SUTTON’S answer to Spielberg Mike Clarke is set to go to Morocco to film a multi-million pound epic, but before all of that he’s filmed a horror movie in his home town.

Mike Clarke, 39, from Sutton Leach, is set to follow in the footsteps of St Helens’ David Yates and will be directing a Hollywood epic, The Sand Sea in North Africa later this year.

Before he jets off to Morocco though Mike, whose mum is St Helens councillor Lynn Clarke, has put the finishing touches to his first major feature film; the horror movie ‘Karli’.

Karli was filmed in St Helens, including the North West Transport Museum with local actor and long-time collaborator Phil Gwilliam from Blackbrook.

“He’s always had a special talent’ said Phil, 42, ‘I’ve worked with Mike on different projects over the years and no matter what genre or length, they have all been absolute quality.

“It was only a matter of time before the big boys got wind of him and the only surprising thing is that it’s taken so long. All I can do is grab onto his coat tails and hope that he takes me with him.”

According to Mike, Karli is a visceral horror that plays on the audience’s deepest fears, which can be anything from a psychotic masked killer to being alone in middle of the ocean at night.

“Everyone is scared of something,” Mike said, “Its just finding that something and then refusing to let go that is the key.

“Karli plays on the fear of strangers entering our lives and of losing loved ones, things that everyone is scared of.”

The co-director and production designer of Karli is Paul Gerrard who grew up in Widnes and has worked on Hellboy and Jumanji.

Earlier this month, in Manchester, Karli was announced as the winner of the Grimmfest work in progress award.

The prize is £20k cash to be used in post-production and once the film is completed, includes a world sales deal with international sales company Film Seekers.

Phil added: “I have no doubts that ‘Karli’ will be great, while The Sand Sea will take Mike to another level, after that the world is his oyster.

“Marvel? Bond? Star Wars? who knows, but I expect they’ll all come calling for him eventually.

“Not too bad for a kid, raised by a single parent in Sutton Leach.”

Karli and The Sand Sea will be released in 2020