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An Interview with Austin Madding, Star of The Dooms Chapel Horror

by Mike Haberfelner

November 2014

Films starring Austin Madding on (re)Search my Trash


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Austin with Abby Murphy

Your new movie The Dooms Chapel Horror - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you tell us about your character in it?


From my perspective, The Dooms Chapel Horror is completely about the devastating power of revenge and hate.


What did you draw upon to bring your character to life, and how much of yourself can we find in Kyle?


Everyone has their own stories, their own tragedies, events that define certain decisions in their lives; it's also not hard to imagine the struggles of growing up with the idea that you don't quite fit in with the personality of a small town community that you live in. I did my best to bring my personal experiences to Kyle's emotionally isolated character, and at the same time give him the tenacity that it would take to make some of the decisions he's made. I tried to keep track of every single note I got from Jason Turner, the writer. He was so into this, so in-tune with the experiences of the characters and the vision that John Holt [John Holt interview - click here] had over the whole thing -- they and Josh Robinson (the casting director) [Joshua Mark Robinson interview - click here] were tremendously helpful.


How did you get hooked up with the project in the first place, and to what extent could you identify with the film's horror theme?


I got a late-notice phone call from an actor friend of mine who told me that Josh had been on the news announcing a casting call for a movie that would take place the following morning. I took a look at the Facebook page, printed off the audition sides, and showed up to the casting call with a couple of roles in mind to audition for. Josh and John were both very encouraging during that process and, once I'd been cast, we had tons of enjoyable nights going over some of our favorite scenes, tossing ideas around, and talking about the themes of the film as a whole. Those sessions really gave me my foundation of understanding for the film as a horror-genre project. My experience with the genre had been pretty slim up to that point, but John's focus on the small-town theme, the idea of a character-based story that focused on the experiences rather than the scares, really held my attention. John has a great grasp of what it takes to make a horror picture and had some really original ideas about how the audience would experience it.


What can you tell us about your director John Holt [John Holt interview - click here], and what was your collaboration like?


I think of John as one of my best friends now, personally and professionally. As a director, he's so open to the ideas of others and that was a huge help to me with The Dooms Chapel Horror being my first feature; there's never any doubt of his control of the shoot, but when he speaks to you, it's not as the director but as a peer. By the end of the shoot, we were running a pretty tight workflow talking to each other about shots, discussing alternate approaches to setups, and encouraging each others' ideas. He's infinitely patient and meticulous with details -- the latter of which I can readily identify with, so for me there was never not a fun day when we were working together.


Joshua Mark Robinson, Austin Madding

Do talk about the shoot as such for a bit, and the on-set atmosphere!


I have a real respect for the way Chris Bower [Christopher Bower interview - click here] organized the shoots every day. For me it set the bar for how the on-set experience should be. Everyone was given whatever they needed, any problems were quarantined and quickly solved without it affecting the attitude or productivity of anyone on set. Not that it would have mattered much -- everyone was too busy having fun making the thing. There were long nights of working till we spotted daylight the next day, long days in the heat, and some long nights in the cold of winter, and through all of it there was not a single day that I wasn't having the time of my life or, at times, laughing until I couldn't breathe. I know I'm gushing here, but I can't talk about the set atmosphere without mentioning the small amount of time that we had Bill Oberst Jr. [Bill Oberst jr interview - click here] on with us. I honestly wasn't sure how I'd need to adapt to Bill being around, I wasn't sure what he'd need from me. But as an actor, you can't get a better experience than what I got those few days working opposite him. From my end, I did my best to hold up my side of those scenes and try to give him new things to work with as we went. It was an amazing experience. And at the end of every scene, the guy walks over to you, shakes your hand, and thanks you. He never left set without letting each and every single person know what a great job they were doing.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


I'm really lucky to have been just sort of initiated into the crew with everyone else. We're always working on new things now. We just premiered a short that I wrote/directed called The Gunmen of Soldier Creek which we'll be looking to flesh out to the feature film version that I have already written. But that's just one of the many new ideas that we already have up for discussion on what the next big project will be.


What got you into acting to begin with, and did you receive any formal education on the subject?


I studied acting heavily in high school and competed in the Kentucky High School Speech League doing competitive acting, storytelling, and improv. It was after high school that I turned that energy toward film.


What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to The Dooms Chapel Horror?


Once I got to college, I moved from acting into directing/writing and made several attempts at many over-ambitious short films. When the 48 Hour Film Project came to Paducah, I started regularly writing new ideas and scripts and using the competition to learn from many of the more-experienced filmmakers from the area.


How would you describe yourself as an actor, and some of your techniques to bring your characters to life?


For me, it's all about the silence. What's going on in between your lines and the lines of others. Film is a visual medium. What are you telling the audience when you're not opening your mouth? If the scene had no lines, would the audience still comprehend the decision you're making?


Actors (and indeed actresses) who inspire you?


My favorite actor I think is Gary Oldman. All the little subtleties of his performance in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy make it one of my favorite performances of all time. I'm also a big Tommy Lee Jones fan and my favorite of the old guard is Steve McQueen.


Your favourite movies?


I only have a Number One favorite and it is No Country for Old Men. After that, they all change in order from time to time. The Social Network (I'm a big Fincher fan), Stagecoach, Thief, Chinatown, and Brick.


... and of course, films you really deplore?


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If I come out of a film without having at least seen something I want to try, then I didn't get much from it.


Your website, Facebook, whatever else?


Our Dooms Chapel Horror page can be found here:


Anything else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


Thank you so much for taking the time to help us reach people!


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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and shall not be held responsible for
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Thanks for watching !!!



On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD



Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...


Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!


Bauliche Angelegenheiten
ein Roman von
Michael Haberfelner


Jetzt kaufen bei