Bad Blood Films - a local horror film production company based in Swindon and Bristol - held an investor’s event last month at Twickenham Studios to outline their plans for the latest project on their slate, The Ripper’s Ghost.
Old and new investors, Bad Blood Films’ partners, and other valued industry contacts were invited to the Studios in June - which were opened back in 1917, and have produced iconic films such as Blade Runner, The Italian Job, Alien vs Predator, An American Werewolf in London, and more recently the Beatles ‘Get Back’ documentary series from Peter Jackson.
Twickenham Studios will also be carrying out the post-production duties for The Ripper’s Ghost.
The event ran from 5.30pm - 9pm and guests first enjoyed reception drinks, and a studio tour before a short presentation from the Bad Blood Films team, followed by a chance to network and discuss investments.
Attendees were shown a trailer, key sequences, premiere footage, and behind the scenes material from Bad Blood’s feature debut ‘Sacrilege’, as well as a showreel from Twickenham Studios. The Bad Blood team said the side-by-side comparison of Twickenham’s iconic movie slate to their own first production was used to highlight their ambitions to keep growing and reach new heights.
Bad Blood then gave a presentation about their newest endeavour, The Ripper’s Ghost. The plot was described and co-founder Mark Kenna divulged the company’s ambitions for the supernatural horror flick, based around Jack the Ripper.
He said: “Ripper’s Ghost is going to be a supernatural horror, bringing the spirit of the legendary Jack the Ripper into a modern day setting. A college student is willed the belongings of a previously unknown great Uncle only to discover evidence of the real Jack the Ripper, and unwittingly unleash his vengeful murderous spirit.
“Kitty - our protagonal character - is dealing with the death of her father, and there is her grief and her coming-of-age story that runs alongside the supernatural horror aspect of the tale.
“We are choosing to bring the Victorian killer into the 21st century because a large portion of our audience are younger people aged between 16 – 25 that will recognise it as the time and space they are living in – and perhaps relate to the story more. Horror does not have an age limit and anyone can enjoy our films but we know that a lot of the people that go to the cinemas to see horror features tend to fall into this age category.”
To create their Ripper Ghost character, Bad Blood have secured the talents of Luca Nemolato who designed the creature in the 2017 feature The Shape of Water, and who has also worked on Annabelle and the DC and Marvel franchises.
When asked why Jack the Ripper was chosen as the next Bad Blood villain, Mark said: “We chose Jack because he is distinctively British and we feel there has not been a film or series that explores him in the way we wish to. We’re going with a unique take on the story. We want to take the free IP or intellectual property and make it ours.
“We didn’t want to soften the Jack the Ripper story down, but also didn’t want to encroach on the real terrible killings he had committed. This is why we decided to go with the supernatural angle. The opportunities for the supernatural jumps and genuine chills and terror when telling the story of this notorious killer are just really exciting.
“During our presentation at Twickenham, we had a slide with all the slashers and horror icons like Michael Myers, Pinhead, Freddy Krueger – we want our Ripper’s Ghost character up there with all of them.”
David Creed, co-founder, writer, and director at Bad Blood Films, said: “We’ve had a terrific response to our stories that are distinctly British but have global appeal, and starting with our take on ‘Jack the Ripper’ we are excited to bring this first film in a slate of movies to a worldwide audience.”
The collaboration with Twickenham is said to have created a lot of excitement amongst the Bad Blood Films team.
Mark added: “For me it is a match made in heaven to be working with Twickenham. Now we have a bigger company we are able to work on a bigger scale, and we’re now reaching for the stars.
“We aspire to be the British Blumhouse, and we want our films to have a distinct British spin, feel and story to them. It’s recognisable and marketable. There’s not many - if any - horror studios here in the UK, so Bad Blood Films fills this gap in the market. It’s about giving people something British at that US studio level. We also want to shoot in the South West again and give this part of the UK film recognition on the big screen.
“As well as Twickenham Studios, we really have got some fantastic partners that are helping us to step up our game and work more efficiently. We would love to get to a stage where we will be making three films a year, as well as doing our television series work.
“Later on down the line, other filmmakers could then use our production studio and we can help manage this process. These relationships are paramount for us – it’s all about how both parties in a partnership can each get something out of the relationship.”
But it is not only industry professionals that get the opportunity to invest in the local horror studios’ next masterpiece. Bad Blood Films have put together different packages so that anyone with a passion for the project and spare funds, can choose to invest.
The packages are tiered by price and include different perks, and each one is named after a slasher movie weapon. Mark Kenna, said the team wanted to bring an element of fun to the different options for tribe investors - ‘tribe’ referring to those who are not necessarily in the film industry, but wish to be a part of the Ripper’s Ghost project.
Mark said: “We want to bring the magic of the movies to people who are not necessarily in the film industry itself. We want to maintain a tribe and provide an experience for local people who choose to be involved. At Bad Blood, we want people to be excited and look out for what our next upcoming projects are each time.
“The tiered investor packages are like crowdfunding with an added unique experience from the perks that come with each tier.
“Ripper’s Ghost is fun and we didn’t want this project to be a closed-doors thing. Our tribe investment packages allow everyone and anyone to get involved. It’s funny – at the event, the Twickenham Studios showreel that was played included the iconic ‘You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off’ line from the Italian Job. I was sat there thinking, this is the Bad Blood ethos – to ‘blow the doors off’ or open to more than just those within the industry.”
The four tribe investor tiers include the ‘Baseball Bat’, ‘Machete’, ‘Chainsaw’ and ‘Shotgun’ packages. The different tiers include a variety of perks, with the minimum investment of £1,000 earning individuals a credit in the movie and tickets to the premiere and the top investment package (priced at £10,000) earning individuals all the previous packages’ perks, a featured extra in the movie, and an extra pair of tickets to the world premiere and VIP after party.
More investments mean more money for the film’s budget - something that is said to be really important to the Bad Blood team for this second picture.
Mark added: “Our sales agents have already sold four territories for this next film. Our focus at this stage is doing our best to get all the investments and funding we can to fulfill our ambitions for The Ripper’s Ghost.
“We’re really excited about upping the bar and working at a higher budget level, with recognisable IP that will get everyone on board. With Sacrilege we set the story within a smaller, secret location because the film was more of a lower-budget horror. Ripper’s Ghost is going to be a bigger scale feature and it is important to secure our investment and make sure we can execute what we have planned for it.
“We really want to make sure that this movie’s budget is enough to attract the top talent across all our areas – acting, sound, special effects, everything. We want to make a film that does the script justice.”
The Bad Blood Films co-founder explained that as their first feature Sacrilege was sold in more than 20 territories around the world, those who invest will be involved in something on large global scale.
He said: “We thought to ourselves, how can we still look for big money and funds from industry partners and investors, but also at a local and more accessible level? That’s why we created the Tribe investor tiers, and why we want to shoot in the South West and set the film in modern-day Bristol.
“We got local people involved with Sacrilege and had so much fun and success with that project that we thought, ‘why not do this again?’ Everyone that was involved with the feature felt like the film was their project too. I love the journey from investment to the finished product, and I think it is great that people outside the film industry can also get involved in what we do.
“When they then hear us on local radio, or follow our news online or in print, they can tell people ‘I’m involved in that project.’”
Mark also spoke more about the benefits of investing in Bad Blood Films, saying: “We’re not capping our return of investment – so lets say the film hypothetically made £10m, then investors would receive a portion of that, based on their investment.
“We’re offering a period of five years where the return of investment is not capped – which I think no one else is really doing.
“We like to run things by the board and by our fans, and out of our entire slate of 16 features (and two television series), it was voted basically unanimously that Ripper’s Ghost was the most popular film that people wanted to see us work on next - this project is definitely in demand!”
As well as his position with Bad Blood Films, this year Mark is also a voting member for BAFTA and BIFA (British Indpendent Film Awards). He said his work with these two award societies is helping him within his own company.
Mark has undertaken equality and diversity training, which aims to help an individual discipline any unconscious bias they may unknowingly have. The training also helps voting members strip back preconceptions of what they think is a good movie.
He said: “At Bad Blood Films, we want to be honest, open and transparent. Our aim is to be inclusive and create equal opportunities, and lasso people in the industry together, whilst also allowing members of the public to be involved.
“It is great to work with BAFTA and BIFA and see what the up-and-coming talent is looking like in the producer categories. It helps me to get a feel for what these people in the industry are about, and who knows - I may get to mentor some of these people in the future.
“Undergoing the equality and diversity training is useful for me, as I can reflect on Bad Blood and look at how we do things. It can help me to become more educated within the industry and widen my lens as a 49-year-old white male.”
The Bad Blood Films team said they were proud to have representatives from Rise at the Twickenham investors event. Rise is an award-winning global advocacy membership organisation supporting gender diversity across the media technology sector.
Mark added: “People in this day and age need to be educated and make special efforts to correct any issues around diversity or equal opportunities. It was great to have had reps from Rise at Twickenham. My daughter is looking to get into producing - and it was amazing for her and I to talk to people from a group devoted to supporting gender diversity in the industry.”
More information about Bad Blood Films and The Ripper’s Ghost can be found online at www.badbloodfilms.com or by searching Bad Blood Films on social media.
A short video captured at the investors event can be found on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hu1IZ6aycyQ
Those interested in investing in Bad Blood Films and The Ripper’s Ghost, can email firstname.lastname@example.org including ‘Investment’ in the email subject line.
An interview Swindon Link did with Mark Kenna about Bad Blood Films’ first release ‘Sacrilege’, can be found at https://swindonlink.com/lifestyle/mark-kenna-interview-bad-blood-films/
Team Bad Blood at Twickenham
Tribe Investor Tiers
Mark Kenna (left) in networking conversation with Alan Granley who set up Ealing Film Festival online during lockdown