Your movie The Creepy
Doll - in a few words, what is it about?
the story of the pregnant wife, Kate, and her childhood dolls that arrive
at her new home. One doll in particular has a very unusual history, and
seems to give Kate solace ... and also some insight into her husbandís
talk a bit about the movie here:
were your inspirations for writing The
Creepy Doll, and was any of this based on personal experiences,
fears and the like? And what's your personal relationship with dolls?
it was not based on personal experiences except for the aspect of having
been a pregnant woman. I like to center on female archetypes in my movies,
and throw them into unexpected situations. Iíve never been afraid of
dolls - at all. But I have experienced the strange situation a woman
finds herself in to go from being a sexually desirable woman to being a
madonna figure who serves as a vessel for another human. Itís a strange
actually wrote The Creepy
because I had met Susan Andrews, who makes
these amazing dolls with dark and unusual qualities - she calls them
Paranormal Babies. I wanted to make a movie using her skills. The plot
would you describe your directorial approach to your story at hand?
tried to maintain point of view in the shots that carries through an
emotional arc. I love visual storytelling that centers on one personís
perceptions, primarily, and I tried to play on that element. I use the
camera to show how Kate views the world suspiciously, which I relate to
her circumstances. Thematically, when a woman is pregnant, the world
around her changes - and in this case the changes are exacerbated by the
surroundings, the doll, the advice of the grandmother, etc. Iíve also
included the POV of the doll on occasion to give the viewer a sense of
unease, especially since the look of the doll changes throughout the
movie. All of these elements informed my decisions as a director.
just have to talk about the titular creepy doll itself for a bit, and
where did you find it even?
we had them designed especially for the movie by Susan Andrews of
Paranormal Babies (www.paranormalbabies.com).
not just one doll that the viewer sees - there are three versions. Two of
them are similar, and the shift between them is quite intentional. If you
pay attention, you will see one that looks uninterested, with uneven eyes
and a forelorn look, and one looks like it has its eyes on you and is
gritting its teeth. You can watch a special feature on the DVD about the
making of the dolls!
What can you tell us about
your key cast, and why exactly these people?
had worked with Kristine Renee Farley before, and I knew her to be
well-prepared and dedicated. She has a nice look that could read young and
childlike while also being piercing and kind of scary. The fellow who
played her husband, Justin Veazey, was our relative newcomer, but he was
surrounded by such veterans that he felt supported as an actor and a
character, and he gave a nice balance to her. The folks who played his
parents, Cindy Maples and Randy Hardesty, had done several projects with
us and I knew I could count on them to give the sort of pulled-back
performances I would need. Jessica Dockrey, the ex-fiance, needed to be
sexy but also conscientious, and weíve worked with her several times so
I knew what she was capable of. Steve Hudgins [Steve
Hudgins interview - click here], the ďcousinĒ of the
husband, is, in fact, my Big
Biting Pig partner, and he will do whatever I
tell him <grin>. His performance here is nuanced, especially as seen
through Kateís and the dollsí points of view.
A few words
about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
borrowed the house of a friend of mine who travels and was always
able to be out of the way. Since a lot of the film takes place in the
house, this was convenient because we could spend entire weekends there. A
lot of the film takes place at night, indoors, and so we used plastic over
the windows to create dark outside, which made it easier on the actors and
on us for planning purposes.
had a great crew, as always, and no divas, even with difficult scenes.
What I remember most is the two-day dinner scene. Everyone was so sick of
that food by the end of filming it!
can you tell us about critical and audience reception of your movie so
with any film, it has lovers and haters - but the review sites, for the
most part, ďgotĒ it. Anyone who expects something like Chucky is
going to be disappointed. This is more of a psychological thriller,
focusing on the characters. Itís low-budget but takes itself seriously
and aims to draw the viewer into the experience. I expect to put some
folks off-kilter with a female lead who is NOT a victim. In fact, sheís
quite the opposite.
Any future projects you'd like to share?
currently in pre-production for the next project, a female mad scientist
movie with a working title of Dr. Frances Stein. It will be my fourth, and
Biting Pigís ninth, feature film. (More on that in a later
got you into filmmaking to begin with, and did you receive any formal
training on the subject?
Hudgins [Steve Hudgins
interview - click here] dragged me into this crazy business! I have a background in
fiction writing and an MFA (Master of Fine Arts) in fiction writing, with
a number of mostly minor publications under my belt. As an East Coast
native, I didnít think really consider screenwriting at the time I was
going to school. But my experience and education provided the background I
needed: theatre, writing, acting, directing (stage) and even video editing
in a former job. I have no formal training, but I feel strongest in the
writing and directing aspects. The technical has taken a bit longer for me
What can you tell us about your
filmwork besides The Creepy
a matter of fact, weíve done three movies since The Creepy
out! I wrote and directed Lucid (2013), which featured Bill Johnson
Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2). Weíve also produced
Spirit Stalkers (2012) and The Caretakers (2014), both written and
directed by Steve Hudgins [Steve
Hudgins interview - click here]. My first feature is called Widow (2009), and it
is the 3rd in the Big
Biting Pig list. It has a lot of ďproductionĒ
weaknesses, but is still probably my favorite script.
When it comes to movies, you seem to have
done it all, from writing, directing and producing to acting,
cinematography and editing - so what do you enjoy the most, what could you
would say writing is my first love and I am by nature an interior person
who doesnít mind the solitude of writing (I kind of like being in my
head more than anywhere else). However, I love the various aspects of
storytelling that all of these tasks afford me. My least favorite is
cinematography and I only do that job if I have to, mostly because I feel
less confident at it. My favorite in the short term is acting, but I think
I would get tired of it as a full-time endeavor. The isolation of writing
and editing is balanced, for me, by the collaborative nature of
I spend a portion of the year writing, a portion directing, and a portion
editing - so I get quite the variety. When I get to act as well, thatís
P.J. with Steve Hudgins
A few words about your production company
Biting Pig Productions, and your partner-in-crime Steve Hudgins [Steve
Hudgins interview - click here] -
and how did you two first hook up even?
met him doing theatre. He invited me to have a part in his first film
project (with another production company) and then duped me (just kidding)
into helping edit since I had some experience at that. Shortly after, he
asked me to partner full-time producing horror films. I had no idea I
would grow to enjoy it so much and begin writing and producing my own.
Since my education and background is in writing and I had some experience
in theatre, it felt perfectly natural to segue to filmmaking. Plus, I was
looking for a new outlet for my creativity.
You have also
written several stageplays, right? So what can you tell us about that
aspect of your career?
dabbling. Itís a whole different ballgame.
How would you describe yourself
as a director?
think Iím an actorís director but also very much a stickler for
details. I like to arrive with a good plan in place and I rely on others
to take care of much of the technical work, but I also try to feel the
moment and give it whatever direction it needs. With details already
arranged, my focus can be on the performances and how everything looks on
the monitor. I know what itís like to be an actor - what it feels like to
have to trust someone else to tell you whether youíre looking authentic
- and so I try to give my actors a lot of feedback without
putting them in a defensive position. Everyone (including crew) needs to
feel supported in what they are doing, and itís up to the director to
set the tone for that. I will not tolerate negativity on set.
far as the vision of a film, I think I do more of that when Iím editing,
although we do have to have the shots ďin the cameraĒ, so to speak.
Again, itís part planning, part intuition, and part good karma!
Filmmakers who inspire you?
Lars von Trier, Jane Campion, Sofia Coppola, Darren Aronofsky, Jonathan
Glazer, Steven Soderbergh. There are so many.
Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick.
is one of my favorite movies of all time. Takes my breath away.
Black Swan, Lost in
Translation, Under the Skin, The Piano. As
you can see, I am drawn to stories with women in the main roles.
horror, I like Sixth Sense, The Others, The
Shining, Carrie, Psycho, and
the original Night of the Living
Dead. There are so many. I always list
different ones, depending on my memory!
... and of course, films you really
Well ... I rarely HATE a film, though I often feel like films miss the mark in
some area or other. I have the utmost respect for any film that is
complete and makes sense. I get tired of the usually Hollywood formulaic
stuff, but even then I can usually find something to respect. I do get
tired of seeing women portrayed as sex objects or props for the male
characters. I don't LOVE some of the classics I'm supposed to love (as a
director) because of the poorly written female characters. It's one of the
things I watch for.
I deplore are usually low in character development, storyline, and respect
for the audience. Iíve been to a fair number of horror conventions and
Iíve seen some REALLY bad films. I mean really bad. And I know how hard
it is to make a movie. So I think Iím probably pretty lenient.
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Biting Pig has a website, FB page, and Twitter account:
Productions has a website, FB page, and Twitter account:
old bitch makes horror flicks is my blog, and I also have a Tumblr as this old bitch:
you can find us all over the place!
Anything else you are dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
forgot to mention that I also do most of the makeup effects for the
movies. And there are some pretty decent ones in The Creepy
Thanks for the interview!