Dani Filth Looks Back At Horror Upbringing, Ponders Fearful Future

Cradle Of Filth’s long-time members (L to R): drummer Martin “Marthus” Škaroupka,
frontman/lyricist Dani Filth, and guitarist Paul Allender.
(Photo courtesy of Peaceville Records.)

Anyone who is a Cradle Of Filth fan knows that frontman Dani Filth loves his horror movies. It’s evident in the band’s artwork and videos and permeates his lyrics. He even acted in a horror movie that came out 12 years ago, the indie fear flick Cradle Of Fear. He played the sinister character called The Man, the son of a serial killer helping his father seek revenge on those who lead to his incarceration. Other Cradle members had cameos. Dani enjoyed the experience and wants to do another movie.

“I really would,” confirmed Dani, who praised Ross Bolodai, the director of their recent video “For Your Vulgar Delectation” from their latest album The Manticore and Other Horrors. “He’s really young and only about 25, but he is one of those intense people and is really into this stuff. He’s really good fun to hang around with. We’ve been talking for the last few months about doing a film on the cheap, but the thing that stops you is the fact that people aren’t really taking risks. You’ve got the big movies that are $25 or $30 million or its people doing them for $100,000. There doesn’t seem to be a great deal in between, and even something like Lars von Trier’s Antichrist was a low-budget film. But low budget to them is about $5 or $10 million with really good actors that probably cost $2 or $3 million apiece on top of it. We’d have to do something a bit more guerrilla and do it all non-digital with proper effects. The only thing that held up doing another Cradle Of Fear, especially from Alex [Chandon]’s point of view, was to raise capital. Even though it was a really successful film — something that sold 300,000 copies only cost £70,000 to make as a major success, the pro rata of what it earned to what it cost — it wouldn’t have been a successful film if it had cost £10 million.”

“I think he [Eli Roth] probably got the idea [for Hostel] from it. I don’t know if he actually ripped it off….”

Looking back on Cradle Of Fear now, Dani admitted, “It’s not Martin Scorsese by any means. It’s flawed and very camp and the effects aren’t great, but it’s a lot of fun to watch and I’m proud of it. I think the story is the best thing, and to this day I really do think that Eli Roth stole Hostel from the last story.” He’s referring to the final tale “The Sick Room,” in which a twisted man addicted to online torture porn is lured to a mysterious location because he craves further depravity. The singer said that Roth met Cradle Of Fear director Shandon at Fright Fest. “I think he probably got the idea [for Hostel] from it, I don’t know if he actually ripped it off, but anyway…”

Dani was raised Catholic — his mother pretended they were Roman Catholic to get into a top-notch school — but unlike many black metal bands that rail against organized religion, Filth said he had a great childhood. “I think the way I got into things wasn’t because I was rebelling as such — which I did because every teenager rebels — but I was already into it,” he explained. “It was the environment, the landscape and the fact that — I’ve said this before a lot, and it’s true — I grew up in an area that was rife with witchcraft in the Middle Ages. I used to live in a house where the Witchfinder General used to stay, our old 16th-century house in Hadley. He used to stay there when it was one big house. When we lived there, it had two wings and a central house, and we lived in one of the wings. It was really all that growing up that just turned me onto it. Wrong place at the right time.”

Ross Bolidai: Dani’s next film director?

The colorful frontman also came of age with the arrival of Betamax, the first home video format prior to VHS. “Even in this tiny village of 10,000 people, we had two video shops that smelled of stale cigarettes. It became kind of magical. Growing up was like a series of steps, I suppose — the wrong place at all the right times. I think that’s true of a lot of people. It’s defined by albums, not just films and literature, but defined by certain key moments really.”

Luckily for those fans weaned on vintage horror, many classic titles have been resurrected on DVD and Blu-ray. And like any fear fiend, Dani has been collecting them. But he has learned a lesson in how to shop prudently. “I’ve been ordering loads of stuff off of Amazon for like £2, like Dead and Buried. I was one of those guys who used to buy everything as soon as it came out, and now with the economic depression, I suddenly realized that it’s a really stupid thing to do. All I need to do is hold back for about two years — I’ve got enough films anyway — and then go and snap everything up for about £3 each, like a quarter of the price.”

When asked if has seen anything lately that struck him as being really original, he mentioned Alex Chandon’s last film Inbred, “which is quite unique. It’s set about this tiny Yorkshire village, and he actually used the village. The producer of the movie grew up there — it’s called Mortlake. Apparently, the villagers have parts in the movie, and it’s pretty much what it says — it’s called Inbred. [laughs] It’s good fun and very gory.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.