Your upcoming movie Heinous - in a few words, what's it going
to be about?
seized by authorities is used to recreate the horrific events of a young
couple and their blind daughter after moving into a Southern country home
occupied by a vile entity. That’s it in a nutshell without
the details of course… you have to see it for the details. (evil grin)
What were your inspirations when writing Heinous?
I had the most active imagination as a child.
Many of them created by watching a show back then called Night
Gallery. It came on late nights on the weekend if I remember
correctly. We were not allowed to watch it but we would sneak
and do it. That show scared me to death so nightmares and
imagination ensued! However, I have never experienced any
paranormal events - I have scared myself a few times though. So
blend a life of imagination, the past spooky television shows with current
horror filmmaking and you get Heinous.
what I've heard, Heinous is going to be a movie of the found
footage-variety. Why, and what do you find appealing about this sort
has a certain element of realism… like a documentary. For
example, Mel Gibson’s film Signs did not scare me, but when the
creature appeared in the news footage at the child daycare center and just
walked across the screen, THAT sent a chill down my spine. So
the intent was achieved by what seemed real. Today we are a
culture of reality television. I am not a big fan of that but
I do like the use of “reality” to affect the audience. You
also have to look at your target audience in today’s market.
What can you tell us about your
directorial approach to your subject matter, and the intended look and
feel of your movie?
with this kind of film (found footage), I still believe in sticking with
structure. So that is the challenge, character arc in three
acts. I also like to drive the story with the characters and
allow the audience to experience the horror through them and not
necessarily the entity. I want to bring the element of
realism to the project by using everyday elements and locations - places
and things that the average person lives in and interacts with. We
will play with lighting techniques at times to create mood and the feel of
something dark but really surprising the audience with horror in what
seems like a natural comfortable environment. There will not
be buckets of blood but the element of implied doom and terror.
The plot of Heinous alone
suggests quite a bit of violence - so how far do you intend to go in that
department, and is there a line you refuse to cross?
the level of gore and blood bath shock but what I would call bloody scary
(grin). Implied death scenes coupled with after the fact
images. I think it has a greater effect on the audience to
leave some things to mystery and imagination. We do not want
to spoil the audience with gore as I think it takes away from the scare
factor and gets boring. This film has children in it and I
refuse to show a death scene with a child or imply it. In a
horror film it takes away from the entertainment value in my opinion.
If I were making a WW11 film I would imply it but never show it
happening. That’s my line.
you can tell us about your intended cast yet?
I chose a cast that is not well known. Again the idea
is to have an element of realism or reality. To seem like
average people living a routine lives. However not well known
I believe we have a solid cast that will bring it to the level needed for
this project. We do have Randall Oliver signed, who does have
an impressive resume spanning almost 30 years in the industry. He
was the lead in my last film Rugaru and he carried the film as good as any
A list actor. We have a mixture of young and older actors and
as mentioned, some children. All have unique qualities that I
think will carry this film.
opinion, for a film like Heinous the right location is of paramount
importance. Anything you can tell us about Heinous location-wise
is set in South Louisiana. We will be shooting in an Acadian
style home and South Louisiana locations that include moss laden trees,
live oaks rural landscapes. Most of the exteriors will be
establishing shots with the majority of the film shot indoors. However
there are a couple scenes that take place in the forest. But
again not straying too far away from what seems like everyday places and
With Heinous still being in pre-production:
What's the schedule, and any idea when and where the film might be
will begin in late April, early June. We are hoping to turn
this film around pretty quickly and have it released by the end of the
Currently, another film of yours, Rugaru,
is in post-production - so what can you tell us about that one?
is a horror film but more of a story about a man who’s world has fallen
apart around him. He has to conquer his own demons and in so
doing comes face to face with a legend and folklore of three cultures,
Native American, Cajun French and Voodoo. The Rugaru is a
myth or legend with ties to all of these cultures. It means
different things depending on which culture. The word implies
that it is a man with a wolf's head since the word can be spelled many ways,
such as Loup Garou the French word for werewolf. However in
the Native American culture it means The Man Beast. So I took
the liberty of blending all three cultures. I can also assure
you that Rugaru is not a werewolf movie.
This is the official
synopsis and plot:
is unleashed in a small backwoods bayou town in the form of a large hairy
beast which comes face to face with an unlikely hero with his own curse.
thug from the bayou releases horror in the deep backwoods after soliciting
the services of a nefarious voodoo witch for protection - giving rise to a
terrifying creature of Cajun folklore.
After a convict disappears, parole officer Claude Bruneaux investigates -
only to discover the curse plaguing the tiny swamp community. An unlikely
hero with his own demons, he races to unlock the mystery which has
summoned the beast. With nothing to lose, Bruneaux struggles between his
own trial of finding peace within... and getting out alive beyond what
waits for him in the murky bayou.
any idea when and where it will be released onto the general public?
am optimistic that we will have it ready by the end of the year for world
wide release. It depends on our distribution deal as to
Heinous and Rugaru both being a horror films, is that a
genre at all dear to you, and why (not)?
love a scary movie but my true love is the Western genre. I
am a huge fan of director Sergio Leone. His films still tower
in my opinion above all other westerns simply because of the great storytelling, music, locations, excellent talent and the most realistic look
and feel. From the costumes, props, locations and makeup, his
films achieve it for me. My goal is to someday make a Western
that will achieve the same.
So what got you
into filmmaking in the first place, and how did you learn your trade?
magic of film inspired me at a very young age. I was brought
up poor and didn’t have much so it was just a dream for many years.
I started working very young on farms. I would save
money to one day get that 8mm camera I would see in resale and pawn shops.
I finally acquired it and first started making clay and animated
figure shorts. I would build miniature sets and spend hours
animating. Eventually I started writing narrative pieces and
did several 8mm shorts with family and friends. Always the
dream but I could never afford film school. I learned by
doing. Back then we did not have internet so I read
everything I could get my hands on. Today there is no excuse.
With the technology and information at our fingertips anyone can
make films. They may not win Oscars but they are easily
achievable today. Funding is a major challenge but that comes
with success. I concur with Robert Rodriguez and Quentin
Tarantino, film school is not necessary - don’t waste your money or your
parents money. You want to be a filmmaker, then start making
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Heinous and Rugaru?
was my first feature length film. Prior to that I did many
shorts. I spent many years producing various forms of media
especially commercials for local clients. That is not as much
fun as filmmaking but it pays the bills! I have also done
some film-producing and I continue to do that as well. Currently
I am co-producing The Mob for Gilt Entertainment. This is a
heavy budget film that will include at least 3 A list actors. I
am also co-producing a couple micro budget films as well. So
a combination of producing and directing. I would rather
direct because of the creative freedom and accomplishment.
future projects you'd like to share?
do have another horror film in the works as well as my lifelong dream, a Western feature...or
Eastern I should say because of the location. The Western is based on a true story that happened in Louisiana at the end of
the civil war. I have acquired rights to the story but I
can’t divulge the details right now.
How would you
describe yourself as a director?
easy going. I don’t get excited on set. It can
cause un-needed stress on the crew and talent. I like to
work fast and get shots in two takes because as you continue you sometime
loose that real true expression from the talent. But if the
talent has suggestions, I am open to that as well. I will
always say ok let’s try it your way and my way and see what works.
It promotes team spirit and a feeling of contribution. Patience
is key and you have to deal with all kinds of personalities. Joe
Estevez told me that he learned something from me on set and that was
patience. I felt very humbled for him to say that, it means a
you've also done quite a bit of acting over the years, right? So please
talk about Tony Severio the actor for a bit, what are some of the
techniques you use to bring your characters to life, and do talk about
some of the movies you acted in?
enjoy acting. I find it easier to direct an actor than to act
though! Acting is a true art form and takes years to master.
Many people find this out the hard way. I enjoy
characters myself. I feel I can express myself easier that
way. I draw upon life experiences to dive into a role. Be it
comedy or drama there is something I can pull out of my past. My
most favorite role is a comedy character I created called Bubba
Survivorman. He’s all over YouTube. I done a
reality sports show as a guest playing this character. It was
totally unscripted. I played off of the host and adlibbed the
dialogue. Out of all the acting I have done, that one is my
favorite. We are currently developing a TV show based on the character.
whatever else who inspire you?
Eastwood takes the cake for me. As a director and actor he is
untouchable. I inspire to have the opportunity to work on a
set with him. I hear nothing but great things about his
directing technique and what a joy it is to work with him. In
front of the camera, he is an acting icon.
Your favourite movies?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
of the Mohicans. Actor Wes Studi stole the show. He’s
amazing. The scenery, great cast and the music is jaw
dropping. I have the pleasure of calling Wes my friend.
I’ve worked many years to promote his work as well as manage fan
relations for him. Look for him on a project that I am
producing to be announced soon.
are many others, the
Sergio Leone Trilogy with Clint Eastwood, Outlaw
Josey Wales, Ben Hur, Meet Joe Black, the
Predator, The Village, Signs… just a few!
and of course, films you really deplore?
Not a fan of
slasher and gore films.
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
Heinous on Facebook for now at facebook.com/heinousmovie.
You can also find out more about Rugaru at rugarumovie.com
you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
I want to give credit to my great team including my producer Rhonda
Aguillard and my lovely wife who wears many coats. Without
them, I couldn’t do it! I also want to thank you for this
for the interview!