Horror movie set in the South Downs uses shock tactics

Monday, 18 February, 2013, Hannah Lowe in a torture ransom video for a Kickstarter campaign to finance the forthcoming South Downs horror film, "Backtrack". The image is a production still from a feature by Backtrack Productions Ltd. For further information go to: www.backtrackfilm.com. Photo: Haydn West
Monday, 18 February, 2013, Hannah Lowe in a torture ransom video for a Kickstarter campaign to finance the forthcoming South Downs horror film, "Backtrack". The image is a production still from a feature by Backtrack Productions Ltd. For further information go to: www.backtrackfilm.com. Photo: Haydn West

A horror film company is using shock tactics to drum-up support for a forthcoming movie based in the Lewes area.

It takes the form of a video of an attractive young woman begging for help in a ‘ransom’ appeal.

The scantily-dressed girl is tied to a chair and says to the camera she will be tortured with a blowtorch unless people pledge money to locally-based Substantial Films.

It was shot in The Sussex Arms pub in Tunbridge Wells on Monday and is part of a ‘crowd funding’ campaign.

This is a technique where members of the public are invited en-masse to give financial support to a cause, charitable or otherwise.

It’s a controversial but attention-arresting move by Brighton’s Substantial Films to find the £150,000 it seeks to fund the film.

Producer Haydn West said of the torture stunt: “This is an opportunity for us not only to show off our film-making skills but also to introduce the theme of our feature film Backtrack.”

It’s a psychological horror film set on the South Downs near Lewes. It follows Ralph, a 20-something Brightonian, and three of his friends who visit a fictional downland village following his past-life regression in which he sees flashes of himself as a Nazi spy, operating in Britain during the Second World War.

It will be shot entirely on location locally and the director is Tom Sands, 23, from Tunbridge Wells, who is a graduate of the Brighton Film School.

He has been dubbed one of the brightest young film directors in the UK, having been at the helm of award-winning shorts and documentaries, commercials, corporate films and music videos.

Tom directed Wakan Tanka, the soon to be released feature-length narrative documentary about climate change.

He has also worked on two films with Brighton-based Howard Ford, acclaimed horror director of The Dead. Tom was a semi-finalist at the Austrian Film Festival and Rising Star winner at the Canada International Film Festival.

The Second World War horror Backtrack is just coming out of development and into pre-production, with a screenplay completed and a full crew assembled.

Producer Haydn continued: “Following in the tradition of low-budget blockbusters such as El Mariachi and Paranormal Activity, our film Backtrack is set to reinvent the horror genre with an intelligent and disturbing story coupled with the latest digital technology in order to make a film that feels like it cost ten times its budget.

“We hope to premiere at the All Saints Centre in Lewes in November of this year, before taking the film to various international festivals, including Frightfest and Cannes.”

He said Monday’s ransom shoot had attracted the attention of the Kent Constabulary – police visited the pub after being alerted by a worried member of the public who heard screaming.

Substantial Films intends the video to be shown on Kickstarter, an America-based company founded in 2009 that provides tools to raise funds for creative projects via ‘crowd funding’ through its website.

Information on the horror movie can be found by visiting www.backtrackfilm.com