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An Interview with Peter Koller, Director of On Evil Grounds

by Mike Haberfelner

July 2008

For films directed by Peter Koller
on (re)Search my Trash
click here !


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Latest: Auf bŲsem Boden/On Evil Grounds will be released on DVD Halloween 2008. Click here to get it from (German language, English subtitles).


You are about to release your debut feature film, Auf bŲsem Boden/On Evil Grounds. Can you tell us in a few words what the film is actually about ?


Romeo and Juliet, a couple that has a very odd perception of their relationship, decide to buy a loft situated in a run-down factory. What they donít know is that the owner of the factory and his real estate agent are a couple of deranged serial killers who usually torture and kill off any potential buyers. Problem is that Romeo and Juliet refuse to act like the usual victims in your average slasher film and everything goes bonk. OEG is sort of a very dark humored Tom & Jerry meet Hostel cartoon violence mayhem flick with the look of a spaghetti western.


The film contains plenty of rape, torture, bondage, murder. What would you answer people who accuse you of using gratuitous violence to sell your film ?


Itís a movie. Itís not real. If people cannot tell a movie from reality I cannot help them.


The film is frequently advertised as Sergio Leone meets Tom & Jerry. Would you like to comment on that ?


What I aimed for was to cartoonize that gritty real violence that was shown in movies from Last House on the Left to the recent Hostel movies. I find the repetition in the average slashermovie quite boring, the behaviour of the victims, how they get killed off in the same way everytime Ė I understand part of it is just playing by the rules of the horror genre, but it became way too predictable over the years. So I set out to make a new kind of slashermovie that I would like to see myself, something that would entertain me. And being a huge fan of Sergio Leone I found the combination of OEG with his look quite tempting and fitting since his westerns are also postmodern: They also parodize and (in a different way from OEG) cartoonize the American western. He was doing over-the-top westerns.


A question directly linked to the last one: Your main influences on On Evil Grounds ?


Looks: Leone. Mood: Takeshi Kitano. And then the Warner Bros cartoons. What I did not recognize at first was the influence of Belgian cartoonist Franquinís Gaston LaGaffe-cartoons, but after having finished the movie for a while now I begin to see that there are many more influences that went into it unconsciously: Bud Spencer & Terrence Hill, Cronenberg, Takashi Miike, there is always something new that I can point to a certain inspiration.


You made the movie on a rather low budget and shot it on miniDV. Did you ever feel bothered by the budgetary and technical restraints, or did you rather feel it as a challenge and an opportunity to improvise ?


Definitely the second. I think no matter how much money you get for a movie, the budget will always be tight. Even on big movies no one is throwing money out of the window. Needs to be tight, because those restraints force you to be creative Ė this pressure helps making a better movie. Having tons of more money than you actually need would just lead to lazyness, I guess.


How long did it take you to make the film from first day of shooting to rough cut ?


August 2005 to February 2006Ö 7 months. And then an additional 12 months to finish it completely.


And how hard was/is it to get the film released ?


It takes a lot of time, there are countless movies out there and if you donít have an A-list cast you are in the middle of the competition, like being in the middle bulk of a Formula One race. Itís tough. But I guess in the long run it pays off, but you do need to be able to go quite a distance.


How easy/hard is it to make such a film in - of all countries - Austria, and what can you tell us about the Austrian independent movie scene ?


Well, no one stands in your way, in this regard I think it is not any easier or more difficult to make a low-budget movie here or anywhere else. There is an independent scene in Austria but it is so independent that even the indies donít know that it exits. No, seriously: The official film business in Austria is tiny and the independent scene's even smaller.


Is it hard to get actors and actresses to star in a rather unusual film like yours ?


No, there are a hundred times more actresses/actors than movies are being made and if a movie comes along that is off the beaten path ... no, it was rather simple finding the actors. A nice script finds them itself.


Making its rounds on the festival circuit, On Evil Grounds won Best Film and Best Director at the Buenos Aires Rojo Sangre Filmfestival. How much do awards like this mean to you ?


Personally I find it nice, especially if the award comes from a small hardcore genre festival where the audience really digs that kind of movie. Business-wise it also help, more publicity more exposure, more open doors.


When and where will the film be released ?


The DVD will be released in Austria/Germany/Switzerland at Oct 31th 2008, and in France we even will have a theatrical release late 2008.


The film's website and/or mySpace and/or whatever ? and on mySpace just look up my name, Iím there.


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What made you go into directing in the first place, and can you tell us a bit about your previous experiences ?


I grew up watching movies. First influences were Star Wars and Indiana Jones when I was ten years old and from there I started to dig deeper, but the decision to make movies was made when I was a kid. That magic caught me early on.


Movies you really liked, both recent releases and all-time favourites ?


Recently Ö didnít see so much, but the French Dead End was fun, Aachi and Sssipak almost killed me so funny was it, and even Hancock 2 days ago was worth its time.

All time favorites ... thatís a difficult one, I am more a directorís fan, so any movie from John Carpenter, James Cameron, David Cronenberg, Sergio Leone, Takeshi Kitano, Johnny To and some others would in some parts show up on such a list.


... and some movies you really deplored ?


Recently? The Incredible Hulk, Doomsday, 30 Days of Night, the Saw-series ... I have quite a rejection against poorly written stuff that could be great if someone would have switched his brain on when making those films.


Anything else I've forgotten to ask but you are just dying to tell us ?


Yeah. Buy the DVD when itís out. We are just working our asses off for the making-of features so I want everybody to see our sweat on it.


Thanks for the interview !


© by Mike Haberfelner

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Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




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