Interview with Patricio Valladares, director of Embryo
By James Whittington, Saturday 24th October 2020
Embryo image 1

Chilean director Patricio Valladares is back at FrightFest and this time he's taking us into the science fiction zone with Embryo. Here he chats about working with Robert Englund on Nightworld and this sci-fi shocker.

HC: Have you always been a fan of horror and sci-fi movies?

PV: Yes, from my childhood, my old brother watched Jason Voorhees and A Nightmare on Elm Street film series at home with a couple friends in the 80s. So, I always went from the bathroom to the living room at night to watch from behind the sofa with them. I Loved it! I liked the ultraviolence and gore from Robocop. When I was 14 or 15 I was a metalhead, so I had lots of tapes of death metal and a lot of low budget and underground horror movies at VHS. I'm from a small town in the south of Chile called Chillan. Is a village that at this time has not too many video clubs, but with a lot of horror movies from many countries, no idea for why. Like German horror, UK...USA of course and a lot gore and cinema verite.

HC: We show another of your movies, Nightworld here on Horror, what's your happiest memory of that movie?

PV: This movie and the experience for me was a great moment of my career it was a big deal for me and my friend, Barry Keating. Loris Curci, the producer of Nightworld, sent me the script and told me that he really wanted me as director to shoot this film. And after two seconds I said "Yes, please". The producers told me that they would be casting Robert Englund. This blew my mind! With Loris Curci we shot a remake from my Chilean movie Hidden in the Wood at Texas a couple years ago with Michael Biehn (I'm a fan of Terminator) and now I had the chance to work with another legendary actor. Robert is an adorable and charismatic human being. The flick was shot in Sofia, Bulgaria. It was selected to be shown at FrightFest and was released on theatrical and Netflix in North America. And of course, it is on Horror Channel too. I'm a very big fan of the channel.

HC: How did Embryo come about?

PV: Fun story! It was after Downhill was shown at FrightFest. We went for beers with Barry and after a couple, I told him that we maybe need to do another movie but more sci-fi or aliens and stuff, but still the visceral style set in Chile. Emails with ideas were sent. I really love Xtro and movies like this, but we needed to do something new or more hybrid. We completed a full treatment, and the rest is history. It took 5 years to write, save the money and finished a 70-minute movie, not long then, ha ha.

HC: It seems to have been shot entirely on location, was it a tough shoot?

PV: Not at all, we shot entirely in the woods behind a cabin, at a village on a mountain called "Los Lleuques", about an hour from my hometown. It's a beautiful forest, in fact, it is the same forest from my movie Downhill (2016). This part was a little fun. We shot all the main scenes in just 3 or 4 days with a Red Camera, with very little artificial light.

HC: What did the cast say about the really bloody special effects?

PV: The truth is that all the cast and crew were friends with me for many years, maybe 15 years. When I invited them to shoot a movie, we had such a fun time. They eagerly said "hell yeah", I told them, "Hey but there will be some gore, and make up and more bloodbath" and the response was, "Sure Patricio, no problem! let's go!" I was so happy that they helped me to do this movie. I'm very appreciative of my friends.

HC: Were you restricted by budget at all?

PV: Of course, we shot and made this movie thinking always of a low budget. We shot and made Embryo with just less Than 6000 Euros in cash and with a lot of favours from friends and family. This film took a lot of time to finish but is now 2020 and it is done. We started the principal shoot in 2018 but no expensive scenes or anything like that. Many people, filmmakers and horror fans say "It's impossible to make cheap movies now!" but isn't true. Embryo is an example. Was very Robert Rodriguez style.

HC: There's some nice, HR Giger style artwork on show at the end, was this a deliberate nod to his genius?

PV: Oh yes! That was so sweet and was done at the last minute during post-production. I said "We need to put some power at the end" I have a friend, a very famous Chilean illustrator of comic books called Juan Vasquez. We worked on a comic book years ago and he always showed me his sketchbook with amazing and creepy stuff, So, after finishing the edition I called him and said I can use some stuff from his sketchbook for the show at the end. It's a very Chilean version from HR Giger. Juan Vasquez, thank you for this!

HC: Do you believe that aliens exist?

PV: I don't know, but we are so minuscule in space, so it is possible that other life exists in space, maybe more microorganisms!! It's a big question and we have many undeniable reasons that will make our belief in aliens! For example, Egyptian hieroglyphs, Aztecs or Mayas. Embryo picked up ideas about the mysterious Friendship Island. The south of Chile is surrounded by mysteries and myths. One of them is about an island that is supposedly inhabited by extra-terrestrials or people that, unlike ordinary human beings, possess a vast amount of knowledge in the fields of science, aeronautics, physics, mathematics, and medicine. The name of the island is "Friendship" and it is located in an island complex called Kent at Aysen Region.

HC: What is the film industry like in Chile?

PV: Today, the film industry in Chile produces over 50 films each year. Cinema has been highlighted in several international festivals, especially Arthouse films. There aren't many horror movie productions, but this is everywhere.

HC: Will you be nervous when the movie is shown at FrightFest?

PV: Yes, we are so excited for this, I mean, this is my fourth movie at FrightFest, my first with my pal Barry Keating. I really love this festival and the FrightFest team. They always tell me I am FrightFest's favourite Chilean director! Alan, Paul, Ian and Greg, thanks for the support guys! Really, it's great and I hope the audience, and horror fan community enjoy our movie!

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

PV: From now until the end of the year, Embryo is hitting festivals and has a major release next year with Uncork'd Entertainment. And Barry and I are developing another horror feature set in the UK. It is a serial neo-slasher movie; my idea is to shoot as soon as is possible; however, due to Covid19 we are on hold. We are really excited about it!

HC: Patricio Valladares, thank you very much.

PV: Absolute pleasure, thank you for your time.

Related show tags: NIGHTWORLD
Interview with Sean Nichols Lynch writer and director of Red Snow
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021

Final film of Arrow Films FrightFest Online Edition 2021 is a fangtastic (sorry) twist on the vampire movie, Sean Nichols Lynch's Red Snow. We had a quick chat about this blood-splattered shocker which has a deep vein of humour running through it.

HC: Where did the idea for Red Snow come from?

SL: I was trying to get a different horror feature financed and was struggling to get it off the ground. It was a frustrating period for me, and I honestly felt like I'd never get to make another film. I happened to run into Dennice, who I knew from my film school days at San Francisco State. We got to talking and I started to think about how great it would be to just drop everything and ...

Interview with Alex Kahuam writer and director of Forgiveness
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021
Alex Kahuam 1 Forgiveness

Director Alex Kahuam has brought to Arrow Films FrightFest Online Edition a brutal and intelligent film, Forgiveness. Almost devoid of dialogue, it's an excursion into the raw side of reality. Here he chats about this movie and his plans for the future.

HC: Was there one movie you saw when growing up which made you want to go into filmmaking?

AK: When we were kids my brother and I my parents took us a lot to the theaters and this is where everything began for me. I just loved the experience so much and till this day I thank them because they triggered this on me and for many years filmmaking has been my life. While growing up Hollywood films have always be...

Interview with Sarah Appleton co-writer and co-director of The Found Footage Phenomenon
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021
Sarah Appleton

The final documentary of FrightFest Online Edition looks to one of the most misunderstood genres out there. The Found Footage Phenomenon dissects this often over-looked type of movie with interviews from many key players. We chatted to co-writer and co-director Sarah Appleton about this very informative piece.

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

SA: Yes, I grew up watching Hammer horror movies and Japanese horror because my dad was a film critic, so I used to look through all his VHS tapes he'd taped off the late night tv and pick something to watch. Evil Dead II was one of the first horror movies I ever saw, aged about 8.

HC: Can you recall the first fo...

Taxi rides and crumbling hotels - Day 5 of Arrow Video FrightFest Online Edition: Part 2
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021

As we enter the final evening of Arrow Films FrightFest Online Edition 2021 there's still plenty to look forward to starting with a belter from directors Brad Baruh and Meghan Leon, Night Drive. Ride-share app driver Russell picks up his Hollywood fare Charlotte... and his whole life turns upside down. Slipping him a wad of cash, she hires him for the rest of the evening. Their first stop at her ex's place sees Charlotte running out the door clutching a tiny suitcase being chased. They make their escape, but accidentally run over a pedestrian, setting in motion a chain of gruesome events that will go to places Russell could never have imagined in his wildest dreams. What starts off as a simpl...

Interview with Josh Stifter director of Greywood's Plot
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021

There are a number of monochrome movies at FrightFest this year and one of the stand out ones is Josh Stifter's Greywood's Plot so we had a quick chat with him about it.

HC: Was there one movie you saw when you were younger that made you want to be in the filmmaking business?

JS: Beetlejuice. I saw it when I was 5 years old. My family all got the flu and my mom went and rented it. This was back in the day when you didn't have access as easily to movies so if you rented a movie, it often would get watched a couple times before it was returned. Since we had nothing else to do, we all just laid around sick watching Beetlejuice over and over. I became obsessed. It was the first tim...

Interview with Conor Stechschulte writer of Ultrasound
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021

Based on his own graphic novel 'Generous Bosom', Conor Stechschulte has written a tight and tense script for Ultrasound which is showing today at Arrow Films Fright Online Edition. We chatted to him about the process of bringing his original idea to the big screen.

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

CS: I did! At about 7 or 8 I went from wanting to be a fighter pilot to wanting to be a writer. My formal education is in visual art, but I've always had narratives at the heart of all the creative work that I make and have never really stopped writing in one form or another.

HC: Was there any one person who inspired you?

CS: I can't...

Interview with Rob Schroeder director of Ultrasound
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021

The feature debut of Rob Schroeder, producer of Sun Choke and Beyond The Gates, Ultrasound is a startling puzzle box Sci-Fi mystery and playing today at Arrow Films FrightFest Online Event. We chatted to Rob about this chilling movie.

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

RS: Not really. When I was young, I loved going to the movie theatre every week, but I didn't see filmmaking as a career because in my town I didn't know any filmmakers. The movies were always so special for me and even sacred, so at a young age I did sense the magic.

HC: How did become attached to this project?

RS: I developed the project, by reaching out to Cono...

Interview with Peter Daskaloff director and co-writer of Antidote
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021
Peter Daskaloff Anitdote

Peter Daskaloff has brought his nerve-jangling movie Antidote to FrightFest Online Eidtion 2021 so we chatted to him about this complex and intriguing movie.

HC: What is your writing method when working alongside someone else?

PD: I usually write alone. But for Antidote, I had to hire a co-writer because the subject was complex. I needed another set of eyes to look at it from outside my box. Matt Toronto was recommended to me by my executive producer, Ian Michaels, who has worked with Matt before. The collaboration was a bit bumpy, but the resulting script turned out pretty good.

HC: How did you go about casting the movie?

PD: I had a casti...

Interview with Francesco Erba writer and director of As in Heaven, So on Earth
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021
Francesco Erba As In Heaven director

As In Heaven, So On Earth mixes the found footage genre with incredible animation to deliver a truly unique take on the format. The movie effortlessly moves from its gothic animation to cutting edge technology footage and brings together a tale which is emotional and utterly heart breaking in equal measure. We chatted to its writer and director Francesco Erba as it plays at FrightFest Online Edition 2021.

HC: Where did the idea for As in Heaven, So on Earth come from?

FE: As in Heaven, So on Earth was born not only from one specific idea but, as very often occurs, from many different ones, different influences and life experien...

Interview with Casey Dillard actor and writer of Killer Concept
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021

If you managed to catch Driven the other year at FrightFest then you'll need to catch Killer Concept today. Writer Casey Dillard is back alongside director Glenn Payne but this time serial killers are the target. We chatted to Casey about this movie.

HC: It's been a couple of years since we last chatted, apart from Killer Concept, what have you been up to?

CD: Mostly avoiding Covid and trying to find work-arounds so that I can still perform safely.

HC: Where did the idea for Killer Concept come from?

CD: Glenn wanted to make a simple movie with minimal people while our core filmmaking team was unable to go to work so we kicked around a lot of ideas and KC wa...

Interview with Glenn Payne director and actor from Killer Concept
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021

If you managed to catch Driven the other year at FrightFest then you'll need to catch Killer Concept today. Director Glenn Payne is back alongside writer Casey Dillard but this time serial killers are the target. We chatted to him about this movie.

HC: It's been a couple of years since you brought the superb movie Driven to FrightFest, how was that movie received across the world?

GP: Thank you for the kind words! We've felt very blessed by how warm the reception's been for Driven. We knew the story was different, given the entire thing takes place inside one vehicle, but the characters really seemed to resonate with people. I think that's a huge testament to the per...

Interview with Chad Crawford Kinkle writer and director of Dementer
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021
Chad Crawford Kinkle Dementer Image 2

A movie which is bold not only with its storytelling but its casting is playing today at FrightFest. Dementer from Chad Crawford Kinkle, is an emotional, raw and very real feeling movie built around a care home which delivers some of the most effective acting you'll see at the event this year. Here he chats about this superb film.

HC: Where did the idea for Dementer come from?

CK: The idea was really years in the making. I had always wanted to do a film with my sister but my mind always went to doing a documentary of some sort. Then one year at Sundance, I watched the movie The Tribe and it sparked an idea that I could set a narrativ...

Frightfest Archive: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007
Saturday 11th December
10.50 PM
Dead Ringers
Thursday 9th December
9.00 PM
An American Werewolf In Paris
Tuesday 7th December
9.00 PM