Your upcoming movie Within These Walls - in a few words, what
is it about?
up my films in a few words is never easy. As you know, I tend to write
very complex films with many elements and different surreal and
psychological realities. Within
These Walls is really about fear, loss, entrapment, and a complete
lack of control of oneís body and mind against an unknown entity.
With Within These Walls being a
ghost/haunted house story - what drew you to the genre, and what do you
think will set your movie apart from the usual genre product? And other
sources of inspiration when writing Within These Walls?
The director of Within
These Walls, James Tucker, wanted to do a haunted house/ghost story,
partially to take advantage of an ideal location for this type of film. It
was also something more attainable as it would require less of a budget
than some of my other scripts. James and I worked very closely, and luckily
our ideas, goals, passions, and insight regarding this film and what we
wanted to do were completely spot on. Weíve already worked very well off
of one another, bringing out great artistic possibilities.
We both really liked the idea of being trapped in
oneís own home and even worse in oneís own body as our main character
becomes a slave to this evil spirit that has turned her home in to a
personal hell she canít escape. We took a very gritty, disturbing, taboo
approach to this. Itís far more than a girl just being spooked. The
torment she goes through - with no hope of an end to it - is really hard to
even wrap your mind around, how someone could deal with something like
that. A lot of the terror mirrors personal horrors people actually do have
to endure, weíve added this non-physical entity to the mix to be the one
demanding her pain and suffering at its hands. Thereís also a very
surreal element through dreams that take us down a troubling path of
discovery and haunting truth.
not only wrote, you'll also play the lead of Within These Walls -
so to what extent was your character based on your own personal
experiences, and what will you draw upon to bring the character to life?
are certain common factors I have with my character, Alaina. Sheís a
writer who has just graduated college and has moved back in to her
childhood home, which her mother died in. Sheís hoping to focus on her
writing and to find a story that speaks to her. Alaina is very consumed
with dreams and looking in to her sub-conscious to reveal a unique story.
Granted I luckily havenít experienced the horror she has even at the
beginning of the film alone, the writer, mindset, and some aspects of her
personality are reflective of me. One very universal quality she holds as
the film escalates is even when she seems like a complete victim, even
enduring this makes her strong. Life is full of struggles for us all, but
keeping on going even among struggle means that you havenít let it beat
read somewhere that Within These Walls will be very
minimal in approach - care to elaborate?
if we had the budget, we donít want CGI ghosts here. Weíre trying to
keep this based in reality of what it would be like if a girl was trapped
in her home with a lingering spirit. Thereís a slow build up since
thatís part of getting Alaina tense and scared; making her more open to
believing and therefore making her more vulnerable to the power it holds.
Suspense, tension, and mystery of both the past and present are major
elements at work. Weíre taking a more realistic approach with practical
effects and little if any CGI. There will be gritty and atmospheric
visuals, but the story and overwhelming terror is really the most powerful
can you tell us about your director James Tucker, how did you first hook
up, and how did you come to the decision to work on this project together?
And what makes him the right man for the job to begin with?
described somewhat earlier, it is he who decided I was the right girl for
the job! This concept was something he had in mind and he chose me to
bring out his vision. Actually, it really took on a life of its own from
there and became something much darker than what it started out as. Iím
very excited to work on this project with him and believe we will really
be able to create something remarkable together; this film only being the
beginning of that.
think one of the key elements of your film is the location. Anything you
can tell us about that aspect of Within These Walls yet?
a very heavily isolated film and I think our location is perfect. Itís
not the stereotypical old, creepy looking house. It has a modern feel to
it in some aspects, but the house itself is over 100 years old and has
shades of a Victorian feel. It has character and history. This starts out
as a place Alaina feels safe, although itís slowly infected by the
tragedy that occurred there, which is only the beginning of the darkness
that is to consume the house. It takes away this false sense of safety and
turns it in to a cruel prison. At some moments it seems so normal, but
Alaina is pushed to know that there is no longer anything normal left to
this place. There are a few other locations, especially within her dreams,
which serve as a partial escape, but end up becoming equally horrifying as
she canít escape from the mental torment she is under even as she
can you tell us about your intended cast yet?
Cory Graham will be playing a paranormal
investigator and director, James Tucker, will also be playing a featured
role. Itís going to be a very small cast, but that also adds to how
alone the main character is for majority of the film.
That said, we
are still working on casting some of the supporting roles. Those
interested feel free to submit through our casting call:
As far as
I know, Within These Walls is still in its fundraising stages as we
speak. So what can you tell us about your fundraising efforts?
Our campaign is currently
live on IndieGoGo:
We have the teaser trailer
up there for anyone to view and give them a feel of the horrifying
struggle at hand. There are a number of perks available including
reserving your copy of the film, either a digital download or physical
DVD. We also have a number of promotional prints from the film that will
be autographed and sent out to donators. The perk level goes up to being
able to get an executive producer credit on the feature and even seeing
exclusive footage that will not be released to anyone else in any other
Iíve had success with IndieGoGo in the past, including with my last short horror film, Words Like Knives.
It seemed like this was the feature to try the
crowdfunding attempt with as we already had a lot in place including the
location, equipment, and since we needed a very limited cast.
There are really very few mainstream horror films
anymore that really represent what the horror genre is capable of. The
best examples of this anymore are independent and foreign films. James and
I are very focused on making a creative and gripping horror film, thatís
heavy on genuine characters with universal struggles and strength to bring
out. We will deliver a disturbing horror film with depth and haunting
exploration upon funding.
the funds are raised, how do you plan to proceed - and even though I know
it's probably waaay too early to ask, any idea when the movie might be
we raise the funds, we will be able to shoot shortly after, tentatively
around late August or September for a 10 consecutive day shoot. After
post-production the film will be rearing to go forward on the film
festival circuit around the country - and possibly other countries as well,
definitely submitting to the many wonderful horror and genre festivals out
there. Of course, no matter where you are, you have the option of buying
the film now and being the first to see it when itís completed when
donating to the IndieGoGo campaign. We also do have goals for distribution
beyond film festivals so it just depends on what happens from there.
Any future projects beyond Within These
I just filmed my scenes for Axe to Grind last month, where I play the younger version of the
main character (played by Debbie Rochon [Debbie
Rochon interview - click here]). I had a few very intense scenes,
centering around the characterís tragic past. Itís another case of
psychological perceptions coloring oneís opinion, which is definitely
something that is very satisfying to explore and bring out.
Itís an incredible script with an even better group of very
talented people that made it happen. Iím honored to have been a part of
the project! Itís in post-production now, but I believe big things will
be happening with it!
I have a few other projects in the works as well,
both acting and writing. I will make sure to share as things develop
Your/your movie's website, Facebook,
IndieGoGo, whatever else?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
No problem, here are a few
helpful links you can reach me at and take a closer look at some of my
Within These Walls
Model Mayhem: http://www.modelmayhem.com/KelseyZukowski
These Walls Casting Call:
Anything else you are dying to
mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
Thanks for the awesome
interview and for showing interest and support for indie horror. Itís
the tight knit, passion-filled community that keeps the genre thriving!