Your new movie Infernal - in a few words, what is it about?
Well, the short answer is: It's a demonic horror flick about a family
coming to terms with strange changes in their child. It's the dreaded
"found footage" but I think we did a fine job in being a rather
different kind of found footage.
were your inspirations when writing Infernal?
Strangely, Infernal is one of the only films I've written that I do not
remember writing. I remember the germ of the idea, but the actual
process... gone. No clue.
I was in a relationship at the time that was going down the shitter. I
was so in love with this woman that I didn't notice how bad the
relationship truly was, for her and for myself... and honestly for
everyone around us. This thing lasted five years and obviously, when
you're in a relationship for that long... you begin to think about
things. Marriage. Kids. Mortgages. Etc. And I've always wanted to be a
father. It's a dream of mine. To be a child's father. I've always adored
kids and have dreamt of having a couple of my own. I guess in some
strange way, I've had a devilish vision of the American Dream in my head
since before I can remember. This is evident not only in Infernal but
also in my film after this, Utero... but that's for another interview.
can you tell us about your movie's approach to horror (as in suspense vs
sudden shocks, atmosphere vs all-out gore and the like)?
It's a complete slowburn. Almost everything I write is a slowburn. There
are a couple gory shocks in the film but you have to earn them. You live
with these characters for a while before anything graphic occurs. But
when it does... IT DOES.
Mephisto Waltz, I don't now if you've seen that picture -- but it's one
of my favorite "satanic panic" flicks. And it's a complete
slowburn. Same with The Sentinel. Another huge inspiration. Where we are
"found footage" I took more inspiration from Argento's work
like Suspiria, Tenebrae and
talk about your overall directorial approach to your subject at hand for a
I tried to keep it as raw yet managed as I could. And what I
mean by that is -- I provided a dense and nuanced script, but I let the
actors play. I let them make it their own the best I could allow while
maintaining the narrative beats we had to hit. The film is odd. Very odd.
It's symmetrical and asymmetrical all at once. I think it's a true visual
representation of a relationship going down the tubes. These characters
should not be parents. But they are. The child is troubled and they try
their best. But they try their best in their own selfish ways. As life
tends to be. Nothing is peachy. And that was the approach. Remember the
bright and happy moments but also respect the harsher moments.
On Infernal, you worked with child actress Alyssa Koerner -
so what was it like to direct a young girl in a horror film like yours?
Alyssa is an exception to the rule of "Don't work with children or
animals"... but... honestly? Do not work with children and animals
in low budget flicks. It's a nightmare. She wasn't a nightmare. In fact,
she was a delight. But... the rules. MY GOD THE RULES. I'm not
complaining because yes, as a human, I respect all rules that are
implemented regarding this subject. But boy does it tend to fuck you as
dogs in the film also. Wait till you see it... I highly recommend
listening to the commentary. There are a few beats I can't ruin here.
Do talk about the rest of your cast for a bit, and
why exactly these people?
Andy Ostroff (my po-man's Ben Affleck) is a star. He is hilarious. If
you ever get a chance to check out his stand-up, I highly recommend you
do. He's so charismatic. The whole cast was a blessing. But the process
was a nightmare. Thank GOD for the people we found. I had to fire the
two leads the night before filming. And my manager and fellow producer
Richard Marincic knew Andy, recommended him and he flew in the next day
and saved the film. Producer Charles Rice discovered Heather Addair and
forever I will owe him for that. She's just such an extraordinary
talent. And working with her? Is simply incredible. Jose Rosete can kick
my ass. So, I'll make sure to note how attractive he is. But in all
seriousness Jose is just like Andy and Heather. This wasn't an easy
shoot... and these guys really rose to the occasion. And what can I say
about Noelle Bruno? Not only is she one of the most jaw droopingly
BEAUTIFUL women I've ever been blessed to be around -- the understanding
she has for my dialogue (and I have a very specific vision regarding my
words) warms my heart. In some ways I feel like she's a creative soul
mate. I send her most of what I write and hope to read with her just so
that I can hear my words from her lips.
Everyone else was just as astounding. Watch the wedding scene in the
opening of the film and tell me those people are not all future
What can you tell us about the
shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
Everything that could go wrong went absolutely wrong. But the atmosphere?
It was beautiful. Through hell we manned up and came together. A 12 day
shoot became 16 and then two reshoot days after that.
Any idea when
and where the film will be released onto the general public yet?
be able to answer that LITERALLY in a week, haha!
future projects beyond Infernal you'd like to share?
you have Utero that most of are aware. I'm still cutting away on the
flick. I'm very happy with it. I tend to take a while on the films that I
raise the money for personally. I tinker and tinker and tinker until I'm
happy. Infernal was shot in the summer of 2013 and was sold rather fast
after. But I played with it (had it colored four times) for a long time.
Utero is a year old now and I'm still playing. But it's all for the better
good. I'm due to shoot two films back to back this summer and... they are
true passion projects. Keep your fingers crossed on those because I
believe they will be real crowd pleasers.
got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal
training on the subject?
Frankenstein, baby. When I was a
kid I saw Frankenstein
and it was all over for me. I knew this is what I
needed to be. I was blessed from a young age to grow up on sets. I was
constantly on the set of Boy Meets World and various TGIF shows. My father
was a jazz musician -- so I've always had it in me. But I learned by
doing. By listening to commentaries. By networking, etc.
Do talk about your filmwork
prior to Infernal for a bit?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Well, my first film was a film called Harvard Park that I directed for
Sony TV. It was a blessing. I got hired at 23 and failed and learned in
front of the studios eyes. It was terrifying and humbling. But it taught
me so much. I did everything on B-movie sets for such a long time. I
then produced a film called The Human Race that came out last year
through Xcelrator Media. That was Paul Hough's film. The man is a true
auteur. It is his film 100% but I was a producer on it. Fast after I
made Infernal, fast after I made Utero, and since then I've been prepping
this double feature with my amazing management at American Original.
Richard Marincic and Jeff Katz have made my career possible and I will
always owe them.
I'm always developing. I don't write everyday because sometimes the
producing gets in the way. But I write every week at every level. You
have to do that. Always having something in the hopper.
Thanks for the interview!