Just about every horror fan has been hyped for “Death House” which is set to include some of the biggest names in horror all jammed into one blood soaked film. I noticed that the director of the film and me were following each other on Twitter. So I thought why not be cheeky and ask if I could get a quick interview, what the worst that could happen? All they could do was say no. But Harrison Smith gave an enthusiastic yes and also provided me with some screen shots to put in with the interview.
I’m not a professional when it comes to this so there’s nothing I’d consider ground breaking but I did love the opportunity and am thankful that I got the chance to ask the questions I wanted to.
So here’s my interview with “Death House” writer and director Harrison Smith……
Thanks very much for giving me the opportunity to ask a few questions I guess the first two are the most obvious to ask a film maker but I’ll have to ask! What were your favourite horror films growing up?
Mad Monster Party, The Universal Monsters, Vincent Price films (esp The Abominable Dr. Phibes) and every damned Godzilla movie to that point.
What inspired you to get into the film industry especially the horror genre?
Nothing. “Jaws” was the movie that made me want to make movies. However, horror just happened. I love all genres and really want to do a few comedies coming up. However, horror was a bonding experience between myself and my grandmother. See my first film, “The Fields” to see how that played into my life.
One of the many horror legends starring in this film
Now I’d be an idiot not to ask you about your latest film one that has horror fans salivating at the prospect, for anyone who’s not heard of it can you give them a quick run down of what it’s about and what to expect?
The summary is on IMDB (which we’ve posted at the bottom of this interview) , this is the largest collection of horror names in a single film. It is NOT a gimmick movie. This is a solid story and script and these actors give some of their most memorable performances in it. We just wrapped last Friday and we are now in post production and expect the finished film by August.
How did you get involved with “Death House”?
The project was brought to me by Rick Finkelstein and Steven Chase of Entertainment Factory. Agent Mike Eisenstadt, who repped Gunnar Hansen brought them to me at a screening for my film, Zombie Killers. I met with Gunnar several times after reading his script and someone else’s rewrite. I came up with a fresh script that kept his central idea of good and evil and he gave it his blessing.
One of the many wonders inside “Death House”
Do you have any nerves when it comes to writing and directing some of the biggest names in horror film history?
No. These are all people. I look at a movie set as a common goal. We are ALL making the movie and if anyone wishes to be difficult then their objective is not on the same page. They have an agenda.I think my actors and crew will agree, we run a damned good set. We treat everyone respectfully and fairly. Anyone who wants to give me a hard time, I don’t care because I know I have done it all right. And if I haven’t, I take ownership for that and fix whatever may not be right. It’s that simple.
Are there any horror icons not in the film that you’d like to get in any potential sequels?
I won’t comment on that because there are lots and you don’t want to offend anyone you may have accidentally left out. However, I will say, to anyone reading, if you’re asked, we hope you will participate.
As you know these films spark all sorts of rumours, first off is it true there could be many sequels?
We have five planned sequels.
I’m sure we at AcidBurnsHorrorShow are not the only ones glad that this is a true rumour!
I’ve also read that the film has quite a few scenes in that were rejected from The Saw franchise for being too violent, is there any truth in this?
I never heard anything like this. We have some hard core gore and violence but nothing connected in any way to the Saw franchise. We have our own original kills. We don’t need to borrow or “sample” as the music industry likes to say. I don’t know where you heard that, but it is false.
I’m so glad this isn’t true, also teaches us not to believe rumours on the internet!
Rather them than me……
We realise you probably can’t answer but is there anyone who turned this film down?
Whoever is not in it, maybe fans can ask them why. We approached a few, some declined. Ask them. ; )
I’m sure horror fans have a huge list of potential names they’d love to see in the sequels!
We are massive fans of practical effects over CGI, is this film mostly practical or CGI?
It’s 95 percent practical with CGI used to enhance and clean up.
I must admit I like many horror fans am partial to creepy killer clowns, will we get any clowns in “Death House”?
None. No clowns. They are overused and frankly, I don’t think are all that scary unless it’s a real one like John Wayne Gacy. I think the whole “clown thing” was pumped up by social media and those who claim some kind of major clown phobia are simply buying into something to be part of the crowd. Yeah, they have paint on their faces, yeah I get they can be odd, but when I hear someone claim they are deathly afraid of clowns, I take it with a grain of salt. It’s become an overused trope, in my opinion.
The man himself Gunnar Hansen who will appear in the film thanks to the magic of green screen!
Do you feel any pressure when making a film which sprang from the mind of horror icon Gunnar Hansen?
No. Gunnar was a gentleman and very giving. He wanted this work and he wanted this to get made. The only pressure I felt was honoring my word to him and some actors that I vowed to get them into this film. The real pressure is on your word. Your word is all you have and in the film making business, words are wind. So your actions must speak louder. Well done is better than well said.
Do you have any more horror films lined up after “Death House”?
The sequels, one called Anne Frankenstein and a film called Wretched. However as said, would like to try some different genres as well.
Once again thanks for this chance it’s really great for a small site like mine to get the chance to interview the director of an upcoming film that looks and sounds so damn good.
Thanks for reaching out!
Death House IMDB Synopsis
The Death House is the Area 51 of Evil…a subterranean government facility that holds humanity’s worst on nine levels. Hell…Dante’s ninth level, holds the Five Evils…the “dark stars” of Death House. These individuals are so heinous they can never walk among society again. They may also be supernatural.
Agents Toria Boon and Jae Novak have their own dark pasts, arriving at Death House to tour its levels and observe its denizens first hand as well as the medical and mental experiments of Drs. Eileen Fletcher and Karen Redmane. Their depraved experiments date back to the Nazi doctors of WWII. Prison cells are virtual reality holodecks that recreate prisoner environments before they were incarcerated. A special hallucinogenic gas keeps inmates under control. The victims are homeless bused into Death House to play literal victims while killing habits are studied. The results are sick, but only a hint of what goes on here. Hell literally breaks loose inside the facility when an EMP device detonates, killing all power and communication and…releasing every prisoner.
Boon, Novak and Fletcher are caught in a race against advancing prisoner hoards led by occultist Neo-Nazi Sieg. The monsters are freed and they’re going down. Boon and Novak’s fight through Death House turns into a house of horrors gauntlet with the only hope of escape in descending into Hell and with the help of The Five Evils. Events culminate in a violent face to face standoff with absolute evil…only to find that they have traveled down a rabbit hole and through a looking glass. Black is white and white is black and the definitions of good and evil no longer apply…
Who are the monsters?
Who will escape…
To say we’re excited about a film tagged the expendables of the horror genre (by the media) is an understatement. Now after knowing there are 5 planned sequels I’m even more excited than I was before. I’d like to thanks Harrison Smith for taking the time to answer these questions you can find him on Twitter @HarrisonSmith85 and follow the progress of Death House on Twitter @DeathHouseMovie
We can’t wait for this one!
You can find me on Twitter @ABsHorrorShow