Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Mortus Illumina 1st Incarnation

Next Tuesday evening, at Temple Works is something called BettaKultcha and I have my name down to be one of the presenters.  As my film Mortus Illumina is now showing signs of finally finishing,(click here to see some of the VFX progress) I am getting a bit more confident about talking about it and drumming up some interest in my film. As such, my five minutes will be about the making of Mortus illumina, or how not to make a feature film.

Mortus illumina, is the bastard child that has been growing up with me for the last nine years, its fair to say, it's been a love hate relationship, with many a frayed nerve.

Preparing for next Tuesday, I have started to go through my archives and I came across a making of diary, kept in the first six months of production (so nine years ago), which has made an interesting read over my morning coffee and kicked off this post.

Mortus illumina as in the film itself, has had three reincarnations, The first incarnation was the hammer horror.

I had finished shooting my first short film Deadlights and was filled with over enthusiasm and cockiness. Reading through the original diary, I proudly boast of getting drunk at the Lemon tree pub in Convent Garden whilst realming through my head the story elements that would make up "Nunning Things" - The working title for Mortus illumina. I then proudly boast of the 48 page script I wrote in one night and how I had visions of lesbians vampire nuns, ridiculously low budget and lots of blood.

Mortus illumina, in its Hammer Horror stage was going to be a salute to the old hammer film, and feature lots of Nuns, or all shapes and sizes. Below is a very early piece of concept art I came up with, so I could get the mood when pitching the script across. 
Over the next six months, it was a wonderfully enthusiastic, but utterly sham attempt at pre-production. We had decided that the first shoot would be  in April 2001 no matter what. From a very hung over wrap (fire escapes and smoke grenades anyone?) party from deadlights and ad-astra(short film by britmic)  I pulled together the initial crew and cast and began to add to that. In fact, by the time April came, the number was about 40, with 27 people going onto the first shoot. Phrases such as "Kick arse Nun" and "Nun-Steaming" were becoming apart of everyday vocabulary.

One thing that was woefully neglected during this incarnation was the script, which went up from 48 pages to 76 - and that is about it.  Oh it did get its name changed from Nunning things to Mortus illumina (for the record; Mortus:Translates as dead, taken from the past participle of Old French Latin Mortuus - to die, illumina - Lights, from vulgar latin) . I was actually searching my hard drive for the original script, to post up an example, and I came across instead, the first email I sent out for the project. I think this captures not only the  tone  of the first incarnartion, but also my attitude at the time as well.

This trailer consists mostly of the footage from the first shoot, which did indeed take place in April as planned. Whilst the beach footage is more second carnation. The above should give you an idea of what I was originally intending Mortus illumina to be.

For those of you, who are going to be at the event at BettaKultcha event next Tuesday, I will be mentioning what changed (and what went wrong!). Those of you not attending, you can wait till I write up the Mortus illumina the 2nd incarnation this blog

Click the Read more below, to see the original email

"Nunning Things" 

Ok the reason I have choosen to do another horror short is that I think 
you can be more creative and push visual limits on a low budget. After 
blowing up a building for less than a ton im confident the below can be 
done. Budget will be about 4-5000 

Anyway heres a brief synopsis of Nunning things (really got to change 
the title J)

Starts off on a beach (Deadlights beach)with four people coming to meet 
together. And they have all kind of sold there Soul. But theres one 
missing and theres going to be this great bit of dialog about how they 
must go back and find her. And its all sort of things like she would of 
gone somewhere where she thinks shes going to be safe. But she will 
stick out as shes already sold her soul, she slip betwen this world and 
Deadlights, there will be times when she’ll be ice cold etc etc and 
this is when we will find her. Kick arse Evil guy doing the talk over 

Anywhoo while all this going on the beach it is cut with lots of gothic 
images of Candles and we see a Nun initiation ceeremony ( I have no 
idea if there is such a thing but theres going to be) and we see "Mary" 
whoes going to be the main part getting initiated into the convent all 
over the guy on the beach saying she will go somewhere where she thinks 
she safe. Also there will be a kick arse speech form the priest doing 
the initiation ceremony about sin. Plus we see Mary having flash back s 
where she shoots her fella(this was her deal with her soul) 

Next scene we have Mary and Abigail talking along the convent and there 
will be that Deadlights line "Still having trouble sleeping ?" anywhoo 
in the background is a kick arse big old fat nun who hurrys them along 
in the corrdidor. Then we follow sister Abigail into the office of the 
priest, and the priest gives her a talk about cleaniness and the sins 
of not havbing a clean mind, and hes a right old perv and gets her to 

Next we cut to Rico one of the guys on the beach looking around town 
for Mary he has a flash back where he tells Mary about this guy hes met 
who has sorted out his gambling problems (his deal with the devil) and 
he introduces her to Mary and we find out Marys fella is a vicious 
bastard. Rico is wrapped with guilt.

Next were In the garden of the covent. Now theres a few nuns doing 
Nunning things in the garden and Mary whoes doing Nunning things, now 
this is where she begins to slip into Deadligths, she gets very cold 
and begins to shake. Then we cut to the evil dude on the beach who 
suddenly picks up that Mary is slipping. And as Mary slips into the 
Deadlights bit we see this kick arse evil nuns in the garden with no 
faces just black between there head doobries. We then see Rico steal a 
car and drive towards the convent. Mary then slips back into the real 
world and the nuns aren’t evil anymore and back doing there nunning 
things. Then this fat Nun coimes along and tells Mary to get back to 
her work. 

We then see Rico arrive at the convent but as he trys to walk up the 
path he cant as its "holy ground" 

Cut to Abigail and Mary in the library at night, a bit of a chat about 
nunning things etc etc. then Abigail is called to the priests office. 
While Mary is alone in the office she finds a book which has the Latin 
for Deadlights (if it exists ) and then she begins to read. 

Next scene evil guy and Rico on beach. Rico says he s found her but he 
cant get to her. But then the Evil guy "listens in and we have a cut of 
Abigail in the office with the perverted priest and the evil guy goes 
its not that holy. 

Next scene pervy priest in his car at night then evil dude arrives ala 
falling on car roof, and gets in the car with the priest and begins 
talking through the priest having sex with Abigail. And he makes a 
deal that the priest will get away with it as long as he keeps Mary in 
the convent. While there having this talk Evil dude talks through the 
sex act and we cut with Abigail doing things that aren’t very nunning 

later that night we see Mary and other nuns doing there nunning things, 
and Mary goes to bed as Abigail is called to the office, fat nun again 
hurrying them along. As Mary sleep we get the full story of her fella 
and the deal she made with her soul.

Now spookyy stuff. While the priest is beginning to get jiggy with 
Abigail we see the cross in the church begin to shake as he gets loser 
to popping the nuns cherry, we also cut to evil dude and Rico standing 
outside the church / from beach.

Anywhoo we see the priest get closer 
to Abigail, the cross shaking, then when he pops Abigail’s cherry the 
cross falls and enter evil dude, Rico into convent. 

We see Mary in her room next, and she begins to slip into Deadlights 
again. On her door the words Deadlights are spelled out. Also the whole 
convent becomes evil, if anyone has seen Ken Russell/ Oliver Reed the 
Devils you’ll know what I mean.

Now this is where Mary becomes kick arse, she goes to leave her room 
but is blocked by a now possessed Abigail who goes at her with a knife. 
After a bit of a fight, Mary takes her out. And comes up with some kick 
arse line. Now as she goes through the convent its EVIL EVIL

there are a couple of Nuns eating the fat Nun , and then there’s the 
Nuns with no faces at every turn as she makes through the convent. And 
then she bumps into Rico who has a change eof heart and tells her to 
hide or get out. 

We then have Rico and evil dude searching the convent for Mary insert 
one Gratuities lesbian Nun Scene. And cool scene in priests office with 
dead nun hanging from crucifix in corner of room with lots of blood. 
The Evil dude gets all the nuns searching for Mary in there black face 
mode. Lots of gothic images and scary voice over from evil dude. As 
Mary tries to hide.

Anywhoo, eventually Evil Dude tracks down Mary and there’s this 
struggle and a good old good and evil debate. With some kick arse 
attitude and spooky mind control with evil nuns doobrie from the evil 
dude. Then there’s the classic "Deadlights Mary Deadlights " (cunning 
ay J) as the nuns evil dude sacrifice Mary at the alter on the church. 
Oh and Rico has one last attempt at saving her. And the evil nuns are 
into there evil nunning things like cannibalism , sex etc etc.

End on the beach 4 people at the beginning plus Mary. And some kick 
arse line of play the game no paid the price sort of feel.

Anywhoo that s what I what to shoot next so watch this space, for 
casting, crewing, script, etc. Im also looking to get more people 
involved on the pre production stage of it. I thinks its more of a case 
of when as I knew who I have in my mind for roles and crew from 
Deadlights and Ad-Astra , plus I also want to get more of the ITKOA 
crew involved. 

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