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An Interview with J.D. Ellenberger, Director of Tales of Bedlam: A Trilogy of Lunacy Madness and Despair

by Mike Haberfelner

January 2023

J.D. Ellenberger on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your upcoming movie Tales of Bedlam: A Trilogy of Lunacy Madness and Despair - in a few words, what is it about?

 

Tales Of Bedlam revolves around three short stories, where each leading character from each respective story has their own personal demons, fear, and phobias, that they must confront.

 

I feel that a film focusing on such issues at this particular moment of time is quite relevant, especially as an American, where here in the United States, we are facing the most severe mental health crisis we have ever experienced. And it doesn’t help that we are coming out of the pandemic with a failing healthcare system where mental health remains largely unaddressed and therefore people suffering from mental illness go untreated.

 

So what exactly was the idea behind making an anthology with a horror host framing story?

 

Framing the film with a horror host was just something that progressed as I fleshed out the film. With the stories being between thirty to forty minutes in length, I am not afforded the luxury of time in establishing the characters the way that I would with a ninety to a hundred and twenty minute story. Having a host simply allows me to set the tone of the story as well as summarize the story at the end by tying everything up in a neat little package.

 

What were your sources of inspiration when writing the individual segments of Tales of Bedlam?

 

I have been writing since I was old enough to remember. And the main constant throughout the past forty years of writing is that the I have always written about the psychological terrors of the human condition. My first real feature film, Noctambulist (2018), is a psychological thriller, and my current film Lachrymose Primrose (2024) is also a psychological thriller. So Tales Of Bedlam is simply a natural continuation of a subject matter that I feel most at home in addressing.

 

What exactly made the three stories you're telling in Tales Of Bedlam a perfect match for one another and for your anthology?

 

Great question, because this is something that I wanted to address: All three stories are shorts that I had written roughly five or six years back, if not longer. Some of the stories were finished, while others were close to being finished. In the Lachrymose Primrose, the main character is a washed up, best-selling, author, so naturally I needed to show books that the author had written. In the film we show two published books, The Charnel House Vault and Rosalie. And at the beginning of the film, the writer is working on a new story entitled The Persistent Nuisance. When choosing stories for Tales Of Bedlam, I thought that it would be a great idea to include that three stories that hearken back to the Lachrymose Primrose as “Easter-eggs” if you will. So if and when one watches the two films, they should be able to make the connection, even though there is not connection which directly ties the two films together, as they are each stand-alone films.

 

Do talk about Tales of Bedlam's approach to horror for a bit!

 

The approach is the same approach that I used with both Lachrymose Primrose and Noctambulist, which is tapping into the most primal fear of mankind, death. The death of ourselves or the ones that we love. Death has been an obsession of mine since I was four years of age. To say that I am terrified of it would be an understatement. The not knowing of what exists beyond the great beyond. The uncertainty of how you will die. Will it be peaceful? Will it be painful? All questions that plague me, and perhaps many others out there. So in my personal opinion, approaching such a global fear that a majority of us, despite race, creed, or religion, can all relate to, is the perfect approach to a horror film. Nothing new by any means. But something that I always enjoy telling through my own perspective.

 

What can you tell us about the intended overall look and feel of your movie?

 

The look will be unlike any of my prior films. Tales Of Bedlam will be the first film that I shoot in 4k. Prior to that, I always preferred the older, standard HD look as my prior films were set in dated times, the nineteen-twenties and nineteen-eighties. Whereas Tales Of Bedlam will be a bit more contemporary, although not as much as that statement may lead one to believe.

 

Anything you can tell us about Tales of Bedlam's key cast and crew yet, however tentative?

 

I am still fleshing out all of the details in regards to the cast and crew. As for my crews, everyone that works on my films becomes family, so naturally, they are all welcome to work on any future film that I make. I prefer working with people that I know and trust, so that is always my aim.

 

As for the cast, Tedd Bodnar who plays the lead in Lachrymose Primrose, will be returning to play the lead in The Charnel House Vault. I feel as though I have pigeon-holed Tedd as an actor, when really his range is very dynamic. I just really fell in love with his ability to play a character who is completely deranged. I initially thought about casting someone completely different, but the voice in the back of my head kept telling me that the character needed to be played by Tedd.

 

As I may have expressed in prior interviews, I love working with unknown, soon to be known, up and coming, actors. There is certainly nothing wrong with using established, well known actors. It obviously increases interest in a film. But I prefer to work with actors who have prior acting experience, but who either come from theater, or in the case of my actor Joseph Benson, who will be playing the lead in the story The Persistent Nuisance, he was an actor who performed at tourist destinations in Jamaica. And for third and final lead in Tales Of Bedlam, I will be acting with a gentleman by the name of Robert Lovett, who I have worked with at a local murder mystery theater production company, something that I do in my off time, when I can. Both Robert and Joseph bring a very exciting element to the screen.

 

And lastly, I shall be returning to acting by playing the horror host. I did have a small walk-on role in Lachrymose Primrose - however, I cut myself from the film. I had no dialogue, and the film was coming in at over two hours in length. I had to make some cuts to get the final run-time down, and my small role was nothing that was detrimental to the story of the film, so I cut it. Acting as the horror host will be my first return to acting since I appeared as an extra in two episodes of the A&E television series Those Who Kill in 2014. And it will also get me back in the saddle and dust off the rust as I will be playing the lead in a future, yet to be announced, Seafaring Pictures release.

 

As far as I know, Tales of Bedlam is still in pre-production - so how far along are you, and what's the schedule? And even if it might be waaay to early to ask, any idea when and where your movie will be released?

 

Since I am currently in the final stages of post-production with Lachrymose Primrose, and am also the film's editor, which is taking up most of my time, all that I have had the time for with Tales Of Bedlam thus far is to start casting, conceptualizing, and revisiting the stories that I initially wrote some years back. By the end of March, I should be able to start converting the stories from novellas to screenplay adaptions. And then start location scouting, prop building, etc.

 

I am not the type of filmmaker that likes to quickly pump out films. I would rather take my time and focus on one key film before jumping into another. So for someone like me, you will get a film every few years. And because of that, I do not expect to start filming Tales Of Bedlam until 2024.

 

Any future projects beyond Tales of Bedlam?

 

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Yes. One film in particular. However, I am slightly sorry to say that I am keeping that under wraps until Tales of Bedlam is released. But I promise to provide you all of the details as soon as possible.

 

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

 

I am always terrible updating these pages, but you can find news about my film(s) at the following. And a Tales of Bedlam Facebook page will be coming shortly, too.

https://www.facebook.com/SeafaringPictures

https://www.facebook.com/officialjdellenberger

https://www.facebook.com/LachrymosePrimrose

https://www.facebook.com/TheNoctambulist

 

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

 

Not at this time. But I do thank you as always for your very kind support. And I look forward to speaking with you more in the future.

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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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
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

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