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An Interview with Harley Wallen, Director and Star of Ash and Bone

by Mike Haberfelner

October 2022

Harley Wallen on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie Ash and Bone - in a few words, what's it about?


Cassie is a rebelling teen and with a new stepmom it escalates and her father Lucas decides to take her and his new wife Sarah out of the city for some bonding and quality time together. What they find instead is the McKinleys, an urban legend more true and terrifying than their worst nightmare.


Now how did the project come into being in the first place?


As a big horror fan Iíve always wanted to give some nods to some filmmakers and movies that inspired me along the way. When we made Agramonís Gate I wanted to give a nod to the mysterious daemonic horror films such as The Exorcist and even Poltergeist etc. With Ash and Bone I wanted to give a nod to some of the early 2000ís backyards violent tales like Wrong Turn, Texas Chainsaw Massacre etc. So we created a upper Michigan folklore in the McKinleys and gave the Vanderbilts reason to go there.


What can you tell us about Ash and Bone's writer Bret Miller, and what was your collaboration like?


Our collaboration is always fantastic, we have done this now on a few scripts and I feel like he really understands my style and how I like to tell stories because he also is much more about the storytelling and the characters, the intricacies beyond the simple stuff on the surface, and I love that!


Do talk about Ash and Bone's approach to horror?


What I really like about it is to go back to the impressions Iíve had over the years my Hitchcock impression has been very strong. I love suspense, I love wonder, I love drama and I love to relax the audience before I re-tighten the grip and thatís what I try to do, create a rollercoaster for the audience to go on a journey.


What can you tell us about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?


I think one of the fun things was how when everybody read the first draft of the script they assumed the McKinleys to be ďsouthernĒ because thatís what they are in so many films, but we wanted to keep this one in Michigan and go after UP accents! I also wanted the characters clearly defined pulling in different directions because thatís how disruption occurs. Especially within each unit itself.


You also appear in front of the camera in Ash and Bone - so what can you tell us about your charcter, and what did you draw upon to bring him to life?


Lucas is definitely a character I havenít played before, he is an enabler, indecisive and passive, and that costs him at every turn. He becomes a victim of his own circumstances and we still canít see him growing a spine, and communicating could have saved him but he deals with grief very differently than myself.


Do talk about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?


The secret ingredient to this cast was that the best auditions got the roles (although Jimmy Doom was an inspiration for the actual and eventual Clete). The cast found its way through sorting the best auditions for the most part. Although we toyed with very different options early on with Sean Whalen as Clete, with Yan Birch as the Sheriff and Scout Taylor-Compton was actually hired to play Anna when a schedule conflict changed things. But I knew Jamie Bernadette [Jamie Bernadette interview - click here] would be a great fit and deliver a memorable performance!!


A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?


We had a great experience, although we were tired when we wrapped as mostly we filmed overnights and slept during the day. It became extra special when we were out in the country as we stayed at the cabin and in trailers, and there wasnít anything but nature pretty much around.


Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Ash and Bone?


I always try to go to festivals and when possible sneak in and sit in the back with a hat and see how people like it not knowing Iím there - so I had a good idea people would like it but itís been a bit overwhelming the first week or so! Feedback has for the very most part been great!!


Any future projects you'd like to share?


Yes I have a film that I am ready to sign and probably will be signing at AFM this November called Beneath Us All. It is a unique spin on a vampire story that I think people will love! I reunite Sean Whalen and Yan Birch from The People Under the Stairs and add Maria Olsen [Maria Olsen interview - click here] from I Spit on Your Grave: Deja Vu and Percy & The Olympians. With Angelina Danielle Cama, Kaiti Wallen, Michael Alexander and more so itís got a great cast!


Then in post production right now is the true story of Finding Nicole that was introduced to the world by Chris Cuomoís Inside Evil. Itís about ďgirl meets boy gone wrongĒ, a domestic violence awareness type of film Iím very excited about!


Your/your movie's website, social media, whatever else?


Feeling lucky ?
Want to
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?

The links below
will take you
just there!!!

Find Harley Wallen
at the amazons ...


Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)

Germany (East AND West)

Looking for imports ?
Find Harley Wallen here ...

Your shop for all things Thai

The easiest thing to do would probably be to follow Painted Creek Productions, Kaiti Wallen or Harley Wallen on any of the social media platforms, weíre pretty accessible with our fans, especially Instagram and Facebook but also on Twitter & TikTok.


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


I would like to say thank you for being what I think a film critic should be and that is somebody who actually watches the film with an open mind then share their thoughts and feelings on it.


Thanks for the interview!


Thank you Michael, thank you for taking the time!


© by Mike Haberfelner

Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
content of sites from a third party.

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