Your film Ghostkeepers
- in a few words, what is it about?
Thanks for your
interest in Ghostkeepers – it came out rather quietly
in October 2013, and seems to have been immediately overshadowed by my
newest film, Phantom of the Opera. I love Ghostkeepers –
it’s very close to my heart. It’s an original story about a podcaster
who rents an old house where his favourite film (the fictionalThe House
Where Evil Was Born) was shot 25 years earlier. He assembles the
film’s two leads, a tech assistant and a local medium to record a
special episode, and over the course of the evening a frightening ghost
story unfolds. I love a good haunted house tale, and I hope that we’ve
What were your
inspirations when writing Ghostkeepers?
film was based on the first draft of a play script that I wrote a few
years back, which I updated to the present day. A podcaster myself, I have
a very strong relationship with the fan community, being such a fanboy of
classic horror myself. The film is a love letter to classic horror, and
those classic horror actors that I grew up idolizing (Vincent Price [Vincent
Price bio - click here], Peter
Cushing, etc). It’s also a homage to my very favourite film of all-time, The
can you tell us about your writing partner Bill Bossert, and what was your
Bossert turned my career around when he stepped in and produced my first
acquired feature, Terror of Dracula. A listener of my podcast,
he reached out to me when he got the bug to start producing. Not only has
a great business / professional relationship come together, Bill is like a
brother to me – one of the dearest people in my life – we’ve become
such good friends. He also has the uncanny ability to improve my
work. I write a draft, Bill goes in and makes a few changes or offers
suggestions – he’s a great script doctor, and an invaluable resource
in my filmmaking kit. As Sherlock Holmes once said: “I’d be lost
without my Boswell” – that’s Bill to me.
Two of your film's main themes seem
to be modern vs. old school horror, and today's fanboy culture - care to
elaborate on those for a bit?
something I’m passionate about – celebrating classic cinema while we
move forward. I co-host a long-running podcast (Horror Etc) and often
appear as a guest at horror conventions. Somehow, I seem to have some
minor gravitas when it comes to an opinion on the subject of horror. I
think the genre has become very cruel, too violent --- horror used to be
delivered with a twinkle in the eye… it used to be FUN to go to a horror
film! We’re coming back to that now thanks to the recent turnaround of
intelligent and subtler horror (thank you to James Wan’s The
Conjuring!) – but for a while there, there was an ugly procession of
these cruel and cold horror films (Saw,
Hostel, etc) that
left me feeling betrayed as a life-long fan of the genre. I’m a fanboy
myself, and I love the culture! Horror fans are unique --- back when I was
coming up (before the internet), we were loners who camped out in dark
corners of our parents’ basements to watch these dusty old video tapes
we found on the racks at the local rental shops. Now, post-internet,
horror fans are united have come together in a major way… horror is the
most profitable genre of film, although it still seems to have to fight
for recognition within the industry. My character in Ghostkeepers,
Victor Brimstone, is very much the embodiment of my sentiments on horror.
How would you describe
your film's look and feel, and also your approach to horror?
approach is an indulgent one, LOL! – I make films that I would enjoy
needed to embody both the modern era and the past,
and I achieved both with a freestyle shooting technique combined with
Bava-esque lighting [Mario Bava
bio - click here]. It’s fairly gothic (I think), and yet it’s very
contemporary in that it’s a story about the culture of today’s
youth… misfits in particular! I feel a great kinship when amongst
character, horror actor Victor Brimstone - have you conceived him with
yourself in mind, what did you draw upon to bring him to life, and how
much of Anthony D.P. Mann can we find in Victor Brimstone?
is a great deal of Anthony D.P. Mann in Victor, as well as those great
actors that I have drawn inspiration from. Vincent Price [Vincent
Price bio - click here] and Peter Cushing
have been two of the greatest heroes in my life. Victor initially appears
as almost a caricature when he’s in “Brimstone” mode – but by the
end of the film, we discover his weaknesses and fears… every actor has
to struggle with burying those fears behind the façade of the public
persona. Of course we differ in many ways as well… but how romantic a
notion to find myself a has-been at the end of my days, living on the
convention circuit and the ghosts of yesteryear ---- ?
talk about the rest of your cast for a bit, and why exactly these people?
wonderful cast of players, mostly new to the fold!
Pawlowski plays the podcaster, Barry Bird – the main fellow who sets up
this whole excursion into terror. Christian is a very talented young
actor, and I think he has a bright future ahead of him. We met while doing
a production of The Woman in Black on the repertory stage
– how befitting, no?
Verardi plays Raike, and this is really her film. She is a very versatile
actress who is a bit of a chameleon – she is far more glamorous in
real-life than the frumpy character she plays in Ghostkeepers. She
is such an amazing talent, and is always headlining a stage production in
this part of the world. She immerses herself into her characters, and
brought far more to the role of Raike than I ever dreamed possible… I
lucked out with that one!
Costanzo plays the psychic, Amber, and I adore Jenny. She’s such a fun
gal to hang-around on-set with. She is a total horror fan-girl herself,
and an amazing team player. But she is also dedicated to her craft, and
when it’s time to call “action”, she is prepared and ready to
deliver… and boy, does she deliver in this one!
Paterson plays Victor’s ex-wife, Vera Sunset… I should be so lucky!
Sherri is a sweetheart in real life (even though she plays a bitter and
vile character in the film). She is a dedicated professional, and one of
the quirkiest people I know. We’re good friends off-screen, and I’m
enjoying finding new ways to challenge her as an actress (she appears in a
very different role in Phantom of the Opera).
Yuen plays the part of Hatcher in the film, the caretaker of Marlowe
House. Barry and I first met during auditions for Terror of Dracula (in
which he plays Renfield opposite my Dracula). We became fast friends as
Barry is a life-long fan and collector of all things horror. We watch a
lot of movies together and also play music together at pubs from time to
time. He is an incredible character actor, and someone who needs
little-to-no direction. He loves the classics as much as I do, so Barry
immediately “gets” what we’re trying to do. He’s a mainstay in all
my films right now… another “brother” I’ve met throughout this
Declan Spellman appears in the film as well, although I don’t want to
ruin the surprise. Suffice it to say this this young fellow has been an
actor since he was a toddler (commercials and such), and has such an
amazing eye for detail --- he even pointed out a continuity error on-set
that could have jeopardized the entire production! Great lad, and we’ve
used him again in Phantom of the Opera… and man oh man, can he play creepy!
(His sister appears in the film, briefly, as Raike’s younger self… a
can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
shot Ghostkeepers over the course of a month in 2012 in
Gananoque Ontario, a charming little community in the heart of the 1,000
Islands region. The house that stood in for Marlowe is actually called
Brittain House, and once served as a bed & breakfast in the town.
It’s this wonderful towering old building (century-plus) that provided
us with all we could ever need to pull-off this little chiller. The house
itself has a few ghosts of its own, I’m sure! It was a cold shoot, but a
fun shoot – the cast was dedicated, and we really moved chop-chop-cop
(likely on account it was so cold). The house itself is a major of the
film – really, thanks to the backdrop and some creative lighting, it was
a very easy shoot.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
talk about your movie's critical and audience reception for a bit!
hit DVD and VOD in October 2013 (Reality Entertainment), and seems to be
doing quite well. It’s a different, quirky little film, and audiences
have been very kind. There’s a lot of humour, some decent chills, and
also a great deal of heart to be found within… that seems to translate.
I really hope more people keep discovering it as time passes!
future projects you'd like to share?
of the Opera is the next big one, and is currently appearing at
festivals / conventions / select cinemas between now and it’s official
release on DVD and VOD in autumn. We actually had a distribution deal on
this film before a single frame was shot (courtesy again of Reality
Entertainment), and also ran a four-part TV reality series (TVCogeco) to
cast our Christine. It’s the most ambitious and most-anticipated film I
have yet helmed, and I am optimistic that it’s going to do very well.
We’ve enjoyed several screenings thus far, and response has been
fantastic. It’s another one of those stories that I wanted to tell in my
voice as writer / director / actor – I do play the Phantom in this…
I’ve often been told I look fabulous behind a mask ;-)
website, Facebook, whatever else?
the portal for all that we do…
the podcast I host with King’s Town Ted… and look me up on Facebook (Anthony D.P. Mann) for the most up-to-date news!
Anything else you are
dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
a huge Roger Whittaker fan – I have over 200 of his albums, have flown
over to Austria and Germany to see him in concert, I’ve met him on
several occasions and even interviewed him once on television. There –
bet you never saw that coming!
for the interview!