Your upcoming movie Whispers of Carcosa - in a few words,
what is it about?
of Carcosa tells the tale of a traveler who finds himself in a New England
town by the sea, searching for answers about the mysterious visions that
led him there. After an encounter with a scoundrel at the local tavern, he
continues his journey undeterred even as his visions turn to nightmares.
When the horrible truth is finally revealed, he discovers there are some
questions best left unanswered.
You describe Whispers of Carcosa
as a Lovecraftian horror movie - care to elaborate, and what does H.P.
Lovecraft mean to you as a storyteller/filmmaker?
Whispers of Carcosa
epitomizes the definition of Lovecraftian horror in that it emphasizes the
cosmic horror of the unknown (and in some cases, unknowable) more than
gore or other elements of shock, though these may still be present. As
such, the film is intended to be dark, unsettling and disturbing -
atmosphere and tension are a large part of this film.
Fans of the genre may
recognize the name Carcosa as the fictional city in the Ambrose Bierce
short story An Inhabitant of Carcosa or from the book of short stories by
Robert W. Chambers titled The King in Yellow.
borrowed heavily from Chambers and Bierce mentioning names and places such
as The Yellow Sign, Hastur, and Carcosa throughout his own stories,
expanding upon what would later become known as the Cthulhu Mythos.
of Carcosa though is not based directly on the writings of H.P.
Lovecraft but a poem by Jeromy Hodge - so what did you find so inspiring
about the poem to make a movie out of it?
A little back story is
required to answer this one properly. I met Jeromy at the airport in
Georgia on my way home from screening Dark Roast at
DragonCon - within
minutes of meeting, we hit it off and chatted for a while. I learned that
he was an aspiring filmmaker and shared a similar taste in movies. Our
time was short, but I gave him my card and suggested we should write
something together which is actually how this all came about.
The original poem by
Jeromy, titled The
(http://www.whispersofcarcosa.com/the-inspiration/the-fall/) contains themes of helplessness and unanswered questions,
not unlike Jeromy’s own inspiration, the works of Edgar Allan Poe.
familiar in Lovecraftian horror such as detachment, vulnerability and
unanswered questions, I saw the opportunity to explore cosmic
horror by incorporating elements of helplessness, the occult and a
horrible truth that tests the fragility of the human mind. Adapting the
poem for the screen, I found the need to justify the characters and their
motivations - such as why our traveler is in this unfamiliar place, why
was he led astray and who is this mysterious stranger he encountered?
of inspiration when dreaming up Whispers of Carcosa?
I watched a lot of Alfred Hitchcock
Presents, The Twilight
Zone, and Ray
Bradbury Theatre. In fact when David (Graziano) [David
Graziano interview - click here] read the script, he
mentioned a scene in the tavern being very reminiscent of something out of
Zone – which I of course took as a huge compliment.
can you tell us about the movie's approach to horror (as in suspense vs
sudden shocks, atmosphere vs all-out gore and the like)?
Staying true to
Lovecraftian horror, atmosphere and tension are a large part of this film.
Whispers of Carcosa is intended to be dark, unsettling and disturbing.
There are elements of gore (and slime – you can’t have Lovecraft
without slime!), they have a proper place in the film without to being a
driving narrative of the film.
is definitely not your typical, modern horror. The film relies on a
growing sense of fear and dread which is likely to appeal to the more
mature horror fan. If non-stop jump scares is your idea of a ‘scary’
movie or you were disappointed by not seeing the monster in The
you probably won’t like this film. Certainly to each their own – I
just want to set the proper expectations.
talk about the film's intended look and feel for a bit!
The film is set in classic
New England for reasons other than the obvious - those being convenience,
the setting for many of Lovecraft's tales, etc. but also because I want
the film to have a timeless feel. It's not a period piece, but it's not a
modern interpretation either.
outlined in the poem, the story takes place on a winter night and I’ve
been strongly leaning towards the film being primarily black and white
with color intended to indicate the truth being revealed throughout the
you can tell us about the film's projected key cast and crew yet, and why
exactly these people?
With such as small cast of
characters, I really wanted to cast individuals who are as unique and
memorable as the characters they are portraying. Sometimes the most
obvious choice is right in front of you as was the case with David
Graziano [David Graziano
interview - click here].
I posted a casting call
for The Traveler – seeking an older man with a unique look. I don’t
think an hour had passed before David contacted me to express interest and
I immediately gave him the part without a second thought. Cast in part for
his unique look, it was his performance as the priest in Ave Maria that
coinvinced me this
is the face of a man who has witnessed unspeakable horrors. At this point,
I can’t even imagine the film without him.
Kris Salvi came at the
recommendation of producer Christopher Di Nunzio [Christopher
Di Nunzio interview - click here] for the role of The
Scoundrel. Kris and David have worked together in the past, so there’s
an existing chemistry there that I think will really lend itself well as
The Scoundrel lulls The Traveler into a false sense of security. As I’ve
gotten to know Kris and seen more of his work, I really think he’s a
dark horse that people should keep an eye on. I haven’t had the pleasure
of working with him yet, but he’s a genuinely nice guy and has been
extremely supportive in our crowdfunding campaign efforts.
Tiffany Howcroft was a
no-brainer once I decided how important The Barkeeper character actually
is. During an exercise in which I was defining an outline of each
character, I defined the character as a domineering matriarch whom despite
her silence, communicates clearly and commands respect. Realizing I needed
someone who could bring that to life, Tiffany was my first choice. She was
the life of the party so to speak when we shot Planchette and I’m
thrilled to be working with her again so soon!
I was hoping to bring
Stephen Wu on board to play the part of The Stranger – not that I wanted
to hide his face in a hood again, but the nuanced performance he gave as
the killer in Planchette
would have been absolutely perfect for our
mysterious stranger. Alas, Stephen has gone West to pursue his career and
I wish him the best of luck!
Stranger, dressed in long hooded robe, seeming impossibly tall and somehow
strangely more familiar as The Traveler's visions turn to nightmares. It
appears to be human, but could be Hastur incarnate as the stranger has no
face. The role currently remains uncast.
At least to me, a film like Whispers
of Carcosa seems to demand strong locations - so what can you tell us
Being a Massachusetts
native, locations for the film are certainly plentiful. I initially had my
eye on Salem, MA because it varies so much in look and feel. You have the
waterfront and all the pedestrian spaces with these great brick buildings
and alleyways, but down the street you can find colonial style homes,
antique grave yards, statues and a few other areas that could easily pass
for an underground cultist temple.
NH, Kennebunkport, ME and Newburyport, MA are also on the list for
potential exterior locations. It’s the interior locations that have been
the most difficult to find in terms of matching the look I’m going for.
As we speak, your film's still in its
fundraising stages - so what can you tell us about your campaign?
We’re near the tail end
of the campaign with about 10 days to go and it’s been the textbook
experience with a large surge of interest in the beginning, a bit of a
lull in the middle and we’re hoping the typical trend continues with us
having a strong finish!
order to keep our campaign goal achievable, I made the choice to largely
forgo physical rewards in favor of digital ones. 67%
of the budget goes directly to compensating the cast and crew – of which
the lion’s share is to pay all these fine folks, myself excluded of
the budget's in place, what's the schedule? And any idea when and where
the film might be released onto the general public yet?
targeting early November with 3 days (or nights as the case may be) of
shooting. Ideally, we’d like to make them consecutive days but it’s
not the end of the world if that doesn’t happen – if we can get a
solid 8 hours of shooting outside, we can shoot the interior scenes as
regardless of the weather.
terms of release – that’s largely dependent on how well it’s
received at festivals. If it garners a lot of interest, it may not be
available to the public at large until sometime in 2017, though our
Kickstarter backers will get early access to the film.
future projects beyond Whispers of Carcosa?
Nothing solid yet, but
I’ve sort of envisioned Whispers of Carcosa as part of an anthology.
I’ve read a couple of short scripts from other local filmmakers that I
think would fit really well by casting actors into thematic roles that
would justifiably carry over into this film.
I survive this production, I might tackle a feature – right after a
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
movies' website, Facebook, Kickstarter, whatever else?
Twitter: @CarcosaWhispers (https://twitter.com/carcosawhispers)
for the interview!
you for the opportunity to talk about Whispers of Carcosa – I greatly