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An Interview with Izzy Lee, Director of Innsmouth

by Mike Haberfelner

November 2015

Films directed by Izzy Lee on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie Innsmouth - in a few words, what is it about?


Detective Olmstead is called to a homicide scene and finds something very odd on the body --- a strange bite wound and an egg sac. She must go to Innsmouth to investigate, where she runs afoul of the town's matriarchal society.


With Innsmouth being inspired by H.P. Lovecraft's Shadows Over Innsmouth, how close do you remain to the source material, and what drew you to the story in the first place? And how easy/hard is it to adapt Lovecraft?


It's a very loose adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's Shadows Over Innsmouth. I've changed the genders to reinforce the matriarchal vision that I had of Innsmouth, with Alice Marsh (Tristan Risk [Tristan Risk interview - click here]) in charge. If you know Lovecraft, that's pretty much the opposite of what he did. Everything was straight white male. He would have hated my version, I think. Since it's not a by-the-book adaptation, I was free to create my own world. Adapting Lovecraft is different for everyone; if you choose to do a period piece or have an FX-heavy script, it can be incredibly challenging.


Other sources of inspiration when writing Innsmouth?


Tristan Risk was the sole muse for this piece. When we were on the set of For A Good Time, Call... (now in post) she mentioned that she had a very special trick. My mouth dropped, and I knew I wanted to be the first to put that on film. She's fearless, peerless, and full of surprises. Anyone who's seen Innsmouth can attest to that.


What can you tell us about your co-writer Francesco Massaccesi, and what was your collaboration like?


It was a very smooth collaboration. He's in Italy, I'm in the US. We'd talk online or over Skype to develop the script and go over ideas and changes. It was a very open and easy way of working, and I'd love to work with him again.


Do talk about your directorial approach to your story at hand?


I like to collaborate and I trust my cast and crew to do their jobs. As for directing actors, I have lots of feelings in my head in regards to character motivations. These are more or less abstract. When I direct, I talk to actors more in terms of how their character may be feeling, and why they would do what they do. There's a scene in Alice Marsh's library, and in her bathroom, that is a kind of dangerous seduction. I sent both Tristan and Diana the amazing audition scene that Naomi Watts became known for in David Lynch's Mulholland Drive to get that insanely intimate yet murderous feel across. It worked.


Innsmouth does feature some quite elaborate prosthetics and special effects makeup - so what can you tell us about that aspect of your movie?


Tristan brought her "secret prosthetic" in with her. I don't want to give that away, but let it be a total surprise to viewers. My friend Vera made gills, and talons, and my DP Bryan McKay made an awesome VFX egg sac to go along with the practical effects eggs. Other than that, it's the typical blood and latex wounds.


You also appear in front of the camera in Innsmouth - so do talk about your character for a bit, and why have you chosen to play her?


It was partly because there were a lack of actors available the weekend we shot in the Greater Boston area --- which is a small market --- and partly because other filmmakers have been encouraging me to act more. I also thought it would be fun to wear a forensics jacket and be a bit of a lady Dexter.


You of course also have to talk about your two leading ladies, Diana Porter and Tristan Risk [Tristan Risk interview - click here], and what made them perfect for their characters?


Diana Porter, Tristan Risk

Diana can do just about anything, and it's why I keep working with her. And I really like her face, besides the fact that she's very talented. We've worked on a ridiculous number of films together and were once called the Boston horror equivalent of Scorsese and DiCaprio. Tristan is a joy to work with as well. We officially met at Fantastic Fest, and from just hanging out with her, I knew I wanted to work with her, and we've done some crazy things together. I've joked about making a t-shirt with my Nihil Noctem Films logo and "Tristan Risk + Izzy Lee = NSFW". Anyway, I adore them both very much.


What can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?


Fun. Somewhat tiring, which is always the case on set. The crew was a bit skittish about Tristan's nudity and special trick, but it was hilarious. She skipped out of that bathroom in her birthday suit, happy as a lark.


The $64-question of course, when and where will the film be released onto a general audience?


It has to play the festival circuit first. Upcoming screenings are Ithaca International Fantastic Film Festival, where it plays with the feature They Look Like People, MonsterFest in Australia, Vancouver Badass Short Film Festival. It just played DEDFest with Tales of Halloween.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


Feeling lucky ?
Want to
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?

The links below
will take you
just there!!!

Find Izzy Lee
at the amazons ...


Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)

Germany (East AND West)

Looking for imports ?
Find Izzy Lee here ...

Your shop for all things Thai

Something naughty ?
(Must be over 18 to go there !)

x-rated  find Izzy Lee at

Again there's For A Good Time, Call... (now in post), but I may have something in development based off a Joe Lansdale story [Joe R. Lansdale interview - click here]. And I'm co-writing a feature script with my Postpartum co-writer, Chris Hallock.


Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?



Anything else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


Torchy's Tacos in Austin has punch-your-momma-in-the-face-it's-so-good tacos. Also, I adore my cast and crew.


Thanks for the interview!


Thank you!


© by Mike Haberfelner

Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
content of sites from a third party.

Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
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tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD