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An Interview with Thor Moreno, Director of Helpless

by Mike Haberfelner

October 2013

Films directed by Thor Moreno on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your short Helpless - in a few words, what is it about?

 

Helpless is about a family that is traveling at night and run into trouble. It is story that has been told before, e.g. Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Wolf Creek. The difference is that we do not see the face of the monster. We do not know if it is outside the car or inside with them. Plus, the thought of being that vulnerable with a baby and no help is terrifying.

 

What were your inspirations when writing Helpless?

 

My inspiration was seeing the film Hitchcock and re-remembering how scary those films were without the use of gore. I wanted to see if I could do something like it myself as a filmmaker.

 

Helpless is extremely limited in terms of of location - so to what extent was that limiting to you as a director, to what extent inspiring, perhaps even liberating?

 

The fact that we only used one location was great. It's almost like a play. With darkness we created an atmosphere that leaves the viewer feeling isolated and alone.

 

With Helpless being a horror thriller - is that a genre you're fond of, actually, and why (not)?

 

I have always loved horror. It has been very exciting to get back to what inspired me to make films in the first place. And after ten years of doing gangster films, this has been a blast for me.

 

Do talk about Helpless's cast for a bit, and why exactly these people?

 

Becky Scholtec and Lonnie Appleby are both from a theater background and to my knowledge this was their first film.  I am now a true believer in working with theater people more. The level of professionalism and work ethic is unmatched. The were incredibly prepared. In addition, bringing up James Lukenbill Jr from Texas was a no-brainer. He has a wealth of talent and knowledge as an actor.

 

Becky Scholtec

Lonnie Appleby

James Lukenbill jr

 

What can you tell us about the actual shoot, and the on-set atmosphere?

 

The set was an old dirt road that has one way in and one way out. We were about five miles from the nearest town and it was scary out there - which I'm sure helped the actors get into the right frame of mind.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

What most people don't realize about Helpless is that it is actually the first episode to a web-series. We begin shooting other episodes in November.

 

What got you into filmmaking to begin with, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?

 

I have always wanted to be in films in some capacity. Once digital filmmaking became an option for me in about 2002, I started making films with family and friends. From there I started making music videos for bands. Finally in 2010, I made my first feature film I Think I Just Saw the Devil and then Iowa. This year I have made a few short films that have allowed me to touch on subjects that I wanted to explore like Colorburn starring Annette Duffy [Annette Duffy interview - click here]. It is a 25 minute drama that is doing well in festivals right now. I have had no formal training. I feel as though I put myself through film school by simply making  movies.

 

What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Helpless, and your growth as a director?

 

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I feel that I can see growth from every project. I think in the beginning, I was so grateful to have people show up on the set that rather than push them for better performances, I would settle. Over time I have become less passive and I tend to push the cast much harder. Now I realize that what we all want is the best film we can make. Sometimes you have to be pushy or demanding to get the story told the correct way.

 

How would you describe yourself as a director?

 

As a director, I try to create an environment that an actor can feel safe and secure. I want them to feel free of judgement on my set. I have expectations of the cast and I make sure they are clear from the start. You better know your lines and you better not be late. I hate wasting time.

 

Filmmakers who inspire you?

 

Some filmmakers that I am inspired by are the Coen Brothers, Tarantino, Hitchcock, Fabian Bielinsky, and Paul Haggis are a few.

 

Your favourite movies ... and of course, films you really deplore?

 

There are films that I can watch over and over again.  To me they never get boring. Films like Miller's Crossing, Pulp Fiction, The Aura, 28 Days Later, and so on. But movies that make me angry because they are so bad are films like the The Purge or most romantic comedies.

 

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

 

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4358567/?ref_=rvi_nm

https://www.facebook.com/colorburnathormorenofilm

https://www.facebook.com/ithinkijustsawthedevil.the.movie

https://www.facebook.com/Iowamovie

https://www.facebook.com/HelplessAThorMorenoFilm

 

www.iowathemovie.com

www.ithinkijustsawthedevil.com

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhaoMbNckYs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qp0eDgXKO38

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlT1u6ri5iQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5K5PL5EiDAY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fnHZoJYymU

 

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

 

I want to thank you for your time! I invite your readers to check out my films and I hope you enjoy what you see!!!

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

© 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!!!

 

Bauliche Angelegenheiten
ein Roman von
Michael Haberfelner

 

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