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An Interview with Devon Mikolas, Director of House of the Witchdoctor

by Mike Haberfelner

July 2014

Films directed by Devon Mikolas on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new movie House of the Witchdoctor - in a few words, what is it about?

 

I call it a home invasion movie with a twist.

 

What were your inspirations when writing House of the Witchdoctor, and how did you even dream up your movie's rather unique genre mix?

 

A producer approached me about wanting to do an exploitation style horror film and I had always wanted to do a film like that myself. I wrote House of the Witchdoctor out of this meeting. It ended up not working out with that producer, but when I gave it to the film’s current producer Mark Vadik [Mark Vadik interview - click here], he liked it and helped me get it to shooting script quality.

 

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

 

I’m a very passionate director. I like to jump right in and really work with the story and the actors. I’m not a guy that sits back too much. I love the creative process as a whole.

 

House of the Witchdoctor does get a tad violent every now and again - so do talk about your movie's gore scenes for a bit, and how were they achieved?

 

Troy Holbrook was our special effects guy. He was great, very passionate about his craft. We gave him the lower part of the house for his on-set work place and everyone called it "Troy’s Dungeon". He did a great job.

 

Callie Stephens, Leslie Easterbrook

Howard Maurer, Dyanne Thorne

Allan Kayser, Steffie Grote, David Willis (hiding behind the camera)

Since most of your film takes place in one and the same house - do talk about your main location for a bit, and what were the advantages and maybe also challenges of filming there?

 

At one point we had over 20 real estate agents in Illinois looking for the right big, isolated house for the location. We found a couple good one’s but once they heard a film would be shot there they backed out. Then at the 11th hour, my producer Mark found this isolated estate about an hour outside of Chicago with like 13 bedrooms, 11 bathrooms on 50 acres of land, so it was perfect! We lucked out with that. It really worked for the film and was a pleasure to shoot there.

 

Your film is one of the first movies to star cult icon Dyanne Thorne after virtually decades of absence from the screen. So why her, what made her perfect for the job, and how did you get her even?

 

We knew for the role of “Rose” we wanted to use a horror icon if you will. Several names were tossed around and I think it was one of our producers, Chazz DeMoss, who brought up Dyanne Thorne. I had always been a fan and had a major crush from my teenage years watching the Ilsa films, so I was stoked at the possibility of working with her. Chazz made the call, she read the script and said yes! Also, for all you filmmakers out there, Dyanne is great to work with and a very talented actor, as is her husband Howard Maurer, who also is in the movie. So hire her!

 

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

 

Well, Bill Moseley is one of my faves from The Devil’s Rejects, and Leslie Easterbrook is also the consummate professional who kills it every time out. Allan Kayser was another 11th hour savior from Chazz’s suggestion, cause we could not find the right actor to play “Cliff”. He did a great job. David Wills was a long time friend from NY who I had seen in countless plays and was very impressed, so I knew I wanted him for “Buzz”. And the young adults, we looked at actors from NY, Chicago and LA and we really got lucky with all of them. I expect big things from them. I was deeply pleased by my cast and so far, the horror fans have had many compliments on the acting so that makes me quite happy.

 

Bill Moseley

A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?

 

It was very intense for me personally. I had a lot coming at me, not that I’m complaining, but as writer/director there is not a lot of time to chill out. Overall it was great. It was also February in rural Illinois so I’m not sure it made it above 10 degrees for the entire shoot. It’s funny, when we were screening at Days of the Dead Indianapolis, Bill Moseley came up to me and said, “Damn that shoot was cold”!!!! But we all banded together under the elements and made it happen. A big shout out to my entire crew who were also so dedicated and played such a major part in this.

 

What can you tell us about audience and critical reception of your movie so far?

 

I feel blessed. We’ve been screening at horror conventions across America and the fans love it. They think it’s a lot of fun and from day one, we wanted to make a roller coaster ride horror film.

 

Devon at the Crypticon, Seattle

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

It looks like my next feature will be a funny, nasty tale of BBQ horror I wrote called Brisket Bob. It’s all in the meat!!

 

As far as I know, you originally started out as an actor - so what can you tell us about your acting career, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?

 

For over 10 years of my life I was super charged for acting. I took countless scene study classes in NYC and went through several Meisner programs. I did a bunch of independent films and plays mostly in NY.

 

What prompted you to switch to writing and directing eventually?

 

I just lost my passion and will to act once I started writing. I’ll never forget, I was auditioning for the Angelina Jolie film Salt. I was sitting in the casting office with the sides and I did not even want to be there. I thought to myself, “How many actors would want to be in this office right now reading for such a huge film?” I knew I needed to make a change. I left, called my agent and told her it was over. Through my joy of writing I moved into directing and I love it.

 

What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to House of the Witchdoctor, in whichever position?

 

I’ve written a bunch of screenplays and directed a 40 minute horror film called Salvation By Blood a couple years ago that led to this, my first feature.

 

How would you describe yourself as a director?

 

Passionate with dedication to genre/edgy films. I like character and plot driven stuff.

 

Filmmakers, writers, actors, whoever else who inspire you?

 

Tim Burton, Rob Zombie, Eli Roth, James Maynard Keenan, David LaChapelle, Perry Farrell, Phil Anselmo, Norwegian Black Metal, many others…

 

Your favourite movies?

 

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (the original), Ringu, Ed Wood, The Orphange, many others….

 

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

 

Feeling lucky ?
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USA  amazon.com

Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)  amazon.co.uk

Germany (East AND West)  amazon.de

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Something naughty ?
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x-rated  find Devon Mikolas at adultvideouniverse.com

Don’t know why, but Indecent Proposal. It’s this shitty movie with Robert Redford, Woody Harrelson and Demi Moore. I saw it in high school and walked out. I just hated the concept. Haha!

 

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

 

www.lostkeyfilms.com (my website)

www.houseofthewitchdoctor.com

www.facebook.com/pages/House-of-the-Witchdoctor/501509103222289

 

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

 

Yes!! House of the Witchdoctor comes out on September 16th through Breaking Glass Pictures on OnDemand, iTunes and DVD, currently nationwide at Best Buy with more deals coming! If you like horror, please check it out and thanks so much for the support. I love all the weirdos and beautiful people in the horror scene more than you’ll ever know!! I’m one of you!!!

 

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!!!

 

Bauliche Angelegenheiten
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Michael Haberfelner

 

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