Your new movie Knucklebones
- in a few words, what is it about?
A group of bored college students summon a murderous demon while playing an
ancient dice game made from human knucklebones.
being rather reminiscent of slasher movies of old, is that a genre at all
dear to you, and some of your genre favourites?
I love all
horror movies but I'm particularly fond of slashers. I could never pick a
favorite slasher villain - I love all of them equally - but I'd have to
say my favorite slasher movie is the original A Nightmare on Elm
As a kid I found it terrifying but I couldn't look away. It's just so
inventive, and of course it's a perfect concept, executed perfectly.
sources of inspiration when writing Knucklebones?
I'm a huge gamer. I grew up loving tabletop RPG and they were a
huge inspiration with creating the dice game itself. Another big
inspiration was the movie Pumpkinhead. Also the ending of Silence of
the Lambs, but I can't say why without spoiling the movie!
it comes to on-screen violence, Knucklebones
doesn't exactly hold back - so do talk about the bloody bits in your movie
for a bit, and how were they achieved?
good friends with Bob Short who won the Academy Award for effects on
Beetlejuice. Bob worked on countless 80s horror movies and was a perfect
fit for the 80s style slasher vibe. Thank God he agreed to work on the
You of course
also have to talk about your movie's villain, the titular Knucklebones,
and about his creation!
I knew with the bone dice and the
summoning "game" that the villain should be a skeleton. So that
means you're either going to do CGI or have a guy in a suit. Guy in a suit
just seemed to fit the whole retro style so we went with that. Everything
lined up nicely.
Do talk about your overall
directorial approach to your story at hand!
Even though we
had a very small budget, I wanted to direct Knucklebones
as if we had
millions of dollars. I wanted to direct a real movie. I wanted lots of
characters and multiple locations. I wanted lots of action and outrageous
has a lot of moving parts. Not all of them work, due
to our budget constraints, but most of them do I think.
What can you
tell us about your cast, and why exactly these people?
shot in August, in Texas, because I wanted the oppressive summer heat
feeling you get from The Texas Chainsaw
Massacre. We cast all local Texas
actors because I wanted their accents to be real Texas accents. Did I
mention I grew up in Texas? Julin was always my first choice for the lead
as I was a fan of her work as a Texas Scream Queen.
also have to talk about your locations for a bit, and what were the
advantages and challenges filming there?
We shot in the world's largest haunted house attraction,
The Cutting Edge in Fort Worth, Texas. It was actually an
ideal location. We turned it into a mini movie studio. It
had countless sets, dressing rooms and makeup stations for
the actors, a full workshop for the special effects team and
has satisfied all of our electrical needs. Plus we're all
horror geeks so shooting in a haunted house was great fun.
A few words
about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
shoot was relatively smooth considering I was a first-time director. The
cast and crew were all extremely professional. I have to say it helps to
have an Academy Award winner on set to keep everyone on their game. Haha.
$64-question of course, when and where will your film be released onto the
general public? And anything you can tell us about audience
and critical reception of Knucklebones
Our film releases September 13th on DVD and iTunes.
The crowd response from FrightFest was amazing and I can't wait for
everyone to see it. The critical response has been wildly positive as
well. It's all been extremely flattering and I'm so happy people are
responding to the film. In our FrightFest screening people were cheering
and gasping out loud throughout the film. You can't ask for more than
that! British horror fans are amazing, by the way.
What can you tell us about your
filmwork prior to Knucklebones?
been a working screenwriter in Los Angeles for over ten years. I'd sold
several comedies and action scrips before selling my first horror spec to
Eli Roth. That movie never got made, but, I just fell in love with the
genre professionally. I knew when I finally decided to direct something it
was going to be a horror movie.
who inspire you?
My favorite filmmaker is James Cameron.
Everyone knows him as a director of course but he's an amazing writer as
well. I love his world building and dedication to mythology. I'd recommend
any aspiring screenwriter to read one of his scripts. True Lies reads like
action movie poetry and people still quote Aliens to this day.
Your favourite movies?
favorite movie is An American Werewolf in London. The comedy, the scares,
the incredible creature design. It's just a perfect movie.
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
Our website for
the film is www.Knucklebonesmovie.com.
From there we have links to our Facebook, Twitter,and Instagram pages.
you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
next project is an old school monster movie, once again done with mostly
practical effects, in the vein of The Thing. It's called Kill It With
for the interview!
Thank you so much Michael!