Exclusive Interview With Infestation Director Kyle Rankin
By James Whittington, Thursday 20th August 2009
One of the most anticipated movies of FrightFest 2009 is Kyle Rankin’s Infestation. The movie which is all about a giant insect invasion is an amazing piece (I know as I’ve had the privilege of seeing it already!) so we thought we’d hunt him down and and bug him (ha ha) for some answers.   ZH: How did you get into the movie business?   KR: Am I in it? Huh, guess so. Looks different than I thought it would. It’s still a lot of work... what’s up with THAT!? I’m self taught; started making films and videos around the age of 14. I come from the independent world, where you hit up everyone you meet to invest in your pictures. My big break came in 2003 when I submitted two clips from two short films I’d made with fellow-filmmaker Efram Potelle. We ended up besting 8,000 other hopefuls to win Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s Project Greenlight... this meant we co-directed The Battle Of Shaker Heights with Shia LaBeouf while camera crews followed us around for a 13 episode HBO series.   ZH: Was Reindeer Games your first stab at professional writing/directing/acting etc?
KR: Yes and no. Yes because I was 23 at the time and had the lead role in a feature film I’d co-written and co-produced... no, because it’s probably not the same Reindeer Games you’re thinking of! I made an independent film on 16mm in Portland, Maine in 1996... about two years later, a major theatrical release starring Ben Affleck (ironic, given our later Greenlight connection) was released with the same name. MY Reindeer Games was released in North America last year under the new title The Girl In The Basement, so I’m happy it's finally seen the light of day. In it, I play a man named Alec who has a bad date with a woman he’s in love with, and decides to trap her in his basement for several days. Making it was an amazing learning experience, my own private film school. I’m still very proud of it.   ZH: You seem a pretty “hands on” person, do you like being in control of the projects you’re involved with?
KR: For me, being in control is the ONLY way to be involved in a project. I like having no one else to blame but myself.   ZH: Do you have a favourite role when creating a movie?
KR: I always thought I’d act... then I realized how fun and fulfilling directing is. My career goal is to be an Auteur, to write (or at least re-write) all the films I direct (so they have my personal stamp).   ZH: Let’s talk about your latest project, Infestation, where did that idea come from?
KR: From an image I had years ago of a man waking up in a big cocoon, having no idea how he got there. When I saw the beginning of 28 Days Later and the guy wakes up in a hospital I thought, "Damn, I’ve been beaten to it" Then I realized it’s an oft-used idea among Sci-Fi and fantasy films (like Day Of The Triffids) So, a lot of what I do starts with a picture or an idea for one key scene... then I expand things to see if there’s something compelling there.   ZH: Did any of the other classic creature features from the 1950's inspire you at all?
KR: I’m more a fan of the Post-Apocalyptic genre: Road Warrior, A Boy And His Dog, and Hell Comes To Frogtown. If a film starts with a lone figure stumbling across a desolate landscape (maybe with a ruined city behind them), I’m hooked. Also, giant insects hadn’t been exploited in cinema in a while... oh, and I was certainly effected by the beginning of the 1954 film Them! where two cops find the a mute girl stumbling through the desert. We find out later she’s not speaking because she saw her parents eaten by huge ants!   ZH: Did the script take long to polish off and was it hard balancing the horror and the humour elements?
KR: I did a dozen rewrites or so on the script, not counting tweaks here and there. I did find it hard to balance the horror and comedy, but I also believe we don’t live our lives in genres... so why do we expect our films to be? Haven’t we all been to a serious engagement, like church... or even a funeral... and ended up laughing at something (which is very close to crying)? Our lives are messy and complicated, so I try my best to write that way. What’s working against me is the that after a hard day, people would like to know what they’re getting when they pop in a DVD... I can’t blame them for that. SO, in trying to please both masters, I feel it’s my job to straddle genres while at the same time being true to them.   ZH: How did you go about casting?
KR: We worked with a casting director in Los Angeles named Annie McCarthy (and her company Engine). It was several months of appointments and meetings to find the right people. There’s a lot of talented actors in LA, but casting an ensemble film is a puzzle -- all the parts need to fit together. There’re often several people that could play each role, but it’s about getting a whole group assembled and how they all look and play off one another.   ZH: Talking of the cast they really do handle the premise perfectly without turning the movie into a farce, did any of them over do the comedy?
KR: I can’t recall a time when anyone overdid it. That said, I often find myself telling the actors to make it smaller while I’m on set. This isn’t because they’re hitting the comedic parts per se... but because whatever they’re doing is being pushed too hard. Many actors have a theatre background, and they’ve been taught to play their performance to the back of the house... film is about being subtle and letting the camera do the work. Also, the only kind of comedy I don’t care for is “camp” I don’t enjoy watching something that’s supposed to be funny, and you can FEEL the actors thinking they’re funny while doing it. I like comedy that comes from circumstance and character and the reality of the moment.   ZH: Was it a difficult shoot bearing in mind it has a lot of effects shots?
KR: The hardest thing was that I wrote a lot of action... and action takes twice as long to shoot as a regular scene. So, the big set pieces with the bugs took a VERY long time... and more often than not I felt rushed and left wishing I had another few weeks.   ZH: The film does look amazing, did you have a large budget?
KR: By industry standards, no. We had under 5 million... which probably sounds like a lot to independent filmmakers, but considering we had 265 VFX shots, this is really stretching things. For the money we had, I’m very impressed with the quality of the effects... both practical and digital. Both teams did an amazing job!   ZH: The movie is getting its World Premiere at FrightFest, how do you think the UK audience will react to the movie?
KR: Oh, man. I hope they like it. Naively, I think a UK audience will appreciate the story’s subtleties and random humour more... but I don’t know. I make films so people can enjoy them, so that’s all I truly hope for. I’m really looking forward to hearing some UK reactions!   ZH: Would you consider Infestation 2?
KR: If ever the day comes when the film’s been enjoyed and recouped its budget and there’s a cry for more... I’d love to make another. There’s more I’d love to do with these characters... more challenges I’d like them to face. And plus I already have a cool title: Infestation 2: Buzzkill.   ZH: Kyle Rankin, thank you very much.
KR: My pleasure. Thanks to you for your interest.


Interview with the legendary actress Lin Shaye about being part of The Horror Crowd
Posted on Wednesday 9th September 2020
Lin Shaye and Ruben PlaLin Shaye is an actress that need no introduction. Her screen work over the last few decades has seen her appear in countless movies such as Nightmare on Elm Street, Critters or more recently the Insidious series of movies. Here she chats about her career and her why she appeared in Ruben Pla's superb doc, The Horror Crowd.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be an actress?

LS: No, I never had the dream. Ever. I had the need to tell stories and from a very young age and my dad, when he tucked me in a night we would tell what we would call "Candyland Stories" and they were stories about a little girl named Linda, and they would start when she was just falling to sleep...

Interview with Steve Villeneuve, director of Hail to the Deadites
Posted on Thursday 3rd September 2020
HailToTheDeadites-1FrightFest 2020 delivered some incredibly entertaining and informative documentaries. Hail to the Deadites from Steve Villeneuve is a celebration of the the Evil Dead series of movies and truly gets under the skin of what the franchise means to those who created it and those who are mega fans! Here Steve talks about this amazing doc.

HC: Can you recall the first time you saw an Evil Dead movie and what it was that grabbed your attention?

SV: I guess I was 13. I actually saw Army of Darkness first on television. Years later, spot the cover of Evil Dead 2 in a video store. Then, rent Evil Dead one without knowing it was the first film because here in Quebec, The Evil Dead is ca...
Interview with our very own Emily Booth who stars in UK TV premiere of Shed of the Dead this Friday on Horror
Posted on Wednesday 2nd September 2020

The UK TV premiere of outlandish Brit Zom Com Shed of the Dead takes place Friday 4th September at 9pm. The movie stars Ewen MacIntosh, Lauren Socha, Kane Hodder, Bill Moseley, Michael Berryman, Brian Blessed and our very own Emily Booth. Here, Emily chats about this movie and what it was like to work with the legendary Michael Berryman.

HC: Are you a big zombie movie fan?

EB: If I'm completely honest it's not my favourite sub-genre within horror only because the genre has been so massively mined for all it's worth and I've never been particularly scared of them! However, there are certain stand out zombie films or even certain scenes that make me lo...

Interview with Guillaume Lubrano, director of Dark Stories
Posted on Monday 31st August 2020
Guillaume Lubrano image 1

There's been a number of anthology movies at FrightFest 2020 but one of the strongest is Dark Stories from director Guillaume Lubrano. Here he chats about this fun piece.

HC: Have you always been a fan of horror movies?

GL: I'd say I've always been a fan of genre titles, being it horror, science fiction, fantasy, every subgenre that plays with the ability to push our imagination forward always fascinated me. And this was born mostly with the 80s I think and the birth of modern era special effects... those comforted writers and directors in the fact that they could try to tell stuff about anything... and well that's what they did: anything... and among all this...
Interview with Michael Lee Joplin, star of Blinders
Posted on Monday 31st August 2020

We've already heard from the director of Blinders, Tyler Savage and one of its stars, Vincent Van Horn so we thought it would be cool to chat with its other star, Michael Lee Joplin.

HC: Was there one person who inspired you to become an actor?

MJ: I started acting in middle school really, but I had a wonderful theatre teacher in high school in Austin Texas, a Brit from Manchester, named Beryl Knifton. She instilled a love of acting and Shakespeare for me at an early age. I'm lucky to have had a lot of great teachers and mentors along the way. My acting teacher in college, the late Mr. Stephen Gerald pushed me along and more recently the Meisner teachings of Laurel Vouvray-Smith. My dad al...

Interview with Vincent Van Horn, star of Blinders
Posted on Monday 31st August 2020

The tense psychological movie Blinders is showing on the Horror Channel Screen at FrightFest today so we chatted to one of its stars, Vincent Van Horn about the movie and his character, Andy.

HC: Was there one person who inspired you to become an actor?

VH: I can't say there was one person in particular but more of a love for movies in general as a kid. Charlie Chaplin and Peter Sellers were definitely early influences with their physical comedy.

HC: When did you get your acting break?

VH: Hmm have I gotten it already? Ha ha. This is by far the biggest role I've had to date so maybe this is it? But as far as my first time acting in anything at all was when I was asked t...

Interview with Tyler Savage, director and co-writer of Blinders
Posted on Monday 31st August 2020

Psychological horror is always well represented at FrightFest and this year is no exception and one of the stand out pieces is Blinders from director Tyler Savage. Here he chats about this emotional and atmospheric movie.

HC: Where did the idea for the movie come from?

TS: The original idea for the movie came from an unsettling rideshare ride I took. Something about the driver made me uncomfortable, and I hated the fact that he now knew where I lived. From here, Dash and I started talking about the many ways in which technology makes us all incredibly vulnerable. There's a dark flipside to the convenience technology brings into our lives, and we wanted to highlight that idea in a way that was ...

Interview with Adam Stovall, director of A Ghost Waits
Posted on Sunday 30th August 2020

One of the big hits of Glasgow FrightFest was Adam Stovall's A Ghost Waits. This acclaimed movie is back and has been through an edit so we chatted to Adam about this paranormal piece of work.

HC: Where did the idea for A Ghost Waits come from?

AS: The two main inspirations were a video game and a web comic. "P.T." was a first-person haunted house puzzle game designed by Guillermo Del Toro and Hideo Kojima. My friends Brian and Jenn wanted me to play it because it had scared the bejesus out of them, and when I did I had them cracking up laughing. When Jenn started filming me with her phone, I thought there might be a movie in someone like me having to deal with a haunted ...

Interview with Justin McConnell, director of Clapboard Jungle
Posted on Sunday 30th August 2020

A couple of years back, at FrightFest 2018 a movie named Lifechanger played. This deep, engaging and original movie was a thought provoking and intelligent piece of work. Its director, Justin McConnell is back at FrightFest but this time with a rather different piece of work, looking at how the industry works and showing people just how hard the film making business can be. We chatted to him about this look at the business.

HC: What was it you saw or read about that made you want to have a career in the industry?

JM: Maybe it's a thread of insanity of some kind? I honestly can't remember the exact "ah ha" moment, more of a generally growing love of film when I w...

Interview with Kapel Furman, co-director and SFX master on Skull: The Mask
Posted on Sunday 30th August 2020
Kapel Furman Image 1

FrightFest always tries to show the very best from around the globe and one of the stand out titles for 2020 is Skull: The Mask from directors Armando Fonseca and Kapel Furman. Here, Kapel chats about the movie and his stunning SFX work.

HC: Is there a strong horror movie following in Brazil?

KF: Brazilian cinema, in general, comes and goes every ten years or so. Because our so called "film industry" is directly dependent on economic and political situations. So, we have to relearn how to be able to get a film done each and every time, and that applies to horror movies as well. Of course, in the past we had Jose Mojica Marins, our Coffin Joe, who did extremely import...

Interview with Majhid Heath, producer of Dark Place
Posted on Saturday 29th August 2020

HC: Where did the idea for Dark Place come from?

MH: Dark Place came from an initiative through Screen Australian and ABC Television to find the next generation of Aboriginal auteurs, asking them to tell their stories in the horror genre. After a number of workshops with Colin and Cameron Cairnes (EPs), Hayley and Majhid jumped on to shape the scripts and draw out themes as diverse as the treatment of Aboriginal women, (Scout) displacement from country and community (Foe), cultural genocide (Vale Light), identity (The Shore) and germ warfare during colonisation (Killer Native). The hook being that all filmmakers wanted to say a something about the treatment of Aboriginals ...

Interview with Phillip G. Carroll Jr. writer and director of The Honeymoon Phase
Posted on Saturday 29th August 2020
Honeymoon Phase-poster

More new talent comes to FrightFest 2020, this time its a husband and wife team Phillip G. Carroll Jr and Chloe Carroll. Here, Phillip describes how this intense and emotional, psychological movie came about.

HC: Where did the idea for The Honeymoon Phase come from?

PC: My wife, actress Chloe Carroll (Eve), and I got married in March 2016. We wanted our first feature film to be a marriage of both of our creative loves. I love sci-fi, thrillers, and drama films and Chloe is a horror nut. We thought a psychological thriller would be the perfect blend of both of us to create our first film baby together! We were lying in bed one night, trying to come up with a concept...

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The Diabolical
Wednesday 7th October
9.00 PM
Tales From The Darkside
Sunday 4th October
8.30 PM
Saturday 3rd October
10.50 PM