Kill The Beast’s new work ‘Director’s Cut’ presents the legendary “making of” tale of one of the worst horror film sequels ever made. With a production period blighted by mishaps and disasters, here’s an archived interview with the film’s Wallis Byrne Matravers and lead actor Mick Salad.
ARCHIVED INTERVIEW, 1972.
We all heard the terrible news about Vivien Stone. What has been less reported is that the production she was working on at the time of the accident has continued production, with a new star. It’s an unprecedented mood and one that has got people in the film business talking.
We sat down with Wallis Byrne Matravers, director and Mick Salad, actor, to learn more.
Wallis, Mick, thanks for joining us.
WBM: My absolute pleasure.
MS: Mick Salad.
Why don’t you begin by telling us a little about the film? What makes it so special?
WBM: My film is a…I don’t like to use the term sequel…an accoutrement to what I would argue is one of the greatest pieces of filmic work of late 60’s American cinema.
MS: If I could just cut in here Wallis to add my two cents. It’s a ripping yarn, full of derring do, and what I intend to be one of the great Mick Salad performances of my era.
Perhaps you could tell us a little about the part you play, Mick?
MS: Yes, fantastic idea, that. I play the part of Patrick. The sort-of ‘man hero’ of the film you could say. I’m one of the devil-worshipping Satanists responsible for accidentally summoning the ferocious demon hordes to the realm of the living.
One of the big talking points about the release is of course the…tragedy that befell Vivien Stone, one of the world’s most beloved actresses.
WBM: Would we say beloved?
MS: I think we would.
WBM: Really? World’s most beloved?
MS: I should say so. Did you see her in Who’s A Pretty Girl, Then? Where she played that singing parakeet?
WBM: Well, of course.
MS: And what about her memorable turn in The Ambassador’s Gala?
WBM: I prefer my films to have a little more bite.
So why decide to work with someone like Viv Stone?
MS: Well, the money I should think?
WBM: Absolutely not, nothing could be further from the truth.
So what was the reason?
To work with Viv Stone, if not the money and star quality.
WBM: I would say there are too many reasons to list at this moment in time.
And have things changed on set since the incident?
MS: Oh yes. Drastically.
WBM: No. A film production does not live and die with one actress.
MS: Well, come now, Wallis. She was the lead. Female lead.
WBM: Well, yes….Vivien was a presence. That’s absolutely true.
MS: Oh yes.
WBM: And she is undoubtedly up there with the great actors of her generation – Gloria Swanson, Marilyn Monroe, Doris Day.
MS: Mick Salad.
WBM: But it goes to show, status, star quality, all of that…can be so cruelly snatched away if you are hit, at speed, by a bus as Vivien was.
But the filming is going ahead?
WBM: Absolutely. We have actually been lucky enough to find a double to fill in for the final scene. Her name, and remember this because you heard it in a Wallis Byrne Matravers picture first, is Veronica Corbet.
MS: Lovely young thing.
What should audiences expect?
WBM: Oh, brunette, about 5’7”, I’d say a….size 10?
From the film.
WBM: Ah, I see. Well, horror, romance, drama…perhaps even a few chuckles.
And how have things been on set since Vivien’s departure and Veronica’s arrival?
WBM: They have only improved.
MS: Well…Wallis…what about the…
WBM: I don’t know what you’re referring to, Mick. What’s the next question please?
MS: Wallis…yes you do. I’m talking about what happened to Susan.
WBM: We don’t need to discuss minor backstage issues.
MS: She was mutilated!
WBM: Can we move on? Please.
MS: Wallis, you’re hurting my leg.
So would it be an accurate statement to say then, that there have been multiple victims on your film set, Wallis?
WBM: If what you’re asking is ‘is my art dangerous, urgent, direct, risky?’ then yes –
That’s not what I’m asking.
WBM: …Well, then.
WBM: [Laughter, a cackling manic laughter]
People have been throwing the word curse around…
WBM: Well, that’s a foolish word for foolish people. The set is not cursed. Far from it.
So how would you explain the accidents?
WBM: Just bad luck! Why does everything have to be a curse with you people?
Mick, would you care to add anything at this point?
MS: I think that all there is to say really about Viv, Veronica and all that business is that it isn’t going to get in the way of a damn good film. It really does have everything. Swarms of bats, possessed nuns, and a startlingly frightening turn from screen veteran Judy Goose as the Demon King.
Wallis, Mick. Thank you so much.
‘Director’s Cut’ debuts at The Lowry Thu 7 – Sat 9 June. For more information or tickets visit The Lowry website, or call box office on 0843 208 6000.