Your new movie Paranormal
Asylum: The Revenge of Typhoid Mary - in a few words, what is it
Asylum: The Revenge of Typhoid Mary tells the
story of two film school best friends, Mark (Aaron Mathias) & Andy
(Nathan Spiteri), who set out to make a documentary about the mysterious
disappearance of a character called Typhoid Mary. What they discover is
that the story is far more disturbing than they thought, and turns out
that Michelle (Laura Gilreath), Andy’s fiancée, is being slowly
possessed by Typhoid Mary.
Asylum: The Revenge of Typhoid Mary is said to be inspired by
true events. Care to elaborate?
Yeah, Typhoid Mary, aka Mary Malone, was a real person who lived in the
US at the turn of the century. She was an immigrant from Ireland, who
worked in the US as a cook. She was a healthy carrier of the Typhoid
fever, at that time an easily-transmitted and highly-deadly disease, and
as a result of her line of work – a privately hired cook working for
wealthy families – she infected 51 people with confirmed 3 fatalities. She
was arrested and sentenced to live the remainder of her life in solitary
confinement on a tiny island just east of Manhattan. Her metonym Typhoid
Mary is still used today in popular culture and in scientific literature.
She is considered to be the first diagnosed healthy carrier of a disease
in a time when such concept was not well understood or believed to be
possible. It also carries a
set of moral issues – at what price would you trump individual liberties
over the well-being of society – an issue we are facing today in various
forms. There are additional true events that tie into the film, such as
the creation of the drug Thorazine – the first drug ever created with
the intent to control people's behavior, and which was one of the leading
causes to the closure of many psychiatric hospitals, among them various historical and nearly condemned sites in New York state and the
Hudson Valley, which is rich in US history.
How did you get involved with the project in the
first place, and how did it get off the ground?
at the Hudson Valley in New York State for business and spotted the
dilapidated remains of what is left of the Hudson River Psychiatry
Hospital, which at the time was one of the most ornate and opulent
psychiatric hospitals ever built. It’s the type you see in movies such
as Shutter Island and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest – the real deal. It was a
formidable structure. Just sitting there, hidden from the public,
overgrown, partially damaged and extremely quiet, and on a dreary, rainy
day, which is very common in New York, being there is a frightening
experience. I think that place set the tone for the movie. Coupled with
the story of Typhoid Mary, which I described above, is simply a
fascinating one from many different aspects, - it was simply irresistible.
Asylum: The Revenge of Typhoid Mary being a ghost story, is that a
genre you can at all relate to? And your personal take on actual "paranormal
You know it’s funny – we
interviewed many experts in the field about paranormal, and opinions range
from non-believers to agnostics to die-hards.
I personally don’t have sufficient knowledge on the matter to
truly voice an opinion. Do I walk around trying to communicate with
ghosts? No. Do I believe it is possible within the realm of this universe?
Well, let me as ask you a question – how does gravity work? There are
several opposing theories that can only explain it in - theory. There is
more unexplained than there is explained in this world, so is paranormal
What can you tell us about your
directorial approach to your story at hand? And given that everybody does
it nowadays and your movie's plot almost suggests it, were you ever
tempted to turn this one into another found footage movie?
I am not a fan of found footage. It can be done very well, like in Chronicle.
Asylum: The Revenge of Typhoid Mary has some found footage, which is used primarily in the pretext of the
making of the movie within the movie, but it’s not the core of the
can you tell us about your cast, and why exactly these people?
The cast is great. They are all very talented and they deserve to be
recognized for they work they put in. Aaron Mathias who plays Mark is very
charming on and off camera and has a great ability to play a withdrawn
character with intensity. Nathan Spiteri who plays Andy, is a very
likeable immature jerk. I really liked his audition. He stood out. Laura
Gilreath who plays Michelle was also really great. She had to play two
different roles – one of a Gen-Y type modern young woman and the other
of an extremely manipulative and dark character. She gave very impressive
performance. Jenny Lee Mitchell, who plays Typhoid Mary, had a lot of fun
with her role and gave it a slightly theatrical spin. It was nice to give
her role a little “break”. And Grace Evans who plays Evelyn was simply
great. She is powerful and subtle.
simply have to talk about your main location, the "haunted
asylum", for a bit - how did you find it, what were the advantages,
trials and tribulations filming there, and to what extent did the film
mirror the place's actual atmosphere?
Oh man, that’s an entire conversation.
I love haunted locations and I love ruined sites. Ever since I was
a child. And New York State is simply full of them. The sad part is that
many have been condemned rather than preserved. I guess that’s the price of
modernism, even though it doesn’t have to be this way. I touched up on
the main location above. We also filmed at the Bannerman Armorie –
it’s a still standing ruined castle atop a small island in the midst of
the Hudson Valley River. Very awesome place. We used various other sites,
ruins, cemeteries and islands all around New York. We shot some of the
scenes outside the Hudson Psychiatric State Center, which was closed down
about 6 month after we filmed. It was an active psychiatric hospital with
abandoned outlying posts. It’s ironic, since Paranormal
with the backstory of the closure of mental asylums – and here we are
shooting at a location that was closed shortly thereafter.
As far as I know,
the film hasn't had a widespread release yet - so what can you tell us
about critical response to your film so far, and any idea when the movie
might be released onto the general public?
Sure. The movie is coming out in the UK August 5th, in the
Philippines September 20th I believe, in the US October 22nd,
Africa in November sometimes and we also have deals in Latin America,
Germany and a few others that are in the works.
Filmmakers who inspire you?
Ingmar Bergman and Woody Allen. I used to go by filmmakers, but now I
pretty much go by films.
If I can name 4 – they would be: Wild
Strawberries, for the existential dilemma of life, Blade Runner,
for the atmosphere and tone, Dark Water, for the mother-daughter story, and
Enron: The Smartest Guy in the Room,
for the journey.
... and of course, films you really
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
You know, I really don’t want to get into trouble ;-) There are films I
watched that I regret, such as Hostel.
It’s hard for me to understand why people want to see a film like this.
I’m sure there’s a whole lot like it, so I’m not trying pick on this
one particularly. I watched it since the director came from the same film
school I went to, and I’m willing to pay up to $1,000 if I could wipe it
out of my memory.
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever
We do have a Facebook and YouTube
sites. We are slowly adding videos of paranormal experts discussing their
experiences, as well as cast interviews and experts discussing Typhoid
Mary. Worth checking.
Anything else you are
dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
I hope people enjoy what the film has to offer – a lot of different
stories, great and unique locations, great acting and Typhoid Mary!
Thanks for the interview!