LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Interview with Adam MacDonald, writer and director of Pyewacket.
By James W, Wednesday 28th February 2018
There have been a number of occult and demonic movies over the last few years but none have come close to the tension and terror of Adam MacDonald's Pyewacket. The superb piece of cinema is showing at Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow this week so I had a quick chat with Adam about this superior shocker.
HC: Have you always been a horror fan?
AM: It really started when I was about 7 years old when my older brother showed me Evil Dead. I couldn't believe what I was watching, it truly rocked me. The card scene in the film did not leave my mind for days. That film is stained on my brain. I was terrified. But then I had a realisation that I loved that feeling. It was primal. Then I watched The Shining and The Exorcist and was hooked. A friend of mine that lived down the street showed me Fangoria. You could say that it was my "comic book" I stared at those images for hours.
HC: What inspired you to become an actor?
AM: It was something that I always wanted to do. I loved movies so much that I wanted to be in them. It took a while for me to realize that it was something I could truly pursue. I finally did when I was about 20 years old in Montreal. My passion ignited.
HC: Where did the idea for Pyewacket come from and did it take long to write?
AM: I was searching for an idea after Backcountry. I was reading William Friedkin's biography and was reminded of his film The Guardian. I saw that film in the theatre!! I then watched it a few times in the early nineties on VHS. I loved it. I hadn't seen it since then. So I watched it. There is a great scene where the nanny gives the baby stuffed animals. She names one of them Pyewacket. It just hit me how great that name was. Everything stemmed from that name, It was such a moment of inspiration. I've been wanting to do something with the occult and it all just fit. I took some elements from my own and saw the whole movie like a lightening bolt. It took a month to write, I was a man possessed!! I first wrote an outline and showed some friends including Vitoria Sanchez(the producer of the film) to get some feedback. The feedback was great so I went for it.
HC: Was it written with a cast in mind (who, by the way, are really superb)?
AM: They are aren't they!!! I'm so grateful for all the actors. Nicole and Laurie are incredible, they just put their heart and soul in it, a director could not ask for more. When I was writing the script I kept seeing Laurie as the mother! But I didn't think we would get her for the movie, but fate stepped in and a chance meeting at TIFF in 2016 made it happen. It was absolutely incredible.
HC: The effects are very subtle and yet so effective, were they difficult to realise?
AM: I was fortunate to have David Scott (who also did Backcountry with me). He and his team were great. I really wanted to NOT CUT away when she cuts herself during the ritual. David and his team worked their magic and made it happen. I personally believe it's more effective when its subtle, maybe for some it feels more realistic and not over the top. You nearly always see a bone sticking out of a leg when someone breaks it. I feel it's much more effective when the skin is stretched in an unnatural way from the bone break but the bone itself hasn't broken the surface of the skin.
HC: This is only your second feature, what directorial errors did you learn from your first movie that you made sure you didn't make with this one?
AM: That's a great question. To be honest I learned so much from my short films and made some mistakes there so when I did Backcountry I wasn't gong to repeat them. So essentially I wanted to carry that mentality into my second film. Which is, no matter what, to not let MYSELF comprise my own vision for the film.
HC: It's a slow-burner of a movie that really does get under your skin, was this feeling hard to achieve?
AM: I use what scares me. Lying in bed at night in the dark and imagining something/someone "sitting" in the corner of the room by the wall and ceiling sends goosebumps down my spine. It's tricky because you hear "do you have enough time to create mood?" I think so. It's like a roller coaster. It's so exciting when you climb up in anticipation to the big release, climbing is the tension. Our mantra was ambiguity, we know something bad is going to happen but not HOW or exactly WHEN - that's scary or how much is this "thing" a threat, what is it going to do? Like being in the ocean and you know that there is a Great White shark the water with you but you don't know where. Plus I'm a huge fan of J-Horror, those films are a huge influence in me for sure. They use silence in such a powerful way.
HC: Did the cast have much rehearsal time as you feel a real connection with them?
AM: No not that much. Nicole and Laurie formed a bond by spending a lot of time together before shooting, which I encouraged. They developed a relationship, which is priceless when they are playing a mother and daughter. I trust them, they built their characters, and they gave them the foundation that they needed to play. (ha ha! Well I did ask Nicole to listen to Death Metal and Black Metal and she did one better by going to a concert!!)
HC: How nervous do you get when your work shows at festivals?
AM: I'm always a little nervous. You work so hard and put your heart and soul into a film and you hope it resonates with people. So many talented people worked on it and you want it to connect. I truly respect the audience and want them to come away with something. I want to give them how I felt when I first saw The Ring. That's the dream.
HC: Which do you prefer; writing, directing or acting?
AM: Directing is what I prefer most. I feel completely in my element. It definitely lends itself well to how I think. Writing is the hardest of the three; writing can be very lonely but extremely gratifying when you finish a script. Nothing happens without that script. I spent night after night writing Pyewacket in the dark on my couch listening to Smashing Pumpkins, HIM and Lords of the New Church etc.
HC: So, what are you working on at the moment?
AM: I have few things on the go. An announcement will be made soon. I'm sorry, I wish I could say more. All I can say is I couldn't be happier. Very exciting.
HC: Adam MacDonald, thank you very much.
AM: Thank you.
Pyewacket will be released via digital HD April 16th and DVD April 23rd.
Related show tags: PYEWACKET MORE INTERVIEWS Interview with Julian Richards, director of Reborn
Posted on Wednesday 17th October 2018
Ahead of the World premiere screening of Reborn at FrightFest Halloween, Julian Richards discusses the torturous challenges of Daddy's Girl, why he wishes every actress was like Barbara Crampton and future plans, including directing the English language remake of Rabies.
HC: After six years away from directing, you have two films, Reborn and Daddy's Girl poised for distribution. Why these two very different films now?
JR: My previous film Shiver was completed in 2012 and it took longer for me to get back into the directing saddle because of commitments I had to my sales company Jinga Films. The company was growing quickly and needed more of my time and energy. We had grown from handling th...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Jules Vincent, co-writer and producer of Alive
Posted on Thursday 4th October 2018
Grimmfest 2018 is well underway and delivering some memorable movie moments, and one of the best is showing on Sunday, Alive. This cracking film sees the return of Grimmfest favourite Rob Grant as director and has been co-written and co-produced by Chuck McCue and Jules Vincent. Here Jules tells all about this brilliant piece.
HC: Where did the idea for Alive come from?
JV: We'd talked about writing a horror screenplay for a number of years before we finally came up with the right idea. We're both big fans of classic horror and we love the works of Hitchcock, Carpenter, Friedkin, and Cronenberg so in a way we had a very specific style and feel in mind before we even had the story. A...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Olivier Afonso director of Girls With Balls
Posted on Wednesday 3rd October 2018
Grimmfest 2018 kicks off tomorrow and one of the many highlights of the four day event is the blood-splattered shocker Girls With Balls. We chatted to it's director Olivier Afonso about this fab film and his career as an SFX artists.
HC: What inspired you to write Girls With Balls?
OA: My co-writer and I we wanted to write a trash comedy to entertain an audience because we love festivals: the atmosphere, people screaming, laughing... Personally, I'm inspired by the eighties and nineties movies such as of Sam Raimi, Peter Jackson, Alex de la Iglesia. We wanted to make a survival movie but with strong women, a girl ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Ezequiel Endelman and Leandro Montejano, the creative forces behind Crystal Eyes
Posted on Saturday 15th September 2018
FrightFest 2018 exposed attendees to horror from all over the world and one that made an incredibly stylish and retro impact was the superb giallo inspired shocker, Crystal Eyes. Here the co-writers and co-directors Ezequiel Endelman and Leandro Montejano tell us all about this affectionate love letter to the classics of the 80s.
Where did the idea for Crystal Eyes come from?
Crystal Eyes was supposed to be the third episode of our web-series called No Podras Dormir Esta Noche (You Won't Sleep Tonight) which paid homage to different horror sub genres in each episode, and eventually it turned into a feature film. We love Giallo si...SHARE: READ MORE Exclusive interview with Adam Green, director of Hatchet.
Posted on Thursday 13th September 2018
Ahead of Horror Channel's UK TV Premiere of Hatchet on Friday 14th Sept, director Adam Green gives an exclusive interview about his beloved franchise and what the future holds for Victor Crowley...
Hatchet is finally getting its first showing on UK TV, courtesy of Horror Channel. We're excited, are you?
I couldn't be more excited! I've always said that even though Hatchet may have world premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in NYC, it was at FrightFest in London where "Victor Crowley" was truly born. FrightFest was "the screening heard around the world" and the UK audience was so enthusiastic over Hatchet that every genre festival on t...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Tom de Ville, director of Corvidae
Posted on Wednesday 5th September 2018
HC: This is your first short as a director, what inspired you to write this script?
TdV: I read a really interesting article about how smart crows are, in particular how they can hold grudges. Apparently a group of scientists had gone out and harassed a murder of crows whilst wearing masks. If they went back wearing the masks, the crows would remember them and fight back. If they didn't wear the masks, the crows would leave them alone. This made me start thinking about what would happen if someone tried to save a crow from a bunch of kids who were trying to kill it. Would the other crows from its murder remember this? And what would they do to help her?...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Stewart Sparke, director of Book of Monsters
Posted on Wednesday 5th September 2018
HC: Your last movie, The Creature Below was two years ago, what's life been back since then?
SS: Since The Creature Below premiered at Frightfest in 2016 things haven't really stopped for myself and my collaborator Paul Butler. We were lucky enough to have the film released on DVD and VOD in over eight countries under various names. I think my favourite has to be Japan's Leviathan X: From the Deep! The film even had a theatrical release in Taiwan which was quite surreal as it was playing opposite Thor Ragnarok over there so overall, we've been completely blown away by everything that's happened. Paul and I are always coming up wit...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Ferdinando D'Urbano actor, writer, producer of The Laplace's Demon
Posted on Tuesday 28th August 2018
A stand-out movie from FrightFest 2018 tested the brain power of those who saw it. The Laplace's Demon is an incredibly powerful piece so we chatted to one of the creatives behind it, Ferdinando D'Urbano.
HC: I'd never heard of Laplace's Demon theory before, can you give us a quick explanation of what it is?
FDU: The Laplace's Demon is a philosophical theory of the early 1800s. Pierre Simon Laplace was a French mathematician who in his work "Essai philosophique sur les probabilites" (A philosophical essay on probabilities), theorized that if there were an intellect capable of knowing al...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Andre Gower director of Wolfman's Got Nards
Posted on Monday 27th August 2018
HC: You had already starred in a lot of stuff before The Monster Squad came along, did you think that this was just "another" acting job?
AG: At the time, it was just that. The next audition, the next project. However, once on set and seeing what you were a part of, we realized quickly that this was something bigger and more unique than anything we had done before or may even get to do in the future.
HC: Were you a fan of the Universal monsters at that time?
AG: I always had an appreciation for the classics even as a kid. As you mature, you keep that appreciation and learn more about it and how it affects the present and realize these were very important...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with John Rocco and Abiel Bruhn the writers and directors of The Night Sitter
Posted on Sunday 26th August 2018
HC: Where did the idea for The Night Sitter come from?
JR: From the beginning of this story, I had my childhood home in Nashville in mind as the perfect location. After several months of convincing, my parents allowed us to film in their house. It's a pretty amazing feeling to have grown up in the same location that we'd eventually film our first feature in! We were able to incorporate all the parts of my house that used to scare me as a child and weave them into a story about witches, which was extremely fun and nostalgic at times. While developing the story, I tried to recall the scary thoughts I had when I was Kevin's age.
AB: Finding an inspiring location (the house has this stran...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Joanne Mitchell, director of Sybil
Posted on Sunday 26th August 2018
One of the best things about FrightFest is the Showcases of Shorts which is the way to catch undiscovered talent and unique ideas. Joanne Mitchell has been in the entertainment industry for a few years but has just directed her first piece, Sybil which is showing at FrightFest today.
We decided to chat to her about this amazing and disturbing piece as well as he plans for feature films.
HC: Have you wanted to direct for a while?
JM: To be honest I hadn't really thought of directing until Tracey (Sheals) sent me an email with her idea for Sybil. And I really liked the story and thought this would make a great short film and possibly a feature in the fut...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Michael Mort creator and director of Chuck Steel Night of the Trampires
Posted on Saturday 25th August 2018
HC: Where did the character of Chuck Steel come from?
MM: I came up with the character of Chuck Steel in 1985 when still at school. I used to doodle this square jawed action hero in my English book when I should have been concentrating on the lesson. Over the years he developed a bit as I drew him in various adventure scenarios, usually involving monsters of some kind. I made a Super8 short film with the character when I was experimenting with animation and I also made a college film featuring Chuck a few years later. These were basically just Chuck fighting monsters for 10 minutes or so but I was learning about how to construct scenes and action as I went. Later in my animati...SHARE: READ MORE Interviews Archive: 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 PICK OF THE WEEK
Monday 29th October
Thursday 1st November
Sunday 28th October