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An Interview with Sam Mason-Bell, Director of Home Is Where I Lay

by Mike Haberfelner

November 2022

Films directed by Sam Mason-Bell on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new movie Home is Where I Lay - in a few words, what is it about?

 

Home is Where I Lay is about the night before Lily moves home with her husband Jo, she has a premonition of her death. Can she stop it or will the house take her? It needs her to know, this is his house.

 

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

 

Towards the end of 2020, Annabella Rich had such nasty dreams during a spout of Covid, she vivdly watched her own death occur in her dreams. I think the moment was so real to her that she got inspired to write this story. Once location was put in place we helped flesh out the story and took it as an opportunity to shoot during Covid.

 

What were your sources of inspirations when writing Home is Where I Lay?

 

Outside of Bella's experiences, I really loved the idea of having the house giving off a Shining vibe, the use of evil from the past still having a stain on the house. Lilly is put in a home where she's not welcome. I love psycho dramas that work as chamber pieces, in particular Polanski's Rosemary's Baby and Repulsion, that inner trauma that's occurring to just the main character, the rest of the world looking in as if they're crazy. Also we took inspiration from the nasty misogyny that is throughout the bible and the more controlling aspects of man.

 

You've written Home is Where I Lay together with the film's two stars Annabella Rich and Jackson Batchelor [Jackson Batchelor interview - click here] - so what was the writing process like?

 

Once Bella had the core concept, I helped develop the scares whilst Jackson built more of a backstory for his character Joe. It's always a pleasure to work with those two, we are fortunate to be able to communicate the ideas across to each other despite the Covid limitations. We built the film with that in consideration, keeping it to minimal crew and cast. This helped the claustrophobic vibe we were going for.

 

A few words about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?

 

I really wanted this film to fill you with dread from the start, we know she's going to die but how and by who? That was fun to play with, we had a lot of challenging set pieces but as I was also the DOP I knew I could play the film out as a slow burn, let you empathise with Lilly and join the frights she experiences.

 

What can you tell us about Home is Where I Lay's cast, and why exactly these two?

 

Annabella Rich can hold an entire film being in every scene perfectly, it was her story and she was always the best choice. We've had many collaborations in the last few years and it's worked so well. Jackson was also our first choice for Joe, Jackson being co-founder of Trash Arts, started as an actor, he commands scenes he's in as he did in my earlier film Evol. This was the first time the two could act together, and that was a chance not to miss.

 

You also have to talk about the house Home is Where I Lay of course, and what was it like filming there? And how did you find it in the first place?

 

The house was beautiful, we stayed on location due to Covid, just myself, Jackson and Bella were there every day. Ryan Carter joined to do sound on some days and Katie Johnson was our makeup on most of the shoot. Living and shooting on location allowed us to review the footage and be in the moment. It was a beautiful house, spacious and gothic in its own way, something we'd need had opportunity to shoot in before!

 

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

 

This was easily the hardest film I've directed, the dual role of DOP and director would sometimes include sound and lighting. There's one scene in small space that I literally had to do all sides of filmmaking with the two actors, whereas some scenes Jackson would light himself, jumping behind the camera to being in front. Despite that it was one of my favourite shoots we've done, each challenging scene paid off!

 

Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Home is Where I Lay?

 

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We've had an excellent response from various festivals for Home is Where I Lay, once again it's a film with people having there own interpretations, which is always fun!

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

Currently in post production on my first body horror called Incessant. It's a film about a sound parasite living in the woods, it slowely goes through virus-like symptoms. This happens to a couple who are already on the rocks, turning they stay away from home into a living hell.

 

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

 

Home is Where I Lay is out on Tubi and Amazon Prime!

 

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
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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
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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