Your new movie Blood - in
a few words, what is it about?
Blood is about a serial killer who has a strong aversion to blood
but has the compulsion to kill nonetheless. After killing his latest victim,
he returns to his apartment only to discover that he is not alone.
What were your inspirations when writing Blood
- and to what extent could you identify with your main character and his
aversion to blood?
The concept of a character who commits acts
that straddle the line between pleasure and horror is really interesting
to me and something I can relate to. I think a lot of things I find the
most comfort or joy in could easily become painful, but that makes them
that much more enjoyable.
In terms of films, Mario Bava's Black
Sabbath [Mario Bava bio
- click here] was a huge inspiration, particularly the segment The Drop
of Water, and I actually reference it a few times. I also love shows like
from the Crypt and Romero's Creepshow, and I
see Blood as a modern adaptation of those types of
stories in which a character is punished for committing a morally
does feature quite a bit of, well, blood - so how much fun was it to play
around with the red stuff?
I love fake blood, and for
several of my projects have used it to its fullest capacity.
There were scenes (especially towards the end) where it took a team of
about 10 of our
dedicated crew members several hours to scrub it off the
walls, and even then we didn't get everything off. It was definitely a
unique set experience for a lot of people and I
plan on using fake blood again.
What can you tell us about
your directorial approach to your story at hand?
Since there is no dialogue, so much of the
film relies on Dave Belden's performance. I generally write characters who
live in moments of extremes, so I often told Dave to act as if gears
instantly shift in his head when something happens to him, so he can go
from being calm and relaxed in one moment to enraged and violent in the
I wanted the film to
creep up on people, so every element of it (the production design,
cinematography, score, etc.) needed to erupt in short bursts, and then
inch its way towards those bursts again.
I also love peppering my
films with little hidden details that expand on the story and characters,
and Blood has several moments of that, if you take the time to
notice them. There are secrets within Blood.
about your cast, and why exactly these people?
Dave Belden was a fantastic person to work
with. He constantly challenged the character, and would ask me questions
that really expanded his backstory. I love watching a scene for the first
time and being shocked by the intensity an actor brings, and that happened
several times while filming Blood. Dave never lost his sense
of humor, and would be able to deliver a really visceral performance, and
then make a joke right after we cut.
Dave also has a unique
look. When you talk to him, he is really gentle and engaged, but has a
level of intensity at all times, and we noticed that in his audition, and
it definitely carries into the film.
Amber Calderon played
his latest "victim," and we really worked on creating a subtle
backstory for her that comes up several times in the film. She was great
on set, and would push us to make her character as disgusting as possible,
especially at the end.
location definitely adds to the atmosphere of Blood
- so what can you tell us about the location you used?
was difficult to find a location that looked domestic with owners who were
willing to essentially destroy their home for the
duration of filming, so I decided to look for a location that felt
bare, but engulfing. I love creating ambiguous spaces where characters are
constantly revisiting rooms and locations but the camera never allows the
audience to fully piece together where they are. I wanted rooms that felt
connected but disjointed and, in actuality, we used several different
apartments and just created the illusion that they were connected. The
space really says a lot about the protagonist in the film.
few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
the time of filming, Blood was my biggest and most
ambitious production and it was completely
independent, so there was a
lot of excitement within the crew heads, who had
a large amount of creative freedom. The days were usually pretty
long and overwhelming (especially when the blood came out), but the crew
worked in sync without losing momentum.
Most of the people I worked with had never
done horror before,
so it was also exciting to see the
crew watch a room get splattered with blood for the
talk about critical and audience reception of Blood
so far for a bit!
We had a unique release campaign where
the film was online publicly for one hour, and that was a lot of fun to
announced it exactly one week prior and advertised it really intensely for
the week leading up to the release. We ended up getting a huge
response during its hour release, and people were really impressed (and,
fortunately, scared) by the film. I've had a few random people who saw it
approach me and tell me they really liked it, which is always a great
feeling. I can't wait to see it at a festival with a crowd.
The $64 question of course, when and
where will the film be released onto the general public?
are just starting to send it to festivals, so unfortunately it will not be
until sometime in
future projects you'd like to share?
I currently have one short in
post-production and it is definitely pretty gruesome, but not completely a
horror film. We also are shooting a new project, Pep, in a few
weeks, and it is going to be an aesthetic we have never done before,
blending the teenage high school sub-genre with some horror elements, so I
am really excited about that.
We also have a secret bigger project in
early stages of pre-production, but I can't disclose too much information
What got you into
filmmaking to begin with, and did you receive any formal education on the
I've been really into horror movies since I
was five. I watched The Sixth Sense and the remake of The
Haunting and they both scared
the shit out of me. I've been hooked since then. In 5th
grade, I would watch AMC's Fear Fridays where they had two horror films
play every Friday, and in that span of
time I saw so many influential movies that slowly expanded my taste.
I've been working
with cameras since I was 11 or 12, but I didn't start producing
work for public viewing until I was in high school. I'm currently a
Junior at Northwestern University in the film program, but, prior to
coming here, everything I learned was self taught.
What can you tell us about your filmwork prior
made several shorts prior to Blood, most of them horror. A
film I directed, Domestica, is almost coming to the
end of its festival run and has played in several
countries and all over the US. It also features a LOT of blood. We have a
couple projects online on our website as well.
few words about your production company Count
the Clock Productions, and the philosophy behind it?
the Clock was founded by myself and my
good friend, Grace Hahn, who produces all
of our projects. We essentially wanted to create a company that
challenges the expectations that
most people have for the horror genre, which is also,
unfortunately, looked down upon by most critics. Everything we
do is micro-budget, so we also want to show people that if you know how to
use your money well, you can make a great film for next to nothing.
are also focused on bringing together horror filmmakers in the Chicago
area, which is why we highlight Count
the Clock contributors on our
website. More specifically, we want to engage Chicago-based filmmakers who
are also interested in exploring and testing the boundaries of independent
horror film production. Our mission is to expand and amplify the presence
of horror film in the Chicago independent film community and the
collaborative opportunities therein.
would you describe yourself as a director?
I have a high energy on set and am
constantly trying to come up with ideas that challenge the expectations of both
myself and the crew. I take my work very seriously but am open to
ideas and suggestions from others, and when
I'm making my most disturbing work, I'm usually the
one laughing the most.
I want to continue to subvert the horror
genre by melding it into other genres that have not been done before. I
take huge inspiration from Andy Warhol's philosophies and really believe
that any type of art could be just as powerful as what is commonly
regarded as "high" art.
who inspire you?
I love Gus Van Sant, Dario Argento, David
Cronenberg, Harmony Korine, and Ben Wheatley, just to name a few.
Your favourite movies?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
are obviously so many, but I would say Deep
Red, All About Eve,
Ghost World, The Innocents, The
Descent, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf,
Possession, and Martyrs, again, just to name a few.
and of course, films you really deplore?
I think the worst
thing a film can be is boring and that usually happens when a filmmaker
takes themselves too seriously. I can't think of any specific titles, but
usually movies I hate are ones that I cannot even sit through.
movie's/your company's website, Facebook, whatever else?
for the interview!