Interview with Toby Poser, co-director, co-writer and co-star of The Deeper You Dig
By James Whittington, Friday 2nd October 2020

Themes of family, loss and survival intersect on the thin line that separates the living from the dead in The Deeper You Dig, the latest feature written, directed by and starring filmmaking family the Adams Family. Here, co-director, co-writer and co-star Toby Poser tells all about this superior chiller.

HC: Where did the idea for The Deeper You Dig come from?

TP: Horror Channel, hey! We are still floating from our time with some of you at FrightFest 2019. Ok, so my husband and creative partner, John Adams, is always having these crazy nightmares about burying people, so it seemed appropriate to slap that concept onto film. I'm hoping that if he can stretch that urge on camera maybe he won't have to try it out in real life.

HC: What is your writing and directing process as you co-wrote and co-directed with your husband, John Adams?

TP: This is our fifth feature together so by now we've found a rhythm that works for us. We three (our daughter Zelda included) conjure up ideas nonstop as we drive to soccer practice or have a meal... then usually I cull those scenes into a loose treatment and even looser script.... and we just start shooting. Often the weather or something unexpected like a snowstorm or misty day will dictate what we shoot and when. And usually we just use our original ideas as a jumping off point. John is very spontaneous; I'm a thinker; Zelda has a keen artistic eye. So, between the three of us we usually come up with something that works. A lot of the time we shoot three different ways and then fight over the end result while editing.

HC: Did the script take long to come together?

TP: As loose as the comprehensive script was while shooting, because of Ivy's tarot thread and her incantations regarding the Seven Circles, we worked hard to stick to the dialogue in those scenes. But mostly the script unfurled while we were actually shooting.


HC: What's it like directing members of your family? Do they listen to you or argue back to your suggestions?

TP: Ha! That's a good question. Because we are all essentially acting, directing, and shooting, it can be amusing doing this winding dance while taking on and off the various hats. We have moments where we clash, but in general this has been a great lesson on how to listen and take turns like good little children. I'll direct a scene one way, then John or Z may want to try another angle. We give each other what is being asked at the time, then see which take fits best while editing. It's taken a few films to hone this skill, but it's always important for the smoothness of our productions and the health of our relationships. I'll say from my own experience that directing Zelda and John is really fun because there're both very natural, wonderful actors.

HC: It's surreal and beautifully shot, how did you manage to produce something that looks so good on a low budget?

TP: Thank you. Low budget isn't a problem when you are surrounded by such generous scenery. We live in the Catskill Mountains of New York, and each season is cinematic, offering its own charms and colors. We shoot a lot outside because of this. Also, we don't have any lighting equipment, so we rely on natural light. When indoors we have used a single construction light hanging above to get that eerie spotlight look surrounded by blackness. So simple works for us. We're used to making things work with what we've got.

HC: What does it feel like when a major label picks up a movie you've made?

TP: Wild! And exciting. And a little strange at first because we are simply used to doing everything alone on our end. Basically, every day we pinch ourselves. It's such a thrill awaiting a limited-edition Blu-ray from the likes of Arrow. Their design team is off the charts, and the personal communication has been such a pleasure. And anticipating their subscription service and the attention they're shining our way - we are incredibly grateful. I wish we could hop over and buy everyone a pint. And on the US end, MPI and the Dark Sky teams have been such dreamboats as well. They made it so clear from the get go that they understood the heart of our little film, and we know we wouldn't be where we are today without them. So it's been a wild ride but also feels very right.


HC: You and your family are unique in the film industry in the way you work and produce your movies, you must be proud of that?

TP: Being this tiny band of film makers that also happens to be a family is really cool. I can't deny that. Not only is it convenient, but it's something we will carry with us forever as long as our films exist. They're a testament to us and where we've been and what we've learned and how we've grown over the last 10 years. Our kids were 6 and 11 when we started; John and I were 43 and 41. So we've all developed as humans and artists. (Lulu missed The Deeper You Dig because she was studying college abroad.) The films are also lend to a life outside and on the road. And we are wanderers. So when we shoot and when we travel to festivals, we're building in these fun and life changing elements we can't get enough of.

HC: Do you prefer theatre work or film work?

TP: I really miss working onstage, I do. It'll always be in my bones. But those instincts and the foundation I gained from working in theater has surely helped me as a film director. I'm often looking at a scene theatrically, as if it were in a proscenium. I love the concept of a play within a play.... or a film/video within a film. And what makes good stage acting is good listening, which carries over to film acting. So while I have an itch to get back on the boards, I'm dedicated to film right now love the subtlety (and not to mention the longevity) of film acting.

HC: You're a creative of many different talents, but do you have a favourite job that you do?

TP: Thanks! These days I'm really drawn to writing. Writing feels more natural to me than talking, and it's something I really enjoy, whether for film or blogging or, fingers crossed, one day for a nonfiction book.

HC: So, what are you up to at the moment?

TP: We are on a concrete conquest! We're exploring the United States with a travel trailer (The Wonder Wheels!) while Z does remote learning (Covid!), and we're chasing down cool spots to shoot for our next feature, Hellbender. We just left the northeast - a veritable candy shop of fall colors - and are headed out West next.

HC: Toby Poser, thank you very much.

TP: Horror Channel, thank you!

The Deeper You Dig will be available on Blu-ray from October 5th thanks to Arrow Video.

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
thumbnail_Brandon Blood

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...

Interview with Nicholas Santos, writer and director of It Cuts Deep
Posted on Saturday 10th October 2020
It Cuts Deep Image 2

At Grimmfest we're used to comedy horror but none as well written as It Cuts Deep from writer/director Nicholas Santos. Here he chats about this true dissection of a romance going terribly wrong.

HC: Have you always been a big horror fan?

NS: I've been a big horror fan since I was a little kid. Some of my favourite childhood memories are seeing Event Horizon with my dad when I was in second grade, being absolutely terrified by Chucky from Child's Play at every waking moment and watching Psycho for the first time on VHS when I was 7 years old.

HC: Where did the idea for It Cuts Deep come from and did it take long to write?

NS: It Cuts Deep is a hor...

Interview with Robert Woods, director of An Ideal Host
Posted on Saturday 10th October 2020
Robert Woods

Ever had the dinner party from Hell with people you don't really relate to and seem alien? Well this is the premise of the the hilarious horror comedy An Ideal Host from director Robert Woods. Here he tells Horror about this cracking movie.

HC: What did you think of the script when you first read it and what made you decide that this would be your first project as a director?

RW: Tyler and I had been writing theatre together for a decade, but movies are our first love and we wanted to give it a crack as well. Tyler came up with the initial idea but we worked on the story together and it evolved a great deal from the initial pitch. As it was my first time directing, I think we were j...

Interview with Chad Ferrin, writer and director of The Deep Ones
Posted on Friday 9th October 2020
Jeff Billings and Chad The Deep Ones

H.P. Lovecraft's influence on horror cinema is immeasurable and continues to this very day. In fact, today at Grimmfest a movie called The Deep Ones is showing so we asked its writer and director Chad Ferrin and how the great man himself has influenced his work.

HC: When was the first time you heard or read anything by or about HP Lovecraft?

CF: My parents worked nights, so the television was my babysitter. I must have been around six years old when I saw an episode of Rod Serling's Night Gallery called "Pickman's Model". Seeing that monster carrying off Louise Sorel terrified me beyond belief and seared the name H.P. Lovecraft into my...

Interview with Cody Calahan, director of The Oak Room
Posted on Friday 9th October 2020
The Oak Room - Director Headshot (Calahan, Cody) (Photo Credit - Miz Monday)

If you like your horror to have a "Twilight Zone" style twist then The Oak Room is for you. Showing today at Grimmfest we chatted to its director, Cody Calahan.

HC: We show your movie, Let Her Out on the Horror Channel here in the UK, what was the best thing you remember from making that movie?

CC: Experimenting. I definitely played more on that film than any other film I've done. Whether it was with the camera movement or editing, everything seemed very experimental. That was very refreshing.

HC: What did you think of the script for The Oak Room when you f...

Interview with actress Mary Madaline Roe, star of They Reach
Posted on Thursday 8th October 2020
Mary Madaline Roe

Grimmfest continues to champion new talent in front and and behind the camera. Mary Madaline Roe is the star on the superb retro chiller, They Reach and here she chats to Horror about this festival favourite.

HC: For someone so young you've built up an impressive resume, can you recall how you felt when you first walked out onto a movie set?

MMR: When I first walked onto the film set, I was very excited and ready for this day! I had been anticipating the first day of filming for about a year. All the cast and crew were delightful to work with and felt like we were a family. I've learned so much from They Reach as it was my first major role.

HC: Are you a fan of ...

Interview with Brea Grant, the writer and director of 12 Hour Shift
Posted on Wednesday 7th October 2020
Brea Grant BW35-020

12 Hour Shift is one of the best from Grimmfest 2020. The movie stars Angela Bettis, David Arquette, Chloe Farnworth and Mick Fole and is a grim, funny, dark and hugely entreating piece which has been written and directed by Brea Grant. Here she chats about this superb movie.

HC: Did you know from an early age that you wanted to be in show business?

G: Not really. I grew up in a small town and I didn't know anyone who made their living in the film industry. I acted in plays at the local theater but Hollywood felt like something for other people. It wasn't until I was in college that I started realizing that you could make a living making movies and I moved to Los Ange...

Interview with John C. Lyons and Dorota Swies the co-directors of Unearth
Posted on Wednesday 7th October 2020
UNEARTHGrimmfest gets underway today and as usual has a superb collection of genre movies for all to enjoy and this time, due to global circumstances is online.

One movie that stands out is the very original, Unearth which is a deep and effective movie with a message for us all. Here it's directors John C. Lyons and Dorota Swies talk about this powerful piece.

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

JCL: Growing up in 80's America, I have the typical story of entertaining myself and my family with a variety of audio and video recorders. My first love though was drawing. I was really into Detective Comics, but besides drawing Batman characters, I liked to cr...

Interviews Archive: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006
Monday 2nd November
9.00 PM
Monday 9th November
9.00 PM
Thursday 12th November
9.00 PM