Herefordshire filmmaker Jonathan Zaurin is celebrating his horror film, Wyvern Hill, picking up the award for Best Feature at the Dead Northern film festival held in York.

Wyvern Hill, in which a series of gruesome killings is shaking Herefordshire, celebrates Jonathan’s fascination with the horror genre – “in my graduation portfolio there were four very different short films, all of which were more or less horror films. One of them, Santa Baby, was about a psychotic Santa.

“I have always loved horror,” he says. “The first thing I love about it is the immediate visceral audience reaction to the horror. You know immediately when you show it to an audience whether they are enjoying it – it works or it doesn’t work.”

It is also, as a maker, says Jonathan “quite a lot of fun to do. You get to work with actors and push them to their limits, playing things they’re not used to playing – it’s quite a challenging genre. Although people talk about it as a sub-genre, it’s actually a perfect genre to explore many aspects of what it is to be human.”

In his new film, Beth, a mother in her sixties is showing signs of early Alzheimers. Worried about her, her daughter Jess and son in law Connor, try to find a way to help her. Together they purchase an old house on Wyvern Hill so that she can move in with them and be looked after. It’s not long before Beth begins to deteriorate, but is it her condition or is it something more sinister?

Shot entirely in Herefordshire, and featuring a wealth of the county’s talent, Wyvern Hill was shot on a minuscule budget of just £5,000 – “it was very exciting to create something like this in Hereford” – with a determined focus on high production values. “Making a full length feature film on that kind of budget is no easy task. A ‘low budget’ film is usually about £1.4m! It was about being very organised,” adds Jonathan, whose wife Sarah produces all his films. “We shot it entirely in Herefordshire, in a lot of different locations – Lichfield Vaults, some bits in front of the cathedral, Church Street, Castle Street, with some of scenes taking place in Park Street and in a house on the Duchy of Cornwall estate.

“I do sometimes think it might have been easier to move to London, when people kept telling me that what I wanted to do wasn’t possible," said Jonathan. "But I am stubborn and art is where you make it, entertainment is where you make it. And I’ve made a film in Hereford with Herefordians. The talent is here."