Interview with Phillip G. Carroll Jr. writer and director of The Honeymoon Phase
By James Whittington, 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 within that genre when I turned to her and said, "What if you woke up and I wasn't the man you thought I was?" That creepy anxiety was the genesis for The Honeymoon Phase.

HC: Did it take long to get the script correct and was it written with a cast in mind?

PC: In 2016, I started outlining the script in my free time after work. I began writing it full time in January 2017 - with the promise to Chloe that the first draft would be her 1-year anniversary gift... I work best under pressure. I wrote the character of Eve for her. I also wrote the character of The Director with Francois Chau as a reference, never dreaming he'd actually accept the role! I'm the biggest fan of LOST in the world and always wanted to work with him. Sometimes dreams do come true!

HC: It looks very polished with some really cool visuals, is that where a big chunk of the budget go?

PC: Thank you! We had an incredible creative team, many of whom this was their first feature! But believe it or not, the single largest line item was... food. If you don't have a well-fed crew, you have nothing. In terms of the world design, we rented a house on Airbnb that perfectly fit the world we were trying to create. Our art team led by Dave Zhou really had their work cut out for them on creating a near future look on a shoestring budget. He was able to get many of the lab-type equipment for free from the hospital we shot at. They had old stuff lying around in an abandoned wing of their campus. We also had a ton of visual effects shots for a movie of our size. Our VFX team led by David De Leon elevated the film to a whole other level. I'm forever grateful to the magic our team was able to pull off. They truly made our indie film look like a Hollywood-sized production.

HC: This is your first feature, how nervous were you on the first day on set?

PC: My natural baseline is anxious, but the ironic thing is I didn't have time to be nervous! I just kept running through my head everything I had to accomplish that day. We were on a soundstage the first day of our shoot, and I'll never forget the brief moment I took to be by myself on that quiet stage, surrounded by our infinity wall, thinking to myself... "this is it... I'm living my dream." The one moment I was a bit nervous was when Francois walked on set that first day. He just had such a Hollywood veteran presence to him. Everything became incredibly real in that moment. But you just take a breath and realize, he's here for the same reason you are - to tell a story.

HC: Did Chloe Carroll and Jim Schubin who play Eve and Tom have much rehearsal time as they seem so natural as a couple?

PC: Yes. When we were casting Tom, something that was important to me was to cast an actor who was married. I wanted someone who knew the ins and outs of young love, someone who lived through their own honeymoon phase. I spent around 5 days leading up to the movie, working with Jim and Chloe to build their relationship. We'd meet once a week in the office of our EP to block the scenes using office furniture. I'd film the rehearsals on my iPhone so that we basically had a no-budget iPhone version of the movie to use as reference on set. Those rehearsals were incredibly important in building trust with each other.

HC: Was there a time during production that you lost your confidence or thought you'd taken on too much?

PC: During the climactic scene with Tom and Eve, where Eve is faced with the ultimate choice, there was a moment where nothing was working and I had to decide how to save the movie. I rewrote the scene the night before after talking it through with Chloe, Jim, and some of the crew. There was a key beat missing in the original version of the scene that was discovered through conversation with them. The scene was so much better for it. The only problem was I had a few hours to rewrite it before driving an hour to set before dawn. I got 2 hours of sleep before being whisked away into the car to be taken to set. And then... nothing was working. The Ronin we rented and shot listed for was not cooperating, and even interrupting Jim and Chloe's tragic performances. We made it to lunch and I pulled Chloe aside to tell her, "I don't think we have a movie here. We have to do something. This scene IS the movie and we don't have a film without it." We took a breath, and then I went to our incredible AD Ben Samuels. He carved out an hour for us to chuck the Ronin and go handheld, running on pure adrenaline to reshoot THE ENTIRE SCENE. But that hour is what I'm the proudest of from the entire film production. Everyone came together to create what is now my favorite scene in the movie.

HC: What lessons did you learn about directing whilst making this movie?

PC: I learned that when things are going wrong, take a breath, clear your head, and then come together with your cast and crew to find a solution and make your movie.

HC: It plays like a mature episode of The Twilight Zone, would you agree?

PC: Yes! Our reference for the film was actually Black Mirror, which is basically a sci-fi Twilight Zone. We pitched the movie as a feature length episode of Black Mirror.

HC: What is it like showing a movie at a "virtual festival"?

PC: Though we're sad we can't experience the film in person with everyone, we're so excited to be making our U.K. premiere! Chloe's from the U.K. so we're truly honored to be premiere our movie at the country's biggest horror festival!

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

PC: I've used my time in quarantine to write my second feature, a coming of age movie I've been toying away with in the back of my head since 2014 - Stuck in Our Heads. When her anxiety personifies itself as an invisible friend, a high school senior teams up with a panic-ridden homeless man to find the solution to their disorders and create the ultimate senior project. Actually, fun Easter egg, the book that Tom is writing is a hint to my second feature film. I'm hoping to use The Honeymoon Phase as a jumping off point to get this passion project off the ground. If anyone wants to reach out to let me know what they think of The Honeymoon Phase, I'm on Twitter @PhilCarrollJr. I love chatting with other film lovers! If you like the film, please leave us a review and share your thoughts on social media. For a low budget film of our size, shares are the difference between success and failure. I hope you enjoy The Honeymoon Phase!

HC: Phillip G. Carroll Jr. thank you very much.

PC: Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today!

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
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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 Alastair Orr, director of Triggered
Posted on Friday 28th August 2020
Alastair Orr

One of our favourite movies showing on Horror at the moment is Alastair Orr's superb shocker From a House on Willow Street. For FrightFest 2020 he has a new film for us all to enjoy, Triggered. Here he chats about both movies.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to work in the film industry?

AO: I always loved films but it wasn't until my teens when I realised I could actually do it as a job. Growing up in a small town in South Africa, filmmaking was always seen as something that Americans do as a job - not us. We were very sheltered under the apartheid government in the late 80s so content was limited, if not censored. The video store was basically a Holy Grail where...

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