Check out my interview with The Suffering director Rob Hamilton!

Check out my interview with The Suffering director Rob Hamilton!

So in addition to watching the excellent film that is The Suffering (check out my review here), I also got to interview the director, Robert Hamilton. Take a look at our interview, which covers everything from the beautiful location the movie was filmed in to the incredibly underrated film In Bruges:

What inspired you to write this story with Marco V. Scola?

MV5BZTkwZmEzOGUtZTA0Zi00YmZiLTkyYTQtZDU4ODEwY2M1ZDUxXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjEwNTM2Mzc@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,999_AL_Marco and I wrote a terrific script a few years ago called ‘The Candy Jar’. We knew we had a great screenplay ready to go but also realized that there was no way we’d be capable of independently raising the millions of dollars it was going to cost to produce it. Around that same time I had a location open up for us in my home town of Baltimore, Maryland. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I knew we needed to write something for it. It was Christmas of 2012 and I was reading an old text (and I mean very old). A few pages in I realized it could be adapted into a very interesting horror film. I pitched the idea to Marco and he immediately agreed. So long story short we adapted that text into a contemporary horror screenplay using as many of the beautiful places and buildings the Baltimore location provided.

The house you filmed in is really beautiful. How did you find that particular location?

As I mentioned above it’s a location that I had access to and is very close to my heart. We actually fit some of the home’s true stories into the fictional narrative. The story behind the madhouse for example is 95% true. Also the trains that are highlighted in the film were built from scratch in a metal shop on the property. To this day they run on coal burning steam engines.

What made you cast Nick Apostolides for the role of Henry?

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Everything. In his audition, he WAS Henry Dawles as we’d written him. Smart yet confused. Strong yet vulnerable and sad. Nick and I developed a great friendship during production and are still very close. In real life he’s the most upbeat and positive guy in the world. So his audition proved what a terrific actor he was and is. He was able to identify who Henry Dawles was, flaws and strengths alike, with only a few pages of the script. Once we were on set he took what he had created during his audition and brought it to a full and haunting realization.

What are you hoping the audience takes away from this movie?

Two things. One, that contemporary horror films can not only tell a good story but can have multi- dimensional characters that people relate to and care about. Earned jump scares are great but they’re entirely forgettable if you don’t give a shit about the character and story. Two, that films made on an ultra low budget (under 200k) can look and sound like studio movies if the filmmakers surround themselves with extremely talented people and let them do their thing. For example, our cinematographer David Newbert is outrageously talented and he and I met through craigslist years ago. I joke with him that he better still give me the craigslist discount when he’s world famous and I can’t afford him anymore.

So far you’ve worked solely on horror movies. Are there other genres you’re interested in branching out into?

I think this only partially true. My first film, Key, had horror elements but I consider it to be more of a mystery. One of my favorite reviews of The Suffering said that it was “a film that defies genre.” I love that. Yes it’s a horror movie but it’s also a drama, a mystery, a science fiction, and a suspense thriller. To be fair though, yes, both have been sold as “horror” movies. There are two other genres that I plan to delve into at some point. The first are crime dramas with dark comedic elements. My first short film, The Patient, fell into this category and I really enjoyed writing it. Movies like Fargo and In Bruges are good examples of these types of films. The second is dark thrillers. Seven (which I consider one of the top 3 movies of all time) is the perfect example of what I’d like to write and direct. I don’t think there’s a wasted line of dialogue or single unnecessary frame in the entire film. It’s horrific perfection personified.

What’s next for you?

To totally go against what I just said my next film is a 100% contemporary horror film called, Earworm. It falls into the Blumhouse (Conjuring, Insidious, Sinister) realm. I wrote it with only two things in mind. To tell a dramatic story about a father/daughter relationship and to scare the pants off people. I think it’ll do both. We plan to go into production in early 2017. Here’s the logline: Confined with her invalid father for the weekend, a college student listens to an old vinyl record and unwittingly unleashes a vengeful ghost hellbent on driving her to madness.

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I'm a regular contributing writer to this website. I got into horror movies through the sci-fi monster films I watched with my dad as a kid (ex. Aliens) and the extreme amounts of zombie movies I spent a good portion of my college career watching. I absolutely love zombies (obviously), am a sucker for a low budget (or any) monster movie, and adore horror-comedy films. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is one of my favorite books, and I'm still waiting for an actually decent film adaptation to bring that fantastic novel to life. Outside of my life as a horror fan, I'm a writer and editor with dreams of turning my screenplays into movies and a love of wine and murder mysteries.

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