The River Tay is the largest river in Scotland. It flows down from the Highlands through the centre of the country, past the city of Perth to Dundee and into the Firth of Tay.
Famously the Tay Rail Bridge collapsed on 28 December 1879 as a train passed over it, plunging the train into the Tay and killing 75 passengers and train crew. The Bridge was re-built in 1887 and re-furbished in 2003.
© RCAHMS 2010 | SC656466 (Source)
As you can see from the picture below, the Tay offers a rather large volume of water — water that might hide anything.
Being in Scotland then, can such a situation not make us wonder: what was it really that made the Bridge collapse? Perhaps, like that other even more famous body of Scottish water, Loch Ness, the Tay is home to something big and anomalous …
That something unexpectedly nasty does rise from the River Tay is the idea behind a new giant monster spoof: Terror ‘Neath the Tay! (UK-2009; dir. Kyle Titterton) — the first in a trilogy.
Terror ‘Neath the Tay! tells the tale of a giant mutated octopus that emerges from the River Tay to destroy Dundee — but the city is saved by a maverick DJ, and his sidekick.
Inspired by ‘Colin’, the low budget Scottish horror movie released last year, it has been written and directed by Kyle Titterton, and stars Tay FM breakfast DJ Stuart Webster as the maverick DJ McGonnigal. Also starring are other Tay FM celebrities and a host of dedicated listeners of Stuart’s show Wake Up With Webster.
The film’s writer and director is Kyle Titterton, a 30-year-old Scotsman. On behalf of Undead Backbrain, Kaiju Search-Robot Avery tracked him down and made enquiries.
Avery: So what inspired you to make this film, Kyle?
Kyle Titterton: Terror ‘Neath The Tay! was conceived when I won a horror film competition with Tay FM, a radio station in Dundee, near where I live. Everyone else had been sending ideas for zombie films — the usual dull stuff — and I sent this: a story about a giant octopus destroying Dundee. The deal was we had to make the film for nothing (something I could have probably afforded myself!) but with Tay FM’s help we could bag a lot more than usual — good camera, cool locations, etc. Possibly the smartest thing I did was to contact my old animation college and got about 15 animation students to help out with the monster.
Avery: The SFX are done by stop-motion animation. How did that go? How long did it all take?
KT: Stop-frame animation isn’t done anymore, so I had to teach them as we went along, but it was a lot of fun. The whole thing was made in about 2 months — just shooting at the weekends with me editing the footage during the week. I have a job and have gone back to college, too, so it was a bit of a nightmare — but an opportunity I could not pass up. I ended up being awake for several days straight to meet the premiere deadline! Everyone involved did it for free — which was amazing in itself.
Avery: So the film is finished? How long did it turn out?
KT: The film is 35 minutes long and is beiung released on DVD. We had a cinema launch for the premiere, which was unbelievable. I got my friends to make short comedy trailers for other films that don’t exist — and the whole night was really successful. The audience was in stitches, but the strength of the film is that the actors are not taking the piss — they really believe in what they are doing — which of course makes it funnier and makes it work more dramatically.
Have a look at the ‘Brock Hardcastle Trailer’ on my youtube site to see something I’d done before that was an inspiration stylistically. The monster itself was based on the original Clash of the Titan‘s Kraken to some degree — but less well-known is the giant octopus from Warlords of Atlantis, a film I loved as a kid [see image below].
Avery: Tell us about the cast?
KT: The film stars Stuart Webster, Andy ‘Funboy’ Robbie and Holly Hamilton who are all DJ’s on Tay FM. Stuart Webster ran the competition that I won and turned out to be a decent actor — projection and confidence was all that was required for the part, subtlety was not a prerequisite! Stuart and Andy worked together on air and were perfect in the bickering good cop-bad-cop roles. Holly, who plays the intrepid female marine-life expert is absolutely gorgeous — but she’s tiny, about 5 foot 1 — otherwise she could have made it as a model. In a scene where she ends up kissing Andy I had to have her stand on a box!
All the other actors were either friends or people who responded to an on-air request by Stuart for performers. Shirley (who played the elderly protagonist, Mrs McCrea) was amazing — on her first day she turned up and started crying on camera. Unbelievable! This contrasted against Stuart and Andrew who usually ended a take laughing! She can really act, which was a pleasant surprise.
Every one did really well and the ‘stars’ turned out to be really nice people. I thought maybe because they worked on the radio they would be cheesy ego maniacs – nothing could be further from the truth and I am now pleased to call them friends.
Avery: What happens next?
KT: I’ve written a sequel which we are hoping to make this summer called “Journey To The Centre Of The Tay!” and if we can, part 3 will be called “The Land That Tay Forgot!”.
The DVD Director’s Cut of Terror ‘Neath The Tay! is currently in the editing suite and will be released on Monday, 29 March in the US. Crytozoological enthusiasts should keep an eye out as it comes to the surface!
The Gallery below includes lots of behind-the-scenes and production pictures.
Above: Preparing for some tentacle action
- Kyle Titterton; Official website