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 Andy Nyman about his role in the classic TV version of The Woman in Black
Posted on Sunday 9th August 2020
The Woman in Black Network packshot

Andy Nyman is one of the most popular and hardworking actors working today. From thrillers to chillers, from comedy to drama, Andy can turn his hand to any genre. Thanks to Network Releasing we are able to appreciate his first ever TV appearance as they release a remastered version of the acclaimed television adaptation of The Woman in Black. We chatted to Andy about his role in this legendary piece.

HC: Let's chat about this TV version of The Woman in Black, was it one of your first ever roles very first TV role?

AN: That was my very first TV role, I was 23, the same age my son is now. It is a shock, isn't it? I was like, when I saw it ...

Interview with Airell Hayles writer and co-director of They're Outside
Posted on Saturday 1st August 2020
Airell Hayles

FrightFest is once again on the horizon but this time, due to global events the event has become a virtual experience with all films being accessed online. Horror is once again sponsoring the First Blood strand of the event. Here we chat to Airell Hayles whose movie They're Outside mixes found footage and pagan horror genres to great effect.

HC: Where did the idea for They're Outside come from?

AH: This idea for They're Outside came from a couple of things. I remember as a kid hearing that my uncle suffered mild agoraphobia, and when I learned what it was, I was fascinated by this idea of some people being kind of scared to leave their homes. Of course, the recent Covid-19 events h...

Interview with Fionn and Toby Watts, directors of Playhouse
Posted on Saturday 1st August 2020
Toby and Fionn Clapper 1

FrightFest is once again on the horizon but this time, due to global events the event has become a virtual experience with all films being accessed online. Horror is once again sponsoring the First Blood strand of the event. Here we chat to talented brothers Fionn and Toby Watts who have delivered a gothic, creepy piece named Playhouse.

HC: Was there one film or person who influenced or inspired you to become film makers?

FW: As a young boy I remember being absolutely blown away by the image of The Terminator's exo-skeleton rising from the flames. Around the same time I saw Candyman at a sleepover (rented by my friend's 'older' brother...) and it was such an i...

Interview with Tony and Ryan Smith co-writers of Volition.
Posted on Tuesday 7th July 2020

FrightFest 2019 delivered some amazing movies and one of the best was Volition from the talented brothers Tony and Ryan Smith. Now that the movie has been unleashed onto Apple TV, Prime Video and other Digital Platforms we chatted to them about this acclaimed movie and their plans for the future.

HC: You both hail from South Africa, what's the movie industry like in that country at the moment?

TDS: I believe the South African film industry is very healthy and it's a place Ryan and I would love to revisit and make a movie about. I have a number of filmmaker friends who film there and absolutely love the people, the scenery and the incredible crews.

HC: Did you know from an...

Interview with Adam Green, director of Victor Crowley
Posted on Wednesday 13th May 2020

Ahead of Horror Channel's UK TV premiere of Adam Green's Victor Crowley, the great director shares his personal tragedies, George Romero's inspirational words, the importance of genre comedy and hints that the Bayou Butcher may rise again...

HC: Adam, you're back on Horror Channel with your latest Hatchet instalment, Victor Crowley. Excited?

AG: I'm always thrilled to hear that another one of my films will be playing on the UK's Horror Channel! It's crazy to think that the US hasn't had a horror specific television channel in 6 years now, only horror themed subscription platforms like Shudder. Then again - look at the real life horror we're dealing with here as far as our current President goes...

Interview with actor Nicholas Vince star of Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II
Posted on Monday 30th March 2020

Fridays in April on Horror will deliver to you three of the most viscous and acclaimed horror movies ever made, Hellraiser, Hellraiser II: Hellbound and Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth. One of the stars of the first two movies was Nicholas Vince who brought so much to the character of "Chatterer".

Here he, err, chats to Horror about how he become involved in such memorable movies and his plans for the future.

(Photo credit Dawson James Photography)

HC: When did you first meet Clive Barker?

NV: I met him at a party in May 1984. We got on well and he invited me to model for him; for his painted covers of the first UK hardback editions of his Books of Blood.

HC: What...

Interview with Jen and Sylvia Soska, directors of Vendetta
Posted on Thursday 19th March 2020
Vengeance Season on Horror contains the UK TV premiere of Vendetta, the superb all-male maelstrom of mayhem from Jen and Sylvia Soska. We chatted to these incredible talented creatives about this action-packed thriller and what they have planned for the future.

HC: Have you always been wrestling fans and if so, when growing up, who were your faves?

Sylvia: We got introduced to wrestling during the epic Kane brother storyline during the Undertaker and Heartbreak Kid feud that led to the first ever Hell in a Cell. I mean after that kind of an introduction; how doesn't the magic of wrestling have your heart for the rest of your life? If it isn't obvious, I'm a Shawn Michaels fan.

Jen: Und...

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...

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...

Interview with Simeon Halligan, director of Habit
Posted on Sunday 9th February 2020

Simeon Halligan is one of the busiest people working in the industry today. Writer, director, producer, director of celebrated film festival Grimmfest, in fact the list goes on.

His latest film is the neon tinged, blood-splattered masterpiece Habit which is showing on Horror February 14th so we thought we should get the story on how he brought this shocker to the big screen.

HC: When did you first become aware of the book by Stephen McGeagh to which Habit is based?

SH: I read the book a couple of years back and really liked it. A combination of gritty realism and dark fantasy; set within a very recognisable Manchester. There's a juxtaposition in the book; from a kind of soc...

Interview with Jackson Stewart, director of Beyond The Gates
Posted on Wednesday 22nd January 2020

Jack Stewart's sublime retro horror Beyond the Gates was recently shown on Horror. Jackson is one of the strongest creatives around at the moment but he took time out of his busy schedule to talk to us about this contemporary classic and his future movie plans.

HC: Was there one film that you saw growing up which gave you the idea that you wanted to work in the film industry?

JS: There were definitely a number of them; I think the ones that stick out strongest in my memory were Temple Of Doom, Batman '89, Nightmare On Elm Street 4, Raising Arizona, Back To The Future, Marnie, Army Of Darkness, The Frighteners and Dirty Harry. All of them had a big emotional impact on me. Dirty Har...

Interview with acclaimed author Shaun Hutson
Posted on Friday 20th December 2019

The British horror legend Shaun Hutson is back with Testament, a new novel featuring one of his fans most loved characters, Sean Doyle so we decided to catch up with this talented chap about his acclaimed work.

HC: Was there one author who inspired you to become a writer?

SH: My inspirations were always and still are cinematic if I'm honest. Even when I first started writing my influences and inspirations came from things like Hammer films, from TV series like The Avengers (with Diana Rigg and Patrick Macnee) and from old Universal horror films. I read the Pan Books of Horror Stories when I was a kid and I think they were probably the first "literary" influences I ever had. I also read lo...

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Patient Zero
Friday 21st August
9.00 PM
Sunday 16th August
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Hollow Man
Wednesday 26th August
10.50 PM