We here at Dread Central were lucky enough to grab a few moments with director Bruce McDonald to discuss his latest Halloween-themed film, Hellions (review). This Canadian-born filmmaker is responsible for bringing the creepy 2008 dialogue-virus thriller Pontypool to light, and he was generous enough to spill some details about his latest projects, so park your keester and read on!
DC: Bruce, can you give the fans a brief description of the film?
BM: It’s Halloween afternoon, and our heroine Dora gets the strange news that she’s pregnant, so that sort of puts her in a bit of a mood, and instead of going out to party with her boyfriend that night, she stays home to pass out candy to the kids, but these little trick or treaters aren’t your usual kids – they’re demons who want her unborn baby, thus beginning our night of terror.
DC: So where did the idea for this film come from?
BM: Well, this project was introduced to me by our producer, Frank Siracusa, and he said, “Hey, Bruce, you want to check out this script I’ve been working on for a while?” So I read it and liked it, and I’ve always been a fan of Halloween as a kid. It was appealing on many levels, and I was glad to be brought on to the project and really had a good time.
DC: What presented the biggest challenge to you when shooting the film?
BM: I think it was whenever you’re shooting scripts and getting things set up, it’s a challenge to provide that feeling of a nightmare, because in the end, this movie is like a fever-dream. On one side it’s like, “Yikes, here come the Hellions!,” but on another side it’s from the mind of this young woman who’s pregnant and got this creature growing inside of her (laughs) – human or demonic, whatever. So the biggest challenge for us was to create a world that was familiar, without going totally outside of it – keeping it somewhat familiar, and twisting it just a little bit. Our director of photography said, “Let’s try this whole infra-red thing” – and it’s not just about darkness and shadows – we were weirdly inspired by The Wizard of Oz a little bit. Dorothy left Oz and went into this parallel world, and if you notice we had a little hurricane in our film at one point, and that was our little homage to The Wizard of Oz – our character’s name was Dora, and I checked with the writers to see if Dora is short for Dorothy and they agreed, and our little hellions were like the Tin Man, The Scarecrow, and The Lion in a way, so it’s a weird, twisted take on that film. So we wondered what Oz would look like for her, and we decided to make it look infra-red, so that was the thought process behind that.
DC: After the release of Hellions, what can we expect to see from you down the road?
BM: Well, we’re here in Nova Scotia prepping a movie called 1970-something, which is a teenage road movie set in the weekend of the American Bicentennial of July 1976. We’re also working on a sequel to Pontypool that will continue the adventures of the crazy zombies from that movie.