The People Behind The Film
We arranged to meet Jake Cuddihy and Ben Tillett, the writers/directors of Suckablood at the Town of Ramsgate pub in Wapping, not far from the Tower of London. This area is swathed in history. Just outside the pub are steps to the River Thames from which the Bounty, commanded by Captain Bligh and Fletcher Christian, set sail on it’s infamous voyage. Jack the Ripper was active just a few hundred yards to the north but the area was also famous in the early C19th for the gruesome murders of the Marr & Williamson families.
So it seemed an appropriate location to interview the creators of such a gothic piece.
We came up with this idea of like a twist in a tale…
We had been expecting black clad, broody gentlemen, believers in the black arts and givers of coded handshakes. Instead we found ourselves confronted by two men bubbling with playful energy and an irrepressible sense of joy. Looking like they had just left university they assured us they were already deep into their thirties.
Ben and Jake share a symbiotic creative process whereby Jake writes up the ideas and Ben polishes and edits. After having explained how the film came about, we were curious to find out how they work with their cast, considering the young age of their lead actress.
She’s a trooper, she did a great job!
The Heroine of the film was 10 year old Holly Jacobson. Holly is someone to look out for in the not too distant future. She has a very supportive family and, as well as acting, she already has producing, directing, editing and writing credits under her belt. She could have been deeply, deeply traumatized by her appearance in Suckablood. We’ve all come across apocryphal stories of child stars damaged beyond repair by their experiences on set portraying exorcisms or gruesome murders. Luckily, with the laid back atmosphere Jake and Ben create on their set, we don’t expect Holly to share the same fate.
We started out as a team, because we were terrified of doing it on our own. And now it stuck.
The film was shot for around £2000 ($3000) and it’s a pretty slick affair all round. The title sequence alone looks like a major studio could have made it. Ben and Jake however haven’t been to film school and have only recently discovered the art of film making.
Still, Suckablood isn’t the first film these two have worked on together. The first film they did was ‘Intention of Miles’ which was selected for ScreamfestLA and won Sci Fi London’s 48hr Film Challenge. In watching this film there is no hint that it was conceived, filmed and edited in just 2 days. Things were looking good. It seemed the only way was up. Then they launched their second project. I asked them about it. A glum silence descended upon us. A clearing of throats. “We don’t like to talk about it.” Said Jake.
In the awkward silence that followed (oh I can’t go on… they actually just laughed). It turns out the film was so bad (according to them) that what didn’t fall on to the editing floor in post-production was decidedly thrown there as they stormed out determined to make something better.
If it was up to us we would have shot him all day.
We remarked the entrance of the Suckablood for eschewing the sudden shock factor for a far more chilling slithering entrance. I guess we can thank Hideo Nakata of Ringu (The Ring) for popularizing this approach.
There were many ways this scene could have developed. The guys explain how they started from an animation and then tried a plethora of different ways to make it work.
We just finished the script for a new project.
Suckablood went on to be the Staff Pick on Vimeo and won $1000 at the Film Skillet Summer 2012 International Film Contest. But that doesn’t mean Ben and Jake are sitting on their laurels. They’re already on to the next project. We can’t wait to see it come to fruition and hope to feature it in a future edition.