Bernhard Pucher: Exclusive online interview with Ravers director

Bernhard Pucher: Exclusive online interview with Ravers director

Ahead of the release of the Ravers, we discuss mutants, science and drugs with its director, Bernhard Pucher…

Can you tell us a little bit about your upcoming film, Ravers?

It’s a horror comedy about a party gone mad, when a bunch of ravers stumble upon a batch of contaminated energy drinks which mutates them and spirals the party out of control. And our main character, Becky, a germaphobic journalist, gets trapped in the middle of it.

What inspired Ravers and what are your influences?

Luke Foster, the writer, had an idea for a horror movie called Poppers, where ravers would take poppers and it would make their heads explode. I thought it was a great idea to use Ravers as a threat because of drug use but wanted to develop the threat a bit further. Together we ended up working out all the rules for the Ravers, and Luke eventually came up with the idea of using an energy drink as the trigger.

Our main influences for this film were of course zombie movies, like Dawn Of The Dead, but also comedies like Tucker And Dale Vs Evil and Zombieland.

Where did you film Ravers?

We wanted to film in the mid-west in the US where the film is set, but sadly couldn’t make that work. And we found that with the amount of FX, stunts and fire in the film, we needed a controlled environment. So we built a set at Pinewood studios in Cardiff, UK. We filmed most of it there and found exteriors to match.

Can you tell us more about the mutants? They all seem to have unique aims, what drives them?

The idea behind the mutants was to motivate them by what they want in that moment. Hannah of course wants more kisses from Becky. The others either want more drugs, or more music, or whatever else. And if they don’t get what they want, they lash out.

The mutants in Ravers lash out if they don’t get what they want…

Each mutant also has a unique look – some have red veins and some have bulging eyes for instance. Does each mutation mean something? If so, how did you decide what mutation each character would have?

We tried to match the mutation to the desire, but it also escalates. The more they keep going, the more they swell up.

The effects are brilliantly gory and practical, why did you decide to go down the practical route for special effects?

Practical effects are brilliant. Some of my favourite horror effects in the past have been done practically. But like with all FX, the real trick is to not only on one thing but to use all tricks cleverly. You have to use the strengths of each of them and merge them to get the most out of it. But I can’t deny how much I love being on set when doing practical FX in camera. It’s ridiculously rewarding.

We loved that main protagonist Becky – she’s complicated and has a great story arc. What were your inspirations for this character?

We wanted someone who had a lot working against her, so she had to fight to not just survive, but fight to overcome her own weaknesses. And by the end she’s not just a victor over the general threat, but also her personal hurdles. Georgia did such a great job portraying her. It was a pleasure watching Becky unfold.

Ravers‘ protagonist Becky (Georgia Hirst) has a lot to overcome…

There’s a real science element to this film – did you do any research into drugs and caffeinated drink compounds beforehand?

I’m a big fan of science and I love scientists in real life and movies. We did look into it more to make it more plausible, so the rules are more consistent. But like with the rest of the film, we didn’t want to take it too seriously. We had just enough in there so the story is clear, but we didn’t want to go as far as being really scientifically accurate. I think it would’ve detracted from the fun nature of the film.

It was just a lot of fun having a bit of a mad scientist be a hero for a change.

Is there a moral story behind Ravers?

When it comes to morals, I like to let people make up their own minds. I’m not sure you can call this story a pro-drug movie. But on the flip side, Becky has to take drugs at the end in order to save the day.

I do have a few little things that I threw in there as commentary on the rave and DJjing scene. They are for people to find. The one I will give away, is that vinyl falls victim to USB. As a DJ, I was very much part of that transition in the industry and wanted to make that point in the movie.

Ravers is available on digital download 16 March.