Portsmouth filmmaker’s star-studded cast create lockdown horror story

A FILMMAKER who has worked on the set of blockbusting movies such as Jurassic World has produced an audio book to help entertain people during lockdown.

Tuesday, 23rd June 2020, 4:45 pm

Former University of Portsmouth student, Matthew Harrison, 32, who now lives in Southsea, has been making movies for the last six years.

He has seen his films showcased at prestigious events such as the Berlinale in Berlin and the British Film Institute South Bank for the Future Film Series.

Ready to start work on his next movie, Traditions – a folk horror about abuse of power and the exploits of a 16-year-old girl in rural England – productions were curtailed with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Local filmmaker, Matthew Harrison, has made an audio horror book to keep people entertained during lockdown

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‘I already had the script and I’m quite a descriptive writer anyway and so it was easy to adapt,’ said Matthew.

‘As a creative person I knew I would struggle during lockdown and wanted to remain creative.

The audio horror story, Traditions, has been written and produced by Portsmouth filmmaker, Matthew Harrison.

‘I also wanted to make something for people to experience and enjoy. The story was inspired by traditional 1970s horrors such as The Wicker Man.’

After sorting out appropriate recording equipment which can be installed in peoples’ homes, Matthew set about compiling a star-studded cast.

This included Jayne Wisener, who starred as Johanna in Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd, Steven Hartley from The Bill, and Meggie Foster who has risen to prominence on TikTok.

With the cast unable to meet due to social distancing, the biggest challenge for Matthew was having to direct the story remotely.

Actor, Steven Hartley, who previously starred in Th Bill, said it was a new experince not to be able to see the rest of the cast.

Matthew said: ‘I had to do everything by email and each actor had to record their script at home before I pieced everything together. One of the biggest challenges for the actors was not being able to see each other and react off each other.

‘I would have to email them the context of the lines and ask them to say them in a particular way.’

Despite the challenges the cast enjoyed bringing the story to life.

Steven Hartley said: ‘Not hearing what Jayne and Meg were doing was quite strange really and so that was a new one for me.’

Meggie Foster added: ‘You can’t really bounce ideas off each other because we’re all doing it separately and so the fact Matt has written this so well really brings the character to life.’

A podcast of the story will be available to download for free from July 10 from Spotify and Apple.

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