The Thompsons is the new
production from reknowned independent horror filmmakers The Butcher
Brothers. It arrives here in the UK on both DVD and Blu-ray this week and I recently caught up with them to discuss their new vampire related follow-up to 2006's indie horror hit 'The Hamiltons'.
The Thompsons is the new film.
What’s the story?
Well this is a sequel to The Hamiltons. It’s a continuation of the story
with the family trying to find their place in the world. They’re
bloodsuckers and they’ve accepted this but they get into a bit of trouble
in the states and head to England where they find more of their kind. In
The Hamiltons it felt like they were alone in their world and we
purposefully kept it that way but now we wanted to open it up to a bigger
world, and not all vampires are what they seem.
The roles of the main
characters have changed somewhat in that they’re not the worst element in
the film this time. Was it difficult to write more sympathetic roles for
them as, ultimately they’re more grown up now and they are
Yeah, with The Hamiltons we told the story through Francis so we had a
coming of age film as he came to grips with what he was and how to express
it. With The Thompsons they’ve had much more time with who they are and
are more comfortable now. Francis accepts it and through the film it’s his
journey of how comfortable he is being a monster. I mean in the 6 years
the actors themselves have grown and with having Coey (Knauf, who plays
Francis) onboard as a writer it helped develop how he and the other
characters have changed.
Butcher Brothers: "When England came
calling we kind of wanted to address where they came from and how they evolved".
When you started writing then
did you set out to bring the story to England or did it organically
develop along those lines?
It kind of organically developed I guess. We actually felt like we wanted
to leave The Hamiltons alone so when the producers came to us and
suggested a sequel none of the stories we had were grabbing us. Then
someone came to us with the idea of going to England and that turned out
to be the bridge as to how to take it forward and really sparked the
creativity and what we could do with the world out there. It all kind of
came together at that point. We didn’t want to just rush in and just shoot
another film when we weren’t sure.
So when you were making The
Hamiltons you never had a sequel or a series in mind?
Not really. We liked the story and the characters and people always asked
if we were going to make a sequel. I think people like the idea of
villains being the heroes and how different vampires could be, even though
we never really called them vampires in the film, we just said they needed
to kill in order to survive. For us we just loved the characters and a
sequel wasn’t the first thing that came to mind but when England came
calling we kind of wanted to address where they came from and how they
evolved. We even thought at one point while making The Thompsons that a
television series based on it was an option as it’s really a human story,
with people trying to understand who they are and where they came
You’ve broken a lot of
perceived traditional vampire conventions in your films. Was that a
conscious decision at the start?
People are so used to the laws that we wanted to strip the Hollywood
vampire myths away, you know, stuff like they can’t walk in the daytime
and they don’t like garlic. Ours are basically like humans that just
happen to be monsters. Once you create their background like how they’re
raised and how they did things then it gives you more scope. With The
Thompsons as the story grew we have to answer more questions but with the
current vampire craze we wanted to stick with that, keep to how our world
You made The Hamiltons before
the Twilight juggernaut rolled in and you’ve made The Thompsons in the
wake of the success of those films. Do you think that there is a wider
market for vampire films now or is it more difficult to make a more adult,
The whole vampire market is now wider and much bigger and with that people
understand vampires more and are more aware of what you can and cannot do.
We were more interested what it would be like to survive on a daily level
knowing you had to kill people and hide it from your neighbours.
Butcher Brothers: "I guess we
always try to channel the maverick filmmakers".
Watching your films there seem
to be hints of Cronenberg and Lynch in that there are character driven and
not just using gore for gore’s sake. Would that be fair and who else has
had an influence over your style?
Well we wanted to make an acting story and that was how the directors we
grew up on worked. We both enjoy that kind of 70’s and 80’s horror films
that had real story like The Shining and so on. The story came first. We
wanted to bring that back with the characters being humanized. I guess we
always try to channel the maverick filmmakers.
Having said that then how does
it work having the two directors on set?
We are different people but we grew up together and decided to call
ourselves The Butcher Brothers. It’s great because it’s like having a
second pair of eyes on set. Means we can make sure we don’t miss
Well I guess I have to ask what would
be your favourite horror films?
There are many but a couple would be The Shining and Blue Velvet.
Personally I really like Angel Heart which is more of a thriller but has a
bit of horror in there. You’re okay with a couple more questions if you
Given the amount of remakes around at the moment, as
independent filmmakers how healthy do you think the horror genre
Well horror is a really strong genre, young people love it, old people
love it, and it translates into any language. There’s an awful lot of
stuff out there with bigger studios playing safe with the franchises and
smaller studios taking a chance. I guess at the end of the day a good
movie is a good movie. The Thompsons is a sequel so in reality that’s part
of a franchise too now but that wasn’t the intention. We have a thriller
coming out and another horror coming out called Raised By Wolves about a
bunch of skateboarders. All around filmmaking is good but horror is more
prevalent, more a pop culture and people can relate to it but I guess the
question is where do we go from here. We like to put our own spin on it
and try and do something that hasn’t been done before; we have a thriller
coming out and another horror called Raised By Wolves about a bunch of
skateboarders. And now with The Walking Dead and True Blood it’s exciting
out there. We like to think ahead and see what we can do next.
"Thank you ever so much for taking part in this interview
And we wish you the very best of luck in the future."
'The Thompsons' is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.