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An Interview with Bryan Coyne, Director of Infernal

by Mike Haberfelner

March 2015

Bryan Coyne on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie Infernal - in a few words, what is it about?


Well, the short answer is: It's a demonic horror flick about a family coming to terms with strange changes in their child. It's the dreaded "found footage" but I think we did a fine job in being a rather different kind of found footage.


What were your inspirations when writing Infernal?


Strangely, Infernal is one of the only films I've written that I do not remember writing. I remember the germ of the idea, but the actual process... gone. No clue.

I was in a relationship at the time that was going down the shitter. I was so in love with this woman that I didn't notice how bad the relationship truly was, for her and for myself... and honestly for everyone around us. This thing lasted five years and obviously, when you're in a relationship for that long... you begin to think about things. Marriage. Kids. Mortgages. Etc. And I've always wanted to be a father. It's a dream of mine. To be a child's father. I've always adored kids and have dreamt of having a couple of my own. I guess in some strange way, I've had a devilish vision of the American Dream in my head since before I can remember. This is evident not only in Infernal but also in my film after this, Utero... but that's for another interview. 


What can you tell us about your movie's approach to horror (as in suspense vs sudden shocks, atmosphere vs all-out gore and the like)?


It's a complete slowburn. Almost everything I write is a slowburn. There are a couple gory shocks in the film but you have to earn them. You live with these characters for a while before anything graphic occurs. But when it does... IT DOES.

Mephisto Waltz, I don't now if you've seen that picture -- but it's one of my favorite "satanic panic" flicks. And it's a complete slowburn. Same with The Sentinel. Another huge inspiration. Where we are "found footage" I took more inspiration from Argento's work like Suspiria, Tenebrae and Inferno.


Do talk about your overall directorial approach to your subject at hand for a bit?


I tried to keep it as raw yet managed as I could. And what I mean by that is -- I provided a dense and nuanced script, but I let the actors play. I let them make it their own the best I could allow while maintaining the narrative beats we had to hit. The film is odd. Very odd. It's symmetrical and asymmetrical all at once. I think it's a true visual representation of a relationship going down the tubes. These characters should not be parents. But they are. The child is troubled and they try their best. But they try their best in their own selfish ways. As life tends to be. Nothing is peachy. And that was the approach. Remember the bright and happy moments but also respect the harsher moments.


On Infernal, you worked with child actress Alyssa Koerner - so what was it like to direct a young girl in a horror film like yours?


Alyssa is an exception to the rule of "Don't work with children or animals"... but... honestly? Do not work with children and animals in low budget flicks. It's a nightmare. She wasn't a nightmare. In fact, she was a delight. But... the rules. MY GOD THE RULES. I'm not complaining because yes, as a human, I respect all rules that are implemented regarding this subject. But boy does it tend to fuck you as a filmmaker. 

There are dogs in the film also. Wait till you see it... I highly recommend listening to the commentary. There are a few beats I can't ruin here.


Do talk about the rest of your cast for a bit, and why exactly these people?


Andy Ostroff (my po-man's Ben Affleck) is a star. He is hilarious. If you ever get a chance to check out his stand-up, I highly recommend you do. He's so charismatic. The whole cast was a blessing. But the process was a nightmare. Thank GOD for the people we found. I had to fire the two leads the night before filming. And my manager and fellow producer Richard Marincic knew Andy, recommended him and he flew in the next day and saved the film. Producer Charles Rice discovered Heather Addair and forever I will owe him for that. She's just such an extraordinary talent. And working with her? Is simply incredible. Jose Rosete can kick my ass. So, I'll make sure to note how attractive he is. But in all seriousness Jose is just like Andy and Heather. This wasn't an easy shoot... and these guys really rose to the occasion. And what can I say about Noelle Bruno? Not only is she one of the most jaw droopingly BEAUTIFUL women I've ever been blessed to be around -- the understanding she has for my dialogue (and I have a very specific vision regarding my words) warms my heart. In some ways I feel like she's a creative soul mate. I send her most of what I write and hope to read with her just so that I can hear my words from her lips.

Everyone else was just as astounding. Watch the wedding scene in the opening of the film and tell me those people are not all future superstars.


What can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?


HORRIBLE! Everything that could go wrong went absolutely wrong. But the atmosphere? It was beautiful. Through hell we manned up and came together. A 12 day shoot became 16 and then two reshoot days after that.


Any idea when and where the film will be released onto the general public yet?


I'll be able to answer that LITERALLY in a week, haha!


Any future projects beyond Infernal you'd like to share?


Well, you have Utero that most of are aware. I'm still cutting away on the flick. I'm very happy with it. I tend to take a while on the films that I raise the money for personally. I tinker and tinker and tinker until I'm happy. Infernal was shot in the summer of 2013 and was sold rather fast after. But I played with it (had it colored four times) for a long time. Utero is a year old now and I'm still playing. But it's all for the better good. I'm due to shoot two films back to back this summer and... they are true passion projects. Keep your fingers crossed on those because I believe they will be real crowd pleasers.


What got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?


Frankenstein, baby. When I was a kid I saw Frankenstein and it was all over for me. I knew this is what I needed to be. I was blessed from a young age to grow up on sets. I was constantly on the set of Boy Meets World and various TGIF shows. My father was a jazz musician -- so I've always had it in me. But I learned by doing. By listening to commentaries. By networking, etc. 


Do talk about your filmwork prior to Infernal for a bit?


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Well, my first film was a film called Harvard Park that I directed for Sony TV. It was a blessing. I got hired at 23 and failed and learned in front of the studios eyes. It was terrifying and humbling. But it taught me so much. I did everything on B-movie sets for such a long time. I then produced a film called The Human Race that came out last year through Xcelrator Media. That was Paul Hough's film. The man is a true auteur. It is his film 100% but I was a producer on it. Fast after I made Infernal, fast after I made Utero, and since then I've been prepping this double feature with my amazing management at American Original. Richard Marincic and Jeff Katz have made my career possible and I will always owe them.

I'm always developing. I don't write everyday because sometimes the producing gets in the way. But I write every week at every level. You have to do that. Always having something in the hopper.


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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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!!!


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Michael Haberfelner


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