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Interview With Chad Archibald Director Of Bite
By James W, Monday 31st August 2015
Body horror is always a bit of a strange one to get right but director Chad Archibald nails it with his movie Bite. Here he chats about this supremely gross movie.
HC: Where did the idea for Bite come from?
CA: A while back, my sister in law came back from doing some animal rescue work in Guatemala and she was telling me what it was like living in the jungle. She had to sleep in nets because there were so many crazy insects everywhere. She showed me her arms and legs and they were just covered in bug bits and I just thought “Wow, you don’t even know what all these bites are from” followed by the thought “What if one of those just kept getting worse”. From there the idea evolved!
HC: Did the concept change much during scripting?
CA: I wrote a 10 page treatment and ran it by the fine folks at Breakthrough Entertainment who loved it. I sent that treatment over to Jayme LaForest and pitched him on the story. He dove in right away and pounded out a script in a few weeks. It’s a very simple story so the script stayed relatively close to the treatment but Jayme definitely added some great character development and some juicy moments in there.
HC: Elma Begovic gives a very considered and deep performance as Casey, how did she prepare for such a demanding and unusual role?
CA: She did great in the audition and we were very excited to be working with her. She is a fresh face and this was her first lead role in a feature so we chatted a ton about the character and how important body language would be in this film. We also had her in for a make up test before we started shooting so we could all see what she would be evolving into. Aside from that we worked fairly closely through it but I think as she transformed in make up, she physically didn’t recognise herself anymore and it became natural for her to really get into the role.
HC: The film is truly of the body horror genre and the effects are quite outstanding, how much of the budget did they eat up and how difficult was the shoot because of the amount SFX used?
CA: We have a micro budget on this film. One of the biggest challenges we faced when prepping for the film was to figure out how we could turn this set into a hive and fill it with eggs with the little amount of funds we had. As well because we were essentially ruining an apartment, we had to build a full set for it. Luckily our production designer Vince Moskowec and his team were amazing and were always coming up with ideas to make this place even more disgusting. Along with our effects team lead by Jason Derushie, supplying endless buckets of slime. The last element was the eggs. We had to find a cost effective way to get an endless amount of eggs that looked legit. We found these little pebbles that when you left them in water, they would grow into a small clear balls that looked great. I ordered a pack from Ohio and put them in a bowl of water in my bathroom over night. When I walked in the next morning, they were everywhere. I was like “THESE ARE PERFECT!” so I ordered 30,000 of them.
HC: There’s been some pretty outrageous news stories about Bite and the reaction it’s had from crowds; which ones stand out for you?
CA: I’m still so blown away at everything that’s happened with our little movie in the last month. At the same time, I’ve read some completely outrageous articles saying things like “It’s worse than A Serbian Film” which is just not correct. I look at Bite like a fun gross film, where it’s getting compared to some of the most extreme shock value morally incorrect films out there. I based this film on a few phobias that are very real and some people are very effected by them and some aren’t. I think Bite will gross some people out but for those it doesn’t, it’s just a fun sticky ride down the slimy slide of evolution.
HC: What state do you think the horror movie industry is in at the moment?
CA: I think everyone can make a movie these days so we are seeing some really inventive ideas coming out of the wood work. I generally look to festivals for horror films more than any of the stuff the Hollywood machine is pumping out. I think you don’t need tons of money to make a great horror film because horror is about concept, emotion, fear and not about star power. Every year I see new horror concepts that I think “That’s genius”. Every year it’s harder to create original ideas because so much has been done already but it’s exciting to see films that still found that new concept that’s just so unique and awesome. Exciting times.
HC: Do you get nervous when your films show in different countries?
CA: No but it’s always a little weird because you lived with this film for a long time without anyone seeing it, then suddenly it’s out there in the world exploring new countries and meeting new people. It’s like sending a kid off to school and thinking “I hope the other kids like him” “I hope they don’t beat him up” ha ha. Na it’s always exciting. I just wish I could go to other countries with it.
HC: What advice would you give to someone wanting to direct their own movies?
CA: I came from (and am still in) the DIY world so I always just say to go out and make as many mistakes as you can with whatever tools you have and when you feel ready to direct your first film, don’t wait on anyone. Your first film doesn’t need to be a million dollar feature. Know what you want to make and why you are making it…. then make it!
HC: So, what are you working on at the moment?
CA: We are just working on the edit of a feature Black Fawn Film’s produced with Breakthrough Entertainment called Bed Of The Dead which was directed by Jeff Maher (Who was the DP on Bite). As well we just had the world premiere of Antisocial 2 (sequel to our 2013 horror Antisocial). In the next month we will also start releasing details on Black Fawn Films/Breakthrough Entertainment’s new feature The Sublet which was directed by John Anslie (Writer of Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer). After that we are shooting another 2 or 3 films this year.
HC: Chad Archibald, thank you very much.
CA: Thank you!!
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