Entries by Christine Caprilozzi

Familiar interview with Zach Green

Back in January, Christine Caprilozzi hailed the horror short “Familiar” with “Kudos to Fatal pictures for making a 23 minute film that will leave many horror fan more satisfied than some of the run-of-the mill features out there.” She recently had a chance to catch up with producer, Zach Green to discuss the acclaimed film.

Horror News Network: “Familiar” leaves such an impression with the audience, especially in such a short period of time. How did you become involved with the project? read more read more

Scare Tactics interview with Gregory Blair

SCARE TACTICS tells of horror film writer Grafton Torn for whom hypnotherapy and nightmares reveal memories that might or might not be real…and that might or might not be deadly. A valentine to the horror and psychological thriller genres, SCARE TACTICS has everything a creepy movie should have. And then some!

Recently Horror News Network’s Christine Caprilozzi caught up with director, Gregory Blair, to talk about Scare Tactics.

Horror News Network: The film “Scare Tactics” revolves around a horror writer, Grafton Torn. Are there any autobiographical moments in there for you?

Gregory Blair: Well, I’d love to say I wrote “Scare Tactics” in a remote, creaky cabin at night with nothing but a bottle of Jack and a black cat yowling in the distance, but I live in urban Los Angeles and write totally sober with a brown-eyed, warm-fuzzy of a rescue dog by my side. The dead bodies are only in my scripts. So far.


Horror News Network: Give us an overview, without giving too much away, of Torn’s journey through the story / film?

Gregory Blair: Well, it’s really about awakening. He literally awakens from a coma at the beginning and, through the rest of the film, he awakens to elements of his life that he either forgot about through the passage of time or as a result of the injury. One of my favorite scenes is where he watches an old interview of himself because, not only is it a physical manifestation of self-reflection (like his ghostly image in the windows at night), but it also shows how our perspective changes—in bits and pieces—over time. At first, as the younger Grafton in the interview waxes philosophical, the Grafton in the present just burps as commentary. But then as the younger Grafton continues, the Grafton in the present hears another meaning to what’s begin said—a connotation the younger Grafton could not possibly have had in mind. Life’s like that, sometimes, I think; hindsight can occasionally kick us in head.


Horror News Network: The trailer looks super creepy-the old school toy doll always bothers me-how would describe the film? Thriller, or more gore horror?

Gregory Blair: I see it as a fairly even split between the horror and the thriller genres. As for the horror element, though, rather than “gore” horror, think more along the lines of “Psycho” or the original “Halloween”: even though there are brutal murders in those films, you never really see any guts or heavy gore; it’s all done in a very scary, but very clean fashion. Add up all the classic elements of the genre (butcher knives, hatchets, guns, possessed dolls, hooded figures, murders–and a healthy dollop of blood) and it’s hard not to call “Scare Tactics” a horror film. But if the trappings are all classic horror, the plot of “Scare Tactics” operates to a large degree like a psychological thriller: the main character is trying to solve a mystery—the mystery of his own past. His journey from ignorance to comprehension has tons of twists and turns—not only for himself, but for the audience as well: we take the journey with Grafton and have trouble figuring out what’s real and what isn’t as the puzzle keeps changing, but we also take an additional journey of our own as we try to figure out if Grafton’s a reliable narrator or we’re seeing the confusing nightmares of a man sinking into madness.


Horror News Network: How did Bill Oberst become involved in the project?

Gregory Blair: Bill and I met about a year ago and clicked right away. Our backgrounds are at once disparate and similar, but the similarities are what make us bond: we both grew up as different varieties of social misfits; we both are passionate about acting, film and theater and we both play bad guys a lot. (I’m in front of the camera when I’m not behind it.) Bill and I had wanted to work together for a while and discussed different projects, but “Scare Tactics” stood out as the one to run with: it gives Bill a starring role that allows him to really show off his range in a way that I think people are going to stand up and take notice. He’s such a nice guy in person and his screen presence can be so terrifying and disturbing: “Scare Tactics” gets to make use of both of those elements in a way that no film before it has ever done.


Horror News Network: What is your target wrap or release date for the film?

Gregory Blair: We are finalizing our shooting schedule in the coming weeks, but the target is late August/early September. I’d love to say we’ll have the film done in time for Halloween, just because that’s so perfect and cool for a horror film, but it’s more likely we’ll be looking at a 2013 release date.


Horror News Network: Where can the HNN audience learn more about the film “Scare Tactics”?

Gregory Blair: There are lots of places to keep tabs on the film. First off, there’s our IndieGoGo campaign page http://www.indiegogo.com/SCARE-TACTICS which we’ve set up to allow folks to join us in the fun and be a part of the film by donating money in exchange for immortality in the film credits and all sorts of other cool perks. The more money we raise, the better the film is going to turn out. Folks can also check out our official website http://www.2writers.com/ScareTactics.htm, “like” our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/scaretacticsthemovie?sk=wall and follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/ScareTactics1 We’d love everyone to be a part of the “Scare Tactics” team.

Horror News Network: Thank you for your time, Gregory. Best of luck with the Scare Tactics movie!

Donner Pass interview with Erik Stocklin

Donner Pass has a well-known and macabre history – the place where George Donner and his party got stuck in the winter of 1846 and were forced to resort to cannibalism to keep from starving. But what if it wasn’t just history?

Christine Caprilozzi talked with actor, Erik Stocklin, who plays “Thomas”, about his role in Donner Pass.

Horror News Network: In the beginning, “Donner Pass” appears to be a typical teen horror romp. The plot, however, has a few twists and turns. What was your impression when you first read the script? What drew you to the project?

Erik Stocklin: When you initially begin reading the script its easy to think ‘oh I know exactly whats going to happen, seen it all before.’ However you quickly realize it’s not at all what you expected. The pacing of the script moves so fast the deterioration of those theories sneaks up on you. That’s what good horror movies do.

I grew up a huge fan of the genre. That definitely drew me to the film. When we were kids me and my brother used to go to the video store and rent five horror movies at a time. The first naked women I ever saw in a movie was a blood thirsty zombie. Yeah I know hard to imagine, there used to be places you could go to rent movies.

Horror News Network: Many characters in the horror genre end up being pretty one-dimensional. Your character is a bit more complex. How did you prepare for the role?

Erik Stocklin: Well Elise was truly an actors director. Probably because she is a fantastic actor in her own right. She just gets it. One of the most rewarding parts of the process was the few rehearsal periods we had before we actually started shooting. I got to spend some one on one time with her just talking and breaking the character down.

Horror News Network: Tell us a bit about the evolution of “Thomas” from high school outcast to the villain holding all the cards?

Erik Stocklin: Yeah this was definitely a little daunting at first. There are many layers to Thomas and it was a delicate dance in said evolution though out the film. You don’t want to give it all away in the beginning but all that still has to exist in you somewhere. Masked or not.


Horror News Network: How was the filing of some of the more intense, graphic scenes?

Erik Stocklin: Brutal. To do it justice it has to be real. You have to put yourself in the circumstances of these characters. You have to feel that pain. So say your character is eating bear mace to his face. Yes in the reality of a movie set its a fake prop. As the character in your mind you need to take on that reality of that guttural violent pain. I actually threw up during one of those takes.

Horror News Network: What was your first impression when you saw the movie for the first time?

Erik Stocklin: It was cool to see a movie shot on film. It looked and felt like what I remembered horror movies being. A lot of today’s big budget digital technologies just take me out of it ya know. Pennywise the clown reaching out of the storm drain will always haunt me more than anything ever rendered on a computer.


Horror News Network: How does this compare to your previous films and work on TV?

Erik Stocklin: Independent films allow that bubble of creativity to stay in tact. Its the closest thing to doing a stage play. Your much more invested and involved. Larger scale productions its harder to get that sense of a through line performance.

Horror News Network: What’s up next for you?

Erik Stocklin: I just wrapped shooting a web series for Fox the should be dropping on the world wide web in the next couple of months. Also funny enough a TV pilot that’s a musical comedy. A far cry from a blood spattered cabin in the woods.

Horror News Network: Thank you for your time, Erik. Have a comment? Post it here.

The Dead interview with Rob Freeman

An American mercenary, the sole survivor of a plane crash, has to run the gauntlet across Africa, battling with the living dead. Joining forces with a local military man, desperately searching for his son amongst the chaos, they fight together to survive.

Christine Caprilozzi caught up with actor, Rob Freeman, to talk about The Dead.

Horror News Network: First off, I loved the film. “The Dead” is not only total blood and gore, but also has a lot of human depth and drama to it, especially for being in the “horror genre.” What drew you to the project?

Rob Freeman: I think you just summed it up. The adventure drew me to it. I had done one horror film before which was more slapstick approach, “Pumpkinhead 4.” This one we were going to Africa, there was a social commentary about it, there was a guerilla style of filming. Everyone was going to have to pitch in and be hands on. I couldn’t go and be an actor, I was going to lug around equipment. There wasn’t going to be any fancy trailers, or catering. As an actor, it was very attractive from that perspective. It was “real” acting.


Horror News Network: How did you prepare for the role? There were a lot of physical elements in the film whether you were climbing a tree, climbing the mountains.

Rob Freeman: I’ve been an athlete all my life. I keep within generally about 80% of a pro athlete’s physical fitness. So I was already ready to go and do it before I knew I was going to do it. I kept training while I was there.


Horror News Network: How was the filing in Africa? Was it as beautiful as one would expect?

Rob Freeman: No (Laughs) Africa is a wonderful place with a lot of wonderful people. We ran into some difficult situations because we’re driving foreign license plates. Form their perspective, we had a fancy vehicle even though the vehicle was bought here for $500, white Range Rover. We had cameras, making a film. We looked like we had money, and people there don’t have money. We became targets. We would run into people with guns, and knives, mobs. It got to be pretty harrowing at times. The truth was we didn’t have any money and were running out of food and water.


Horror News Network: So, that atmosphere probably enhanced the tone of the film, and made you really feel like you were fighting for survival.

Rob Freeman: No doubt about that.


Horror News Network: In the film, there is definitely a sense of dread, suspense and an abundance of zombies. Some of the scenes, especially the on the dark airport hanger, are pretty intense. What was it like shooting some of the scenes? Did you have a favorite one?

Rob Freeman: That’s a great question. I’m thinking about that hanger scene. The part where I come in with the gun and I sweep through the empty hanger, I remember that scene because we had to shoot very quickly. The army Captain wanted money for us to be allowed to shoot there and was threatening to take our equipment, etc. I remember that being a very energetic moment. Then that led up to the part where I come face to face with the zombie. There were a lot of great scenes to shoot. They were all quite fun.


Horror News Network: It sounds like the atmosphere, with it being a bit hostile, added a bit of energy to the filming.

Rob Freeman: Well, the people over there, and I’m speaking in a very general sense, are generally very poor. What ended up happening was that we were doing what we had to, to survive. The story in the film is about surviving. What ended up happening was in real-time, was that we actually had to survive. In reality we had to survive to shoot the film, and inside the film, my character was trying to survive. It wasn’t like we shot and then went back to our houses and had a drink for the night. We never, for three months, escaped the film. We had to live it. What you see on the screen really isn’t a lot of acting.


Horror News Network: It isn’t a typical independent zombie film, there is a bit more depth to it. Your performance brought a lot of emotion, whether it was your facial expressions or physicality. Your character had a lot of ups and downs emotionally. There would be hope, and then it would be pulled away constantly.

Rob Freeman: That was happening in real life. There was really some incredible situations. One night we were driving back from shooting. We saw people walking on the side of the road and the lights from our truck would light them up. There are no street lights there. There’s only one paved road that goes through the whole country. It’s just bushes and jungle. So, the only lights were the lights from our $500 Range Rover. We would go by people, and they look like zombies walking on the side of the road, it was really bizarre.


Horror News Network: So, shooting was pretty much parallel to what was going on in the film?

Rob Freeman: I wouldn’t say there was a lot of separation between film and reality.


Horror News Network: What was your first impression when you saw the final cut of the film?

Rob Freeman: I was at Lester Square in London. There was about a thousand people there. I got lost in the film. I forgot it was me up there. I got lost in the adventure again. I remember sitting there and I started to cry at one point. I couldn’t figure out if I was crying remembering what I went through, or I was feeling for the guy on the screen. I still don’t know which one it was.


Horror News Network: What was it like working with Prince David Oseia (who was great as Sgt. Daniel)? How did that chemistry develop?

Rob Freeman: We had a great time together. When you watch the film, there’s a scene where we’re going up to the scene in the hanger. There’s a line on the runway, like a line on the highway. I’m on one side of that line, and he’s on the other side. It’s incredibly symbolic. As we walk together they cut just as I step across that line. So, that really described our relationship also. We got along really quite well.


Horror News Network: Thanks for your time, Rob. Comment on this interview here.

No Place Like Home interview with Angelo Tirotto

Dee’s life is in turmoil when her parents are killed in a freak tornado. Returning to Kansas for the funeral after five years in L.A., Dee discovers Emeraldsville is the same unexciting place it was when she left – until the bizarre unexplained murders begin. With an unknown killer closing in, the events of one night in 1959 begin to unravel as a portal to a world of horror opens, a portal paved with yellow bricks… Christine Caprilozzi caught up with writer, Angelo Tirotto, to talk about No Place Like Home. 

Check out the No Place Like Home interview with Angelo Tirotto.

The Sleeper interview with Justin Russell

It’s 1981 and the girls of Alpha Gamma Theta sorority are having a party. Amy, sick of living in the dorms, invites her roommate Ava to attend the party with her in hopes that they’ll both become Thetas. As the girls arrive, so does an uninvited guest watching them in the shadows. Amy’s choice quickly becomes a nightmare as the Theta girls begin to disappear one by one. Announcing his victims, the killer calls the house whispering the next to die. The police hunt for the missing girls and the killer, but will they find him in time? Or will all the girls sleep for good?

Christine Caprilozzi caught up with director, Justin Russell, to talk about The Sleeper.

Horror News Network: “The Sleeper” is a total throwback to the eighties. Although, the manner in which its shot is supposed to look eighties, the girls dorm feels a bit like the original “Black Christmas.” Tell us about the concept, and inspiration to keep everything real to the time period?

Justin Russell: The concept really came out of my deep love for the slasher film. They are my favorite of the genre. So when I sat down to write “The Sleeper,” I tried to keep it as true to my predecessors as I could. The problem with producing a period piece is always money. The Sleeper was made for such a small budget that a lot of the look and feel was created by the large pieces. When I wrote it, I knew where most of these locations were and I knew that they all still looked pretty retro. So when I didn’t have the money for wardrobe or other props, I’d try to focus on the big stuff. Keeping any cars out of the shots. Showcasing the house. Bringing in an old police car for a day just to have something from the era. I would have loved to have had an art department working on this, but it was essentially myself and ebay working to make it look just right.

Horror News Network: Your stalker is super creepy. Does he have a back story?

Justin Russell: The one thing I am not a fan of in the slasher film is the back story. In some cases it’s fine, like Friday the 13th. But in most cases I just want to see a madman going after some innocent co-eds. So when I wrote the character I never thought of him as very three dimensional. I wanted him to have a presence, which Crabtree absolutely nailed, but I wanted his motivation to essentially be ‘The Slasher Film.’ Look at how they walked, moved, killed and lets go with that. A lot of those films were rushed into production to capitalize on the trend, so I tried to go about producing my film the same way. I wasn’t overly concerned with plot holes and back stories because I wanted it to feel like the studio just went for it as quick as possible.

Horror News Network: Tell us about the casting of Jason Jay Crabtree as the insane stalker?

Justin Russell: Crabtree and I met through a mutual friend and I always loved his presence. I didn’t know him that well when I wrote the story, but I really wanted him for the part. We were at our friend’s house and I told him I wanted him to play the part. A week later I called him and said, “So I was kinda serious about you playing the part.” And he responded with ” I’m kinda serious about playing it.” The film would have been nothing without his presence and his dedication to the film.

Horror News Network: There is one particular scene that’s pretty suspenseful. Without giving too much away, the “dark theatre scene,” where Amy is hiding under the seats, was the whole walking around the theatre and hitting every seat scripted?

Justin Russell: Yes and no. I wanted a really great chase scene in the film, followed by a long suspenseful ‘wait and see’ moment. I originally had the character of Amy running into a cafeteria on the campus, trying to escape. Well, I re-wrote the scene when I was location scouting and found an old middle school. They allowed me to walk around and scout the whole building without anyone, so I just started opening up doors. I ended up opening the door to this amazing abandoned theater and my mind went to work. Before I even had the location locked down I was walking the theater and dreaming up the shots. We ended up only having the location for 3 hours, with 3 other scenes to film in the hallways, so that scene was practically shot in real time! It ended up being one of my favorite scenes in the film.

Horror News Network: I have to ask about another scene. The 1980’s, new wave, white kid, group line dance?? Whose idea was that? Who choreographed it? It was a personal highlight for me.

Justin Russell: That scene has become very controversial in a lot of reviews. No one really knows how to take it. The dance scene was my idea after watching Prom Night and noticing how many ridiculous dance moments there are. I loved the fact that amidst the chaos and killing, there was this “party” happening at the Night Owl. It was for sure going in the film when I hear James Curd’s Live Forever. That song was so perfect, I had to make sure the dance was in there. The lead, Brittany Belland’s friends actually choreographed the scene for me the night before we shot. That’s how indies are made!

Horror News Network: As for the horror fans, how would you describe the “kill” scenes to them?

Justin Russell: Obviously with an 80’s slasher, you have to have a high body count. When I wrote the story I picked a college campus so that there would be an endless supply to knock off. Again with our limited budget I could only do so much. Some of the kills, the first in particular, are very brutal, while others are somewhat absurd. When I watch a horror film it doesn’t all have to be completely conceivable. Adam Green’s Hatchet had one of the best gore scenes ever, when he rips a woman’s head apart. I sometimes think being able to cheer at a kill and not wince is sometimes more fun. A lot of newer style horror slashers are way too violent and real. I wanted there to be a level of campiness to the kills.

Horror News Network: Where can our readers find out more about The Sleeper?

Justin Russell: You can keep up with The Sleeper at www.gammaknifefilms.com and also find us on Facebook and Twitter.

Horror News Network: There are many loose ends, and unanswered questions left at the end of the movie. Are you leaving the door open for “The Sleeper 2”?

Justin Russell: Almost all the slashers from that era ended pretty openly. I wanted it to end with that same sense of uneasiness that, he’s still out there! Don’t close your eyes tonight! If everyone wanted a Sleeper part II, I wouldn’t have any reservations about doing one. They are so much fun to make and really that’s what slasher movies should be…fun.

Horror News Network: Thanks for your time, Justin.

Familiar review

Synopsis: John Dodd is a man who is becoming increasingly displeased with his typical suburban life to the point of madness. As he cruises through his 40′s on autopilot, our hero often daydreams about his parasitic daughter heading off to college; though most of his time is spent obsessing over how much he detests his wife Charlotte (Astrida Auza). Just when he thinks that he’s free of his stale marriage and his pathetic existence, his spouse drops a bomb: she’s pregnant, a revelation which causes John to have a complete psychological breakdown. Under control of the persuasive voice inside his head, John embarks on a dark journey to free himself from his self-imposed shackles, that is, until things go too far. read more read more

D4 interview with Darrin Dickerson

A team of ex-military mercenaries is hired by a wealthy doctor to rescue her kidnapped child from a supposedly abandoned government facility. Once inside, they discover they’re not alone, and what was meant to be a simple search and rescue quickly turns into a fight for survival.

Christine Caprilozzi caught up with director, Darrin Dickerson, to talk about D4.

Horror News Network: The premise of “D4” is really interesting and disturbing in its own right. The story revolves around a secret military operation to rescue a prominent billionaire’s son, who has been kidnapped. The disturbing part is that they are performing experiments on epilepsy patients there, which would include the boy. The plot has some depth to it. Can you give us a bit of the inspiration behind the story? How you drew upon your personal experiences as both a writer, and actor? read more read more

The THING review

“The Thing” opened this weekend with some mixed emotions from many horror fans. John Carpenter’s 1982 remake of the 1951 classic has great affection from many. So now, we have a prequel from director Matthijs Van Heijningen Jr. I went into this, with some skepticism, but obviously some excitement to see a 21st century take on the evil from another planet.

First off, let me say the acting and actors were genuine and believable as scientists researching a special project in Antarctica. Van Heijningen did a great job with setting the scene. Not only did you feel the cold, blizzard conditions, but he also brought you back to 1982. He definitely gets props for using the Men at Work song in the film. For the most part, the film wasn’t shot in a slick manner, it had the grittiness a dark themed movie needs. read more read more

Billys Cult interview with Michael Lucas

Billy’s Cult takes us into the demented mind of Billy, a ruthless killer unlike any other seen before. Born out of sin, Billy is given up at a young age for adoption by his mother, Lenore Kingsley. He grows up wanting revenge on his mother, and biological father, a Roman Catholic priest, Father Allen Perry. Meanwhile, Detectives Gates and Steele are in pursuit of this killer, trying to put an end to the killing spree, while at the same time, attempting to exorcise their own inner demons. read more