Your upcoming short The Prospector's Curse - in a few words, what is
Set in the 1890’s, The Prospector’s Curse is the cautionary tale of
two criminals who stumble across a mutilated Prospector, dying on Indian
ground. They promise to give the old man a Christian burial and deliver his
gold to his widowed sister. Of course, the fugitives break their oath and
steal the gold, but that night the Prospector’s corpse returns to make them
How did the project come into being in the first place?
I have always loved horror movies, and became interested in the characters and
lore surrounding the Yukon Gold Rush after reading the book Klondike by
Pierre Berton. In the Summer of 2011, Cinematographer Michael Jari Davidson
expressed interest in collaborating with me, after watching my short comedy
film Mail Order Bride. Originally intended to be an extremely low-budget
“calling card” film, Michael’s involvement and contacts quickly
transformed The Prospector’s Curse
into the professional,
feature-quality short it became.
From what I've gathered, The Prospector's Curse
certain urban legend (or rather rural legend?) flair to it. Something you
can at all agree to, and are there any actual legends your film was based
The film isn’t based on any specific legend, but it
has an intentional campfire ghost story feel. It’s a simple morality
fable, a mashup of clichés and archetypes, but presented in an
interesting new way.
There is also a strong Western theme in The Prospector's Curse
- a genre at all dear to you?
I am a huge fan of Spaghetti Westerns and HBO’s Deadwood. Everything
is bold, gritty, dirty and in your face.
sources of inspiriation when writing The Prospector's Curse?
drew inspiration from everywhere, including horror comics, radio shows,
old cartoons and classic monster movies. The two lead characters, Jack
Smith and “Tubby” Ellsworth, are inspired by the comedic relationship
between Abbott and
Costello, and the horror scenes are influenced by the
my understanding (and I might be totally wrong here), The Prospector's Curse
also has a strong comedic edge to it. How would you describe
your and your film's brand of humour?
There are no one-liners or banana peels, but the film is certainly a
dark comedy. The humor comes from the characters’ relationships, the
lovable ignorance of the drunken, murderous protagonist, and the
over-the-top gore and horror when The Prospector wreaks his revenge. The
actors did a wonderful job of walking the fine line between cartoonish
acting and genuine emotion, creating believable and humorous characters.
Michael Davidson, Robert Nolan, Josh Heisie
How would you
describe your directorial approach?
It was a very
collaborative process and the film changed organically as we went along. I
would approach the cast and crew with my original vision, and they would
throw back their own creative ideas. I would try to decide what fit best
into the overall project. I also draw inspiration from as many sources as
possible, combining or rehashing ideas from the great genre films that
A few words about
your cast and crew?
I was honored to work with a very talented, professional and dedicated
cast and crew. The Prospector’s Curse
was a self financed labor of
love (read: nobody got paid) but everyone donated their blood, sweat and
tears to make a great film. Our team included Director of Photography
Michael Jari Davidson (SICK), Producers Bruno Marino (Anything
Goes) and Teodora Ilie, Special Effects Makeup wizard Carlos Henriques
(Red: Werewolf Hunter), David Roberts (Curious and Unusual
Deaths) as Tubby, Johnny Quinn (Mind’s Eye: The Series) as
Jack, and the great character actor Robert Nolan (Worm) as The
Prospector [Robert Nolan
interview - click here].
What can you tell us about the
actual shoot and the on-set atmosphere?
that the production was actually cursed, because shoot was a hectic,
grueling experience. We battled countless disasters on a remote ranch near
Ponty Pool, Ontario, but the cast and crew stayed optimistic and
professional throughout. We showed that curse who was boss.
of course: When and where will the film be released, tentatively?
The Prospector’s Curse
will be released this Spring, probably in April.
We plan to submit to select horror-themed film festivals, and release it
online, reaching as many horror fans as possible through websites, blogs,
social media, etc. Bruno Marino and I intend to pitch the film as the
first “chapter” of a horror anthology feature (i.e. Tales From the
Crypt and Creepshow) so we want to generate as much interest and
positive feedback as possible.
go back to the beginnings of your career: What got you into filmmaking in
the first place, and did you receive any formal education on the subject?
been making comedy and horror films with friends and cohorts since high
school, and graduated from the Advanced Television and Film Program at
Sheridan College. A lot of pies have been thrown and blood spilled.
have scripted a short with the wonderful title Abra
Cadaver. You just have to talk about this one for a bit!
Cadaver is the melodramatic tale of a deranged Magician who cannot
comprehend the difference between illusion and reality. This means when he
saws his lovely assistant in half, he can’t put her back together again!
Finally a streetwise hooker teaches him a lesson he won’t forget. The
short was produced by Kurt Ogilvie and directed by Jay Macbeth.
film of yours is called Mail Order Bride. A few words about that
Mail Order Bride is a silent comedy short about a
hapless bachelor who applies for a mail order bride, hoping that a foreign
beauty will be the answer to his loneliness. Instead a burly, grouchy
Eastern European woman is delivered in a crate on his front lawn, and
mayhem ensues. It stars Devin Upham and Dina Dametto and was produced by
Anam Abbas. The short will be available online soon.
Any other films of yours, past, present or future,
you want to talk about?
I have several more shorts written for the horror anthology
movie. Each story takes place in a different time period and pays homage
to a genre of B-Movies. The Prospector’s Curse
is the Spaghetti
Western, and the others will include a Film Noir thriller called The
Skin, a 1950’s Creature Feature entitled Ravage Me and a
psychedelic slasher flick featuring sexy teens and a murderous butler.
You have also worked on numerous films as a designer and/or set
dresser. A few words about that aspect of your career and some of the
films you have worked on?
I love the ‘magic’ of working
in the Art Department where you can transform a bunch of wood, paint and
foam into a castle, cave or space station. I prefer to work on period
films and horror movies. Picking wallpaper and hanging draperies isn’t
my bag, but if I’m building a Yukon prospecting camp or a zombie-killing
all-terrain vehicle I’m usually having a great time. Most recently I
designed the zombie feature SICK directed by Ryan M. Andrews
(Black Eve) [Ryan
M.Andrews interview - click here].
I'd also like to mention that
in your pastime you are quite a skilled cartoonist. Want to talk about
that skill of yours for a bit?
Classic cartoons and comics
are a big influence in my writing and directing style, and I enjoy drawing
and learning the craft in my free time. Hand drawn cartoons and animation
are a dying art form, and I try to incorporate them into my Art Department
career as much as I can. My portfolio is available on my website.
Any other talents of
yours we should know about?
I’m the world’s greatest
Directors who inspire you?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
I’m more inspired by specific movies than directors, but I admire Sam
Raimi, Sergio Leone, Quentin Tarantino, The Coen Brothers, John
Kricfalusi, Stanley Kubrick, Alfred Hitchcock and early Steven Spielberg,
amongst others. They’re all geniuses in their own right.
I love movies with an emphasis on unique
characters and an interesting point of view, rather than big complicated
plots. Some favorites include The Shining, Night of the
Hunter, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Detective Story,
Pulp Fiction, Rear Window, The Big Lebowski and
Will Be Blood.
... and of course, films you really
I deplore anything that’s really pretentious or
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever
Keep updated on The Prospector’s Curse Fan Page
and my personal website is www.joshheisie.com
An anthology movie website will be coming soon. Hold onto your hats!
Anything else you are dying to mention that I have
merely forgotten to ask?
I think I’ve ranted enough
already. Thanks for the interview!
Thanks for the interview!