Interview - Steve Barker
Dead in Dumfries
Writer/director Steve Barker has made a good horror film in Scotland. Paul Dale meets him
Steve Barker, the 37-year-old, Blackpool born director of new Scottish horror Outpost is in an affable mood. Self-effacing, charming and just a little bit geeky Barker (pictured, right) has succeeded where so many have failed. Outpost is a pared down, ultra gory slasher about Nazi zombies terrorising a bunch of mercenaries in a bunker in Eastern Europe. Influenced in equal parts by George A Romero and John Carpenter it is a lot better than we have any right to expect of a Scottish made horror.
Privately funded for about £1.2million, Outpost has already made most of its money back from US DVD sales but its been a long and frustrating road for Barker and his long time producers Kieron Parker and Arabella Page Croft of award-winning Glasgow based film production company Black Camel Pictures. Having worked together since art school, Barker explains that he spent years in ‘development hell’ in London, adding, ‘it’s amazing that you can support yourself and keep going by working on projects that never get made.’ Then Parker and Croft told him that if he was willing to drop everything and move to Scotland they thought they could get a feature made. That happened and before he knew it Barker was utilising contacts and shooting fast and fearlessly in rural Dumfries and Glasgow’s Film City Studios.
Barker is rightly proud of his debut feature. ‘It’s a boy’s film, but it’s not torture porn it’s good old fashioned siege horror.’ Barker was a first generation video kid who grew up watching video nasties, ‘ I love genre films’ he laughs, ‘genre is a great place to hide and play.’
Black Camel whose mission statement is to create a roster of commercially viable films made in Scotland are already working with Barker on his next feature film Blood Makes Noise, a vampire-cop revenge thriller. In fact he has just delivered a new draft of the script. ‘I hate writing, I find it so hard.’ He pauses to chew on a pen. ‘But I love filming. I mean on Outpost it was cold, wet, windy, smoky and yet not one of cast and crew complained. And then I got in the editing room and realised that I had made The Magnificent Seven with seven James Coburns.’ Barker, clearly a Scottish based talent to watch, starts snorting with laughter.
Outpost is on general release from Fri 16 May.