‘Bad Acid’ Review & Interview with David Chaudoir

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Bad Acid is the horror short film from writer/director David Chaudoir. The film tells the story of Marvin Maskelyn a washed up TV hypnotist and magician desperate to recapture his fame. A run of disastrous performances ends with him acquiring a black eye and losing his genie lamp prop. An antique dealer friend supplies a Babylonian lamp with a checkered past and a secret stash of LSD blotters within. With nothing left to lose Maskelyn takes one. Hallucination, hypnotic visions and demonic apparitions collide.

The official press release from BadAcidFilm.com describes the film as a love letter to the portmanteau horror films of the 1970’s. We had the opportunity to watch Bad Acid and it absolutely delivers. The tone and cautionary nature of the film definitely pays tribute to those 70’s classics. The music, provided by Pete Diggens and the Aurophonic Workshopgives the film and unmistakable macabre feeling. It’s incredible what the cast and crew were able to create with a minimal budget. The number 3 is very prominent throughout the film and with that in mind here’s 3 reasons you should check out Bad Acid.

  1. The Cast  – Bad Acid has an array of talented actors. Tristan Beint, Madeleine Bowyer, William Kempsell and Tiffany Haynes really bring the characters to life in a short timespan.
  2. The Script – Being from the US several of the slang terms were somewhat lost in translation. Until we looked them up. The writing is brilliant. It’s dark, engaging and at times hilarious.
  3. The Time – David Chaudoir’s Bad Acid accomplishes more in 18 minutes than most 90 minute films of the same genre.

Fancy a trip?

Watch the Official Trailer

Writer/director David Chaudoir worked for 25 years in UK Broadcast Television and associated crafts. He has also directed award-winning promotions for The Walking Dead, which went viral, and music videos for bands such as Athlete and Starsailor. David was kind enough to answer a few questions we had about Bad Acid as well as discuss some of his favorite directors and horror films.

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  • What inspired you to write Bad Acid?

David Chaudoir: “A number of different things.  I have a love of conjuring and got interested in a more spooky storytelling kind of performance magic called Bizarre magic. Through this interest I discovered a hypnotist / magician called Anthony Jacquin who produced an instructional DVD where he hypnotised a subject suggesting a genie had appeared, then the genie changed into a monster with sharp teeth.  I think that is the closest thing to real magic one could ever experience.  Horror films, spooky stories and tales with a twist have always fascinated me from a young age.”

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  • Bad Acid has one of the best posters we’ve seen this year. How did you come to work with Graham Humphreys?

David Chaudoir: “Many years ago I used drink at the same pub he did in Soho, which was around the corner from his studio.  I met him a couple of times over the years before commissioning him and after about 6 months he became free to do the job. He asked me to take photos on set and I got Tristan to pose with the lamp when we were shooting at the stage location.  The only thing that I asked of Graham was not to include the color green.  Graham is one of the most gifted, charming and rebellious artists out there.  When I watched the Evil Dead at the age of 13 it was his artwork on the VHS box.”

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Bad Acid poster art by Graham Humphreys

Check out more amazing artwork from Graham Humphreys at GrahamHumphreys.com

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  • Marvin Maskelyn is such a unique character. How difficult was it to find/cast Tristan Beint?

David Chaudoir: “Tristan found me.  He is a mutual friend of a friend and the executive producer.  He had read an earlier script of mine called Talk of the Devil and when he heard Bad Acid was being cast he rang me up.  I originally wrote Marvin as an older man so I just tweaked the script.  Marvin is a bit of an insufferable self obsessed man but Tristan managed to make him a bit more human.  Tristan is an amazing actor, I was utterly mesmerized on set by his performance.  Equally impressive was Madeleine Bowyer’s performance as Marvin’s manager.”

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  • Are there any filmmakers you draw influence from?

David Chaudoir: “I think we absorb influences like osmosis.  You don’t know where it comes from but subconsciously you drink it in.  I love British horror and as a young teen watched a lot of Tigon, Hammer and Amicus films which sometimes blended dark humor and the macabre. English directors like Mike Leigh, Nic Roeg and Ken Loach I greatly admire.  I love the blend of humour and horror in films like American Werewolf, Housebound and Evil Dead 2.”
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  • The score of the short was amazing. What made you decide to use Pete Diggens and the Aurophonic Workshop?

David Chaudoir: “Pete was introduced to me by the sound designer Rich Martin.  I wanted a mixture of rock, suggesting the previous owner of the lamp and a middle-eastern sound to suggest the older origin of the lamp.  The mixture of sound design and Pete’s music is the bedrock of the mood of the film.”

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  • The set designs and dressings really helped set the tone. Was it difficult to find the random dressings and occult items?  

David Chaudoir: “Everything was shot on location.  The antique shop is in fact a private museum in London called the Viktor Wind Museum.  The nightclubs were shot at an old working men’s club in North London and Marvin’s flat was that of Sukey Richardson, the producer.  The genie etching was created by a young artist called Laura Steele.  Annalisa Andriani did the set decoration and props, including the antique box that the lamp lives in.”

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  • How much research of the occult and the art of hypnotism was necessary for this project?

David Chaudoir: “Anthony Jacquin’s DVD taught me about rapid induction techniques.  I researched a little about Genies.  I was also interested in the fact that our numbers are Arabic and not Roman numerals. 3 is an interesting number in religion, jokes and stories, (the three act structure) and it’s a recurring theme in the film. Three failed performances, three pictures of success, three deaths, the time on the clock and so on.”

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  • Where did the design on the acid come from?

David Chaudoir: “I looked at loads of pentagrams on the internet.  I didn’t want to go with just a basic five-pointed one.  I think the one I used is a Hebrew one.”

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  • Was there anything left on the cutting room floor that you initially wanted to keep in the film?

David Chaudoir: “Because we had to shoot everything in four days I storyboarded every shot and there were 120 different panels.  We had little time to improvise or digress from this strict regime but we did shoot something very funny, which was Tristan on a children’s spring-loaded rocking horse at the playground that didn’t survive the edit.  That is on the outtake real.”

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  • Do you have any other projects in the works?

David Chaudoir: “I have a number of shorts written.  A producer has suggested I should make a feature since it’s easier for investors to get their money back.  I have a couple of features written but I would love to make an anthology which I’ve just started writing. After Bad Acid I wrote and produced a horror audio novella called Freddy Valentine and the Soho Ghoul, which is on iTunes.  I also made another short film called Adonis and Aphrodite with Madeleine Bowyer, which is very funny but a very different film to Bad Acid.”

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  • Which festivals will Bad Acid be playing and are there any you’re particularly excited about?

David Chaudoir: “I have no idea at present.  I have entered the film into a number of festivals in the UK and USA.  Horror festivals and non-genre festivals.  I haven’t heard anything back yet.  There is more information on my website of the festivals I’ve entered and if I get accepted I’ll post it up and tweet it. I’d love it to play at Frightfest in London and Screamfest in Los Angeles.”

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  • What was you’re first Horror movie?

David Chaudoir:  “I think the first film that freaked me out was The Wizard of Oz, the wicked witch terrified me when I was five years old.  The first film that made me love horror was From Beyond the Grave (1974), a British anthology with scares and laughter.”

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  • What is your favorite Horror movie?

David Chaudoir: “One favorite – this question is unfair!  I think it might well be American Werewolf in London (1981), again for the blend of humor and horror as well as the British actors and actresses in it.”

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Everyone at Horror By Proxy would like to Thank David Chaudoir for taking the time to answer our questions!

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For more information and updates

Follow David Chaudoir on Twitter 

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Be sure to check out BadAcidFilm.com

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