Your new movie The
Faceless Man - in a few words, what is it about?
How people can be like a cancer or
worse than monsters.
Faceless Man is a pretty wild genre mix, taking cues from slasher,
backwood horror, haunted house and gangster cinema among others - so what
was the idea behind this wild genre mix?
The genre mix was something I
wanted to play around with and experiment with. I wanted people to be on a
journey and try and forget they are in a horror film. Almost like being on
a rollercoaster of emotions I wanted something to constantly happen and
not make something that has been done before.
Originally I had two script ideas
that became one. The gangster crime elements were in a separate script but
then I got the idea to combine them. Which worked in favour of this crazy
film. This was a film I wanted to make because I was drawn to my theory
that it would work once put together.
of inspiration when writing The
Heaps, the film has many
references to other films. The Evil
Dead was a core inspiration, Reservoir
Dogs and Pulp Fiction (there is a scene in the film the blends those
films into one), Get Out, Mad Max and
Wolf Creek were
big inspirations on
how the film was paced. Many more references to other films as well but I'll see if people can pick up on them when they watch it.
What can you tell us about the
"Faceless Man" as such, and to what extent were you involved
with designing him?
I was very hands on with the whole
production, not just the Faceless Man but costume and design. I had a
specific look I wanted to get and I feel I know what works when cameras
roll. I met Austen Mengler at Supernova in 2017 and contacted him in early
2018 to help me create the Faceless Man. Austen has a wide range of work that looks amazing. One look at his
website and you will see he has a very different art style that really
suits horror. We had a few chats and Austen designed 30 concepts, and from
there we wanted to make the monster look more man than beast. It took a
few months before the final design but it worked out great. From there Emma Rose created it for screen based off Austenís design.
She did a very admirable job considering the restraints she had budget-wise and really drove the vision home.
Faceless Man is also a film that's not exactly gore-free - so do
talk about the bloody bits in your movie, and how were they achieved?
We had a very talented effects
team. As I stated before Emma created the Faceless Man and did all the
prosthetics and even some of the molds, hands etc. Shonal Kumar did all
the blood effects. She created so much blood and ran out so many times. I
was very specific about lots of blood. There were times I had to get the
bottle and pour it over the actors to ensure there was enough and it
looked actually scary for the camera (haha). We needed to show stuff, I donít like not showing too much in films. It
works well when done properly but you need to show a bit of gore to really
sell the horror.
talk about The Faceless Man's
approach to horror for a bit!
Sound was one of the biggest elements to the Faceless Man monster
appearing. The sounds me and Benni (sound designer) and Bart (composer)
created really add to the layer of fear. We wanted the Faceless Man
to progress and show more and more as the film went on. That alone is a
metaphor for cancer. It evolves and gets bigger and bigger as time goes
Playing on people's fear. Being in
a country town with extreme right wing behaviour, crime lords out of
control, what is real and what is fake and a deadly monster to top it off.
At least for me, The
Faceless Man also has a darkly comedic edge to it - do you at all
agree, and if so, what can you tell us about your movie's brand of humour?
YES! I appreciate people that can pick up on the dark humor and I was very
happy at a test screening when the humor got a lot of reactions. It's very
dark humor that gets people off guard for the horror moments that come
after. People that left the screening thought it was hilarious where it
was meant to be funny and scary in the right places. The humor is dark and
these characters are in situations that are not meant to be funny to them
but to an outsider watching the film it's really off-beat and so out there
crazy we cant help but laugh. I think it's needed in a horror like this
especially how the film starts on such a dark note. The humor helps to
break that up and lower people guards for what comes next.
few words about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?
I wrote the story so I wanted it
to have a style and really wanted to push long takes into the film.
The Faceless Man
starts with a 9 minute long take which sets the stage for the
style of camera work I wanted in it. Color and blood was also a big
factor, each death needed to look unique or right for the budget we had.
The story was really challenging as there was so much going on. I made a
lot of changes through the scripting stage to filming (even while we
filmed the movie), I feel what we shot, what people will see is the best
version of the film.
talk about The Faceless Man's
key cast, and why exactly these people?
I was fortunate to work with Sophie Thurling who was really new to acting.
She had done small parts before I put her in my film. When talented actors
are given good material they can do really well and I feel Sophie was
pushed to give a good performance as the lead.
Dan Reader and Andy Mcphee's characters were created with them in mind
before shooting even began. I can't imagine anyone pulling off Barry or
Eddie but these two, and they did very well.
Roger Ward was someone I always wanted to work with and was over the moon
when he loved the script and wanted to play the town's crazy boss (which
was very fitting to his ozploitation days)
I have worked with Albert Goikhman
on my last short and saw that Albert was a true actor. He loves acting and
brings everything to his role. I think many people will love his character
Brendan Bacon is a very good actor and I was very lucky to get him to in
this. He expressed a lot of enthusiasm to play the monster and brought a
lot to the role.
Daniel Facciolo is my business partner and one of my good friends. He was
the lead in my last short (like Albert) and he really wanted to play Brad.
I found that he brought a lot to the role and always enjoy working with
Martin Astifo is a great person and I feel he also did a lot with little
with his character of Dave. Not many people can come to set and stay out
of the bullshit but Martin always focused on his job at hand.
I also enjoyed working with first
time actress Lorin Kauffeld who gave it her all, and while it was a
challenging experience for her, she did a good job in the end.
What can you
tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
There was a lot of tension on set.
We didnít have money or time on our side so we had to be very creative
to achieve a completed film. Everyone was also going through a lot at the
time and I guess that on-set stress bleeded through to get some good stuff
out there. I had to get the film done on the budget I had with no money for re-shoots
or if the story didnít line up. Each day was like going to war, the
scale of the film was a lot bigger than I thought and I had to make a lot
of tough decisions each day.
$64 question of course, where can The
Faceless Man be seen?
We are in the process of a limited
theatrical run over Halloween. The first screening is selling fast on the
31st of October at Classic Cinemas in Elsternwick, Melbourne.
Keep an eye on the website www.thefacelessman.net
for more details and cool merchandise
Anything you can tell us
about audience and critical reception of The
Faceless Man yet?
Reception has been very positive
so far. Reviews have given it scores of 7 and above and audience reactions
have been great. People are laughing in the right places, closing their
eyes in others and itís a fun film and thatís what people are
saying. They are entertained which was what I wanted to achieve with this
Any future projects you'd like
Faceless Man is part of a
franchise. If I ever get the chance I have The Faceless Family followed by
The Faceless Army but they are high concept films in need of a big budget.
Taking the town plot to a whole new level is
The Bastards of Old
Town, a film I have played around with as it elevates the craziness of
The Faceless Man to a much bigger scale. Again a high budget is needed.
I am developing a sci- fi that is set 50 years into the future and very
George Orwell in its execution but I want to take my time with it and
really hone the script.
For my next project I am thinking dark comedy/high drama that will be shot in secret and released when
done (it may be my third feature that would be released after my second).
Can't say too much of this one haha.
What got you into filmmaking to begin with,
and did you receive any formal training on the subject?
I went to films (as a great filmmaker once said). I did do 7 years of business school and became an
academic so I have a sound knowledge of business and marketing. I created
6 shorts and that was my film school.
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to The
I created The Lazy Barber as
my first short. A comedy about the bearded god. Looking back I made a lot
of bad decisions but it did ok in some festivals and always gets some good
Next was The Painted World, and I faced every technical problem under
the sun and it was a great learning experience on what not to do and what to
aim to get right.
Congratulations was the third and I was happy overall but still made
a few mistakes in terms of locations and cinematography choices.
Five OíClock Is the short
that I liked the most. As the director and writer I wish to come back to
this short and expand it into a TV show.
How would you
describe yourself as a director?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Someone that wants to make
something different and entertain people.
who inspire you?
Quentin Tarantino, David Lynch,
John Carpenter, Sam Raimi, Robert Rodrigues, Stanley Kubrick, Jennifer
Your favourite movies?
Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction,
Inglourious Basterds, Good Fellas, Once Upon a Time in America, The Good,
the Bad and the Ugly, Apocalypse Now, Clockwork Orange.
... and of
course, films you really deplore?
Itís a hard thing to say because
every film has a shit load of effort put into it. I feel the Marvel films
are soulless, but they make heaps of money and can be fun - but itís the
same formulas and takes away from other films or new IPs that could be
Your/your movie's website,
Facebook, whatever else?
you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
Go watch The
cinema (watch it how it was intended to be watched) this Halloween! Tell
your friends and keep up to date where you can see it next.
Thanks for the interview!