Interview with Lukas Feigelfeld, director of Hagazussa
By James Whittington, Friday 17th April 2020

The themes of witchcraft and the occult are making a bit of a come back at the moment. Movies such as The Witch and Midsommer have brought the genre back into focus and now Hagazussa from writer/director Lukas Feigelfeld takes the genre to another, even darker level. Here he chats about this incredibly atmospheric movie which is being released on May 11th thanks to Arrow Video.

HC: Where did the idea for Hagazussa come from and how long did it take to write?

LF: I had been living with the idea of doing something witch and folklore related for many years. Part of my family originates from this particular area in the Austrian Alps, and from a young age on I was greatly fascinated, as well as scared, by the old folklore traditions and fairy tales about witches that roam those mountains. There is something fascinatingly dark but beautiful about the mountain woods; something that is, on a subconscious level, closely related to the sentiment of witchcraft. It is based on nature, on an old truth, on different believes and ultimately, for the "modern" civilisation, on the fear of the other, the unexplainable. Based on this I started developing the script, not necessarily wanting to write horror, but as my research deepened and the sheer horror and tragedy of the suffering of Albrun formed, the horror aspect naturally came to it. It took me good year, with lots of research and many hours of meditation in the dark, to finally get an intimate feeling for Albrun and what made her this so-called witch.

HC: How did you go about casting the movie?

LF: As for adult Albrun, I already had worked with Aleksandra Cwen on a previous medium length film, where she had a smaller part. I took the decision to work with her, as I knew that she would bring a great physicality to the film, that I had seen in her theatre work in Poland. Because she is polish, we had to work on the German lines, implementing the old countryside dialect, etc. Aleksandra was really a great gift for this project. Ultimately she had an immense understanding what Albrun's suffering meant to her and with this as a base, we could work on the set very organically. The young Albrun is actually my cousin's daughter and she really grew up in those mountains. Again I was very lucky to have her, as the trust we have for being family, was something that is gold on set. She understood my aim and it came easy to us. I guess for her it felt like a little vacation adventure to shoot with the team and later being able to see herself on the big screen.

HC: As this is your horror debut were you nervous first day on set?

LF: I guess everyone is nervous on a first day on the set, no matter how many films you shot. Many things can go wrong, but I had already shot a couple of medium-length and short films, so it did not feel to new for me. We had several blocks of shooting scattered over 1-5 years and I was happy every time we could go back and gather more footage for this. 4 years in the making, it turned out better than we had expected in the beginning of our little student feature.

HC: Was it a difficult shoot as it all seems to have been completed on location?

LF: As mentioned, there were several shooting blocks. Some in the winter on the mountains, which is very hard to shoot, others in the studio (the inside of the hut) and others in swamps or at the skull-chapel in Poland. I guess the hardest part is to come to peace with the force of nature that the mountain can bring to you. You can't force anything onto it. The whole team stayed more than 2 weeks on the mountain, living in a farm house, and you really get an understanding for the power of mountain-weather, of the blackness of the nights, the coldness of the wind, but also the immens beauty of it.

HC: Everything from the location, to the sets to the costumes exude immaculate research, did you have much of a budget to play with?

LF: Hagazussa was not only my feature debut, but also my thesis project from film school in Berlin. It was really a student film, and that means no budget. We got equipment and post-production facilities from the film academy, but everything else was achieved with crowdfunding and some sponsoring. We were very lucky to at least have the time to do everything right, so that we could distribute the small amount of budget to the right things, trying to still make the film look good and up to a certain cinematic level.

HC: The movie has a unique atmosphere relying on visuals rather than words, how difficult is it to direct such a piece?

LF: I think it is not so much a question of difficulty, but of style and vision. The film was already written and conceptualized in this way. I have a very subconscious and atmospheric approach on creating a story and making the viewer dive into the innermost world of the main character. Added to this is a strong layer of cinematic language. I rather use cinematography, imagery, sound, time and rhythm to create a film, than rely on dialogue and dramatic structures. I strongly believe in the audience and think, that, if you are willing to let yourself fall into it, you can in the end achieve a much deeper experience for the viewer.

HC: The score is incredible, how did you go about creating such a soundscape?

LF: I had the great pleasure in working with the musicians of MMMD (Mohammad) on the score for this film. I had been a follower of their work for a while and listened to their music extensively throughout the writing process. Later on I got in contact and they were interested in producing the score, which had a very strong impact on the intensity and overall mood of the film. Recently I did another music video for their new release "Egoismo", which is to be found online.

HC: The film has been a critical hit, does this put pressure on you for your next project?

LF: The film surely opened a lot of doors, but it is never easy to walk through the right one. I am grateful for all the people that watch it and made it available all over the globe.

HC: Do you believe that things such as "dark forces" etc exist?

LF: I could talk hours about this, as it ultimately is the big question of the film. I personally think that the question should be raised, if it actually makes a difference. In Albrun's psychotic mind everything she, together with the viewer, experiences is very real. So this is the "dark force" already. The fear of the demon IS the demon; the moment you think there is a witch following you in the dark forest, she actually IS there... and of course, when you turn around she will be gone. That is the nature of the unknown and the ultimate horror.

HC: There have been a number of movies that look into witchcraft etc, do you think have a favourite?

LF: Being a fan of classics, I have to mention the great Haxan from 1922. I also grew up watching Czech fairy tale films, like Perinbab, that had a great impact. On the other side of the spectrum I would mention The Sacrifice by Andreij Tarkovsky, which also features a sort of witch. No to forget that Tarkovsky's cinema is a big inspiration for my work.

HC: So, what are you working on at the moment?

LF: I am currently in financing for a German film that talks about the current rise of neo fascism in Europe and the struggle of urban society under violence and political uncertainty; an intense story. Besides this I am writing on an idea in English language, as well as a horror-series set in 1900 Wisconsin.

HC: Lukas Feigelfeld, thank you very much.

Interview with Alexis Kendra, the writer and producer of The Cleaning Lady
Posted on Tuesday 15th June 2021
Alexis Kendra-4

Ahead of Horror Channel's premiere of The Cleaning Lady on June 26, the film's star, writer and producer Alexis Kendra talks about playing a 'Goddess', coping with lockdown and why she can't watch horror films on her own.

HC: The Cleaning Lady is having its channel premiere on Horror Channel. Excited?

AK: I love you guys. Always have, always will. I'm honoured.

HC: It's a very disturbing film, dealing with abuse, addiction and hidden rage, yet the characters are sympathetic and have real depth. It's horror with a twisted heart. As a co-writer, alongside your director Jon Knautz, what were the main challenges in getting the balance right between acting and writing? <...

Interview with Jen and Sylvia Soska, directors of Rabid
Posted on Tuesday 1st June 2021
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Ahead of Horror Channel's premiere of Rabid on June 12, Jen and Sylvia Soska reflect on the challenges of re-imagining Cronenberg's body horror classic, meeting the great man and their new monster movie, Bob.

HC: Rabid is having its channel premiere on Horror Channel. Excited?

SS: The Horror Channel has supported us and our work since the beginning, so it's a special treat to have the newest film premiere there!

Js: We are so excited. Having Rabid on Horror Channel feels like coming home. They've been very kind to us. We are happy to have so many of our films on there.

HC: We all, of course, remember that Rabid was one of David Cronenberg's earli...

Interview with Mickey Fisher, creator of sci-fi series Extant
Posted on Thursday 6th May 2021
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Horror Channel will be continuing its commitment to bringing cult and classic sci-fi to its audience with Seasons 1 and 2 of the CBS Studios/Amblin Television production of Extant, starring Halle Berry as astronaut Molly Woods, who returns home to her family, inexplicably pregnant after 13 months in outer space on a solo mission.

The series begins on Horror May 11th so, we decided to chat to its creator, Mickey Fisher about how the series came to be produced and what it was like working with Hollywood royalty.

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

MF: From the time I was maybe five or six years old I wanted to be an actor. Going to see Star...

Interview with Gary J. Tunnicliffe, writer and director of Hellraiser: Judgement
Posted on Saturday 20th February 2021
Gary J. Tunnicliffe doing SFX make-up on the set of Hellraiser Judgement

Director and long-time Hellraiser franchise SFX artist Gary John Tunnicliffe has a new entry into the Hellraiser series for us all to enjoy, Hellraiser: Judgement. Here he chats about this gritty horror.

HC: Was there one person or film which inspired you to want to be in the effects industry?

GJT: I can't remember one film that directly inspired me to be in the effects industry, it would definitely have been around 1982 (when I was 14) when The Thing AND American Werewolf in London came out (as well as a mass of FX laden movies) but more than anything it was when s...

Interview with Chee Keong Cheung, director of Redcon-1
Posted on Wednesday 17th February 2021
Director Chee Keong Cheung

Fast-paced British zombie thriller, Redcon-1 will be having its UK TV premiere on Horror on Saturday 20th February so we decided to chat with its writer and director Chee Keong Cheung about this acclaimed movie.

HC: Where did the idea for Redcon-1 come from and are you a fan of zombie movies?

CKC: I'm a huge fan of the zombie genre and in particular, Danny Boyle's '28 Days Later', Zak Snyder's 'Dawn of the Dead' and of course George Romero's original works which helped to pave the way for the genre and was a real inspiration for me growing up. I remember watching 'Saving Private Ryan' and 'Black Hawk Down' on TV and had always been drawn to the men on a m...

Interview with Scott Reiniger star of the original Dawn of the Dead
Posted on Sunday 15th November 2020

On the eve of a stunning new 4K box set of George A Romero's Dawn of the Dead from Second Sight Films, we chat to one of its stars, Scott Reiniger about this incredible film.

HC: How did you first become involved with Dawn of the Dead?

SR: Well, I was in New York, I was a stage actor in New York and I went to college with Christine Forrest, who later became George's wife and she asked me if I wanted to audition for this film called Dawn of the Dead, she wanted to know if I knew who George Romero was and I said, "Yeah, he was the guy who directed Night of the Living Dead". So, they sent the script over and I read it and it was pr...

Interview with Steve Speirs, star of Concrete Plans
Posted on Sunday 1st November 2020
Concrete Plans poster

Welsh, Scottish and Ukranian dialects clash in Concrete Plans, a stand-out movie from Will Jewell which has just been released by FrightFest Presents via Signature. Its a super and very dark thriller with an outstanding cast headed up by Steve Speirs. Here he chats about this amazing piece.

Be warned this interview contains some spoilers about the movie. If in doubt watch the movie before reading. You have been warned!

HC: Was there one actor of one film you saw when you were younger that made you want to be an actor?

SS: Oh, I've never been asked that actually. When I started to get into watching films, I'd always wanted to be an actor for as long as I can ...

Interview with Shayne Ward, star of The Ascent
Posted on Thursday 22nd October 2020

A special ops team on a mission in a war-torn country find themselves trapped on a never-ending staircase that they must climb - or they die! This is the premise for Tom Paton's superb, action-packed horror The Ascent which is having its UK TV premiere at 9pm on October 23rd. Here its star, Shayne Ward tells all about his career to date and how he became involved in this sci-fi shocker.

HC: How much did the X-Factor change your life?

SW: Oh, like anyone can say who has been on it, who has done well on the show, it does change your life because it catapults you into the limelight, into the public eye. One day you are relatively unknown...

Interview with Ryan Kruger, writer and director of Fried Barry
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020
Fried Barry

Anyone who as been to Grimmfest will know that the team behind the event try their very best to bring to their audience films that challenge and push as many envelopes as possible. Fried Barry from director Ryan Kruger is such a movie. Packed with mind-bending imagery and and emotional punch, this polarizing movie has to be seen just for its creativity and strong storytelling. Here, Ryan chats about this incredible movie.

HC: Where did Fried Barry come from?

RK: Fried Barry was born out of total frustration where I was in my career. I am known in South Africa as a music video director for doing narrative story telling within music vids and sharp visuals. Although I al...

Interview with Deiondre Teagle, star of Death Ranch
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020
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Grimmfest 2020 is packed with new talent and one actor that stands out is Deiondre Teagle who styars in Charlie Steeds' grindhouse homage, Death Ranch. Here Deiondre explains his role and what it was like being part of such a bold movie.

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

DT: I've definitely known my whole life I've wanted to be an actor. One of my favourite movies of all time is the original Men In Black. When I was little (about 3 or 4 years old), I would re-watch my VHS copy of that movie over and over and over again. I would re-enact every scene. Since then, my love for acting and film has just grown. I have such a love for the...

Interview with Faith Monique, star of Death Ranch
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020

Grimmfest 2020 is packed with world premieres and none so bold as Charlie Steed's Death Ranch. We chatted to one of its main stars, Faith Monique about her role in this brutal and brilliant movie.

HC: Was there one person you saw at a young age who inspired you to want to become an actress?

FM: Funny fact, I grew up without a TV! So, at a young age, I never had an actor that inspired me and to this day I still don't. Acting did not become a dream of mine until 2016 and for inspiration, I like to dig deep into my own soul to find truth to bring into each character.

HC: Are you a big fan of horror movies and were you aware of grindhouse and e...

Interview with Charlie Steeds, writer and director of Death Ranch
Posted on Saturday 10th October 2020

Horror movies and controversy always go hand in hand but when they tackle serious issues by using extreme violence to hammer home a point they can be very worthy. Death Ranch from Charlie Steeds is having its world premiere at Grimmfest so we chatted to him about this very strong movie.

HC: What inspired you to write Death Ranch?

CS: I'd always wanted to try making a movie with a 70s Grindhouse/Exploitation style and was watching old Grindhouse trailers for inspiration. I came across the movie Brotherhood of Death, where black characters fight back against the KKK for some of the film (the tagline is 'Watch these brothers stick it to the Klan!') and that conce...

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The 6th Day
Sunday 4th July
9.00 PM
The Frighteners
Saturday 3rd July
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It Came From The Desert
Friday 25th June
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