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An Interview with Pat Tremblay, Director of Atmo HorroX

by Mike Haberfelner

May 2018

Films directed by Pat Tremblay on (re)Search my Trash

 

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

 

In a few words? Hum, that's tough, I'm used to say it's an experimental satire inside a psychedelic horror B-movie and wrapped into a cryptic mystery thriller. But other than that, let's say it's a social commentary on over consumption, and especially of prescription drugs in the paranoid world of surveillance that we currently live in.

 

Basic question, why a monster movie, and why did you take this very surreal approach to the genre?

 

I have a background as a solid horror movie fan since I was a teenager, but being curious in general led me to appreciate lots of different types of art and film styles, and for me this movie was a way of expressing my love for all of those things, yet while trying for it to be its own unique thing and not just a cut-and-paste collage of this and that. It's trippy yes, but I sincerely made the effort to infuse alot of logic and make these scenes fit together. But it's hard for the viewer in general, cause a good part of the links between them are only revealed towards the very end of the film. Sure, it's still has a cryptic angle and one's gotta think it through thoroughly, but I don't feel the need to give the spectator easy-to-digest answers. So why surreal? Well because that approach is also about breaking down barriers; it opens one's creativity by giving access to incredible possibilities and surprises. You can be free to explore the unexpected and that's very important to me in general.

 

(Other) sources of inspiration when dreaming up Atmo HorroX?

 

The inspiration came from the library of scenes that always spins in the think tank of my brain. I just had to make a few queries with "tag words", and the most pertinent ones for this project came to the forefront. But to be blunt, I just look at "real life", human behavior in xyz contexts and make observational conclusions. Then satirize them in what I think are the most fun AND/OR abrasive ways possible!!! It's all about maximizing the impact.

 

Now here's a fun question regarding the utter weirdness of your movie: Which character in Atmo HorroX do you identify with the most, and why?

 

Well if you look at the credits, you'll see that I'm playing Camorat-Z, which was simply done for a practical reason (someone less to cast), but still, he's the silent observer, and that's pretty much what I just described myself as being in my previous answer. This being said, that character is very shady, something I'd never be!

 

Do talk about the monsters in Atmo HorroX for a bit, and how were they achieved?

 

Well, first and foremost, knowing I was gonna do them in a B-movie spirit, I wanted them to be ultra basic and also very awfully designed, e.g. very UGLY. No symmetry, just made from raw "amateurish" and angry sculpting hands. I always felt that while super slick designs are visually pleasurable and are appreciated for their craftsmanship and detailed-oriented approach, they don't convey the true abstract feelings of SEEING horror (ok, one could say that this argument doesn't stand for a creature like Alien for instance, which is right, but anyhow). If you want me to name-drop, surely my reference points were coming from movies like Evil Dead, Burial Ground and Fulci movies' spfx [Lucio Fulci bio - click here]. But I also grew with Star Wars and Infra-Man. So there is a dosage of that in there too. But if we talk about Catafuse, well he just came out of my mind a year prior to the film, as a simple weirdo fun idea I wanted to do with my friend and actor Laurent Lecompte. That wonderful man is game for anything. I just decided to make sense of his accoutrements while thinking how I could justify rationally bringing this character to life and then created his background and added other layers to his motivations. So I designed and created them all, but I got to give a good credit to George Tucci who took care of important gags, the mechanics of the snake-like creature, the collapsing and foaming of the first monster's head, the scene with the hobo, one of the monster's mechanical mouth, all while he gave me precious advice for other things.

 

Atmo HorroX doesn't really feature any (intelligible) dialogue - so what was the idea behind that, and what kind of challenge was that when trying to drive the story forward?

 

I didn't want the spectators to be debating words or character decisions. I wanted them to take the film as an experience and let them use their own deduction skills to interpret what they FELT instead of analyzing what could have been spoken. My last film was very chatty (and justified for I believe), and I wanted to steer the complete other way and make one of those "show don't tell" films. And there's a 2nd part to that answer, which will come in the 2nd-to-next question below.

 

What can you tell us about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?

 

The film has a lot of "jumpcuty" segments and these were made as sort of a "best of" bits of whichever character while living whichever moment. More like a synthesis of elements of a character's persona or actions, like a device to summarize "quicker" some concepts (and show the passage of time as well obviously). Surely again, these are sincerely not super obvious but still intended that way. Otherwise, since my means were low, I mainly focused on my making interesting locked compositions as opposed to elaborate camera moves.

 

Do talk about your key cast, and why exactly these people?

 

Again, another situation of "what can I do do with a small budget". Hire friends. But all of this was reverse-engineered. While the writing was going on, if a scene was good, I had to think if either I knew someone who could could portray it OR, think of them first and feel what they could do best and easily bring out of themselves according to the themes of the film. There are only three people from the film who are real actors. This being said, I am 100% satisfied with everyone's performance, as they did everything I expected of them. This is not Hollywood or standard acting, but that's also very much the point.

 

A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?

 

Let's just say that since I wear a lot of hats, I always carry a certain degree of stress to do everything in day, especially since shooting a movie IS ALWAYS about constantly fighting for time, regardless of your budget. But that happens only in my head and I try to avoid showing it! Otherwise, everyone was a true sport to the bone. Thank god I have so much great friends, really. So basically, they know me, and can deal with the fact that I'm a bit demanding at times! But at the end of the day, I get what I want and I'm pretty certain they often have more fun than me!

 

Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Atmo HorroX?

 

Audiences are mostly confused but I get good comments, and critically speaking, I'm actually quite happy to see how much praise the film has gotten so far (see the press section of the official website for all the reviews quotes and links). I'm rather surprised that people seem to be open minded about it and intrigued, yet oftentimes just as perplex, but so far never dismissing it as a piece utter crap! But that will certainly change soon enough!

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

3 features written so far. A minimalist cosmic satire about religion. A beautifully poetic, yet commercial animated sci-fi film for the whole family (yes, really!).  And a stoner comedy, which surely sounds like a good bet for the next one since it's quite timely and definitely much more of a crowd pleaser. Plus it's really not expensive to make. But it needs a new draft before I start getting people interested. Yet before that, I have 2 art projects going on, one that I'll be starting to show on the web soon enough, on my Facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/pat.tremblay.5876 and Instagram @pattremblayart. Join in! The latter being a series of strange, absurd, often deranged and abstract portraits I've done through a mixture of drawing, paint and digital coloring.

 

What got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?

 

Well, I had to make a choice around 15 years old as to what my next school move would be, having to transition to a CEGEP (roughly, a Quebec equivalent of going to a US college I believe). And once I rounded it up to 2 choices, learning to make movies got me curious enough to try given how I loved cinema from a very young age. So 2 years later, I got my diploma in a cinema course at Ahuntsic (1991). But I then got rejected from Concordia University's cinema program. And I remember well how the interviewers weren't pleased when I mentioned that my filmmaker heroes of the time were George Romero and Sam Raimi. Obviously, that didn't stop me.

 

What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Atmo HorroX?

 

First feature is a very experimental and psychedelic comedy, I encourage you to check out the small website about it - www.headofcontrol.com. Then I made my 2nd www.hellaciousacres.com, which was way more easier on the spectator than my two others, YET extremely tough to endure for its deliberate desire to make you feel as miserable as the anti-hero of the film. Otherwise, I've done shorts, videos, art, music, etc! All on www.pattremblay.com

 

How would you describe yourself as a director?

 

A very hybrid one as we speak. But I 'd like to tackle different genres and try to innovate within their rules and logic.

 

Filmmakers who inspire you?

 

Damn, so many.......... short list and in no specific order: George Lucas, Sam Raimi, George Romero, Bertrand Blier, David Lynch, Terry Gilliam, Roy Andersson, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Harmony Korine, Yorgos Lanthimos, Woody Allen, Todd Haynes (for Safe in particular). And in the newcomers, Panos Cosmatos: he made a masterpiece on his first try in my book. Huge fan. Can't wait for Mandy.

 

Your favourite movies?

 

Ahhhhh.......... so hard. SO MUCH! I'm so eclectic in my interests.

 

... and of course, films you really deplore?

 

Fan-service movies/wink-wink cinema. PC movies. Cookie-cutter movies.

 

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

 

I really hate that I have to deal with so much!

www.pattremblay.com

@pattremblayart (no art yet but soon)

https://www.facebook.com/pat.tremblay.5876

@absurdhammer

www.atmohorrox.com

www.facebook.com/atmohorrox

www.twitter.com/atmohorrox

www.hellaciousacres.com

www.headsofcontrol.com

 

Feeling lucky ?
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Find Pat Tremblay
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USA  amazon.com

Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)  amazon.co.uk

Germany (East AND West)  amazon.de

Looking for imports ?
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Thailand  eThaiCD.com
Your shop for all things Thai

Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?

 

Film is available to buy on VOD here: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/atmohorrox. And tell us if you'd prefer a DVD and/or Blu-ray release for it as we're trying to figure if it's worth releasing a limited edition batch (signed, numbered and with special bonus trading cards).

+++ : We got merch cause we need to live! (& check out the special item!) - www.atmohorrox.com/atmo-horrox-merch.html

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

My pleasure! And thanks for your work + time passing the word around, it's very, very appreciated as it's super hard just to get medias to even open the e-mails for our freakin' press releases...

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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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
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
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) Träume ...

 

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

 

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