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An Interview with Lou Simon, Director of Agoraphobia

by Mike Haberfelner

January 2015

Films directed by Lou Simon on (re)Search my Trash


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


Itís about a woman who is unable to leave her home due to an acute case of agoraphobia. She inherits a house where she thinks sheís going to finally be able to overcome her illness. Instead, she begins to suspect that the new house is haunted, and due to her condition, nobody believes her.


Agoraphobia as such - is that at all a fear you can relate to, and how did you happen upon it as a premise of your movie?


I have aviophobia, which became pretty severe after the events of September 11th. Itís under control now, but I had to go to therapy to be able to set foot on a plane again after that. Agoraphobia seemed like a similar type of phobia, where people look at you like youíre crazy and just canít understand why you canít just get over it. The idea of not being able to leave your house was scary to me on its own, so once you add that youíre not safe inside either, it seemed terrifying.


With Agoraphobia being a ghost story of sorts, is that a genre at all dear to you, and some of your genre favourites? And what do you think makes your movie different from the usual ghost story?


Ghost stories are definitely my favorite. The only issue I have with most of them is that you ask yourself, ďwhy donít they just leave?Ē I wanted to give this story a genuine reason. She canít leave because of her illness, and the people who might help her leave donít believe her.


Other sources of inspiration when writing Agoraphobia?


Driving through the Florida Keys, you see some very beautiful houses in remote islands. I liked the irony of having a house surrounded by so much beauty and not being able to go outside to enjoy it.


How would you describe your directorial approach to your story at hand?


To keep the audience disoriented. I wanted the audience to not know whether this is just her imagination, or whether it is something supernatural, or even if itís a trick someone is playing on her. If I succeed in keeping them guessing, then the twist at the end works. If not, I would have failed.


You produced Agoraphobia together with a dear long-time friend of this site, Tara Cardinal [Tara Cardinal interview - click here] - so what was your collaboration like, and how did she come on board even?


Tara and I are both part of a Facebook group of female directors. I had originally planned to film in Los Angeles, so I posted something on there asking for help from an experienced producer in L.A. She wrote me right away, and I was thrilled to have her onboard. Although we eventually moved the production to Miami, I would not have been able to do it without her. She took care of most of the casting and ran the entire production while I directed. Not only do we love working together, but weíve become really good friends.


Tony Todd and Cassandra Scerbo

Agoraphobia features fan fave Tony Todd in a major supporting role - so what was it like working with him, and how did you get him even?


That was all Tara. She fought to have him join the cast and made it happen. I was actually terrified of working with him. I thought heíd be difficult or demanding. Instead, he was a complete sweetheart and so easy to work with. He continues to be involved with the film and to help us promote it.


What can you tell us about the rest of your key cast, and why exactly these people?


We needed a very strong actor for the lead role, since sheís in ninety-five percent of the scenes. Iíd seen Cassandra Scerbo in Sharknado, and I thought that she was the best part of that film. Tara made that happen as well. The rest of the cast came from very talented actors that either Tara or I had worked with in the past or had always wanted to work with. When you have a cast of seven people, every performance has to be spot on or it kills your film.


I think your location is one of the key factors of Agoraphobia - so what can you tell us about the house it was filmed in, and the advantages but maybe also challenges of filming there?


One of the reasons we decided to make this film at this time was the fact that most of it happens in one location. That helps us keep the budget relatively low so that you can spend more money on talent. However, filming at someoneís house is very challenging. They initially are excited about it, but when fifty people descend on their house and wreak havoc, it stops being fun. I donít think Iíll ever do that again.


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


This has to be the hardest production for me yet. When you are trying to do an entire feature film in fifteen days and you are flying in talent, there is zero room for error. For example, we had Tony Todd on set for only one day, and we had to film all four of his scenes in those twelve hours, no matter what. I was actually physically ill that day on set, because the stress level was so high. But you just have to grin and power through.


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Any idea when and where the film is going to be released onto the general public yet?


We just signed a distribution deal for North America, Scandinavia, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Japan. I donít have dates yet though.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


We start production in mid-February on a new film called, All Girls Weekend. I like to call it a horrific adventure film, because itís not a typical horror film. Itís more of an adventure with some really gruesome events. Itís an all-female cast, and it takes place in the mountains. Itís my homage to one of my favorite films ever, The Descent, but without the monsters Ė five strong, adventurous women who are roughing it and get really roughed up. That last part might be an understatement.


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


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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and shall not be held responsible for
content of sites from a third party.

Thanks for watching !!!



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



Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Tršume ...


Und an diesem Tag geht natŁrlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!


Bauliche Angelegenheiten
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Michael Haberfelner


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