Shock Interview: Colin & Cameron Cairnes Talk 100 Bloody Acres


100 Bloody Acres is about to make its U.S. premiere on VOD June 27th. The first film by Australian brothers Colin and Cameron Cairnes is a delicate balance of horror and comedy with a surprising bit of human truth thrown in.

The film is the story of the Morgan Brothers, whose family business is threatened by a bad run of product production. They had previously had a miracle ingredient fall into their laps but now, with things growing urgent and time running out, they must step up and create their own miracles. When a group of young travelers break down on the highway, brother Reg feels that his miracle has just arrived. The question is does he mean professionally or personally?

The Cairnes brothers are a team in the best way. Writing and directing together, they share a single and unique vision. They’re sharp, welcoming, and often finish each other’s thoughts, making sitting down with them a fun and thrilling experience all on its own.  Keep reading as we discuss making their first feature, playing with tone, and still wanting to make a “No Holds Barred” horror film…

Shock Till You Drop:  This is your first feature. The standard formula when doing your first horror film is to take five kids, put them in a room and “Hack them up”. You have something completely different. Was your goal to create something a little more challenging and original or was it born out of your personalities?

Cameron Cairnes:  A bit of both, but probably more of the latter. I think we set out to make a really “No holds barred” horror film, a really intense throwback to the 1970’s; Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the Hills Have Eyes. But as we were writing it, it’s just in us to bring our voice, which is comedy.

Colin Cairnes:  The starting off point was the kids in peril, but once we started writing it, it grew organically. Once we got to know those characters and that world then all those crazy weird messed up situations that they get mixed up in started to present themselves. I think there was a conscious effort to mix it up and play with the conventions and just have fun with it.

Shock:  From writing and directing shorts to doing a feature, did your process change?

Colin Cairnes:  It’s not much different. The last short we did is a long one, it’s 20 minutes, so it was a 5 or 6 day shoot with quite a big crew so it was that times 5. So it’s the stamina that you’ve gotta have. Short films is just a short shot, get it done. The actual process really isn’t that much different. You’ve got so many hours in the day, you’ve gotta finish so many scenes, you gotta race through it, make those little compromises but know when to not to. It’s just that on a much bigger scale and what you require is the stamina to stay focused.

Shock:  You worked with Justin Dix for the effects. How did you guys come together?

Colin Cairnes:  Back when the film was merely a twinkle in our eye, we spoke to Justin because he is the go to guy in Australia for prosthetic effects.

Cameron Cairnes:  He’s just a very welcoming guy. You can just call him up and he loves to show people around his workshop. So we got that opportunity to meet him early on. It was several years after that first meeting that we actually got to hook up again and actually employ him. But it was always gonna be him. He pulled off an amazing job with not a lot of money.

Shock:  There isn’t a lot of gore in the film, but when it hits it hits hard.  Was that by design or dictated by budget? 

Cameron Cairnes: I think there is enough gore in there for the fans. I’m a fan. I think to have any more in there would maybe make it a bit of a splattfest and would maybe be taking away from  that relationship drama that’s going on.

Colin Cairnes: I don’t know if it was a conscious decision to hold back. We talked about tone, getting the right balance between the comedy and the drama, the horror, and the suspense. It just felt right.

Shock:  As far as the characters are concerned, they are very complete given the small amount of time we have to get to know their personalities. Was that all set on paper or did the actors bring stuff to the table as well?

Cameron Cairnes: I think there was enough in the script for them to work with and get a real good handle on the characters but they all brought something special and I think we had a decent script and casted really well.

Colin Cairnes: I don’t think there was a hell of a lot of work to do; we got the right people for those roles. There’s not a lot of time to finesse in the directing. They all brought their “A” game and a bit of imaging helped. The Lindsay character with his beard and the utility belt, stuff we kind of had a vague idea of. We kind of had a pretty solid idea of how things would look and how characters would act.

Shock:  With this film, you have created a perfect balance of horror and humor that rivals films like Return of the Living Dead and Shaun of the Dead. Is that something you want to continue to do because of your personalities or do you want to move on?

Colin Cairnes: There is probably still part of us that wants to make that No Holds Barred horror film that Cam was talking about. If this one takes off to any degree then there will probably be an expectation that there is gonna be more comedy. And we do want to do that, but I think we’d like to try everything. We love musicals. I feel like we can make a horror musical. We know the importance of the jingle and of the music that plays. We just love all genres, we love all cinema and we love to throw it into the mix, ya know?

Cameron Cairnes: You gotta keep that form alive and do things with it. The next thing we’ve got is a crime caper sort of thing with lots of laughs and violence. You gotta challenge yourself and test yourself, but if you want to call yourself a true horror director, you gotta make the pure horror. That Texas Chainsaw Massacre we speak of, which arguably is the greatest horror film ever, as far as I’m concerned, because it is so pure. We can do it. We just have to be disciplined and try not to be funny.

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