Paul Hart-Wilden always admired the film industry of the United States from afar. As a horror movie fan growing up in the United Kingdom, Hart-Wilden often dreamed of coming to Los Angeles to pursue filmmaking. “I was doing film and writing back in the UK anyways, but Hollywood’s where it’s at,” Hart-Wilden said. And for the past 11 years, Hollywood is exactly where Hart-Wilden has been.
“There seems to be something in horror, that, in the fandom of it, encourages you to actually become part of the business that creates it,” Hart-Wilden told LAHorror.com. He started creating his own horror while working as a production assistant in the UK. Hart-Wilden was tasked with delivering film to developers, which involved a daily 10 hour train ride. It was there that he wrote his first script.
“I found myself stuck on a train or a series of trains for 10 hours a day… [so I thought,] how about I use that time productively? So, I just went into a store at the Broadway station, picked up a note pad and a pen, sat down, had an idea, and I started writing a script…then I went out and sold it. Never been that easy since,” he recounted.
The script, “Living Doll,” was released in the US in 1990. “Living Doll” follows a seemingly normal guy with some not so normal urges. But that’s the type of horror Hart-Wilden is typically drawn to.
“I found myself much more drawn to characters like Ed Gein because I kind of figured that it doesn’t matter what you create or imagine. Somebody out there has either done it or done it worse or is doing it now and you’ll be finding out in six months or six years or a lifetime later,” he explained.
Hart-Wilden’s next film, “Skinner,” is also about a young man trying to fit in…to women’s skin, that is. While “Skinner” was a little under appreciated at the time of its release, Hart-Wilden still holds a special place in his heart for the film and is currently on a quest to find the original master negative in effort to get a re-mastered and re-distributed project.
Hart-Wilden has also been a director of several horror pieces. He has recently directed two short films, “The Pack” and “Meredith,” for a film anthology entitled “Obits,” co-directed by Joel Umbaugh. “Obits” premiered at the 2010 Los Angeles Screamfest.
His latest film, “Wolf Town,” co-written by writing partner Asabi Lee, is a favorite amongst horror fans and showcases a different type of real-world killer . “With Wolf Town, a producer friend of mine came to me and said, ‘I have a ghost town. I have some wolves. Do you want to make a movie?'” Hart-Wilden said. Two months later to the day, the filming of “Wolf Town” was completed.
Hart-Wilden has also notably self-published a horror anthology entitled “Broken Bones,” a collection of short horror stories that he has written over his the years. Hart-Wilden laughed as he reflected as his time as a writer. “It’s certainly not a very social thing to do…when you’re out writing, you’re stuck in your home on your own. Your boss is yourself. You hate your boss and you hate your work and you hate all of your work colleagues and you don’t have any work colleagues.”
Well, if horror films have taught us anything, it’s that isolation can create some wicked horror.