Your segment of The
Horror Network, Edward - in a few words, what is it about?
think it’s about evil, and where it resides. Is it in madness, and the
mind? In the spirit and the soul? Do we seek it out or are we taken in by
it? Is it a disease that spreads from person to person, something both
outside and inside of ourselves? How responsible are we for the cruelty
and evil that we do? Or does evil even exist? “Evil” suggests there is
an order to the universe. If there is no evil, there is no order. Only the
Void, and the insignificant chaos and wailing of the tiny creatures on
planet Earth. Yikes.
were your inspirations for writing Edward?
wanted to see if I could scare an audience. And we did! It is too much
damn fun to watch people jump and grab each other and laugh, or to hear
from a viewer that they were still spooked-out days later.
And I have a strong fascination with psychotherapy, fantasy, dreams
and the mind. And cruelty. Cruelty scares the shit out of me. But mostly I
just wanted to work with my actors Artem Mishin and Nick Frangione again. And my brother
Ben Gilbert, who DP’d and edited. They’re the greatest.
the setting of Edward being a psychotherapy situation, how much
research did go into that part of your movie?
reading, my own time “on the couch”, some improvisations with the
actors. The best work came from my time talking with a therapist-friend
who consulted on the script. She gave me some terrific pointers on how a
therapist might phrase things, which led to fascinating conversations
about the methods of the Talking Cure itself. That was the real research.
most part, Edward is set in one single room, with just two
characters talking - so how limiting/challenging was that for you as a
was great! Limitations bolster creativity. We didn’t have any money, we
just wanted to make a movie. So part of the reason for restricting the
story to one room with two actors was pragmatic, and part of it was the
challenge of making a simple conversation both cinematic and scary. The
room gets darker and more claustrophobic as the characters get closer and
closer, emotionally, physically, psychically. But the challenge was
poverty. I was writer, co-producer with Artem, director, line producer,
script supervisor and caterer for four long nights and it SUCKED. Luckily
the student crew we hired were up-and-coming pros, so that helped.
Do talk about your cast for a bit, and why
exactly these people?
Mishin and Nick Frangione and I had all just finished making my first
feature, Strapped, and we wanted to keep working! I love those guys,
I love working with them – I always just want to see what they’re
gonna do next. I’ll do another take just to see what happens. And
we’re all kind of loyal to each other and inspired by each other so I
just wanted to make something with them and see what making horror was
like – or if I could even do it! It ain’t no easy thing. So we met
once a week for a few weeks and improvised around this vague idea I had
about a therapist and his patient. I was re-reading Stevenson’s The
Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde at the time, and we talked
about that, but mostly we just played and discovered, and that’s the
greatest thing ever. And we would literally try to freak each other out.
Nick killed it. He always won. If the lights were low when Nick found
something scary to play we always had to turn them back up again after. We
went to some crazy places. So I wrote the script after those sessions. I
really love their performances and hope very much to do something with
What can you tell us about the
shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
I mentioned it was tight. Despite appearances, it was actually a pretty
ambitious shoot, and well out of my comfort zone. And night shoots take
their toll. But the atmosphere was mostly pretty jovial and good, with all
of us working to make the best little horror movie we could. Those kids we
brought on to crew were not only into the picture, they were born
filmmakers who just dig the work. And it was wonderful to work with my
brother. It was his first time out as DP and he aced it. And there were so
many challenges. Can we do this? I don’t know, let’s try. So the set
definitely had a charge.
actually shot specifically for The
Horror Network or as a stand-alone film?
Artem and Nick and I just weren’t done playing in the sandbox together.
And I needed to test my mettle as a horror storyteller.
was your collaboration with The
Horror Network-showrunners Brian Dorton [Brian
Dorton interview - click here] and Douglas Conner like?
cool. I am so grateful to those guys for creating this project and taking
us in and allowing our picture to be part of something really great. I am
so blown away by the films in this compilations – a truly global
compilation! – and proud that Edward is among them. Not to mention
out there in the world now thanks to Brian and Douglas. We never made Edward with the intention of distribution. We just wanted to keep
going. And Brian and Douglas saw something they liked and included it in
this amazing compilation. We’re Facebook friends now but I hope one day
to meet them in the real world and give them both a big squeeze. Then go
watch a movie together.
future projects you'd like to share?
hell yeah! Working to develop a horror project called Revelations,
about a young woman who discovers her fiancé and brother are not really
her fiancé and brother, and they try and force her to make a baby that
will bring about the end of the world. Rosemary’s Baby and Invasion of the Body Snatchers are like part of a constant movie
playlist in my home. And I just finished an early draft of a new script
about a teenage werewolf whose father comes to claim him. Both stories are
chock-full of my personal slant on favorite horror tropes while exploring
deep fascinations I have concerning the limits of perception, of knowing,
of alone-ness, of the body, and death – and lots of dancing around with
incest, matricide and cannibalism. The Great Taboos. You know, for kids.
What got you into
filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on
a born storyteller and movie-lover. No formal training in filmmaking but
some training as an actor. And I read and read and read anything I can get
my hands on about filmmaking, whether it’s about lenses and light or
theory or history or analysis of a favorite director’s work, I’m
always reading about filmmaking. And watching movies. Obviously. Education
and training are tops and get it if you can, especially film history and
theory, but the real school is just being on a set, and taking a project
from conception through completion. If you’ve actually finished a movie?
Even if it’s really shitty? You’ve learned a lot about filmmaking. And
then you gotta go and sell it. Learn THAT.
What can you tell us about your filmwork
prior to Edward?
Before Edward I had made a fifty-minute ‘featurette’ called Vanilla about a gay teenager who becomes obsessed with a dead
serial killer and longs to become one of his victims. After that I made my
first feature, Strapped, about a gay hustler who changes persona to
match each trick he meets, but he can’t find his way out of this
apartment building one rainy night and he meets trick after trick. Kind of
a highly sexualized, dream-like queer odyssey. We did a lot with very
little and were able to really connect with our audience with Strapped. I’m very proud of the camera work and acting on that
one. And proud that it’s out there in the world. And that my investors
made their money back.
How would you describe yourself
as a director?
Filmmakers who inspire you?
a geek. It always comes back to Hitchcock and Lynch. They are my true
cinematic artistic heroes who have inspired me the most, all my life. I
also love Gus Van Sant. And John Carpenter.
many to list; too many yet to be discovered.
... and of course, films you really
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
not a fan of the current crop of horror remakes – except for the new
Poltergeist. You can never touch the original but I thought the
filmmakers and actors did a terrific riff on it. It had some amazing
scenes that still linger with me. I suspect the studio execs muddled with
the edit. I bet there’s an even better film in there that we didn’t
get to see.
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever
on Facebook but I’m not the most skilled with these things. We need a
publicist we can afford to take on full-time, who gets what we’re trying
to do and is brilliant at his or her job.
Anything else you're dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
Buy This Movie! You’ll have a good time being scared, I promise! All of
the films are really something.
Thanks for the interview!