Your upcoming film Terror House - in a few words, what's it
going to be about?
House is a
fun, sexy, scary, thrill ride of a horror film set entirely in a House of
Horrors' maze on Halloween.
House is a feature length film shot in the vein of Paranormal Activity
meets The Texas Chainsaw
Massacre. It follows a group of people who
find themselves trapped in an abandoned "Haunted House"
attraction. As they put the pieces together to figure out why
and how they got there, they run and stumble through the maze in a
desperate attempt to escape the unknown force chasing them. As
they succumb to the darkness of the maze, they begin to realize what
connects them and that each one of them has something to hide. Paranoia
sets in as their true selves emerge, turning them against each other in a
deadly game of cat and mouse.
With Terror House being a
horror movie, is that a genre you can at all relate to?
think everyone who’s gotten involved with Terror House so far has been a
pretty die hard horror fan.
were your inspirations when writing Terror House? And any personal
experiences with "Haunted Houses" and the like?
inspiration for writing Terror House came from all the 70s and 80s horror
films I consumed growing up. I always forced my mom to rent
me the scariest films I could find on the shelf! Some of my
all time favorites are The Omen, Amittyville Horror, Jaws,
Poltergeist, Last House on the Left,
Night, Deadly Night, to name a few. I love being scared
and wanted to make a movie that updated the scares in some of my
always had a very vivid imagination. As a kid I would dream
about monsters and things grabbing my ankles from under my bed. I
can get scared pretty easily, but I always investigate! I was
on my staircase when a coat closet slammed out of nowhere. The
door handle jiggled a bit and then slammed again. I ran up to
the closet and opened the door, expecting to find one of my little
brothers. Nothing. It freaked me out until I
noticed the closet had a vent to the outside of the house. I’m
pretty sure it was a draft, but the door handle moving is still suspect!
do you plan to approach your story from a directorial point of view?
basically a first person shooter. We’re arming the actors
with go pro and iphone cameras then cutting that footage in with wide
shots from “surveillance” video we’re shooting with either a DSLR or
the RED. I also have a few scare techniques up my sleeve for
actor “motivation”. I can’t give too much away in case
any of the actors read this before the movie comes out!
modern horror is known to not exactly shy away from violence and gore - so
how far do you intend to go in that respect, and is there any line you
refuse to cross?
more interested in creating scares than grossing people out. That
being said, we do have a lot of blood and creepy stuff in the script that
will be portrayed on screen. There are pools of blood,
everyone is constantly being chased by something and we have a scene with
rats – which may be the hardest part for me to film! I
think the scariest films don’t show a lot of gore or violence, they
suggest it. The mind is a powerful thing. Sometimes
showing too much just leads to disappointment because the visuals we
concoct in our heads are far scarier than anything on screen. As
far as crossing lines, I guess I’ll find out when I reach one.
What can you tell us about your
projected cast, and why exactly these people?
first person I cast was a young actress I worked with on a previous
project, Skylar Björn. She’s smart, talented, beautiful and a joy to
work with. We needed a pre-teen and she was perfect for the
role! Then I cast the role of Bryson with Trenten Michael,
Skylar’s real-life brother. I had worked with him as a
child as well. His role is small, but very significant.
He plays the quiet killer, much in the vein of the Michael Myers
character in Halloween. Next, we cast Tom Malloy. His
role in the Alphabet Killer sold me. He’s definitely a
favorite among horror fans and an excellent poker player! Then
we cast Brian Ronlads. I had known him for a bit when his
brother, Dean Ronalds, told me Brian acted in all the movies they
produced. I took a look at his work and was impressed. He
was a perfect choice to play Brent. After that, word got out
to my circle of peers about the film. Barry Ratcliffe [Barry
Ratcliffe interview - click here] and I
had worked on a movie together, Memphis Rising, and had just shot the
trailer for another film we were cast in. We really want to
work together again, so I cast him as Seth. He then
introduced me to Al Snow. Al loved the project and came on
board. Next, I needed someone to play the ghost of a little
girl. I met Glenn Brannan and his daughter, Chalet Lizette
Brannan. At only seven years old, this girl is obsessed with
horror – I love that! I looked at some of her work and
immediately cast her as Holly. The final role I cast with
Rich Rossi. Glenn introduced us and we hit it off right away.
one of the leads in Terror House - so what can you tell us about
your character, and what are you drawing upon to bring her to life?
part of Angie is very physical and it’s hard to get an actress to do
stunts, fights, falls and whatnot while covered in dirt and blood. I’m
a bit of a tomboy, so that stuff is fun for me. In Dark
Park’s digital series The Agency with Sally Kirkland, the
finale is full of people covered in booze and vomit. I got
the actors to go along because I was the first to get doused.
my opinion, one of the key ingredients for a film like yours is the right
location. So any locations tracked down yet you'd like to talk about?
love to find a real abandoned funhouse, but haven’t come across one
far as I know, your movie is still in its fundraiding stages as we speak -
so what can you tell us about your fundraising efforts?
is the hardest thing I’ve ever done! It’s also one of the
funnest things I’ve ever done. Even if you don’t make
your goal, you meet a lot of people along the way while building an
audience for your film. That makes it all worth it!
the funds for Terror House are raised, how do you plan to proceed?
And any idea when the film will be released yet (though I realize it might
be waaaay too early to ask)?
we get close to the campaign’s end, we’ll start pre-production and
maybe even some principle photography. Every contributor on
the campaign will be updated along the way – it’s one of the cool
perks you get when you support a film in its fundraising stage on
Indiegogo. Because of the campaign, we’ve already shot a
teaser, released some artwork and are building a website. We’re
aiming for an October release because of the Halloween theme of the film.
Whether it’s 2013 or 14 will depend on how we do in the horror
festival circuit and on how fast we can have the film ready for
Let's go back to the
beginnings of your career: You started out as an actress, right? So what
got you into acting in the first place, and did you receive any formal
education on the subject?
started as a baby model. My mom would take me to photo shoots
in diapers – I don’t remember any of it! I modeled again
when I was 15. My formal training as an actor took place in
the theater of my Middle and High Schools, supplemented by various classes
I took in Los Angeles (I’m a real “native”!). I
discovered the high school’s TV Production class and got hooked on being
behind the camera. My dad wanted me to be an architect, but I
went to film school instead! I was a total underdog for
admission, but I busted my ass the first two years of college to get the
grades that got me into USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. Their
film program is one of the best in the world, you know your s#!t by the
time they’re done with you.
Can you still remember your
first time in front of a camera, and what was that experience like?
first time I remember being in front of a camera was in my backyard when I
was about four years old. My mom filmed my siblings and me
with her new video camera while we played in a fountain. I hammed it up in
front of the camera then my mom let me take it and do some of the filming
myself. Addictions start young! The first
“paid” job I remember was a commercial for a bike shop. Although
the commercial shoot was great, it was nowhere near as fun as splashing in
made you also step behind the camera eventually?
always been obsessed with technology. I used to hide in the attic taking
apart old VCR’s to see how they worked. I later became
obsessed with photography and learned how to develop film and prints. I
think it was always in my blood, I just didn’t realize it until I sat in
on a friend’s TV Production class in High School. They were
short-staffed, so the teacher put me to work as the TD (“technical
director” – you basically push buttons to do live transitions during a
multi-camera shoot). I was hooked and took the class the
following semester. It was there that I learned you could
actually major in “film” at college.
course have to talk about your series The Agency for a bit!
had a blast filming The Agency. Sally Kirkland (an
Academy Award Nominated actress - OMG!) was amazing to work with! Every
actor in the series is dangerously talented and funny. I’m
really lucky to have worked with each and every one of them. The
series is based upon a narcoleptic intern at a talent agency full of crazy
Hollywood types. It’s over the top at times with raunchy
humor, but completely accurate in it’s portrayal of talent agents in Los
Angels, seriously, it’s accurate. We’re hoping to
continue with the series at some point in the future – maybe in a longer
other filmwork of yours (in whatever position) you'd like to talk about?
Any future projects?
in talks to direct a couple more horror films, but it’s still early.
We’re also developing an action film for Dark Park that I will
Please do talk about your
production company Dark Park Studios and your partner in crime
Michael Korbic for a bit!
a great partner in crime, I’ve known him for a long time! I
was in film school shooting shorts while he was directing music videos.
After I worked for a small production company, I wanted to start
one of my own. Michael was the perfect partner. Out
of the gate we produced No Time to Fear with James DeBello (Cabin
Fever, Detroit Rock City) and Louis Mandylor (Redline,
My Big Fat
Greek Wedding). Michael directed and I was the second
unit director. Next, we created The Agency, a digital
series staring myself and Academy Award Nominee Sally Kirkland. Michael
and I both created the series, produced and directed. I wrote
the pilot. Then I wrote the script for Terror House and we
greenlit it to be the next feature from Dark Park. Both
Michael and I are avid genre fans. We love horror, sci-fi and
action with a passion. We’re both big fans of technology
too. I think he’s read the Steve Jobs biography from cover
to cover about a million times!
Actors and filmmakers who
list is long! Anyone from horror gods like Wes Craven and
John Carpenter to big guys like George Lucas, James Cameron and David
Fincher, all the way to trippy French directors like Jean-Pierre Jeunet and
Luc Besson and finally Akira Kurosawa. I’m also a HUGE Mel
Brooks fan. But currently, one of the most inspiring actors/producers, for me, is Tina Fey. She’s funny, smart,
talented and completely self-deprecating in a way that commands respect
and admiration. She produces, writes and stars in a lot of
her projects. She’s my idol.
Your favourite movies?
long list… Definitely the horror films I mentioned
previously, but I do take a secret pleasure in old Steve Martin, Dan
Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase and Harold Ramis films. I
heard rumors about a new Ghostbusters – I hope they’re true! If
I had to narrow it down, I’d say it’s a close tie between The Jerk,
Jaws, Amityville Horror, Super Troopers, Tropic
Thunder, Aliens, Blade and
Fight Club. Those tend to be the ones I watch over and over.
and of course, films you really deplore?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
This is tough; I
tend to forget them immediately. Probably anything starring
movie's website, Facebook, indieGoGo, whatever else?
else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
will be engaged in bringing extended storytelling to other mediums, such
as apps, in the near future.
for the interview!
pleasure was all mine!