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An Interview with David Axe, Director of Shed

by Mike Haberfelner

May 2019

Films directed by David Axe on (re)Search my Trash


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


Shed is an indie horror movie with skin-stealing monsters. But really, it's about love.


With Shed revolving around a Halloween party gone horribly wrong, what were your worst Halloween experiences, and did any of them make it into your movie?


For pharmaceutical reasons I don't recall any of my Halloweens after the age of around 20.


(Other) sources of inspiration when writing Shed?


It all started with a word - "Shed". Because it's both a noun and a verb. You can shed in a shed. Plus it sounds great. Shed. Shed. Shed.


Shed does have its bloody bits for sure - so for the sake of all the gorehounds reading this, could you talk about the effects work in your movie for a bit?


Brandon McIver and Lisa Ashworth, whose talents I do not deserve, combined potato guns, corn syrup, latex, gel, makeup and red hairspray, plus a little milkshake emulsifier, to create convincing blood explosions, skin suits and skinless monsters. Jamie Clark digitally touched up the effects. I'm a big believer in practical effects. An audacious effect with the right camera angle and lens, clever editing and appropriate sound and score can go a long way. Of course, casting is a factor. Luckily for me, my actors Mike Amason, Morgan Jones and Cleve Langdale convincingly inhabited the effects.


What can you tell us about your movie's approach to horror?


We avoid tropes, because this is not a normal horror movie. We show you the monster in the very first scene. I don't want the audience to ever wonder whether the monsters are real. Of course they are. That mystery is not the point of the movie. The point is to humanize the monsters.


Do talk about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand!


On a microbudget production in Columbia, South Carolina with an amateur cast and crew, there's not a lot of space for strong directorial choices. Everything is always on the edge of falling apart as people get tired and bored and frustrated and personalities start clashing. All you can do is write a script, beg people to get involved, make a shot list you think you can get through then stop thinking and start shooting. It's a desperate stumble from shot one to shot 600.

That said, as I was my own DP, I did try to make interesting choices. Wherever possible I moved the camera through space, from inside to out and back, in order to invoke the theme of changing identity and physical transitions. I looked for scenes I could shoot in their entirety with one strong, interesting shot. I made sure to always use the lens with the most personality and I constantly fed light into the lens to force lens flare and soften the harsh edges of our LED lighting.


What can you tell us about your key cast, and why exactly these people?


Mike Amason, who plays "Mike", is my right-hand guy. Not only is he a stellar actor, he's a carpenter, handyman and driver, too. He's utterly reliable and a steadying influence on a chaotic production. I love his stage presence. He plays big, slow and confident.

Morgan Jones as the monster "Una" is always down for some weird effects shot. Great physical actress.

Sanethia Dresch as "Morgan" is a true professional who I would happily cast in every movie I ever make.

Bradley J. Petit as "Brad" is a natural performer who elevates every scene.

Len Marini as the sheriff is my favorite grandmotherly bad-ass.


From what I know, at least part of Shed was filmed during a hurricane - so what happened, and how did the hurricane affect the outcome of your movie?


The hurricane blew out our sound, forcing me to build the dialogue and soundtracks for a few scenes totally from scratch. Shooting outdoors in the woods in the summer is a recipe for sonic disaster. We struggled to get good on-set audio. The hurricane just made it worse. But we muddled through. And I learned a lot about sound design in post. As long as you have access to your actors, you can always get ADR and mix a new soundtrack. The problem with an amateur cast is that some people quit, get bad attitudes and don't make themselves available for ADR in post. That limits your options. I'm 75-percent happy with the sound on Shed. But there are a couple scenes I'd still rebuild if I had access to my whole cast.


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


Shed got a bit too boozy. A bit too loose. Some of our less seasoned cast forgot that we were making a movie and not having a party. There was some sexual harassment, which is a constant problem on indie movie sets. Several cast and crew quit, at least one of them mid-production. We had to fire one creep. If you look closely at the final cut of Shed, you can see at least three actors portraying one character as we repeatedly recast to replace people who quit.


The $64-question of course, where can Shed be seen?


Unless you're a critic, right now only on the festival circuit. We've just started our festival run, but we should play in a dozen or so cities all over the USA over the next nine months. After that, we'll pick a small distributor and release Shed on DVD and streaming. For updates follow us at:
. There's also a one-minute cut of Shed. Yes, you read that right. That's also on the festival circuit. It plays in Charleston, South Carolina on June 22 as part of the 60-Second Horror Challenge.


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


We played at Motor City Nightmares in Detroit and packed the room. Great screening. Critics so far have been pretty kind. Most of them understand that we set out to make a gnarly little 1980s-style monster movie with an extra few ideas in its head. We mostly succeeded in doing that, and I think critics realize it.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


Yep. I'm shooting Lection in South Carolina in the fall of 2019. The story is basically a local political election in a Mad Max-style world. Follow that at:


What got you into making movies in the first place, and did you receive any formal education on the subject?


No formal training. I'm a journalist by day and a medieval historian by education. But I fucking love movies, the weirder the better. And I love playing make-believe. I also like working in teams with crazy people. So of course I want to make movies of my own.


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


Most notably, I wrote and produced The Theta Girl a couple years ago. It did well at festivals and got some great reviews. I wrote and directed a sequel to that movie that kinda went nowhere. Shed is my first big project as a writer-director. Lection is going to be my masterpiece. Unless everybody quits or a hurricane wipes us out.


How would you describe yourself as a director?




Filmmakers who inspire you?


Jeremy Saulnier. Yorgos Lanthimos.


Your favourite movies?


Feeling lucky ?
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Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)

Germany (East AND West)

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Your shop for all things Thai

Empire Strikes Back, yo. That weird little 1980s tank movie The Beast. Star Trek II.


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


Fuck, that's a long list. Anything with too much CGI, American flags flapping in slow-motion or the word "massacre" in the title. Oh, and Mother!. Which I hate and also love. And also hate.


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


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


How did I pay for Shed? I worked multiple day jobs.


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
content of sites from a third party.

Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




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