We were featured in an article about independent
British Film. Xan Brooks (a very well respected and notoriously critical critic) actually gave us a good mention
-"Guess what? It is actually pretty
Click here for a larger version of the article.
Click here for the online
version of the article.
Newcastle Interview by Jamie
BBC Radio Newcastle did an interview with writer/director Andy
Wilton in the run up to the premiere.
This is a mockumentary much like the most famous uses of the style – The Office, Arrested Development and so on –
but applies it to the creation of a separate film. It takes us behind the scenes of a horror production (Total
Hell) and shows all of the problems of filmmaking, financing and distribution in comedy form. Much of the story
came from real life problems in production where writer-director Andy Wilton gained influence from; not letting it
dampen his spirits. This film has taken years to get distributed – much like the dilemma faced by Jamie Gunn – and
is now finally scheduled for release on the 22nd April on YouTube. Andy Wilton’s reason for this was so he wouldn’t
have to contend with piracy because he had embraced its easy service.
Behind the Scenes of Total
Hell is exactly what its title says. It follows director Jamie Gunn (Grey McCulloch) and
producer Raul (Sam Smart) in the creation of Gunn’s horror ‘masterpiece’ with all of the financial
problems and delusion of usual film productions. We first see him show up to a meeting to gain funds
without a business plan and, worst of all, without the script. Plenty of problems follow the production
as it loses its original script because Jamie hasn’t read it and wants to make unnecessary rewrites to
include a werewolf. This is the final straw of the writer who had slaved over Totalitarian Hell which
then makes Jamie proceed to film his take without actually writing anything. This unprofessionalism is
felt throughout by the entire cast putting in sincere moments of utter annoyance.
The mockumentary style is popular in indie productions of its simple imitation but this feels less like
a budget cut back and more realistic as a documentary. This helps make moments funnier because there’s a
sense that they are genuine. Much of the shooting is, for the technology and modest £1000 budget, very good
and interesting but the lack of quality is a shame. Some parts are too grainy and the camerawork is usually
great but there’s an abundance of brightness with faces morphing to become flat. This is also prevalent in
one of the final scenes when filmed at night and overly coloured; a few shots it looks nice but the lack of
subtly in others ruins the composition. Animation is a tricky thing to pull off which they haven’t done.
The animation scenes feel a bit weak, disjointed and out of place in a mockumentary.
Laughs are thankfully throughout thanks to some lovely work from the cast. Especially Grey McCulloch who
seems able to spout great one-liners and improvise throughout. His arrogance should paint him as an
anti-hero but there’s a charm to him that makes you want him to succeed. Success will most likely come from
the romantic interest of aptly named Angel (Sarah Towndrow). This gives the film a nicer bit of depth and
comedy thanks to jealousy and a one-liner at the wrap party that is utterly quotable. Not all moments are
kicking with some lulling moments within the first act. Once they’re out of the way, the film mainly sails
through on a comedic breeze stopping only for the hell inflicted on characters for some more dramatic and
Realism is the film’s retainer, poking fun at production problems which need to be laughed off. Throwing
in a lot of problems which are imaginable into one troubled production that entertains the audience to no
end. Playing into the hands that the audience love schadenfreude moments. Funnily fulfilling thanks to
imaginative editing but the lulls are there, plaguing and need refining even further. It’s funnier than
most. Its simplicity is its beauty as well as its homage to the old B-film horrors that inspired it.
Amusing moments lift it, witty remarks fill it, tweaking necessary but it’s worth a watch. Especially if
you can relate to the problems of filmmaking.
And in something of a first we present the film for you to watch right now. Click below and check out
http://www.btsoth.co.uk/ for more info.
Magazine Article by Jeremy T. Hanke
Best of Show Feature Winner Shares Itself Free of Charge (News)
April 19, 2013 Jeremy T.
Behind the Scenes of ‘Total Hell’ really opens one’s eyes to the
possibilities of mockumentaries!
Long time readers of MicroFilmmaker doubtless remember Best of Show
Winner “Behind the
Scenes of ‘Total Hell’“, which received an 8.8 score from Kari Ann Morgan in her critique.
The film is a mockumentary that pretends to be a documentary following around a really poorly
planned horror film and recording what’s happening. (Not unlike a mock-version of the seminal Indie
American Movie.) The film takes a bawdy wink at reality TV by having some of the actors
being led to believe they were making a real horror movie and that all the overwrought drama
exhibited by the director and his cronies was completely real.
As director Andy Wilton said of the process when interviewed:
“[The unsuspecting crew members] were filmed by our crew, believing we were genuinely a
behind the scenes doc crew. This allowed for us to get added friction and drama, as the guys
involved were really living the events as they made their ‘horror film.’”
The results are hilarious, as not only MFM has attested, but also as
DarkestGoth Magazine film critic Reverend Leviathan put in his
review of the BTSOTH film recently:
Behind the Scenes of Total Hell rekindled my love for mockumentaries. To quote one of the
actresses: “I hope the documentary is going to be good because the film is not going to be.”
The documentary IS the film and it’s definitely good.
For those who purchase the collector’s edition of the film off the
BTSOTH website (which is less than $20 USD), you’ll get an extra special exclusive. The
“film within the film” (Total Hell) actually exists as a full 90 minute bonus film on the
secondary disc. The filmmakers believe this is the first time this has been done for a feature film
and I believe they’re correct. (The American Movie collector’s edition included the
film, but it was a 22 minute short, as opposed to a 90 minute feature which is a huge
To celebrate the release of the Collector’s Edition and give love to
fans of Indie films everywhere, the filmmakers are streaming the Behind the Scenes of ‘Total
Hell’ Mockumentary free of charge starting on Sunday, April 21st! To find out more and
subscribe to their mailing list, just go to the official
BTSOTH site or to the production company’s
Once Upon a Tyne YouTube page!
Review: Behind the Scenes of Total
Hell Posted byJackson
Behind the Scenes of Total Hell is the new comedy from filmmaker
Andy Wilton. The mockumentary follows the shambolic efforts of two hapless friends as they attempt to realise their
dream of making a successful horror film. Carrying on the fake-documentary legacy that has seen some of the
funniest films and TV shows ever produced (This is Spinal Tap, Borat, The Office, Modern Family), the audience are
guided through the tribulations via the medium of a ‘Making-Of’ feature.
The film’s basic concept keeps the plot exposition to a minimal: What would happen if to
incompetent friends set about making a movie? The simplicity of the idea is a real asset to the overall experience,
as it enables the film to get straight into the story, and more importantly, the laughs. The two friends in
question are Raul Kemp (Sam Smart) and Jamie Gunn (Grey McCulloch) who act as the producer/director duo behind the
film “Total Hell”. Both actors deliver brilliant levels of comic timing, however it is McCulloch who really shines
here. In wannabe-director Jamie Gunn we are treated to a truly great comic character: a man with all the idiocy of
Alan Partridge and all the self-delusion of David Brent, McCulloch’s performance combined with some exceptional
scripting ensures that Gunn is hilarious without crossing the line into annoyance.
The supporting cast also give the film some excellent comic personalities: from the aging
cult-horror actor, to the lower-league footballer hoping to make it in films, to the leading lady only cast because
the director fancies her. As with all great mockumentaries, Wilton is astute enough to know that a town-fool is
only funny with villagers to laugh at him, and it is Total Hell’s cast and crew’s flabbergasted reaction to their
director’s antics that make them all the more side-splitting.
There are some genuinely laugh-out-loud moments in this film that will have you in
stitches, with a personal favourite being a scene in which Jamie Gunn meets with the film’s screenwriter. Having
already made him butcher his original script due to budget cuts, Gunn then explains in excruciatingly nonsensical
detail why the psychological serial-killer film needs a werewolf and a dwarf (or midget, whichever’s
Behind the Scenes of Total Hell is a clever, well-made and hilarious treat of an
independent film. It is without doubt the only film that has had me consistently laughing from start to finish this
year (and for some time, come to think about it). It is clearly a real labour of love from a talented filmmaker,
and the cast are all faultless. For a film of such modest origins and resources, the outcome is a hilarious film
that has real potential for cult status: a true independent classic.
Behind the Scenes of Total Hell is released April 22nd 2013
The Journal Article by Sam
Newcastle's premiere Newspaper, "The Journal" gave our film
and premiere some quality coverage. Sam Wonfor, arts and entertainment writer, interviewed Director Andy
Wilton. Sam said of the premiere
- "You should block out a couple of hours and get
yourself a ticket".
Click here for a larger version of the article. Click here for the online version of the
Advertiser Articles by Simon
"Behind the Scenes of TOTAL HELL" is filmed in Newcastle and
Northumberland. One of Northumberland's top newspapers plugged the film with an article and reviewed the film.
Critic Simon Duke commented
- "It may have taken four years for the film to reach
the big screen but it was definitely worth the wait and the result was more comedy heaven than TOTAL
Article about the film and to promote the premiere:
Click here for a larger version of the article. Click here for the online version of the
Berwick Advertiser Review:
The Northumberland Gazette ran a promotional article on the film in the run up to the
Steve Pratt, from the Northern Echo, interviewed director Andy
Wilton about the production of BTSOTH. The interview covered the influences of the film and the disasters that he
encountered during production.
Microfilmmaker Magazine reviewed "Behind the Scenes of TOTAL
HELL" for their January 2009 issue. The film won their coverted "Best of Show, feature film" for the month
- gaining a score of8.8 out of
10. The review is something the BTSOTH team are really
proud of, as the magazine truly "know their stuff" and were entirely positive throughout their
"Behind the Scenes of Total Hell is a very well-made
mockumentary. The good acting, crafty directing, excellent editing, and artistic visuals create a hilarious film
that can be appreciated by filmmakers andgeneral audiences