Interview: ‘Leatherface’ Director Julien Maury

The team of Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo are horror film aficionados. They are also the men behind some really good horror films, such as, Inside and ABC’s of Death 2. Their latest film, Leatherface, is an origins story to the classic horror movie villain from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise. I had a chance to speak to Julien about the new Leatherface film and learn about what attracted him to the story and the approach he took telling it.

What attracted you to the script:

JM: Honestly what hooked us was that the narrative structure was very different from the others (Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies) in the saga, franchise. We basically have the same structure on every other film, where a bunch of kids are getting lost on the lens of the family and they are getting killed. Here it was was much more like road movie. That was something quite interesting for Alex and I. We felt we could bring it more easily to our universe. 

How important was it to separate to narrate the difference from the young version of this character from the one that everyone knows him to be:

JM: It was one of the challenges. In the first draft it was much more of a ‘who done it’ movie. A bunch of crazy teenagers, we didn’t know which one would become Leatherface. Versions after versions we lost a little bit of the suspects till the end. Honestly, it is really challenging for a director to have an opportunity to tell a story of bad guys, villains.

MY TAKE: 

My impression of Julien was first and foremost that he was a really cool dude. Very open and passionate. Someone who is easy to talk to and personable. I couldn’t ask for more. I liked how descriptive he was on how he wanted to change the character and not make it cliche, by also acknowledging how smart horror fans are, relating it to him being a fan himself. That sort of understanding of the genre and its pitfalls comes through in the way they went against the cliches in directed this film.

I thought it was interesting when he said that Alex and him love bad guys and finding the humanity in them. That’s a really neat perspective to characters who usually lack any sort of humanity in horror films.

Overall, he gave great breakdown of the film and the thinking behind what they ended up doing. I liked when he said that the more realistic you are in the beginning, the crazier you can get at the end. Such smart and true perspective.

One of the best answers I’ve gotten from anyone I interviewed was when he told me he was involved and passionate about ecology. His laugh was infectious.

Leatherface is a unique origin story and interesting watch with enough scares and gore to satisfy your horror expectations. A really good horror movie to see for Halloween.

Leatherface is out now in select theaters (check local listings), On Demand and DIRECTV 

Interview: ‘Escape Room’ Director Will Wernick

Lionsgate’s Escape Room is a perfect mystery horror film treat for Halloween. The film is out now on DVD and I had a chance to talk about it with the director Will Wernick. This interview contains the film’s *SPOILERS* so beware while listening.

What made you want to direct this film:

WW: I was working on another film with one of our producers Kelly Delson and her husband, I was at their house one night, at the end of a meeting he pulled me aside and asked why hasn’t there been a movie about an escape room? I said that was a really good question. So I went home an outlined it and came back the next morning and said I have a writer that can write this quickly and we can get it going and we were shooting three months later. I’ve never seen anything get financed that quickly. 

This movie seems like it’s set in real time, there is a lot of mystery, is this something you were going for: 

WW: Absolutely, I’m a big fan of fun thrillers. We didn’t stick with it, but in the original outline the idea was that there would be a clock that you always saw, so escape room portion would be exactly an hour. That doesn’t really work out when you make a movie, but I think we we were pretty close. It ends up being a little less.

MY TAKE: 

This is the kind of movie that I’m fortunate to speak to the director of it about. Escape Room is like a puzzle and it leaves you with a few interpretations, especially the ending. I enjoyed hearing Will elaborate on the motives and ideas they had for the characters and plot. Will proved me right, when he confirmed that the movie was supposed to and was consciously trying to have the escape room take place in real time.

The actors chemistry really worked, so I was surprised to hear that they haven’t met or knew each other prior to the filming. Credit to their professionalism and skills. This movie couldn’t have been done without a solid ensemble cast that clicked together.

Escape Room really impressed me. It’s a thought provoking movie with a compelling story and theme. The ending had me wanting more, so I’m glad Will is working on a sequel. I’ll be looking forward to it.

Escape Room is out now on DVD, Digital HD and On Demand

Interview: ‘Dementia 13’ Actress Julia Campanelli

Dementia 13 is credited as Francis Ford Coppola’s first feature film. This horror features a family full of secrets as they gather together to pay respects to their deceased youngest daughters life. With all the secrets floating around, the truth needs to start coming out or people will die, one by one. Throughout the night a ghost seeking vengeance emerges alongside a mysterious killer.

So why are we talking about a film that was created in 1963? Because, the remake of Dementia 13 is out now in select Theaters, VOD and Digital HD. Julia Campanelli, is one of the stars of the remake, she plays Gloria Haloran. Campanelli recalls the creepy feel there was while filming. “It was so creepy, the castle that we filmed in was truly haunted.” Most of the film takes place in an isolated castle and Campanelli talked about how the castle was abandoned by the previous owners, who just seemed to “pack up and leave everything behind them.”

To add to the off-screen fear factor, the crew decided to play some pranks. “They dressed up as a clown and it freaked everyone out” she said. “We will get them back for it though.”

D13_Key-Set-01_v3

Chiller Films ‘Dementia 13’

Pranks aside, Campanelli loved the bonding time she had with her fellow co-stars. ”We had so much fun together, we talked and played games, everyone got along together so well. Those were some of my favorite memories,” she recalls.

The film is really intriguing and suspenseful and the chemistry the actors and crew had that Campanelli speaks of, shows on-screen.

Director Richard LeMay updates this remake and gives it a fresh more modern feel with some extra chills, while honoring the original by keeping true to the story.

As the interview concludes, the joyfully exuberant Campanelli states, “This was my first horror movie, can you believe that?!”

Certainly can, it sure seems like it will be the first of many to come.

You can see Julia Campanelli in Dementia 13, which is out now in select Theaters (check your local listings), VOD and Digital HD

Interview: ‘The Crucifixion’ Director Xavier Gens

Lionsgate’s The Crucifixion is out today in select Theaters and On Demand. Earlier this week I had a chance to speak to the director of the film Xavier Gens. We discussed the real life inspiration for the movie, the filming of it and much more. Check below for the full audio of the interview with Xavier.

MY TAKE: 

I enjoyed speaking to Xavier. Yes, the French accent was cool, but the knowledge that he shared about the making of the film was great. His unique perspective really comes through. It was interesting to hear about how he wanted to keep it authentic and respect the real people this story was based on and leaning on them to bring the reality into the film.

It was interesting to hear him speak about brining an American touch, but from a French and European perspective. This really holds true and is evident in the movie with the look and presentation, it’s notable.

The Crucifixion is a terrific and unique take on the exorcism genre. There is a slew of exorcism themed films out there, but this has a whole lot more to offer. As chilling and scary as it is, it is more of a mystery you need to follow and piece together. It’s has a real journalistic flare. You get to navigate alongside the main actor Sophie Cookson and experience all the reveals together. This is an under-the-radar movie that can’t be overlooked.

The Crucifixion is out now in select Theaters and On Demand 

Interview: ‘The Gracefield Incident’ Director Mathieu Ratthe

The Gracefield Incident is a fun and intriguing indie horror film that’s out now. I spoke to the film’s writer/director and star Mathieu Ratthe. Mathieu discusses the concept of the film. The challenges that he faced filming and he answers why we don’t see the monster earlier in the film. All that and more. Here is an excerpt from the interview and the full audio below:

“We shot this film in 13 days, so fast, really fast. I was like how are we gonna do this? So that’s how the conceptual idea of the eye came in. It wasn’t in the script in the first draft. I wasn’t going to be able to do any camera set-up or anything so I was like, alright, I was going to have to put the camera on my shoulder.”  —  Mathieu Ratthe

MY TAKE:

Mathieu is an interesting guy to talk to. He exudes passion for filmmaking. I was surprised to hear a few things he had mentioned. First was that the film shot in 13 days. Even if you aren’t in the know about filmmaking, that sure is fast, or short amount of time to make a film. He started shooting movies since he was 10-years-old, this month marks his 25 year doing this, that’s impressive. I’m amazed that you can become a successful filmmaker without film school, which Ratthe didn’t attend.

I loved the fact that he told me that the reason you don’t see the monster in the film is because he didn’t have the funds to put in in earlier and feature it more in the film. I liked his honesty. I enjoy when filmmakers tell me about stories from the set, in Mathieu’s case, one of them being him switching between the acting and directing which lead him to keep the hat on-screen and even speaking in a different language to the actors.

I enjoyed The Gracefield Incident. You should give it a try. It’s simply in context, but rich on execution and presentation.

‘The Gracefield Incident’ is out and available now in select theaters, Digital HD and On Demand

You can follow me on Twitter @JimRko and @TheReelTalker

Interview: Director Stacy Title Talks About Her Movie ‘The Bye Bye Man’

The chilling horror movie The Bye Bye Man is currently out on Blu-ray & DVD. I had a chance to speak to the film’s director Stacy Title. In the interview, Stacy talks about what appealed to hear about this film and the Bye Bye Man character. She also discusses the the lack of female film directors. You can listen to the entire interview with Stacy below:

MY TAKE:

Stacy was really cool to speak to. She seemed very knowledgable about the film and what she wanted to do with it. She really had a good grasp on the film and most importantly the characters. I appreciated her breaking down some of the scenes and motives for the characters with me. The wallpaper question is something I had to ask, as it appears to be a new trend to use in horror films. I liked how she wasn’t holding back about the lack of female film directors. It is clearly an issue, and unfortunate, considering there are so many capable and talented female filmmakers out there. Stacy is part of a rare breed of female directors to do horror. I thought she did excellent work and took some nice chances in the movie.

I feel she’s really an up-and-coming director that we will hear more about. I’d really be interested to see her direct more horror, a franchise one in particular. As far as The Bye Bye Man movie goes, I found it to be original and interesting. I liked the concept of the movie and the Bye Bye Man that Stacy and I talked about. To those of you on the fence about the film, I feel this is a movie that should be given a chance.

‘The Bye Bye Man’ is out now on Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD and On Demand. 

‘Rings’ Blu-ray & DVD Release Date

The legend of Samara appears that it will never die. The latest installment in the Ring franchise, Rings, is coming to Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and On Demand on May 2. You can catch it two weeks earlier on Digital HD on April 21. The Rings Blu-ray Combo Pack includes over 45 minutes of bonus content. These are the features:

Blu-ray

  • Feature film in high definition
  • Bonus Content:
  • Terror Comes Full Circle
  • Resurrecting the Dead: Bringing Samara Back
  • Scary Scenes
  • Deleted/Extended/Alternate Scenes

DVD

  • Feature film in standard definition