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An Interview with Harley David Morris, Director of Nailed Down

by Mike Haberfelner

February 2016

Films directed by Harley David Morris on (re)Search my Trash


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


It's a psychological suspense thriller about (the character) Jason Hugo dealing with his pain.


What were your sources of inspiration when writing Nailed Down?


This was a very personal film. Much frustration and anger due to a specific trust betrayal from a now ex friend. Trust is a very important thing to me and so to betray that is huge. As for what we find later in the film, that was about feelings of what if this happened, what would I have done.


To be quite honest, neither protagonist of Nailed Down is exactly an angel - so to what extent could you identify with either of them?


Well, heh, this is tough without giving too much away, but I identify more with why Jason had to do the things he does. He has a heart, but his mind and heart are pulled in two different directions and there is the struggle.


Nailed Down isn't a movie that exactly holds back when it comes to violence - so do talk about the gruesome bits in your movie for a bit, and how were they achieved?


The violence was actually scaled back from what I originally intended. I wanted it to be a brutal torture film, but I knew it would take away from the story which was important to me to tell. As far as how, well we were on zero budget so we were limited anyway. I had the luck of having Autumn Barefoot on this and we talked about things like a fake hand, then we did what was best i thought when showing the nails, we cut the nails and molded them on with latex then added blood. Since I wanted to scale back, I decided I didn't want to show every finger etc. I showed a little of nothing and gave the audience the "money shot" if you will just as a payoff to show what was actually happening.


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


This was my first feature movie, but I did do a short in 2010 called Demonikas which helped me learn. The way I like to direct is just have a positive atmosphere, I like to know what other's ideas for stuff are for their character. I like to let them play with the lines and make it their own. I understand the reason to go verbatim by script, but I feel if they can play with the lines they bring the character to life more, they become more human. In turn you can hate them or love them even more.


Do talk about your key cast, and why exactly these people?


I had gone through many cast changes. Scheduling and personality meshes are big deals. I'll work with anyone until it becomes apparent it will not work out. As for the final cast. Wesley Hinkle has been a friend of mine since high school. We took Chorus together and were in a couple of plays, I new he had something special and wanted to bring him in. Kenn Parks is a stage actor with a broad skill range. Warren Ray is a veteran actor and an accomplished musician. Crazy on the ideas and they work. Cristina Mullins is also an accomplished actress and musician. She was in a local film here called Overtime with John Wells and pro wrestler/actor Al Snow. Christie Troxell is also a stage actress and Elijah is a friend that has wanted to get into acting for a while. They are all unique with their skills and I felt they played off each other well. I couldn't had asked for better on my first feature!


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


I like to keep it fun, but on the business at hand before it goes overboard. I like to have a family atmosphere on set.


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


It really hasn't played out yet, we're currently working on setting that up, plus doing some festivals through the next year. I did finally get a cast and crew showing together just this past weekend. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. We are are technical on the critique so I'm a bit harsh on myself, but then you have to be.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


I wasn't planning to share them, but I guess I will. I will be doing a short called Mother of the Beast, it'll be a story about the birth of Cthulhu based on the writing of H.P. Lovecraft since some of that is now public domain. As for my next full feature, I'm resurrecting a project I've been working on for the last two years called The Beautifully Disturbed. It's about 3 girls that are vigilante assassins that kill men that hurt women. It's tongue and cheek and will be a genre bender. I won't reveal that part. I've had people say it was genius though. Feels good that people like it. We'll be looking at crowd funding that unless we find a personal investor.


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


No training at all LOL. I can from the school of Rodriguez, Tarantino and Smith. Just do it. I mean you have to teach yourself things and be willing to learn and hone in on the craft to do it right, but yeah I'm that "Walmart"  film maker guy.


What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Nailed Down?


Demonikas is the only ting I did before Nailed Down. Later I did a sequel called Demonikas: The Coven while editing Nailed Down. Both have been shown on Hart D Fisher's American Horror Roku channel.


How would you describe yourself as a director?


That's an excellent question! Two words. Green and sudent! Though I consider myself more of a storyteller.


Filmmakers who inspire you?


Man there are so many! As you saw, I dedicated Nailed Down to Wes Craven, so him. Rob Zombie is huge for me! John Carpenter, Romero, Kubrick, Adam Green, Kevin Smith, Rodriguez, Tarantino & Jimmyo Burril that did Chainsaw Sally. Which btw was what The Beautifully Disturbed was inspired by. Lately I've been loving Lar Von Trier's work. Antichrist and Nymphomaniac I & II are amazing films!


Your favourite movies?


Antichrist, Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, House of 1,000 Corpses, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Shining, The Empire Strikes Back, I can go on!


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


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x-rated  find Harley David Morris at

This question intrigues me more actually. I used to be a film snob, but once I started making Nailed Down, I had a high level of respect for anyone that could get their film made. It's not easy to make a really good film, hell mine has so many flaws to it, but it was an amazing experience. So I don't deplore or hate any movie, sure everyone has some they like less, but I wouldn't name them, it's unfair.


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


I'm on Facebook by my name, search Nailed Down Movie for my film, my website is

And please go to for mine and other independent films they have!


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


I just want to say, thank you and everyone else for their support, this is a dream come true to have my work out there for others to see. Art is a big part of who I am, film is an extension of that and I'm glad I can share it with everyone!


Thanks for the interview!


Thanks for having me!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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and shall not be held responsible for
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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