Industrial Animals, sometimes written as I.A., is a documentary-style found footage horror film from the United Kingdom. Produced by indie filmmakers Trash Arts and distributed by American indie legends Troma, it tells the story of two documentarians (Thomas Davenport and Sam Mason-Bell) and their experience trying to make a film about the daily life of a prostitute (Tamsin Howland). In the process, they encounter something much more sinister than they were prepared to cover.
Industrial Animals director, Sam Mason-Bell, was kind enough to answer a few questions for us about the film!
Mac Jones for Nightmare on Film Street: The film was made with a skeleton crew. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of working with such a small crew?
Sam M Bell: Working with a skeleton crew gave us the intimacy and privacy to explore every element. Also, there’s no hidden strings, so to speak. The people you see were the only people there on set. I try to judge the size of the film for the size of the crew.
NOFS: Industrial Animals is shorter than most feature films. Was that a conscious decision?
SMB: With Industrial Animals and a lot of our tighter productions we work from an improv bullet point script, a la Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm). Everything’s unscripted, but we were looking for sixty minutes for the pace. The film, to me, works in three acts, so it’s like in twenty minute sections almost.
NOFS: What’s next for Trash Arts?
SMB: Next for Trash Arts we have a horror anthology with Vestra Pictures, Conspiracy X coming soon to Troma Pictures (a modern version of The Twilight Zone), Home Videos (a mixtape style of found footage horror) coming to Sector 5, Gore Theatre (a collection of tongue-in-cheek gory horrors) coming to SRS, Toxic Schlock (a horror comedy from myself and Tony Newton) produced by Trash Arts, Vestra Pictures, and HB films, and Lonely Hearts (a vicious horror drama that’s like TV’s Unreal meets The Wickerman. These are all horror productions shot last year. We try to keep busy, seeing as we’re working-class nobodies. We won’t let that stop us from making as many features as possible. In 2018, we have three more features planned with one shooting at the end of February!
NOFS: What advice would you give aspiring indie filmmakers?
SMB: The key thing for an aspiring filmmaker is to just do it. Trash Arts has been running for eleven years and the only way it’s kept going is to not be limited by budget and learning from mistakes. It’s okay to produce features without millions or even thousands; you’ll make mistakes but it will only make you better. The other bit of advice is to work with a variety of different distributors. For our comedy shows we go to Versusmedia and Stream Now TV, all VOD sites, but for horror we aim to work with a variety of companies. When you’re small, just expand and promote.
NOFS: Diet Coke-and-vodka is a drink that gets a lot of screentime in I.A. Is that a personal favorite of yours, or was that just a character decision?
SMB: The Diet Coke and vodka thing was actually more of a necessity. Thomas J Davenport is diabetic, so it made his life easier. Personally, I’m not a big drinker. More of a smoker.
NOFS: How can viewers watch Industrial Animals?
SMB: Industrial Animals is out now on Troma Now!, and will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray at some point this year through Troma.
Thanks again, Sam, for answering those for us. For our review, keep reading.
Made on a limited budget by a crew of only three people (all of which are in the movie!), Industrial Animals wastes no time. This is good, because the film runs just a little over an hour, as opposed to the more standard 90-120 minutes for a feature film. I appreciate this, and I hope it catches on. How many times have you seen a movie that felt like it should end, then dragged on for another half hour? The shorter runtime leaves Industrial Animals no space to drag, and it’s better for it. The opening exposition goes quickly and directly, establishing who we’re watching, where they are, and why. Within ten minutes, the featured documentarian is getting into his daddy issues with the prostitute. Pretty straightforward.
As time goes on, and the filmmakers shed some inhibitions, their conversations get more frank and the sexual acts that they perform get more exotic. I won’t spoil anything, but a central aspect of the film is the characters humiliating each other in different ways.
This humiliation reaches its apex in the finale of the film, which takes a turn I was definitely not expecting. In the interest of keeping this spoiler-free, I won’t get into it, but I was genuinely shocked by the final act.
I’ve seen Industrial Animals twice now, and I enjoyed it both times. The documentary style makes the film feel more real, and as a result it’s an uncomfortable viewing experience. This movie pushes sexual limits in film in ways that a big budget studio picture never could, and with the proper suspension of disbelief does seem like an actual unpleasant person doing depraved things to a prostitute. It’s a believable setup, and the cinematography supports it. If you’re a Troma Now! subscriber, check Industrial Animals out now!
Who should avoid this movie
People who don’t like found footage movies, people who really don’t want to see unconventional and, at times, unpleasant sex acts, people who only like big budget studio pictures.
Who should definitely check it out
People who like microbudget indie films, people who want to be on the cutting edge of horror movies, people who don’t mind being extremely uncomfortable.
For more Industrial Animals news, including a full release date when one is announced, keep your browser locked to nofspodcast.com.
Portions of this interview were edited for clarification or to remove spoilers.