Your new movie Atmo
HorroX - in a few words, what is it about?
In a few words? Hum, that's tough, I'm used to say it's an experimental
satire inside a psychedelic horror B-movie and wrapped into a cryptic
mystery thriller. But other than that, let's say it's a social commentary
on over consumption, and especially of prescription drugs in the paranoid
world of surveillance that we currently live in.
question, why a monster movie, and why did you take this very surreal
approach to the genre?
I have a background as a solid
horror movie fan since I was a teenager, but being curious in general led
me to appreciate lots of different types of art and film styles, and for
me this movie was a way of expressing my love for all of those things, yet
while trying for it to be its own unique thing and not just a
cut-and-paste collage of this and that. It's trippy yes, but I sincerely
made the effort to infuse alot of logic and make these scenes fit
together. But it's hard for the viewer in general, cause a good part of
the links between them are only revealed towards the very end of the film.
Sure, it's still has a cryptic angle and one's gotta think it through
thoroughly, but I don't feel the need to give the spectator easy-to-digest
answers. So why surreal? Well because that approach is also about breaking
down barriers; it opens one's creativity by giving access to incredible
possibilities and surprises. You can be free to explore the unexpected and
that's very important to me in general.
(Other) sources of inspiration
when dreaming up Atmo HorroX?
inspiration came from the library of scenes that always spins in the think
tank of my brain. I just had to make a few queries with "tag
words", and the most pertinent ones for this project came to the
forefront. But to be blunt, I just look at "real life", human
behavior in xyz contexts and make observational conclusions. Then satirize them in what I think are the most fun AND/OR abrasive ways
possible!!! It's all about maximizing the impact.
here's a fun question regarding the utter weirdness of your movie: Which
character in Atmo HorroX
do you identify with the most, and why?
Well if you look at
the credits, you'll see that I'm playing Camorat-Z, which was simply done
for a practical reason (someone less to cast), but still, he's the silent
observer, and that's pretty much what I just described myself as being in
my previous answer. This being said, that character is very shady,
something I'd never be!
Do talk about
the monsters in Atmo HorroX
for a bit, and how were they achieved?
Well, first and
foremost, knowing I was gonna do them in a B-movie spirit, I wanted them
to be ultra basic and also very awfully designed, e.g. very UGLY. No
symmetry, just made from raw "amateurish" and angry sculpting
hands. I always felt that while super slick designs are visually
pleasurable and are appreciated for their craftsmanship and
detailed-oriented approach, they don't convey the true abstract feelings
of SEEING horror (ok, one could say that this argument doesn't stand for a
creature like Alien for instance, which is right, but anyhow). If you want
me to name-drop, surely my reference points were coming from movies like
Evil Dead, Burial Ground and Fulci movies' spfx [Lucio
Fulci bio - click here]. But I also grew with Star
Wars and Infra-Man. So there is a dosage of that in there too. But if we
talk about Catafuse, well he just came out of my mind a year prior to the
film, as a simple weirdo fun idea I wanted to do with my friend and actor
Laurent Lecompte. That wonderful man is game for anything. I just decided
to make sense of his accoutrements while thinking how I could justify
rationally bringing this character to life and then created his background
and added other layers to his motivations. So I designed and created them
all, but I got to give a good credit to George Tucci who took care of
important gags, the mechanics of the snake-like creature, the collapsing
and foaming of the first monster's head, the scene with the hobo, one of
the monster's mechanical mouth, all while he gave me precious advice for
HorroX doesn't really feature any (intelligible) dialogue - so
what was the idea behind that, and what kind of challenge was that when
trying to drive the story forward?
I didn't want the
spectators to be debating words or character decisions. I wanted them to
take the film as an experience and let them use their own deduction skills
to interpret what they FELT instead of analyzing what could have been
spoken. My last film was very chatty (and justified for I believe), and I
wanted to steer the complete other way and make one of those "show
don't tell" films. And there's a 2nd part to that answer, which will
come in the 2nd-to-next question below.
What can you tell us
about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?
film has a lot of "jumpcuty" segments and these were made as
sort of a "best of" bits of whichever character while living
whichever moment. More like a synthesis of elements of a character's
persona or actions, like a device to summarize "quicker" some
concepts (and show the passage of time as well obviously). Surely again,
these are sincerely not super obvious but still intended that way.
Otherwise, since my means were low, I mainly focused on my making
interesting locked compositions as opposed to elaborate camera moves.
talk about your key cast, and why exactly these people?
another situation of "what can I do do with a small budget".
Hire friends. But all of this was reverse-engineered. While the writing
was going on, if a scene was good, I had to think if either I knew someone
who could could portray it OR, think of them first and feel what they
could do best and easily bring out of themselves according to the themes
of the film. There are only three people from the film who are real
actors. This being said, I am 100% satisfied with everyone's performance,
as they did everything I expected of them. This is not Hollywood or
standard acting, but that's also very much the point.
few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
just say that since I wear a lot of hats, I always carry a certain degree
of stress to do everything in day, especially since shooting a movie IS
ALWAYS about constantly fighting for time, regardless of your budget. But
that happens only in my head and I try to avoid showing it!
Otherwise, everyone was a true sport to the bone. Thank god I have so much
great friends, really. So basically, they know me, and can deal
with the fact that I'm a bit demanding at times! But at the end of the
day, I get what I want and I'm pretty certain they often have more fun
you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Atmo
Audiences are mostly confused but I get
good comments, and critically speaking, I'm actually quite happy to see
how much praise the film has gotten so far (see the press section of the
official website for all the reviews quotes and links). I'm rather
surprised that people seem to be open minded about it and intrigued, yet
oftentimes just as perplex, but so far never dismissing it as a piece
utter crap! But that will certainly change soon enough!
Any future projects you'd like to share?
features written so far. A minimalist cosmic satire about religion. A
beautifully poetic, yet commercial animated sci-fi film for the whole
family (yes, really!). And a stoner comedy, which surely sounds like
a good bet for the next one since it's quite timely and definitely much
more of a crowd pleaser. Plus it's really not expensive to make. But it
needs a new draft before I start getting people interested. Yet before
that, I have 2 art projects going on, one that I'll be starting to show on
the web soon enough, on my Facebook page here
and Instagram @pattremblayart. Join in! The latter being a series of
strange, absurd, often deranged and abstract portraits I've done through a
mixture of drawing, paint and digital coloring.
got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal
training on the subject?
Well, I had to make a choice
around 15 years old as to what my next school move would be, having to
transition to a CEGEP (roughly, a Quebec equivalent of going to a US
college I believe). And once I rounded it up to 2 choices, learning to
make movies got me curious enough to try given how I loved cinema from a
very young age. So 2 years later, I got my diploma in a cinema course at
Ahuntsic (1991). But I then got rejected from Concordia University's
cinema program. And I remember well how the interviewers weren't pleased
when I mentioned that my filmmaker heroes of the time were George Romero
and Sam Raimi. Obviously, that didn't stop me.
What can you tell us about your
filmwork prior to Atmo
First feature is a very experimental and
psychedelic comedy, I encourage you to check out the small website about
it - www.headofcontrol.com.
Then I made my 2nd
which was way more easier on the spectator than my two others, YET
extremely tough to endure for its deliberate desire to make you feel as
miserable as the anti-hero of the film. Otherwise, I've done shorts,
videos, art, music, etc! All on
How would you describe yourself as a
A very hybrid one as we speak. But I 'd like to
tackle different genres and try to innovate within their rules and logic.
Filmmakers who inspire you?
so many.......... short list and in no specific order: George Lucas, Sam
Raimi, George Romero, Bertrand Blier, David Lynch, Terry Gilliam, Roy
Andersson, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Harmony Korine, Yorgos Lanthimos, Woody
Allen, Todd Haynes (for Safe in particular). And in the newcomers, Panos
Cosmatos: he made a masterpiece on his first try in my book. Huge fan.
Can't wait for Mandy.
Ahhhhh.......... so hard. SO MUCH! I'm so
eclectic in my interests.
... and of course, films you really
Fan-service movies/wink-wink cinema. PC movies.
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever
I really hate that I have to deal with so much!
@pattremblayart (no art yet but soon)
Anything else you're dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
Film is available to buy on VOD here:
And tell us if you'd prefer a DVD and/or Blu-ray release for it as we're
trying to figure if it's worth releasing a limited edition batch (signed,
numbered and with special bonus trading cards).
+++ : We got merch cause we need to live! (& check out the special
Thanks for the interview!
My pleasure! And thanks for your work + time passing the word
around, it's very, very appreciated as it's super hard just to get medias
to even open the e-mails for our freakin' press releases...