Watch the Titles

Kill Your Friends

Kris Clarkin (2010)

Made on the spectacular tiny budget of £350 ($550) as part of his Master thesis, London-based creative Kris Clarkin demonstrates with immaculate delivery, that you don’t need money to make magic. “I managed to pull together a decent team of people and some good equipment,” he says. “Main elements were shot on the Red One Camera and Stevie Russell, the DOP recently won a Young Director’s Award at Cannes for a spec ad he shot and directed.”

Kill Your Friends (stills)

Clarkin created this live-action opening title sequence for a proposed film adaptation of the book Kill Your Friends, which addresses the age-old unholy trinity of sex, drugs and champagne against the debaucherous backdrop of late 90s Britpop hedonism.

Capturing a darkly exhilarating tone, the sequence is nonetheless infused with the humour which runs through this rock’n’roll tome, functioning at once as a mood-maker and the film’s opening sequence – a double-edged technique, says Clarkin, which he has yet to encounter in his extensive survey of film title genres.

With echoes of the title sequences of Ex Drummer and Dunya & Desie, the credits for Kill Your Friends are cleverly inscribed into the objects we see in the opening shots. Using a succession of fast-paced flashbacks the viewer is immediately immersed in the life of the protagonist – a life dominated by credit cards, cocaine and carnal pleasures.

The visual obscurity of the words themselves, is a deliberate attempt, says Clarkin, to challenge convention and, “make the audience work to find the credits so they become a more engaged and involved party”. He references Richard Morrison‘s closing titles for Enemy at the Gates (2001), with its barely legible – but stylistically exquisite, Russian constructivist typography.

On why he selected Kill Your Friends to consummate his title design dreams, Clarkin explains, “The era, themes, and settings are visually interesting, which meant there was an excellent opportunity to create an engaging and stylish title sequence. The book opens with a quote from Hunter S. Thompson, which summarizes essence of the novel:

The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs. There is also a negative side.

Text: Lotje Sodderland © SubmarineChannel 2010

Year of production


About Kris Clarkin

Kris Clarkin (1982) is a producer, director and animator who recently completed a Masters in Communication Design at Kingston University in London, where he specialized in moving image for film and TV. A long-time follower of Forget the Film, Watch the titles, Kris chose as his Masters thesis topic the art of main titles, creating his own sequence for the proposed film adaptation of the novel Kill Your Friends by John Niven. Originally from Ireland, he resides in London and is currently freelancing as an in-house creative producing promos for television.

More about Kris Clarkin

Full credits

Writer/Director/Producer/Production Designer/Editor
Kris Clarkin
Stevie Russell
Lights/DOP (day 2)
Piers McGrail
First Assistent Director
Caren Geoghegan
Male Lead

Darren Kelleher
Female Lead

Suzie Houlihan
Composer/Sound Designer

Richard Lightman
Focus Pullers

Aishling McDonald, Esme
Chris Carr

3 responses to “Kill Your Friends

  1. Come on, guys, the booze in the opening scene should’ve cost more than the whole budget.

    Just kidding. Great work! Looking forward for your future.

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