Your new film Stella
Buio - in a few words, what is it about?
is about a family that is torn apart, literally, by
indiscretion. Stella Buio is a medium whom the widow hires to contact her
deceased husband, not knowing that he and the medium had a brief affair
and that the medium, who has engineered the entire night, has true,
the project come into being in the first place?
Cline, who played Philip in the film, is a good friend of mine and a
fabulous writer. One day, he suggested that we work on a giallo
together with Fulci-style zombies and the whole bit [Lucio
Fulci bio - click here]. Now, technically,
this isn't a giallo, I know... that term has sort of morphed over
the years to encompass Italian horror, but a true giallo to me is a
sumptuous, decadent murder mystery with a usually non-sensical plot.
However, the two do overlap quite a bit. That night, I went home and wrote
the first draft of Stella
Buio. He loved it so much that he didn't even
want to touch it so I proceeded to tighten it to what's now on-screen.
Buio is a quite obvious hommage to Italian horror and especially
zombie movies from the late 1970's and early 80's. Why exactly these
movies, and some of your favourites?
When I was ten years old, I saw Lucio Fulci's The Gates of Hell
of the Living Dead) and was instantly hooked. His work, and the work of
directors like Dario Argento and Mario Bava [Mario
Bava bio - click here], have informed my work since.
It's ironic how much I love Fulci considering how much of a misogynist he
was and I can't explain it. City
of the Living Dead and The Beyond are my
two favourite Fulci films, and I adore almost all of Dario Argento's 70s
and 80s oeuvre (and the first half of The Stendhal
Syndrome ... I usually
turn off the last half). Black
Sunday and Planet of the
Vampires by Mario Bava are of course fabulous. I've only just scratched
the surface of Italian horror cinema so my knowledge isn't as deep as I'd
like it to be, but I am working on that.
Other sources of
inspiration for Stella Buio?
my directions to Wheat, my lighting designer, were basically to watch Black
Sabbath's The Drop of Water and Suspiria for the kind of
lighting that I wanted, it was pointed out to me on two separate occasions
that there's a lot of George A. Romero's Creepshow in the film. I wasn't
conscious of it, but I totally see it now.
Buio features a few quite graphic and over-the-top gore effects.
What can you tell us about the effects work in your movie? And was there
any line in terms of violence that you refused to cross (for other than
The effects were done by
Greg Baker is the head of that company and he brought in Dean
Blackwelder and my cosmetic make-up artist, Joannie Atkins, hopped over to
take point. They did a fantastic job given the limitations that we had - I
didn't raise as much as I'd wanted using IndieGoGo because I'm too shy
about asking people for their money. I know how it is right now,
economically speaking, and I can't even give to campaigns I want to at the
moment. There were a few things that we ended up not doing for quite a few
reasons, but nothing was too violent or crossed a line. I'm not a gore for
gore's sake kind of filmmaker. I'm not out to simply shock. I want to
entertain, don't get me wrong, but I want gore for a reason, I want shocks
for a reason.
I think we should also mention Stella
Buio's musical score here, which for me is a perfect hommage to
Italian horror music of old - so please, do talk about the musical score,
and how much influence did you have on its creation?
Linnea Quigley, Lori Bowen
Thanks! The composer is my brother, Shawn, who can (and does) play
pretty much any musical instrument you put in front of him very, very
well. I gave him a CD of Fabio Frizzi's music from City
of the Living Dead and The Beyond
and asked him to just listen. Then I gave him those movies
so he could see how the score worked in these films and the feelings I was
trying to invoke. Then, he gave me the score and I gave him notes and
quickly got to the work that's in the film now.
titular character of Stella
Buio is played by none other than veteran scream queen Linnea
Quigley - how did you get her, and what was your collaboration like?
everyone in the genre, I was a fan of hers from films like The Return of
the Living Dead and Sorority Babes at the Slimeball
Bowl-a-Rama. I'd seen
her at a couple of conventions, but I'm (surprisingly) an introvert.
Eventually, though, Linnea and I were introduced by a mutual friend at a
film festival in 2011 and when I wrote Stella
Buio, I knew I wanted her
for the role, but I didn't think she'd actually take it because it's a
short film. But I'm of the mind that you never know unless you ask, and if
the answer is no, well, that's where you are now. So I asked and she
accepted! Linnea is absolutely lovely and so much fun to work with and, if
I may say so myself, she's excellent in Stella
Buio! I'd love to work with
cast read-through: Melanie Robel, Linnea
Quigley, Laura D'Anieri, Lance Flint
can you tell us about the rest of your cast?
I'm not a big fan of auditions. I know they're essential for finding
talent and seeing if someone one has chosen for a role is right, but I
find them slightly dehumanizing. And then there's the whole
"rejection" issue... For every film before JustUs (which I made
last year), I'd cast through Craiglist and found some good people that
way. I also tend to cast with my instincts. All of that said, Linnea
recommended Melanie Robel [Melanie
Robel interview - click here] after they'd worked together on Post Mortem
America 2021, Melanie recommended Lance Flint after they'd worked together
on La Fleur de Mai, and then Lance recommended Laura D'Anieri. I've known
Shawn McBee since high school and then Chris, as I've said, I've known for
a while (we were projectionists at a chain theatre that I've since quit).
They were all wonderful and I love them all to pieces!
you tell us about audience and critical reception of Stella
Buio so far?
It's only just started out on the festival circuit, but so far it's
been accepted to the Buffalo Screams Horror Film Festival in Buffalo, New
York and Sudderfest in Boston, Massachusetts in October, and the Horrible
Imagingings Film Festival in San Diego, California in November. The
critical response has been wonderfully positive! I know everyone says
this, but it's true: everyone worked so hard on this flick, it's great
that our hard work is being recognized! I can't wait to see where else it
Let's go back to the beginnings of
your career: Is it true that you wrote your first horror script at age 12?
What drove you to do it at such an early age, and lessons learned from it?
I did. I'm a huge A Nightmare on Elm Street fan and was frustrated with
how the series had gone so goofy. And I wanted Nancy Thompson back. So I
wrote a terrible script called A Nightmare on Elm Street 7: The Last
Dance. Shortly thereafter, Wes Craven's New Nightmare was announced and
I retired the script and thankfully so. There might be a few things
about New Nightmare
that I don't dig (fifth claw?), overall, it was
lightyears ahead of its time and is not only my favourite sequel, but my
favourite performance from Heather Langenkamp.
Like I said, my script was terrible, but the most valuable thing it
taught me is that I could do it, too. If I inspire nothing else in
others, I hope I inspire the feeling that they can do it, too.
can you tell us about your further growth as a filmmaker, and did you ever
receive any formal education on the subject?
I was accepted to the School of Visual Arts and Hofstra
in New York, but couldn't afford to go to either. So, other than four
years at a visual and performing arts high school and a semester of film
at a community college, all of my education has been self-taught (I love
to toss the word "autodidact" around). Every short film has
been like an intensive film school and I learn so much on every shoot. I
LOVE this stuff!!
I do everything myself: I write, direct, shoot, cut, produce, arrange
craft services, visual effects... pretty much everything. I know where
I'm lacking and am working on fixing those areas and feel like I'm
improving with every film.
"professional" film I think was Without/Within. You just
have to talk about that one!
I love that film, but there
are a lot of technical issues and it was entirely too long for film
festivals. It seems to freak some people out the most when I explore
spiritual ideas, and the idea for this was that you could be soulless and
not even really know it until a stranger has taken a random photo of you
and then arrives at your place with a gun in their hands because the
camera says you're soulless... but then, what happens to the hunter when
they lose their soul? This one starred Kristin Mellian, whom I've worked
with a couple more times, Sabrina Carmichael, Jon Wagner, and Janine
Other past films of yours
you'd like to talk about?
My second film Aftershock is a zombieless zombie film about
one woman's decision in the face of certain death. It was just myself
and my friend Janine again and it was shot and cut in the space of a
couple of hours. A few years later, it was picked up by the Viscera Film
Festival which is part of the non-profit Viscera Organization to promote
and encourage women genre filmmakers, and has led to a world of
awesome. I now work for them and it's been amazing!
My third film was A Hammer Fell in Jerusalem: Anathema and starred,
among a huge cast, Chris Cline. It's an experimental silent black and
white piece based on a chapter from a novel I'm working on about a
warrior Priest after the biblical end of the world has happened and
the Grigori have come back to claim the earth as their own. Another
one that was way too long, but enjoyed surprising success on the
circuit in spite of all of that. My next film, as an exercise to test
out some new equipment, I made a vignette "prequel" called A
Hammer Fell in Jerusalem: And be at Rest. in which Chris put the
Priest's collar back on.
My next film after that was JustUs, a story about the cost of revenge
and my first SAG film, and it starred Sage Hall and Travis Garner and
featured the voices of Kristin Mellian, Aaron Pushkar, and Linnea's
fellow Scream Queen Brinke Stevens.
In between, I've made a couple of music videos for my brother's band,
World Collision, and I recently animated a music video in the style of
shadow puppets for my friend John O'Keefe, who is a classical cellist.
Any future projects you want
I'm in development on two features right now. The
first one I want to make is called Skin and is about the lengths to which
one woman would go for eternal youth and beauty. One of the actresses I've
approached to be in the film called it an urban horror fairytale. The other
feature I'm working on is currently titled Doc and is about the poison of
revenge and how it's passed down through generations.
Most of your films are of the horror variety
in one way or another. A favourite genre of yours, and why (not)?
love the horror genre. Horror is about so much more than blood and gore. I
feel it's akin to a mirror that we can hold up to society to make us
confront the evil within ourselves or the fears that hold us prisoner so
we can recognize and conquer them. I find violence and shock for the sake
of violence and shock to be boring.
would you describe yourself as a director?
I aim to
entertain and make viewers think, to tell good stories with interesting
characters. I realized the other day that I'm an actor's director. I love
actors... not divas or "celebrities", I have no patience for that
crap, but actors. Actors bring to life these crazy things we writers have
thought up... we really do ask them to do crazy things. I like having a
calm, fun set and taking care of my cast and crew.
who inspire you?
There are so many... Terry Gilliam, George
A. Romero, Wes Craven, Takashi Miike, Park Chan Wook, Drew Daywalt and his
amazing wife Marichelle, Karen Lam, Shannon Lark [Shannon
Lark interview - click here], Andrew Shearer, Dario
Argento, Lucio Fulci [Lucio
Fulci bio - click here], Danny Boyle, David Lynch, almost all of the Viscera
filmmakers... geez, so many...
Your favourite movies?
too many to list. I love all kinds of movies spanning all genres. It's
important, no matter what genre you work in, to watch more than just that
genre to have a more full cinematic vocabulary. You never know where
inspiration will come from!
and of course, films you really deplore?
There are plenty
of films I hate with a passion, even from some of my favourite directors,
but I don't know that it does anyone any good to list them without going
into detail as to why I don't like them. For good or bad, they got a film
made and that's an incredible accomplishment.
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
I have a blog: http://kimyoo-films.blogspot.com
And a tumblr: http://kimyoofilms.tumblr.com
And there is an official Kimyoo Films Facebook! hahaha https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kimyoo-Films/130239893758093
You can find trailers, some full films, and my music videos on my
YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/KimyooFilms
you are dying to talk about and I have merely forgotten to ask?
I think you pretty much covered everything! Thank you!
for the interview!