An ex star of Scottish drama River City, who sold his home to fund an independent horror film, is set to premiere the film at this year’s Glasgow Horror Fest. Matriarch was written and directed by Scott Vickers, and shot entirely in Scotland on a 500 acre farm in Balfron, Stirlingshire.
After working together on River City for several years, Vickers founded New Light Films with Steven Little, aiming to produce feature films in Scotland. While attending a film class, Scott met Alan Cuthbert, who invited him to use his large farm as a potential filming location. Using the geography of the farmland as inspiration, Scott wrote the horror film Matriarch in three weeks. He explained “It was an incredible experience shooting in the stunning Scottish countryside, it provided the film with a unique visual contradiction between the beauty, abundance and expansiveness of nature compared to the restrictive and oppressive environment Rachel finds herself in.”
The film is completely independent, with Scott, Steven and Alan having invested their own money rather than seeking external funding. Vickers even sold his home to help finance the film. This independent approach is what first drew Glasgow Horror Fest organizers Popcorn Horror to the film. Following the path of so many now legendary horror films, the film was completed with a small budget and a short shooting schedule.
Matriarch follows pregnant couple Rachel and Matt Hopkins, who crash their car in the Scottish countryside and are offered shelter by a local farmer and family. That evening Rachel and Matt realise the farmer’s daughter is a missing child from the news years before. As they attempt leave the farm and get help, the farmer and his ‘daughter’ capture and imprison Rachel and Matt – it soon becomes clear they want their baby…
The film stars Charlie Blackwood and Julie Hannan as the two female leads.
Matriarch’s story was in fact considered so disturbing that two crew members pulled out of the project, unable to cope with it’s dark, haunting themes. Of course, the film is certain to be at home at Glasgow Horror Fest, with previous award winning films being the unnerving folk horror Dogged, and eerie documentary Bella In The Wytch Elm.
Film critic and radio DJ Gina McKee described Vickers as “the new Quentin Tarantino”, and the London Evening Standard suggested that “Matriarch can do for Scott Vickers what Get Out did for Jordan Peele”.
Speaking about the film’s inspiration, Vickers said “Beneath the surface, Matriarch is essentially an exploration of the sacredness of family, and more specifically the bond between mother and child. It also looks at perceptions of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ and how they can be interpreted depending on which lens you look through. The horror / thriller genre allowed me to create an environment in which to push this debate to its extreme.”
Matriarch will be celebrating it’s premiere here in Scotland where the film was created. Scott Vickers, along with other members of the cast and crew will be attending Glasgow Horror Fest on Sunday 28th October to introduce their film to Scottish horror fans. The film will be preceded by a ‘long-short’, and followed by a Q&A with Scott and other members of the team.
Matriarch will be up for the Neon Frights feature film award at Glasgow Horror Fest. Neon Frights will be assisting in judging feature films, and had this to say about Matriarch; “While many independent horror films take influence from elsewhere, Matriarch finds its own niche on its own soil and runs with it. Matriarch is an impressive, thought-provoking film which leaves you wondering what would happen if you ended up in the same situation.”
Make sure you have your Glasgow Horror Fest tickets booked for this one-off event in Scottish film. Alongside Matriarch, the festival is set to present other incredible horror films, old classics, an escape room, shows and much more. You can also find out more about Matriarch on the New Light Films website.