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An Interview with Joseph McGee, Director of The Harvard Psychologist

by Mike Haberfelner

November 2021

Films directed by Joseph McGee on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie The Harvard Psychologist - in a few words, what is it about?


Itís basically about a Harvard psychologist who wanted excitement in his life ó and found it after seeing a women get mugged in an alleyway. His ex-wife looked like Elizabeth Carter so he decided to target her among others next, but by doing so he finds clever ways to frame people and becomes Edward Atkins.


What were your sources of inspiration when writing The Harvard Psychologist?


Iíve always wanted to do a horror flic,k but everyone does something such as someone is in the woods and terrorizing people. I wanted a story with a twist. The French movie Haute Tension (High Tension in the US) inspired me to be clever in my writing.


Might be a weird question, but to what extent could you actually identify with your movie's title character - or any of the other characters for that matter?


I believe everyone has skeletons in their closet or another side to them - not saying Iím a serial killer, but next time your neighbor is happy he very well could be a serial killer.


A few words about The Harvard Psychologist's approach to horror?


As mentioned before I didnít want to do the traditional slasher horror. I like to give twists and texture to my story, so it was important for me to make it memorable.


At least to me, The Harvard Psychologist was also morbidly funny - would you at all agree, and if so do talk about your movie's brand of humour for a bit?


I do. I did put some Easter eggs in it ó perhaps people see it. When Henry Millard becomes Edward Atkins and is at the door of Corey the famous actor's house, Edwardís hat says, ďEating meat is strangeĒ - itís funny because he is a serial killer and a cannibal.


What can you tell us about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?


When I initially wrote the story in my head I was ear marking it for a 20/30 min short. But I added some more story that brought it to the 40 min mark. When I was scouting for Edward's kill house, I wanted either a nasty abandoned house or something different. I stumbled upon a train car in Connecticut and that became Edward's kill house.


Do talk about The Harvard Psychologist's key cast, and why exactly these people?


Casting is important to me ó I did some casting calls and I needed someone who sounded very intelligent but also someone who could change voices and character. Tommy Fury nailed the audition and was cast. I also sought out a female to invoke emotions for Elizabeth Carter and found Liberty Glez. When I was looking for cast members Mauricio Viteri who played Corey originally asked me how he would do to play a cop role. I told him no, you could play Corey better with your experience, and had him read some sides, and it connected well and he was cast.


A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?


We filmed this all in Connecticut, and we love to have fun on set. We initially had more cannibalism shown in the original cut instead of implied (intestines in fridge), where Tommy Fury was eating intestines and eating off dead bodies, but that was cut back. We had a good chemistry between the cast and crew.


Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of The Harvard Psychologist?


What I like about the film is the ending is left open for interpretation - did Tommy Fury get away with it, and did he sell out Corey for being mental? Who else does he go after?


Any future projects you'd like to share?


Yes, Tony Martone filming now, will be out early 2022, itís a mafia film. And When the Sun Dies, filming in 2022, which is a sci-fi end of the world film.


What got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?


Iím an accidental filmmaker, I used to read Dracula books a lot as a kid, and I could create pictures in my head of the castle, what I am reading. As I got older I become more of a visual person. In 2017, I turned books into films and never stopped since. Filmmaking to me is like an unfinished art project, itís defined to a degree but always a work in progress. In order to obtain one's attention, lines need to be drawn by using abstract colors. No formal training on filming. 


What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to The Harvard Psychologist?


Yes, I filmed Reflections: Project Chameleon, a TV series on Amazon Prime, and For Bobby, a psychological thriller also on Prime.


How would you describe yourself as a director?


For me when I see the words come to life ó thatís the best experience, to direct actors to tune into your vision.


Filmmakers who inspire you?


Many. I would say David Croenberg, David Lynch, Guillermo del Toro, Tony Scott , Quentin Tarantino, Brian De Palma.


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Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
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
to the weirdly romantic,
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