Your new movie The Dooms Chapel Horror
- in a few words, what
is it about?
Relationships, revenge & regret.
How did the project fall together in the
first place? And since the movie is to some extent based on your short The
Hunt, do talk about that one for a bit?
(A) Well a
few years ago I wanted to experiment with the "found footage"
genre. A genre I wasn't a huge fan of.
Those films always feel stilted and kind of boring to watch just
waiting for the scare to happen. And
to that extent most of those films are ONLY about the jump scares.
So I wanted to put my money where my mouth is and attempted a
shortfilm titled The Hunt. It runs about about only 12 minutes
and is true found footage in that it is long continueous takes with the
editing only built in if the camera is turned
off and on. So within
those limits and not wanting to be boring waiting for things to happen we
always had something going on within the frame constantly pushing the
story along. It is a short
little ride that happens in real time.
And it felt successful to me because the audience learns
information along with the main character and that it had a short running
Christopher Bower [Christopher
Bower interview - click here] took off to AFM with the last few minutes of
The Hunt and a couple distributers saw it and got excited/got us excited and we
decided to turn this into a documentary/feature film. Jason Turner the
writer went to work. Bj Clark started designing the FX. Barbie Clark our
wadrobe mistress started gathering examples. Me and Bower devised a plan
for execution. Then we
gathered around us passionate talented people and just dived into it.
extent could you identify with your film's horror theme, and what can you
tell us about your approach to the genre?
drawn to the dark things in life. I really don't know why. I'm just
interested in exploring broken characters in bad situations.
I love exploring decisions. You
know what's down that dark road and you still take it. Why? If you would
have just went the way you should have gone it would all be good. The main
character is an outcast in way. In a town built on sports and farming he
was the kid carrying a camera around. I
was a monster kid. My bedroom
walls plastered with horror posters out of Gorezone and Fangoria magazine.
Model kits, latex masks, props and horror toys were my thing - still
are. So being into all that,
living in a small town built on sports and farming I felt very close to
that aspect of the film.
this being my first horror feature I don't think I have a certain approach
yet. With The Dooms Chapel Horror
I let the story be my guide. What it called for is what I
What can you
tell us about the film's overall look and feel?
is a doumentary style film and is very natural looking. DREAD! It has a feel of dread all the way through.
From the moment Kyle steps back into Kaler Mills you feel things
are not right immediatley and just spiral out of control from there.
as I know, The Dooms Chapel Horror
features some stop motion
effects - now you just have to talk about those for a bit, and how were
of bourbon and late nights. It
was something I've always been fascinated with. From O'Brien, Harryhausen
to Tippet I've always loved stop motion effects. It's true movie magic.
It's combining elements. Taking chances. Using all the tools in
your toolbox. It's craft.
That's what is special about it. I don't want to give too much away about
how it was done. Again it's
true movie magic to me.
What can you tell us about the movie's
key cast, and why exactly these people?
Madding was perfect for Kyle Cole. A stoic introverted young man with a
tragic past. A character that
has a quiet arc throughout the film. Austin had the qualities to bring
that to realization in spades. We had such deep dicussions about his
character. So much depended on his body language and his eyes. He had
to have these feelings and thoughts coming through as second nature and he
Abby Murphy playing
Mandy had to be vunerable yet strong.
She didn't just act like a victim.
She actually confronts Kyle to the situations that he gets her gets
into. Abby was a young cast member and she had to find wisdom that comes
with the experience that her character has to have. That's not easy.
[Joshua Mark Robinson
interview - click here] had to be pure evil. He kept the energy amped up to
10. He was amazing.
We wanted the Henry charcter to be warm-funny. The kind of guy you
would want to hang out with. It's amazing how Josh Cornelius brought Henry
to life. He nailed exactly
what was on that page. For the character of Tanner we needed an outsider
from the country folk. Shaun being from LA was perfect.
Allan Walters as Emmit Cole was beyond what I could have wished
for. He's like this old gunslinger - Clint Eastwood. Slow and easy yet demanding of your respect.
Wendy Keeling as Katie Cole tries to keep everything "normal" or
safe. So she is saying one thing but I wanted her eyes and body language
to say the opposite. She doubled as assitant director as well as trying to
find the character of Katie Cole again incredibly difficult but she
brought it like a professional. Ryan
Watson as Ryan Cole has a small important part on screen but his portayal
is so strong it leaves an ever lasting mark through out the rest of the
film. Bill Oberst Jr. [Bill
Oberst jr interview - click here] - what can I say?
He was amazing. The
concentration and questions he brought me about the character developed it
so deeply. We speak of Jordan as myth and when he is revealed on screen
for the first time you are just pulled in waiting to see what he does.
Bill made that myth. You believe it.
A few words
about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
was hard work. So many
talented people gave their time to this production I can't even begin to
give them the gratitude they deserve. It was powered by passion.
Everybody on set was there to give
their best and they did. We
brought the sun up on several occasions and even our main character Austin
Madding (Kyle Cole) was moving sandbags and equipment. Outside of the
commitment there was a lot of laughter on the shoot.
People had a blast doing it. They
all had to chip on everything. Everyone was so involved that we built this
comradity. At the beginning of
the shoot I went in sort of knowing some of the people to being able to
look them in they eye and know exactly what they are thinking by the time
it was all over. It formed a
can you tell us about your movie's audience and critical reception so far,
and any idea when it will be released onto the general public?
seem to be really enjoying it. The night of the premier when I was up in
the projection booth pushing start on the movie I became incredibly nauseous.
People were about to watch something we created.
Then when they started responding in the right spots with the right
reactions I sighed relief. What I hear the most is how they get wrapped up
in the story. That is attributed to Jason Turner the screenwriter. He
wrote an incredible script. Our goal when figuring it all out was this had
to have focus. A character with something actually going on in his life.
A story that kept you wondering what is going on and how will it
Hoping for a 2015 release.
future projects you'd like to share?
we have a couple things in the pipeline.
I have werewolves, physchological horror and even a period piece on
What got you into
filmmaking to begin with, and did you receive any formal education on the
kind of my mothers fault. No it is her fault!
She loved Halloween and
horror movies. I plopped right in front of that TV when she would watch them.
I fell in love with monster movies. Then those VCRs showed up. Went
with my Mom to the video store. Rented a VCR, Ghostbusters & A
Nightmare On Elm Street - my first VHS movies.
Those kind of movies played in the backgrond as I played with my
action figures. Setting up elaborate scenes. That was the seed for my
future in filmmaking. Growing up in the 80s in a smalltown called Symsonia
making movies was on Mars. It
wasn't until much later in life when I got my hands on brother's Digital 8
camera which had 16x9 setting. When
I saw that rectangle frame then visualizing masking off the screen to get
a 2.35:1 frame - it kind of all fell into place.
I knew what I wanted to do.
And no formal education in filmmaking. Got the equipment - watched every
special feature on filmmaking from the amazing advent that is the special
edition DVD. Then I just
started making shorts. I failed over and over and over. Kept learning from
the mistakes I made. Just kept going and didn't give up. Went from Digital
8 cameras costing about $400.00 to working with $60,000 dollar
What can you tell us about your filmwork prior
to The Dooms Chapel Horror?
to make 2 feature films starting out. Thought I was gonna change the
world. Had one unfinished
feature Michael Mann/Walter Hill style and one 63 Min slasher flick
both horrible. Then I changed
my sights and started from the beginning.
Started making shorts. Affordable and take just the right amount of
time to make. It was my
filmschool. I would set up
frames like John Carpneter and learn what the frame was telling the
audience. Watching Spielberg
for storytelling techniques. Why
are they doing what they're doing? So
I've done 20 or so shortfilms, a YouTube comedy series called The
Comedy Central pilot pitch and couple music videos for The Dirt Daubers
and The Legendary Shack Shakers. The Dooms Chapel Horror
being the first "real" feature length movie.
How would you
describe yourself as a director?
one. I really don't know.
Filmmakers who inspire
it comes to the frame no one does it better than John Carpenter in the
scope 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Detail and discipline Kubrick really comes to
mind and John Cassavetes when honesty is needed from the actor.
Storytelling technique itself is all Spielberg. Leanness and focus
between movie and character Cronenberg is who I look to. And energy/fun in
the film I think of Joe Dante. These
6 directors are usually on my mind when I approach anything.
Your favourite movies?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
love The Howling, An
American Werewolf in London, The
Wolf Man, Carpenter's The Thing, A Woman Under the
Influence, Love Streams, The
Shining, E.T., Jaws, Close Encounters of the
Third Kind, The Killing, The Burbs, Gremlins, The
Fly, Dead Ringers - geez, I could go on and on.
... and of
course, films you really deplore?
after experiencing how hard it is to make a movie, it's impossible to knock
any film. And honestly, I usually find something good in everything I
watch - if not I'm losing the pleasure of movies.
website, Facebook, whatever else?
for the interview!