LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS
Interview with Adam MacDonald, writer and director of Pyewacket.
By James Whittington, 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 FRIGHTFEST Interview with Julien Seri, director of Anderson Falls
Posted on Tuesday 18th February 2020
Ahead of the UK premiere of serial killer thriller Anderson Falls at Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow 2020, director Julien Seri reflects on this, his first 'American' experience, challenging fight scenes and the importance of personal vision.
It has been five years since we premiered Night Fare at FrightFest London, what have you been up to since then?
JS: I worked on two, very singular, projects as a producer and/or director. I signed for both with Wild Bunch, but we've failed to produce them yet. So I keep fighting. And I did a lot of commercials, TV series and music videos.
When did you first hear about the Anderson Falls script and why did you think it was perfect for yo...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Adam Stovall, director of A Ghost Waits
Posted on Sunday 9th February 2020
Ahead of the World premiere of A Ghost Waits at Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow 2020, director Adam Stovall reflects on getting through depression, creating paranormal romance and the influence of Tom Waits...
You have an interesting CV - from comedy theatre and film journalism to writing for The Hollywood Reporter and second assistant directing. Was all this a game plan to becoming a fully-fledged director?
AS: I've known since I was a little kid sitting in the basement watching the network TV premiere of Back To The Future while holding my Back To The Future storybook and waiting for them to premiere the first footage from Back To The Future 2 during a commercial br...SHARE: READ MORE Arrow Video FrightFest announces Glasgow Film Festival 2020 line-up
Posted on Thursday 16th January 2020
Welcome the transgressive, the traumatic and the terrifying as Arrow Video FrightFest, the UK's favourite horror fantasy event, returns to Glasgow Film Festival for a 15th fantastic year, from Thursday 5 March to Saturday 7 March, 2020.
Thirteen is lucky for some as that's the number of new films being presented at the iconic Glasgow Film Theatre, embracing the latest genre discoveries from around the globe, spanning four continents, including one world, two European and seven UK premieres.
Alan Jones, FrightFest co-director, commented: "Welcome to another banner FrightFest and another invitation to explore the horror fantasy genre's fertile harvest bursting with creativity, ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Cameron Macgowan, director of Red Letter Day
Posted on Friday 1st November 2019
FrightFest 2019 exposed a lot of new talent in the movie industry and one of the stand-out pieces was Red Letter Day from Cameron Macgowan.
HC: Where did the idea for Red Letter Day come from and did it take long to write?
CM: I have long been a fan of the 'Humans Hunting Humans' subgenre of film (Battle Royale, The Running Man, Hard Target, etc.) and was inspired to set one of these films in what many people consider the 'safe' location of the suburbs. Suburban communities feel like the perfect setting for a horror film as you can walk for miles without seeing a single soul all while knowing that you are surrounded by many people. This mixed with a desire to satirise the current socio-political climate ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Carlo Mirabella-Davis, director of Swallow
Posted on Wednesday 30th October 2019
Ahead of the UK premiere of Swallow at Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween, director Carlo Mirabella-Davis reflects on the personal inspiration behind his feature debut, healing psychological wounds and his empathy for the genre.
HC: Swallow is your directorial debut. How difficult was it to get the project off the ground?
CMD: Getting a film made is a fascinating process. My late, great teacher at NYU, Bill Reilly, would always say "script is coin of the realm". The early stages involved perfecting the screenplay as much as I could, writing and rewriting until I felt confident sending it out. The sacred bond between the producer and the director is the catalyst that brings a film into being. I ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Paul Davis, director of Uncanny Annie
Posted on Wednesday 16th October 2019
Ahead of the International premiere of Uncanny Annie at Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween 2019, director Paul Davis reflects on working for Blumhouse, bemoans attitudes to British genre film funding and reveals the movies that inspire him the most...
HC: Tell us how Uncanny Annie came about?
PD: Uncanny Annie is my second movie for Blumhouse as part of Hulu's Into The Dark movie series. I had the opportunity to actually kick off last October with a feature adaptation of my short film The Body (which had its world premiere at FF in 2013). The concept was to release a movie a month, for twelve months, with each revolving around a holiday or particular day for the month of its released. With The Bod...SHARE: READ MORE Arrow Video FrightFest announces line-up for Halloween 2019 event
Posted on Thursday 3rd October 2019 Arrow Video FrightFest continues on its highly acclaimed and hugely successful Twenty Bloody Year rampage with a fear-packed journey through Halloween traditions, religious deviance, unstoppable maniacs, warped fairy tales, terrifying board games and the very rules of horror themselves.
The popular Halloween all-day event returns to the Cineworld Leicester Square on Saturday 3 November and the 12-hour monstrous marathon embraces four UK premieres, one European and one International premiere.
The day kicks off with the European Premiere of Josh Hasty's Candy Corn. With an impressive all-star genre cast (including Tony Todd, who exec-produces), an innovative iconic killer...SHARE: READ MORE FrightFest favourite A Good Woman is Hard to Find coming to cinemas and HD
Posted on Thursday 26th September 2019
Directed by Abner Pastoll and starring Sarah Bolger, Edward Hogg, Andrew Simpson and Jane Brennan the superb thriller A Good Woman is Hard to Find will be released in Cinemas and Digital HD on 25th October.
Written by Academy Award nominee and BAFTA winner Ronan Blaney, the movie closed FrightFest 2019 to much acclaim this crowd-pleasing and violent kitchen-sink revenge thriller is a dark and daring journey through Northern Ireland's criminal underbelly.
Recently widowed mother of two Sarah (a tour-de-force Sarah Bolger) is desperate to know who m...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Evan Daves star of Porno
Posted on Friday 30th August 2019
In the bizarre and gruesome comedy/horror Porno, Abe, played by Evan Daves is a burgeoning pervert with a guilty conscience who works in a cinema and ends up battling a demon! Here, Evan tells all about this gory story. (Headshot - Matthew Murphy)
HC: How did the role of Abe in Porno come about?
ED: I had the audition come in through my agent. Adrienne Stern, the casting director, is great; she actually cast me in my first movie when I was 13, a comedy called "Harold" starring Cuba Gooding Jr. Since then she's always been kind enough to bring me in for projects that I'm right for. When I saw her name in the breakdown I knew it would be a wacky, cool project - she has a great eye for that stuff...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Sara Garcia, star of True Fiction
Posted on Friday 30th August 2019
FrightFest 2019 was contained some of the best psychological thrillers we've seen in a long time. One of the finest was Braden Croft's True Fiction which boasts incredible performances from John Cassini and Sara Garcia. We chatted to Sara about her role of lonely librarian, Avery Malone.
HC: Did you always want to be an actress when you were growing up?
SG: I've always been a performer. As a child my parents encouraged my artistic side through dance classes, singing lessons and after school performing arts programs. When I was very young, I dreamed of being a singer and as a grew older I gravitated more towards the dramatic arts. I didn't seek acting out as a profession until later in life. I fel...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Fernando Alle, writer and director of Mutant Blast
Posted on Thursday 29th August 2019
One of the wildest and most bizarre movies of FrightFest 2019 was Fernando Alle's gore-splattered sci-fi inspired feature, Mutant Blast. Here, he tells us the story about making this crazy piece of celluloid.
HC: Regular FrightFest goers will know you from your pieces Banana Motherf**ker and Papa Wrestling, why has it been so long for Mutant Blast to come along?
FA: I started making this film in 2012, and it has indeed been far too long. I figured that making a feature film would be 10 times harder than making a short film, but in fact it is at least 100 times harder. I am glad I was naive, because otherwise I would have cut a lot of stuff from the script and the film would not have turned out ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Chad Archibald director of I'll Take Your Dead
Posted on Wednesday 28th August 2019
Chad Archibald has been behind a number of FrightFest favourites in the past including Bite which is showing on Horror in September. With is latest movie, I'll Take Your Dead wowing audiences at FrightFest we chatted to Chad.
HC: We last spoke a few years back about your fabulous movie, Bite, I loved it, and would you consider a Bite 2?
CA: I would love to do a Bite 2 if there was enough demand for it. Bite was the most fun I've had making a movie and I think if we made a second, we would just amp it all up. More goo, more gore, more laughs. I've got tons of ideas already so it's never off the table.
HC: Where did the story of I'll Take Your Dead come from?
...SHARE: READ MORE Frightfest Archive: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 PICK OF THE WEEK
Sunday 1st March
Saturday 22nd February
Saturday 22nd February