An “irreverent, kooky, quirky, horror-comedy, very much more comedy than horror” is how director Jesse O’Brien describes his second feature film, Two Heads Creek.
“Although if horror fans hang in there, they get quite a bloody finale,” he’s quick to add.
Arrowhead, O’Brien’s first offering, was a high concept sci-fi, while Two Heads Creek is all blood and guts, following British twins who travel to Australia to find their birth mother, only to realise she is from a town of cannibals. They have to fight their way out while keeping their family intact.
“[Horror] gives you the chance to explore different visuals,” he notes. “The kind of images you don’t see in every day life. And that’s always what intrigues me about new stories.”
“Filming to me is so much about going places and going on adventures. So the chance to go somewhere else in the world or even to create the look of an otherworldly place is really exciting.”
The process of making Two Heads Creek was much smoother than Arrowhead.
“It was just me and my buddies working on Arrowhead and we didn’t know how to make a film. We just went out to the desert and did it.”
“This time it felt like, for the first time, we were doing it properly. The logistics were taken care of. The producing and production team were very good and just let me do my job as director.”
When O’Brien was originally approached to direct the film, his first thought was, “I don’t want to do this cannibal horror-comedy.”
“But then I read it and started to realise what my take on it would be,” he adds.
“When I realised it was painting Australians in a funny light and sort of making fun of ourselves and playing up the cartoonish nature of Australia, that was my way in.”
“It feels to me like a British film and that was another way in for me, because I sort of rolled my eyes at the thought of another larrikin comedy set in the outback. It’s not the sort of thing I like to watch.”
“But I realised it would be shot as a British film, because it comes from a British writer and is about two British characters, so it’s their perspective of us. And that to me is what I found interesting. It feels a bit more like an international film visiting us.”
Two Heads Creek is written by Jordan Waller, who also stars in the film, and directing someone else’s script was a change for O’Brien.
“When I direct the stuff I write, I’m often very glued to it and I can’t see it objectively. So when someone else is writing it, I can sort of look at it and go, ‘I don’t know if this is right?’ As opposed to being really protective of something that came out of my brain.”
“Jordan was on set every day and it was really freeing because I could focus on my job as director and he and I were very much on the same page. It was great to be able to bounce ideas off each other when we needed to.”
Two Heads Creek premieres at Monster Fest 2019 and you can catch O’Brien and cinematographer Samuel Baulch at Supanova Comic Con & Gaming Adelaide (November 2-3) and Brisbane (November 8-10).