How ‘Host’ director Rob Savage created the final word quarantine horror hit

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Caroline Ward is one of six friends menaced by a viral demon in 'Host' (Photo: Shudder / Courtesy Everett Collection)

one among three deliberate options for prolific horror producer Jason Blum — the duo stumbled upon what appeared like a drug deal in progress, and are presently dashing away from the scene, presumably tailed by gangsters. “We drove away really fast, and a car has been following us for awhile,” the director says, laughing. “I think we’ve lost it now, but it’s quite good that you’re calling, because at least there will be a record of it! You can dedicate this story to my memory.” ” data-reactid=”32″>Rob Savage resides the dream of any horror filmmaker. Make that nightmare. When Yahoo Leisure reaches the British director behind the quarantine-era horror hit Host, he and his producer, Douglas Cox, are in the midst of their very personal scary film. Whereas scouting spooky middle-of-nowhere places for Savage’s subsequent venture — one among three deliberate options for prolific horror producer Jason Blum — the duo stumbled upon what appeared like a drug deal in progress, and are presently dashing away from the scene, presumably tailed by gangsters. “We drove away really fast, and a car has been following us for awhile,” the director says, laughing. “I think we’ve lost it now, but it’s quite good that you’re calling, because at least there will be a record of it! You can dedicate this story to my memory.” 

Everyone watched Outbreak and Contagion at the beginning of the pandemic, and I think that’s plenty. I’d be surprised if audiences started flocking towards infection horror anytime soon. We wanted Host to be a movie that was set during lockdown and reflected how we’re living at the moment, but also offered a bit of escapism. It’s kind of like a horror roller coaster, where we didn’t want to touch on the virus itself so much as the texture of lockdown living.” ” data-reactid=”49″>Though Host’s scare issue is considerably heightened by the pandemic, Savage pointedly didn’t wish to make a pandemic film. “I don’t know if anyone wants to see that for the time being,” he explains. “Everyone watched Outbreak and Contagion at the beginning of the pandemic, and I think that’s plenty. I’d be surprised if audiences started flocking towards infection horror anytime soon. We wanted Host to be a movie that was set during lockdown and reflected how we’re living at the moment, but also offered a bit of escapism. It’s kind of like a horror roller coaster, where we didn’t want to touch on the virus itself so much as the texture of lockdown living.” 

The solid of the Zoom-era horror hit, ‘Host,’ directed by Rob Savage (Photograph: Shudder / Courtesy Everett Assortment)

That strategy meant that the manufacturing was capable of abide by England’s quarantine restrictions, though these tips loosened sufficient throughout taking pictures that the stunt performers had been finally capable of go to the actors’ homes, beneath the supervision of an on-set medic who took temperature checks and ensured that everybody remained socially distanced. “There was never any direct contact,” Savage says. “We found creative ways to make sure everyone was safe. For example, the actors’ partners would be the ones to rig them into their stunt suits.” 

These stunts have been wowing horror followers with their potent combination of old-school sensible results and digital assists. Early on within the movie, the host of the doomed Zoom name, Haley (Haley Bishop), is dragged backwards in her chair by the malevolent spirit — a tease of what’s to come back. “I’d love to take credit for that, but Haley pitched that to us,” Savage says. “She just sent me this video of her sitting at her desk, and all of a sudden she gets pulled back and slammed against the wall. Her boyfriend had some climbing ropes, and they tied it around the chair and figured it out themselves. We based the whole turn into the second act around that moment.” (Bishop’s boyfriend — or extra precisely, his elbow — makes a cameo in direction of the tip of the movie, standing in for the elbow of a pal who involves test on Haley. “That’s why she’s got a really big, thick arm for one moment,” he says, chuckling.)

In one other scene, nervous Caroline (Caroline Ward) has her head repeatedly bashed towards her pc’s keyboard, her bloody face periodically breaking via a Zoom background that reveals her in happier occasions. “Caroline was sent all these prosthetic pieces by our special effects guy, Dan Martin, and had a Zoom tutorial about how to apply them. For the stunt, she slammed her head down into a little pillow that sat on top of her keyboard a couple of times, and then we’d pause and she’d apply the next part of the prosthetic — a broken nose or a slash on her face. We spent almost a whole day slowly building up that prosthetic and getting all the bits we needed for that sequence.” 

Two of the extra difficult, and freaky, on-screen deaths had been carried out by Edward Linard and Jinny Lofthouse, the one stunt performers who even have talking roles within the film. Lifted into the air by the rampaging spirit, Lofthouse’s neck is damaged after which she drops right into a swimming pool. “We were able to rig a kind of goalpost over the pool, so she’s lifted up by a wire and there’s a quick release. When we pressed a button, she plummets.” In the meantime, her on-screen boyfriend is about on fireplace — a stunt that Linard occurs to concentrate on. “We hired him, because we knew we could set his face on fire,” Savage says, laughing. “But none of the cast knew that he was qualified to do that! So when we set his face on fire in front of them, they were genuinely freaked out and didn’t know what was going on.”

Emma Louise Webb will get a spooky makeover in ‘Host’ (Photograph: Shudder / Courtesy Everett Assortment)

In truth, Savage purposely saved the solid at midnight about all the scary stuff they’d be seeing, mimicking the unique prank video he made. “We filmed all the death scenes individually, so they had not idea what was going to happen to any of the other cast members. Later on, I was able to go on a group call with all of them, and then pump that footage back into the Zoom call without them realizing they were watching pre-recorded footage. Their reactions as a group were often totally authentic: those are mostly first-take reactions to the crazy stunts we managed to pull off.”

really a masks that Savage swiped from the cult 1976 slasher movie Alice, Candy Alice. “I always loved the mask in that,” he says, referring to the translucent masks worn by the movie’s titular killer, performed by Paula Sheppard. “Not enough people have seen the film, so I figured I could steal it without anyone noticing. They did, of course, but we’d already gotten away with it scot-free by then! The funny thing is that our VFX guy had to go into the Lens Creator app that exists with Instagram and make it as a fully-functional Instagram filter, so I think you can still find it on Instagram somewhere.” ” data-reactid=”100″>After all, there have been occasions the place their reactions weren’t shocked sufficient. One sequence that proved significantly problematic was the massive reveal of the spirit’s “face” — really a masks that Savage swiped from the cult 1976 slasher movie Alice, Candy Alice. “I always loved the mask in that,” he says, referring to the translucent masks worn by the movie’s titular killer, performed by Paula Sheppard. “Not enough people have seen the film, so I figured I could steal it without anyone noticing. They did, of course, but we’d already gotten away with it scot-free by then! The funny thing is that our VFX guy had to go into the Lens Creator app that exists with Instagram and make it as a fully-functional Instagram filter, so I think you can still find it on Instagram somewhere.” 

The masks from ‘Alice, Candy Alice’ worn by Paula Sheppard makes a memorable cameo look in ‘Host’ (Photograph: Everett Assortment)

As a result of that exact visible impact was achieved in post-production, the solid didn’t get pleasure from reacting to Savage’s deep-cut homage. “They were reacting to an empty space, and I was on the Zoom call saying, ‘The mask is turning now, and it’s terrifying,’ and making nosies. It never quite worked, and we had to piece the scene together from a lot of micro reactions drawn from different takes.”

One other tough-to-film scene between Haley and her pal Jemma (Jemma Moore) — whose flippant perspective in direction of the séance opens the door for the spirit to stroll via — didn’t make the ultimate reduce in any respect. “Right before Haley gets dragged into the darkness towards the end, there was meant to be a much more emotional confrontation between her and Jemma where we dig into the backstory a bit about where their beef comes from. It felt like too much of a movie moment; we shot it a bunch of different times, but then I cut it and I never missed it. I think when you’re being chased by a murderous demon, that’s not the time for unspoken feelings!” 

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