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24 September 2014

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Long time directing
Long Time Dead
The séance scene from Long Time Dead
Swindon born film director, Marcus Adams’ debut movie, the horror flick "Long Time Dead" recently went on general release around the UK.

He talks about his break into directing.

Long Time Dead

BBC Films: Long Time Dead

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Marcus also directed a number of TV commercials including Cadburys, Pringles, Seafrance and Maynards

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Marcus, 36, attended Headlands School in Swindon and is dismissive of criticism the town occasionally receives such as it is a dull, cultureless place and hardly an inspiration to creative minds.

"I personally feel quite proud to have grown up in a working-class place like Swindon. Like anywhere, you make what you can out of it. I had a good time, it was a great place to grow up and I still regularly visit family I have there."

After leaving school, Marcus went on to study at the world famous Ballet Rambert school and then found work as a dancer and choreographer.

In 1986, along with some childhood friends from Swindon, he co-founded the highly influential techno-industrial band Meat Beat Manifesto. He not only designed and choreographed their unique live shows but also directed their videos.

Leaving MBM behind in the early 90’s, Marcus moved into directing music videos full-time.

Some of the high-profile artists he worked with included The Stone Roses, Soul II Soul and East 17. However, after directing over forty videos he felt that he’d gone as far as he could with the medium.

He said: "I think it keeps you on your toes to change around every seven years. You can get complacent and lazy sticking to the same thing. It pushes you to the your limit to keep finding new challenges."

Marcus admits that this period of his career was always intended to be a springboard in to film directing.

"To be honest, I always wanted to get into feature directing. I did feel like I was growing out of directing videos and it just seemed like a natural progression. I started out with a few short films and just became totally obsessed!"

In Long Time Dead, a group of London clubbers decide to have some fun with a Ouija Board. This leads to a terrifying supernatural force being unleashed with inevitably deadly results.

So what made Marcus pick an unashamed horror flick for his directing debut?

"I love quality horror/sci-fi movies like Aliens and Silence of the Lambs. You don’t need big time actors for horror movies, the genre is the star. There haven’t really been any British horror movies made for over a decade and the horror genre is globally, very popular."

Acclaimed directors such as Steven Spielberg, Sam Raimi and James Cameron all started out with schlocky, low budget, horror-themed movies so Marcus is philosophical about the critical mauling dished out to Long Time Dead.

"Some people ripped into it, but it is what it is," he said.

"I wasn't trying to be amazingly original. I wanted to make a scary, Friday night roller-coaster of a movie aimed at the late-teen audience. I think I did that. You just can’t win with some critics but it has done very well and has made back its budget already."

Considering the subject matter, the making of the film also had its scary moments for the cast and crew.

Marcus said: "All the actors wore crucifixes during the séance sequence and some of them consulted a white witch before filming. Also one time we left all the gear safely locked away in a warehouse over night. When we returned in the morning, one of the electrician’s belts was sliced in half."

Strange goings-on aside, Marcus said he had a great experience on his debut feature and singled out cast member, Joe Absolom (possibly most well-known as Matthew in Eastenders) for particular praise.

If I can make it on five failed O’ Levels, then anybody canendquote
Marcus Adams

"That guy is amazing. One minute he could be laughing and joking between scenes then immediately turning on the tears for filming."

Next up for Marcus is another genre picture, Octane. He describes it as a high concept, supernatural road movie set in America. This time he plans to concentrate on the directing side and has handed over script duties to a screenwriter.

"I don’t really think I’m a writer. It is a very rare gift. Working on the script for Long Time Dead was a great apprenticeship but I want to stick to directing."

With a seemingly assured future as a film director ahead of him, what advice would Marcus give the aspiring young filmmaker?

Marcus said: "Follow your dream. If I can make it on five failed O’ Levels, then anybody can."

Long Time Dead is still on general release around the UK.

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