Devon based dance collective soundtrack a vengeance horror film set amidst a church community in the English countryside
Bizarre Rituals have scored the soundtrack to a new film The Sermon. Written and directed by Dean Puckett, it follows the life of church goer Ella, and a secret that unravels a dark tale of oppression, faith and sexuality in her isolated church community. The folk horror was shot on 35mm film and inspired by British cinema and the Unholy Trinity trio of films consisting of Robin Hardy's The Wicker Man, Piers Haggard's The Blood On Satan's Claw, and Michael Reeves's The Witchfinder General. “Not only meant to be an engaging drama about our protagonist Ella's secret life, but also a political fable which seeks to reflect, through metaphor, the current British and US socio-political climate,” explains Puckett. “Written in a frustrated daze after the double whammy of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, the film is set in a kind of 'nowhere time', a parallel reality almost like a dream that could be in the past or perhaps, if we are not careful, our future.”
The score, written by Bizarre Rituals's Brain Rays and Cape Khoboi, was made mostly using a church pipe organ, a double bass, some old synths and a Korg MS-20. “It has been quite a collaborative project for us as a crew,” explains Brain Rays, “because Stoogie Houzer worked on the titles and the VFX and features in the film alongside French Tony.”
You can watch the trailer below. It will be screen as part of the Altered States selection of short films (programmed by Michael Blyth) at BFI Flare 2018 on 24 and 25 March. Subscribers can read an interview with Bizarre Rituals in The Wire 384 via the online archive.