you to start this and what do you hope to do with this event?
A: We have actually just moved to The Varsity Theatre in Chapel Hill, if this pandemic ever gets under control we hope to screen our next festival there. I started it because as female filmmaker I began to realize what “boys club” may film festivals were. I knew there were a to of very talented women out there and wanted to give them a place to show their films and gain more recognition. I also wanted my film festival to be less about celebrities and more about the filmmakers who are, in my mind, the real stars.
Q: Christine, as someone who is into grittier, more horror and supernatural based content do you feel there is a lack of women representation in that film genre/niche and do you think this is for any reason?
A: I used to think that but I think the tide is changing. Women are standing up now and demanding to be heard. Men are finally starting to take notice. It could still be better but I now believe it will be. I think initially guys thought women could not go to those dark and gritty places. I think we’ve proven we can, and in some cases we go even darker.
Q: And finally, what can you tease to our Samera audience about what is next for you and Adrenalin Productions and Sick Chick Flicks?
A: Sick Chick Flicks is working on an Anthology now with my ladies. And if we can get back to production again after the pandemic, we hope to bring you some of the sickest films we’ve produced so far written by the Sick Chicks and directed by them as well!For many it will be their first time directing. I’ll be working more as a mentor, and assisting with cinematography, producing, and editing as needed. It’s going to be a fun adventure that I look forward to sharing with everyone!