Your new movie Exorcism
of the Dead - in a few words, what is it about?
of the Dead is the story of a young woman
named Candace, who is the victim of demonic
possession. She also happens to be dead. The demon
won't leave her body, which has proven to be
quite useful despite Candace's death. Father Abuna is
called in by her family to perform an exorcism,
but he's got a few secrets of his own that may prove
of the Dead revolving around an exorcism, did you do any research
on that subject?
I did a lot of research. Most of it was online, but I
also tracked down some books on the subject. I put
in a few lighter moments here and there based on what
I learned. I couldn't believe some of the wild
doctrines surrounding the rite. The story is fictional
of course, so I took some liberties along the way. It
also helped that I grew up in an old-school Catholic
family that was often influenced by superstition
and ancestral rituals.
(Other) sources of inspiration when
writing Exorcism of
I love The Exorcist (1973), and I think Exorcist
is a fantastic film. More recently, I really
enjoyed The Exorcism of Emily Rose( 2005). I set out to see
every film on the subject before writing
my script, mainly to see where I could play off
expectations while also providing something new. I've
watched dozens of exorcism movies, and I'm pretty sure
I still missed a bunch! Again, my upbringing
was also influential in choosing this particular
To what extent could you actually
identify with Exorcism
of the Dead's protagonists Father Abuna and Philip, and how do you
think you would react in a situation like this?
As a writer, I always put a little bit of myself into
the characters, or at least try to understand why they
would choose to do the things they do. Abuna is a
flawed character who continues to try his best, even
though he's made a lot of mistakes. That's me. That's
a lot of us! Philip is very supportive and caring,
but he's hiding something too. They're both good
people, but nobody's perfect. I can relate to that. If I
was in a situation like this one, I'd be overwhelmed.
It was hard to just edit some of the scenes!
about Exorcism of the
Dead's approach to horror!
I think Exorcism
of the Dead is a weird blend of
several different horror genres. There's obviously the
supernatural slant you would expect, but there are
other moments where it turns into a slasher film. It's
even like a zombie movie for a few scenes! In the end, Exorcism
of the Dead mostly hangs out in the
realm of psychological horror. There's definitely some
mindgames going on...
A few words about
your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?
I approached the film in a very realistic and
economical way. We were dealing with a micro-budget, so
right from the start, locations and situations were
chosen with that in mind. We shot long days to save
money too, but that led to some interesting outcomes.
I think the fatigue and pressure added to all of
the performances. I also think the claustrophobia
inherent in shooting for hours on end in one room
spilled over into the audience's perception of the
events as well.
can you tell us about your key cast, and why exactly these people?
This was the first film where I went with an expanded
cast. I usually cast people I've worked with
before, since I know they can do exactly what's needed
on set. They all do a fantastic job. This time, I
also chose actors with a theatrical background. I
asked them to learn the script the way they would for a
stage play. This allowed us to really move through
scenes quickly, sometimes even in real time. I shot
with two cameras, so even though some scenes go on for
a while, we still get multiple views...
talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere!
This was a really tight shoot. There were a lot of
scenes and only a few locations, so we tried to get all
of it as fast as we could. The atmosphere was
friendly, but there are always tense moments when you
try to move at that kind of pace. We had certain cast
members isolated to one location, so when we did
move from one place to another it was almost like
making a completely different movie!
you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Exorcism
of the Dead?
The audience at the premiere seemed to really enjoy
it. Some of them were confused by the occasional
moments of humour in the movie though. I put in some
funny lines here and there, just to break up the
tension. Some people didn't know how to react! The
rest seemed so serious, that some of them felt the
humour was out of place. I think those lines come at
good times, and give us a little insight into what
the characters would be like under better
Any future projects you'd like to
We recently finished post-production on Creature from
Cannibal Creek. This one is an old-fashioned
creature feature and it's a lot of fun. It's very
different in tone from my last two films. In the movie, a
group of cannibals keep people in cages until they're
ready to be butchered. One of these captives
escapes, but dies in the surrounding forest. Nature
soon takes a hand, reviving the former captive and
turning him into a marauding monster!
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever
Here's a few links...
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Anything else you're dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
I'd like to thank everyone that worked on Exorcism
of the Dead. The cast and crew really gave it there
all. Always nice to work with great people...
Thanks for the interview!