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Am Interview with Charles Davis, Director of Solus

by Mike Haberfelner

October 2016

Films directed by Charles Davis on (re)Search my Trash

 

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

 

A reclusive woman finds herself trapped in her house and surrounded by ghosts that are always just out of her eyesight. In order to get out of the house she'll have to face what the ghosts throw at her.

 

What were your sources of inspiration when writing Solus, and to what extent can you identify with your lead character's agoraphobia?

 

The main inspiration was that I had a desire to create a movie that wasn't as literal as my previous 2 movies had been. I wanted to make something that was abstract and acted more as a puzzle in that you have to actively watch it, pay attention to every detail and then decipher what's going on. This is as opposed to having everything explained blatantly and up front.

As far as the agoraphobia, I don't personally feel that I've suffered greatly from agoraphobic feelings, however at the time I wrote the screenplay I was feeling very isolated and that I hadn't done much particularly with my life up to that point. It wasn't a conscious thing to incorporate that into the movie but I think it sort of ended up in there anyway.

 

Solus is pretty much all set in one apartment with only one actress in a sizeable role - so how limiting but maybe also liberating was that for you as a filmmaker?

 

I guess I never really thought of it as particularly limiting or liberating. Obviously it's a horror movie about isolation (hence the name of the movie) so it just made sense that the movie would revolve around a single character. It was liberating in the sense that it was pretty easy to film as  it had a very small cast and was all in one location.

 

Do talk about your movie's approach to horror for a bit!

 

I was going for a "nightmare" style. I wanted the movie to feel like you were watching someone's nightmare or having a nightmare yourself. I didn't want the movie to work on standard logic but at the same time I didn't want to explain what logic it worked on. As previously stated, I also wanted the movie to be constructed as a puzzle as well where you have to piece things together from the clues being given to you.

 

What can you tell us about your directorial approach to your story at hand?

 

Directing was a bit difficult as obviously things are very non-literal and abstract so it can be hard to explain to the actors what you want. Mostly I just had to explain what was going to happen in very specific detail for each shot and we didn't get to hung up on the normal "this is why this is happening" type of conversations. The movie was based a lot on feeling rather than direct logic.

 

Do talk about your lead Donna Moschek, and what made her perfect for the role?

 

Donna is incredibly diverse in her capabilities and can wildly change how she acts depending on the role. We've made 4 movies together now and in each one she plays a completely different character, including characters with different accents and speech styles. For a movie like this she was really the only person I ever thought of for the role as I know she can do so much. She's also not scared of weird stuff and is good at going along with it.

 

A few words about the rest of your cast?

 

They were also great to work with and were very excited about doing a weird non-literal movie like this. Everyone had ideas to contribute that were just as weird as what was already in the script. We were all feeling the same vibe which made things work very well.

 

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

 

The shoots were pretty easy and the on set atmosphere was good. We all knew we were there to make a weird movie and that's what we did, lol. One thing that came up with filming was that my daughter was born half way through shooting the movie so we had to delay certain days of filming for a few months.

 

Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Solus?

 

Critical reception on Amazon so far has been terrible, lol. I'd say the consensus is that most people find it confusing and it doesn't make sense to them. This being stated though the movie has only been out for a couple weeks so I don't know if I can really discern how the movie will be received in the long run, but this being stated, I full well knew the movie probably would be a tough sell to most people as it's very strange and certainly not as in your face as most horror movies go. Also, the movie is what a lot of people would classify as an "arthouse film" and arthouse films obviously frequently get panned.

Outside of that though, the movie actually got very good feedback on the film festival circuit. It's been in a handful of film fests in the US and it won Best Horror Movie at the Chain Film Fest in NYC. It's going to be in the Chicago Blow Up Art House Film Fest in November too.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

Yes! I just finished another movie called Eddie Glum which I'm now in the process of submitting to film fests. It'll probably be a year before I'm able to release it out to the public, but I'm incredibly proud of it. Outside of that I'm hoping to film another movie next summer (fingers crossed I can get it together) called Portal Man.

Additionally, another movie I made called The Arc of Methul is about to come out on Amazon Prime as well (in time for Halloween!). Maybe I can get you guys to review it too! lol.

 

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

 

Kind of a long story but the short version is I woke up one day and decided to start making movies. I have no formal training at all.

Basically, I used to make radio plays for a podcast called Sci-Fi Radio Theater and then I got bored doing that so I started doing photography. A friend of mine was making a short film and wanted me to be the camera man (because I owned a camera) and then I got interested and started making my own films shortly after that. I've been making movies for a bit over 4 years now.

 

What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Solus?

 

Solus is my 3rd film. Prior to that I made a movie called BLOOD (suprisingly not a horror movie) which is a dramedy. My 2nd film is The Arc of Methul (about to come out on Amazon as previously mentioned) and is a hybrid horror/action movie that was filmed using all still image photography (it was my attempt to combine the worlds of film, photography and radio dramas).

 

How would you describe yourself as a director?

 

Spaztic, lol. I'm still learning a lot, but I mostly just stick to saying directly what I want as I've learned when you are doing weird abstract movies you really need to be as specific as possible (surprisingly). Also as my movies are all ultra low budget I'm normally running around frantically trying to get everything done lol.

 

Filmmakers who inspire you?

 

For Solus, the japanese horror film Kairo (called Pulse in the US) was a huge influence and I even have a few call outs to it in the movie. Outside of that I'm obviously a big of fan of David Lynch and I also love David Cronenberg and Werner Herzog but I wouldn't say any of them were a direct influence on Solus per se. I'm also a big fan of Troma and Lloyd Kaufman, particularly on his philosophy towards making movies ("make you're own damn movie!").

 

Your favourite movies?

 

Of course this is a hard list to come up with but here are a few: Lost Highway, Videodrome, Grizzly Man, The Enigma of Kausper Hauser, Terror Firmer, 2001, Blade Runner, Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Braindead (Dead/Alive), Lord of the Rings, Dawn of the Dead, Kairo, Trancers, Kung Fury... oye, I could go on.

 

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

 

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I'm not a big fan of found footage movies. I don't like shakey cam.

 

Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?

 

The best place to follow me is on the Chunkle Freaky-Facebook: www.facebook.com/chunklefreaky

I'm also on Twitter/Instagram but it's my personal account: @dasegad

 

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

 

Check out Solus on Amazon Prime!

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

Thank you!

 

© 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
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
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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