Your new movie The Hatred
- in a few words, what is it about?
On the surface, The Hatred
is the story of a young orphan girl who
conjures an executed soldier back from the dead and together they deliver
hell in the northern frontier of the 1800’s. Underneath it is a metaphor
for the hatred Americans seem to be passing to their children.
Basic question, why
choose the Western genre as a backdrop for what I'd call an almost
biblical horror story? And do talk about your approach to both the Western
and the horror genre for a bit!
I chose the western
backdrop for this biblical tale of horror because I feel that people were
more in touch and under the influence of the “magic” and supernatural
qualities of their beliefs back then. Recently I had driven from Montana
to Alaska and during the trip was intrigued by the regional stories of the
interaction of the pioneers with the First Nations and how much the
pioneers believed in their own divine providence. The diaries of the early
settlers are filled with fundamental religious scripture. Also, the
brutality of the northern pioneers and soldiers is well documented. Not
just against the First Nations but also against each other. With all this
in mind I believed it would be a perfect setting for a tale of brutality
and horror all driven by an angelic young girl that could also serve as a
fun representation of young America.
(Other) sources of
inspiration when dreaming up The
I definitely loved Spaghetti westerns
growing up. Most of all I liked the long stillness of many of the scenes
accented with bursts of violence. High Plains Drifter is one of my
favorites. The Hatred
is definitely influenced by this movie but with a
different conclusion on the truth of vengeance. On the horror front I
really dig The Omen! The religious references, the child antagonist and
the unrelenting dark beauty of the devil. The dark, sad majesty of
the fallen one is definitely intriguing to me and a fun theme to explore. Another
film that influenced The Hatred
is The Proposition, written by Nick Cave.
What thrilled me about that movie was how dirty and gritty it was. The
viewer could smell the dirt and taste the blood in that one and for me the
acting was understated and perfect. I definitely emulated that inglorious
ethic when shooting The Hatred.
On a personal level, to what extent
could you identify with your main character's path of vengeance?
and Hatred have both been things I’ve struggled with in my life. Both
are like drugs and are viciously addicting. The more you do the more
you want, they feed on themselves through us. Just like drugs, quitting
Vengeance and Hatred has been a fervent goal of mine and this movie is
definitely a tribute to my feelings on both.
of The Hatred was filmed
on exterior locations in the snow - so do talk about your locations for a
bit, and what were the advantages and challenges of filming there under
I was warned repeatedly not to shoot in
the snow for a variety of reasons. The first was the difficulty of dealing
with the light but also the effect the cold had on the cameras. I did not
listen to that advice and am glad. In fact, I found the light in the snow
to be wonderful to work with and it really helped the visual contrast I
was looking for. As for the cold, the cameras were not happy but it was so
cold that the actors also couldn’t last too long either. So we shot in
short bursts and then retreated to warm cars or my house. The entire film
was shot in the Catskill mountains of upstate New York where I’m from.
The dream sequence where I’m covered in blood was a cold day with a
fresh snow. I was naked in the snow and had to walk for about 100 yards
barefoot. Within 5 minutes I couldn’t feel my hands or feet and was so
frozen I couldn’t get my shoes or clothes on. Luckily I was close to
home but I honestly thought I wasn’t gonna make it. It took me quite a
while to thaw out. I won’t do that again.
few words about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?
a director the most important part of my job was to encourage all the
actors to not act. Just to be as simple as possible. Especially because we
were doing a period piece it was imperative that we didn’t act or speak
“old timey”. I think all the actors did an amazing job of playing
everything in a wonderfully understated fashion. In the end I find this
more menacing than going big.
also play the avenging "angel" (?) in The
Hatred - so how do you even approach such a role, and did you
write him with yourself in mind from the get-go?
I play the
role of Vengeance. I cast myself because I am the cheapest actor I know.
Free. Also, I love working with my daughter Zelda. We had a ton of fun
making this film together. Since she was homeschooled the year we filmed,
we were able to shoot all of our scenes whenever we wanted and that gave
us time to do things right. It also made reshoots especially easy. For my
character, I wanted him to be merciless. Not just to his victims but also
in his lack of caring for the goodness of the young girl. There is one
scene in particular that is there only to show a flicker of guilt in the
realization of what he is ultimately doing to this child.
can you tell us about the rest of The
Hatred's key cast, and why exactly these people?
entire cast of the film were great to work with. The working phrase for
the direction was “give it to me low and slow” and they delivered
perfectly. Each was cast for their look. I wanted a real ramshackle
mismatched crew of heathens and I love they way they all come together as
an ensemble. I could not have asked for an easier troupe. When they
weren’t acting, they were cooking food or carrying equipment or applying
bloody make up. Each of them was not just committed as an actor, they were
also committed as crew members.
you can tell us about audience and critical reception of The
is just about to have its
world premiere so we have only reached out to a few press outlets but so
far the response has been excellent. Like any piece of art, it’s on its
own now and I wish it the best because I enjoyed every moment of creating
this little demon!
From what I know, a sequel to The
Hatred is already in the works - so do talk about that project for
Speaking of creating! Blu de Golyer [Blu
de Golyer interview - click here] is now dipping
his pen in a pool of blood and cranking out the prequel! Soon we’ll find
out where this vicious curse came from and dive a little deeper into the
river of pain and sadness that it flows from. I CANNOT WAIT TO FILM PART
got you into making movies in the first place? And what can
you tell us about your filmwork prior to The
I originally got into filmmaking
because I enjoyed making dramas. Celebrating real people and how they
fought through their challenges. My wife Toby and I joined forces with
our two daughters and made four feature films together. Rumblestrips,
Knuckle Jack, The Shoot and Halfway to Zen. Working together as a
family is amazing and we’ve got a solid operation now. On The
Toby was working hard writing another script and my oldest daughter, Lulu,
had left for college. So Zelda and I made The
Hatred together. When we all
work together we are WonderWheel Productions. When it is Z and I we are
Kid Kalifornia Productions, which takes its name from the band Zelda and
I have - https://youtu.be/U7_mP0aXkYg
As the two of us made videos together we realized we liked the darker
visuals and figured making an an entire dark feature would be fun.
How would you describe yourself as a
As a director I believe the most important job is
to get people to be as close to themselves as possible. For me making sure
everyone is relaxed is tatamount, if there is tension on set it rarely
helps for what I’m trying to achieve. I always let the actor go through
a scene the way they like, when they are satisfied I ask them to do it the
way I like. Generally my advice to them is “keep it low and slow” and
“don’t act”. I like what each actor brings to the projects and often
find between their ideas and mine something great is found.
Besides making movies, you're also a musician,
right? So what can you tell us about that aspect of your career? And what
kind of music do you play, preferably?
Punk rock changed my
life. I grew up on hardcore. It kept me out of the mainstream of
everything and I am thankful for that. I played in a lot of bands growing
up but my favorite was Banana Fish Zero which turned into Statues of
Liberty. We were a regional party punk outfit that toured up and down the
east coast - https://youtu.be/z9pR72V_paE.
In fact, the first movie I ever made was a documentary about my bass
player, Prince Hal. I am now mostly focused on hanging with my kid
musically and having fun both doing live shows and as I said before...
making videos - https://youtu.be/rLGvleXxfpo
musicians, actors, writers, whoever else who inspire you?
artists that inspire me are the ones that beat the system. Greg Ginn from
Black Flag is an example I continually return to for inspiration. Jello
Biafra too. Both of them created their own record companies and powerful
network systems in an age before the internet. Through cleverness and hard
work their music and vision got to millions of punks like me and I believe
ultimately helped topple a bloated and boring music industry and change
the music landscape forever.
favourite movies? And of course, films you really
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
My favorite movies are Bad News Bears and The
Proposition. My least favorite movies are those done by Hollywood
committee. I think it’s good that the Industry elite is getting their
ass kicked for being fools. I think it will make room for new talent and
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever
Hatred is available exclusively on Amazon:
Our Facebook page
On Twitter we can be found at @TheHatredFilm
Thanks for the interview!