High Octane Pictures sets skinless creatures loose in your cabin this May with Winterskin! From acclaimed filmmaker Charlie Steeds, and starring David Lenik (Escape From Cannibal Farm) and Rowena Bentley (The House Of Violent Desire).

Gunned down in the snowy wilderness and desperate for shelter, Billy Cavanagh is taken in by kooky old lady Agnes, unaware that her isolated log cabin is being stalked by a bloodthirsty skinless creature hellbent on getting inside. From Dark Temple Films, and also starring Barrington De La Roche, Peter Cosgrove, Kate Davies-Speak, John Lomas, Harrison Nash and Dylan Curtis, Winterskin available now on digital.

We got a chance to interview producer Charlie Steeds about Winterskin, his latest frostbitten frightfest that snatches the breath.

How's things, Charlie?

Charlie Steeds: Things are very good and very busy, which is how I like things! I'm currently in production on my 6th horror film, Death Ranch, which is an outrageous Grindhouse/Blaxploitation inspired splatter-fest! I'm also finishing post-production on my 1960s ghost story film An English Haunting which I can't wait to show people later this year!

Looks like you did a bit of traveling for this latest movie?

Charlie Steeds: We travelled out to Lapland to shoot the exterior shots of the movie, which was great fun! We got off the plane and saw the Northern Lights, it was a great experience.

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What was the idea behind going to Lapland for the snow? No snow in the UK?

Charlie Steeds: I wanted a christmas-card perfect snowy landscape for the movie, thick snow everywhere, to really bring the feeling of an isolated and remote location. Snow covered trees everywhere... Lapland was the first place that came to mind. We did have some good snow in the UK that year, but nothing compared to the beautiful scenery that's in Lapland.

Is it any more affordable to shoot in Lapland?

Charlie Steeds: Not at all, it was quite expensive actually, but totally worth it! Around 10% of the budget was spent on getting the actors and crew out there and accommodated in log cabins, but we had a fun adventure doing it!

So what did that shoot involve?

Charlie Steeds: Aside from the Lapland trip, which was for our exterior shots, the shoot involved a massive set build, which was the entire interior of the cabin. Designing and constructing the whole cabin was great as I was able to create on screen exactly what I had imagined whilst writing the script. Cold nights, long days, and loads of blood, that was this shoot in a nutshell.

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And most of the film was filmed around...?

Charlie Steeds: Guildford in England, where it was somehow colder than Lapland...

Yet the film is set in America. Why did you decide to go that way?

Charlie Steeds: I was writing this screenplay and knew the story had to be set in a snowy log cabin, but we don't tend to get those in England, so it started to take on a more American vibe. The style I saw for the film started to become more influenced by American westerns, despite it being a horror/thriller, and eventually it was the company who funded the film who requested the American setting, it plays better internationally. It was perfect for the story.

The movie has a little bit of everything - but I sense strong inspiration from Carpenter and McTiernan. How close am I?

Charlie Steeds: John Carpenter is my favorite horror filmmaker, what a legend! Naturally, along with so many filmmakers of my generation, I'm inspired by Carpenter's style. But there were many other influences, Sergio Corbucci's The Great Silence was one, and Stephen King novels.

And like them, did you rely heavily on practical effects?

Charlie Steeds: Of course, practical is the way to go with retro-styled horror, so we had a lot of blood exploding everywhere, it was tough on the actors! With the help of our incredible make-up artist, Kate Griffiths, we were able to pull off the skinned-alive make up effects, it was very impressive work from Kate, and played brilliantly by Daniel McKee and Sam Lane.

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How important is it to weigh down a genre movie with a solid story?

Charlie Steeds: That's the most important thing of all. I love making horror films because I find the genre is the best suited style for the stories I want to tell, but the stories come first, before the blood and gore. There's a balance to be found, between well-developed characters and drama, and blood-soaked adrenaline-fuelled horror, a great horror movie should have them both and well balanced.

Winterskin in available on Digital now. You can watch it here on Amazon Prime.

Cinemark Movie Club
Brian B.