Bowles, Simon (Doomsday) - Dread Central
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Bowles, Simon (Doomsday)



Simon Bowles interview!Like most people who worked on Doomsday, this wasn’t the first time Production Designer Simon Bowles worked alongside director Neil Marshall. Along with being a fantastic director, Marshall inspires a lot of loyalty in everyone who makes movies with him.

The unique challenges of Doomsday are what really got Bowles interested in seeing how it could be pulled off, we discovered through an e-mail interview with him. Check it out below to learn how Doomsday got its unique look!

Johnny Butane: What was your first official gig as a production designer?

Simon Bowles: The first feature film I designed was Edgar Wright’s spoof western “A Fistful of Fingers” in 1994. I had an Art Department budget of £100 and came in £1 under, which the Producer gave me on the final day of the shoot. Since then the budgets have been going up, my Doomsday Art Department budget was nearly $4 million dollars.

Weirdly, it doesn’t matter how much you have, it’s just never enough. We’re asked to make ever more impressive films on tighter budgets. This was one of the reasons we shot Doomsday in Cape Town, costs are cheaper, there are experienced teams and the climate is superb.

JB: How much has changed in the industry since then?

SB: These days the choice of country to shoot in is often based on tax incentives, good exchange rate and economic pay scale, these considerations are often as important as where the script is set. I’ve shot Cape Town as Glasgow, Luxembourg as Scotland and Canada, London as Washington and Italy, Morocco as Egypt and London. My skill is to make sure the audience would never know.

JB: How did you and Neil Marshall end up working with one another?

SB:: Before first meeting Neil I held the position of Senior Art Director for a production company in Luxembourg. A film came up called Dog Soldiers for which I and other experienced Production Designers interviewed for. I met the two DS Producers and Neil and we got on really well together. I got the job and together we collaborated to make the film look dynamic and action-packed. We also worked hard to retain a sense of realism to keep the audience from questioning what they’re witnessing.

JB: What are the differences between DS, Descent and now Doomsday when it comes to challenging design?

SB: I’ve been so lucky to work with Neil, he writes films in which the sets really are key characters in the story; in Dog Soldiers it was the Scottish cottage, which I built both the exterior, interior and a miniature to blow up, The Descent I designed and built the labyrinth of caves, and now Doomsday designing futuristic London, hardcore military vehicles and an overgrown Glasgow! I now have the reputation for giving the films I design a look of twice the budget. All the movies I work on are so totally different, that’s the beauty for a designer, there are no similarities.

Simon Bowles interview!JB: Why is Neil obsessed with making “D” movies?

SB; Neil is the Demon Dare-Devil Director of Dread and Disorder!

JB: When you sat down to look at Doomsday what did you think would be the most difficult setting to pull off?

SB: The Producers primarily wanted to know how I’d build the 40-foot high, 80 mile long steel wall that is erected in the story to divide Scotland and England. Of course the big wide shots could use CGI, but there were many scenes with vehicles driving through the huge doors, soldiers running along its parapet and Scottish civilians rushing up begging for release. Yes, it could have been a massive green screen, but Neil and I really like as much realism as possible on a set. There are limits to the ability of computer-generated objects and a modern audience is only too aware of them. It really was spine chilling seeing a couple of hundred extras running towards the huge closing metal doors and I think that comes across in the film.

Beyond that, making the streets of Cape Town look like massively overgrown Glasgow was going to be a challenge too, especially as there were some iconic Cape Town locations that we had only a few hours to dress. Under pressure in the middle of a meeting with the producers I came up with an idea to buy large 50 foot square sheets of fine black netting, wire on trails of plastic creepers, fix them onto the top of the buildings on these roads and drop them down, quickly transforming the buildings and also covering up signage such as “Cape Town Quick-E-Mart”. The process was reversed when we wrapped at the end of the shooting day.

JB: Did you draw inspirations from other post-apocalypse movies or did you try and keep it as original as possible?

SB: Any project has its similarities to other films, it’s impossible not to be effected by them, but I always set out to design a look that is new and exciting to enhance the action and envelop the audience.

JB: Should we, as the audience, be looking for any subtle nods to other films?

SB: As with all Neil’s films there are nods to other movies within the dialogue, action and sets, but they’re not for me to point out, more for the fans to spot and list on the IMDB, no spoilers here mate!

JB: The IMDB lists you as PD on Descent 2 … is that by default or are you actually working on it?

SB: I’m working with the Descent 2 Director Jon Harris, (editor on the first film) and his scriptwriters to develop a script for the sequel. We’re eagerly waiting for the project to be green-lit, due any day.

Simon Bowles interview!JB: Any director’s you would really like to work under?

SB: As a huge Raiders, Star Wars and Alien fan I’d really love to get the chance to design for Stephen Spielberg, George Lucas and Ridley Scott on their astounding films. But truly, I’d love to keep working with Neil, I’ve had a sneak preview of the other scripts he’s developing and they’re all fantastic! He’s got so many ideas spewing from his fingertips!

Q: What’s next for you?

SB: My wife and I recently had a baby boy, little Indy Bowles. I turned down work to be around for his birth and to see him through his first few months. I’m now reading scripts and meeting directors to discuss their projects. I don’t think an audience could ever guess just how much time and passion it takes Directors and Producers to get funding for their films, so I freely offer any design advice I can give to help get their films made.

The future? I really love working on horror films, but one day I must design a child friendly film for Indy and a beautiful period film that’ll make my dear pacifist parents proud.

Thanks to Simon for taking the time to chat with us! Look for more Doomsday interviews as we approach the release date, Friday March 14th and be sure to visit the official Doomsday site to learn more about the movie! You can learn more about Bowles and the other films he’s worked on at his official site, as well!

Discuss this interview in the Dread Central forums!

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Class of 1999 Graduates to Blu-Ray in 2018



Coming to blu-ray in early 2018 will be Class of 1999, which was originally released in 1990 and designed to be an unofficial sci-fi sequel to 1982’s Class of 1984, which itself received a special edition blu-ray in 2015. Confused yet?

In 1982, writer-director Mark L. Lester made Class of 1984, a slightly futuristic action thriller about teachers contending with teenage gangs in an inner-city high school. Lester would go on to grace us with Commando and Firestarter before returning to the premise in 1990 to give us the very futuristic Class of 1999. This time the action takes place near the turn of the millennium when gang violence overruns inner-city high schools to the point that the government steps in and replaces the teachers with reprogrammed military-grade battle androids. The super soldier cyborg faculty revert to their militaristic ways, naturally, and rack up quite a body count as they declare war on the student body leading to teenage gangs putting aside their difference to lead an anti-robot uprising in the halls of the school.

The time is the future, and youth gang violence is so high that the areas around some schools have become “free fire zones” into which not even the police will venture. When Miles Langford (Malcolm McDowell), the principal of Kennedy High School, decides to take his school back from the gangs, robotics specialist Dr. Robert Forrest (Stacy Keach) provides “tactical education units.” These human-like androids have been programmed to teach and are supplied with weapons to handle discipline problems. These kids will get a lesson in staying alive!

Boasting a screenplay by Full Moon stalwart C. Courtney Joyner and a cast including the likes of Stacy Keach, Pam Grier, Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Kilpatrick, and Traci Lind; Class of 1999 and its unique Stand and Deliver meets The Warriors meets The Terminator premise has garnered a loyal cult following over the years. We won’t mention the sequel. Forget I even brought it up. Sequel? What sequel?

Lionsgate Home Entertainment has announced Class of 1999 will be the next title getting a blu-ray release as part of their Vestron Collector’s Series in the first semester of 2018 with a fully loaded edition guaranteed to please fans and those that have yet to be educated on this enjoyable early Ninties b-movie extravaganza.

Disc extras will include:

Audio Commentary with Producer/Director Mark L. Lester
Interviews with Director/Producer Mark L. Lester and Co-Producer Eugene Mazzola
Interview with Screenwriter C. Courtney Joyner
Interviews with Special Effects Creators Eric Allard and Rick Stratton
Interview with Director of Photography Mark Irwin
Trailer & TV Spot
Still Gallery
Video Promo
Optional English, English SDH, and Spanish subtitles for the main feature

Class of 1999 graduates to blu-ray on January 30th.

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Buy Stuff From Eibon Press, Get More Stuff For Free



Eibon Press have announced that they’re starting Black Friday a day early and will be running their specials for almost a week, through November 28th. This year, they’re doing something a little different, a little more interesting. Rather than reduce prices on their inventory, they’re doing a deal where depending on how much you buy from their store, you’ll get a certain amount of free swag in addition to your order.

The first tier sees anyone who makes a purchase getting two double-sided mini-posters featuring art from their upcoming Bottomfeeder and Maniac and The New York Ripper series. The second tier sees anyone who spends at least $30 getting a free copy of their VHS Comics titles Laserblast plus the mini-posters. The final tier is for those who spend $50 and more and that will net the mini-posters, the #1 issue of Laserblast, and a free copy of Lucio Fulci’s Gates of Hell #2.

Lastly, five random people will receive an extra bonus gift, which they won’t reveal but promise that, “…you’ll love it!

All order cans be placed via Eibon Press.

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KISS Meets Army of Darkness in New Comic Miniseries!



Dynamite Entertainment just announced that they are planning to bring two of their bestselling brands together in “KISS/Army of Darkness #1”. The new comic book series will unite the rock band with none other than Ash for some Deadite ass kicking.

The series will be written by Chad Bowers and Chris Sims and illustrated by Ruairi Coleman. And the debut issue of “KISS/Army of Darkness” features three art covers from Kyle Strahm, Goni Montes, and Ken Haeser.

You can find all three covers below along with quotes from the creative team. After looking through all of that make sure to hit us up and let us know how excited you are about this new hybrid comic series in the comments below or on social media!

With Ash vs. The Army of Darkness, Chris and I were given kind of carte blanche to do whatever we wanted to the world of AOD, and we went for broke,” Co-writer Chad Bowers says. “We introduced some new characters and concepts, and built a legacy for Ash’s comics adventures that I’m immensely proud of, but not in a million years could I have guessed we’d get to continue that momentum with the added bonus of tossing the world’s greatest rock n’ roll band into the mix! I’ve been in the tank for KISS since I was in middle school. I remember buying the KISS tribute album, KISS My Ass for the Lemonheads (they covered Plaster Caster), which lead to me picking up Greatest Hits, and so on. But when I found out there was a KISS comic with blood in it, I signed up for life! Of course, I adore the songs (literally listening to Do You Love Me right now), but I’m just as obsessed with the way KISS transcends the music to become something of a genre themselves. It’s something I think about a lot, honestly, so no surprise, it’s a big part of our story too!”

“When it comes to Army of Darkness, I guess you could say that Ash is a bit of a gambler, but he’s nobody’s fool,” Co-writer Chris Sims says. “And since our first story was set back at Alan Shepard High, we’re looking forward to showing him some things that you can’t learn in school. Okay, okay, I’ll stop with the deep-cut lyrics now, but for real — if you thought Deadites at Homecoming and the Supernatural Military-Adjacent Response Team were taking Ash in a new direction, just wait until you see how we team him up with the Starchild, Space Ace, the Demon, and the Catman. In the grand tradition of the film, we’re tearing up the entire space-time continuum and if you think you know how weird this is gonna get… well, you sure know somethin’!”

“Having done some work for Dynamite in the past, I’ve really been wanting to get my foot in the door here for a long time so I can play in the sandbox of the amazing licenses they have,” Artist Ruairi Coleman says. “Chief among those, and high up on my bucket list, is Army of Darkness: Hail to the king, baby! So, when I was offered the job of drawing the KISS/Army of Darkness crossover, I couldn’t believe my luck! The concept is totally bonkers, but in a way, that would make complete sense in the world of Army of Darkness. Thinking about it, I’m surprised it hasn’t been done already and I’m honored (and more than a little intimidated) to be the guy who draws it.”

“After a more than 40-year career, KISS continues to be one of rock’s most celebrated bands, while Army of Darkness continues to be a staple in the comic book industry. We’re both honored to have the opportunity to work so closely with Gene and Paul to bring their world-renowned alter-egos to comics alongside our very own Ashy Slashy,” says Nick Barrucci, CEO and Publisher of Dynamite Entertainment. “The raging guitar chords and pyrotechnic spectacle of their stage shows could have come straight from the pages of the Necronomicon, and this epic battle between The Demon and Deadites will appeal to the hellions in all of us!”

Issue #1 will be available on digital platforms courtesy of Comixology, Kindle, iBooks, Google Play, Dynamite Digital, iVerse, Madefire, and Dark Horse Digital.

The KISS/Army of Darkness miniseries event hits February 2018.


KISS is on top of the world and rocking faces until the night disciples of The Destroyer show up and the band disappears. With the tour canceled, a young Ash misses one of the most important events of his life that will change his destiny. Now the Chosen One has to get back on the right path and join the KISS ARMY OF DARKNESS!

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