Exclusive Interview with Thelma's Joachim Trier - Dread Central
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Exclusive Interview with Thelma’s Joachim Trier



Thelma is a Norwegian dark thriller about a melancholy college student who starts to experience extreme seizures while studying at a university in Oslo. She soon learns that the violent episodes are a symptom of inexplicable, and dangerous, supernatural abilities. Thelma (review), directed and cowritten by Joachim Trier, is not exactly a horror movie and yet it has been embraced by lovers of the genre. It’s got a distinct art house and 1970s vibe to it.

We got a chance to chat with Trier while he was in L.A. at the AFI Film Fest with his movie.

Dread Central: To me, Thelma has a dark fairy tale vibe. And it’s a coming of age story too… a much artier Ginger Snaps, perhaps? But really, to me – though your story is different – it was a throwback to a movie I love by Louis Malle, called Black Moon. Have you seen that?

Joachim Trier: Wow, yes I have. How wonderful that you’ve brought it up! Gee you’re savvy! It’s such a rare film, I’ve never hear anyone mention it. It’s actually one of my personal favourites too – I love the dream logic of it. I have in the past worked a lot with memories, mental images, dreams and these things, and Black Moon is remarkable because it has this nightmarish looping of themes, visual themes that keep coming back – that’s great, thank you for mentioning that.

DC: I don’t get many opportunities! Not many movies remind me of it. As for Thelma, I think it’s hard to pin down also… and yet, your narrative does flow in such a way that it’s not confusing. You’ve got the story of a family, sibling rivalry, coming of age, medical mystery, the supernatural, love and passion, ecological horror, and… well, how do you describe it?

JT: I think we’re trying a lot of different things. We’re playing around with tropes from old Norwegian fairy tales, and at the same time taking a bit from Stephen King of the 80s. The theme is about liberation but at the same time it’s a coming of age, yearning to be yourself type movie. Before writing this, we’d [Trier and Eskil Vogt] written three movies before that were more drama oriented and then we wanted really to try to be clear in the sense of using the possibilities from a very cinematic, visual language from supernatural thrillers. But at the same time, as always, we end up with a lot of character work and we’re interested in human dilemma so we didn’t want to get into the kind of jump-scare horror that I think so many people do very well these days. We wanted to go back in time and be more inspired by the more psychological thrillers of Rosemary’s Baby or Brian De Palma. These films have slightly more realistic more relatable framework around them – if that makes sense.

DC: Eili Harboe, who plays Thelma, is key. Because in a story like this, where the lead actor is in every scene, you need to have a lot of feelings for her. Did you write the script with her in mind already?

JT: No. I guess it seemed like the most devastating moment when we finished the script would be: how the hell do we do 200 CGI shots, underwater cinematography, and snakes and fire? But actually, what worried me even more was: who the hell is going to play Thelma? And we saw several hundred girls in this age group and mostly non-trained actresses because in Norway how do you find a 28 year old that’s formally trained as an actress, it’s quite rare. So when Eile came in she’d done a couple of roles before but had no formal training. Immediately we realized that she was the one and she went at it with great force. She was a powerhouse. She wanted, she demanded to do a lot of her own stunts – we had a stunt team ready to do the underwater stuff but she wanted to do training, underwater training and she learned also these seizures, self-induced kind of, because she is portraying these psychometric epileptic seizures – she did something called TRE which is seizure therapy that they use on soldiers that have been at war, kind of yoga exercises that they use to release tension in the body. She wanted to do that and learn all kinds of crazy things. It was a great collaboration. I really think she was wonderful. And let me also mention Kaya Wilkins who plays Anja. She is an American/Norwegian singer songwriter that lives in Brooklyn and has a musical career. Very talented. She’s never been in front of the camera but she’s really incredible in her very, very tender and sort of subtle approach to acting.

DC: Thelma has really been touted by the critics. I don’t think you have a single bad review. And so many wins at the festivals – what’s that feel like?

JT: Actually, it’s been beyond our expectations. We played at Fantastic Fest and people really embraced it. In Europe, three days ago, we won The Lumiere Fantasy Award. So it seems like – to the extreme myriad of supernatural, and super hero stories – people are actually responding and telling us that it’s okay that we don’t follow all the rules of how these kinds of horror shows are usually functioning. We’re bending the rules a bit and that they’re finding it okay. I think that if people are going to see it and expecting gory scenes or jump scares, I think they may be disappointed, but if they’re up for something that has a different pacing but is still a really true feel more psychologically horrific film, then I think they’ll like it.

DC: The imagery of the birds is subtle but it’s strong. The birds killing themselves to get to her. Not quite like Hitchcock’s The Birds, because they were attacking… but I feel like Thelma’s birds were symbolic of her when they sacrificed themselves.

JT: I think it came from the idea of the ambivalent relationship Norwegians have to nature. And also the nature within – Norway can be a little bit of a conformed society with not too many emotional outbursts. But also the bird, the animal, the woods, are the metaphor for that internal thing that Thelma is ashamed of. Somehow she keeps attracting these birds and we felt that was a kind of cool neat first phase of the story and it plays into the witch myth of snakes and the birds. That kind of mythology we found, is beautiful. So I think it’s more a sign, than it was a purposefully locked symbol with meaning.

DC: As a male director and a co-writer with another adult male… what made you want to put yourself into the mindset of a young woman?

JT: Well, Thelma came up as a character because we wanted to do something [that addressed] all these young women who are dealing with body issues in Norway at the moment. I remember talking to a psychologist who’s quite renowned for being an expert in eating disorders, anorexia – and the idea of his expertise is very much how the body becomes a centre of focus for our personality. [As a consequence] the body takes the hit. And the reason I met him is because he interviewed me about a previous film called, Oslo August 31st, which was about a drug addict, and he said he found it really interesting. He said this sort of existential story could also be told about one of his usual female patients, because there were many similarities. I think this sense of loneliness, that you carry something within you, that is sort of your pain, and that’s a part of your ingrained guilt or personal responsibility, became a theme. And with this character, this girl started developing between my co-writer and myself, and that stopped us asking the question of gender all of sudden, because you just know the character – the character comes to you and suddenly we’re dealing with Thelma as a person. And then when she loves someone you try to love with her and when she’s scared of something you try to be scared with her, and these things happen in life and after a while you just lose control and go with the character. But then we’re also aware, of looking from the outside, that there is a tradition in Norway where you have a lot of the witch fairy tales, with the stigma of the witch. I saw George A. Romero’s Season of the Witch, where this middle-class lady was almost showing that it was empowering to say I am a witch. I like the outsider, I root for the marginal, that person that’s perceived as a freak, and actually follow that person, they’re a heroic figure as well. That’s fascinating for me, so I think it was a lot of thoughts, consciously and unconsciously, that went into this.

Written by Joachim Trier and Eskil Vogt with Trier also acting as director, Thelma stars Eili Harboe, Okay Kaya, Henrik Rafaelsen, and Ellen Dorrit Petersen. The film arrives in NYC theaters on Friday, November 10th, expanding to Los Angeles on November 24th. Theaters and tickets can be found at http://thelma.film.

Thelma, a shy young student, has just left her religious family in a small town on the west coast of Norway to study at a university in Oslo. While at the library one day, she experiences a violent, unexpected seizure. Soon after, she finds herself intensely drawn toward Anja, a beautiful young student who reciprocates Thelma’s powerful attraction.

As the semester continues, Thelma becomes increasingly overwhelmed by her intense feelings for Anja – feelings she doesn’t dare acknowledge, even to herself – while at the same time experiencing even more extreme seizures. As it becomes clearer that the seizures are a symptom of inexplicable, often dangerous, supernatural abilities, Thelma is confronted with tragic secrets of her past and the terrifying implications of her powers.

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Buy Stuff From Eibon Press, Get More Stuff For Free



Eibon Press have announced that they’re starting Black Friday a day early and will be running their specials for almost a week, through November 28th. This year, they’re doing something a little different, a little more interesting. Rather than reduce prices on their inventory, they’re doing a deal where depending on how much you buy from their store, you’ll get a certain amount of free swag in addition to your order.

The first tier sees anyone who makes a purchase getting two double-sided mini-posters featuring art from their upcoming Bottomfeeder and Maniac and The New York Ripper series. The second tier sees anyone who spends at least $30 getting a free copy of their VHS Comics titles Laserblast plus the mini-posters. The final tier is for those who spend $50 and more and that will net the mini-posters, the #1 issue of Laserblast, and a free copy of Lucio Fulci’s Gates of Hell #2.

Lastly, five random people will receive an extra bonus gift, which they won’t reveal but promise that, “…you’ll love it!

All order cans be placed via Eibon Press.

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KISS Meets Army of Darkness in New Comic Miniseries!



Dynamite Entertainment just announced that they are planning to bring two of their bestselling brands together in “KISS/Army of Darkness #1”. The new comic book series will unite the rock band with none other than Ash for some Deadite ass kicking.

The series will be written by Chad Bowers and Chris Sims and illustrated by Ruairi Coleman. And the debut issue of “KISS/Army of Darkness” features three art covers from Kyle Strahm, Goni Montes, and Ken Haeser.

You can find all three covers below along with quotes from the creative team. After looking through all of that make sure to hit us up and let us know how excited you are about this new hybrid comic series in the comments below or on social media!

With Ash vs. The Army of Darkness, Chris and I were given kind of carte blanche to do whatever we wanted to the world of AOD, and we went for broke,” Co-writer Chad Bowers says. “We introduced some new characters and concepts, and built a legacy for Ash’s comics adventures that I’m immensely proud of, but not in a million years could I have guessed we’d get to continue that momentum with the added bonus of tossing the world’s greatest rock n’ roll band into the mix! I’ve been in the tank for KISS since I was in middle school. I remember buying the KISS tribute album, KISS My Ass for the Lemonheads (they covered Plaster Caster), which lead to me picking up Greatest Hits, and so on. But when I found out there was a KISS comic with blood in it, I signed up for life! Of course, I adore the songs (literally listening to Do You Love Me right now), but I’m just as obsessed with the way KISS transcends the music to become something of a genre themselves. It’s something I think about a lot, honestly, so no surprise, it’s a big part of our story too!”

“When it comes to Army of Darkness, I guess you could say that Ash is a bit of a gambler, but he’s nobody’s fool,” Co-writer Chris Sims says. “And since our first story was set back at Alan Shepard High, we’re looking forward to showing him some things that you can’t learn in school. Okay, okay, I’ll stop with the deep-cut lyrics now, but for real — if you thought Deadites at Homecoming and the Supernatural Military-Adjacent Response Team were taking Ash in a new direction, just wait until you see how we team him up with the Starchild, Space Ace, the Demon, and the Catman. In the grand tradition of the film, we’re tearing up the entire space-time continuum and if you think you know how weird this is gonna get… well, you sure know somethin’!”

“Having done some work for Dynamite in the past, I’ve really been wanting to get my foot in the door here for a long time so I can play in the sandbox of the amazing licenses they have,” Artist Ruairi Coleman says. “Chief among those, and high up on my bucket list, is Army of Darkness: Hail to the king, baby! So, when I was offered the job of drawing the KISS/Army of Darkness crossover, I couldn’t believe my luck! The concept is totally bonkers, but in a way, that would make complete sense in the world of Army of Darkness. Thinking about it, I’m surprised it hasn’t been done already and I’m honored (and more than a little intimidated) to be the guy who draws it.”

“After a more than 40-year career, KISS continues to be one of rock’s most celebrated bands, while Army of Darkness continues to be a staple in the comic book industry. We’re both honored to have the opportunity to work so closely with Gene and Paul to bring their world-renowned alter-egos to comics alongside our very own Ashy Slashy,” says Nick Barrucci, CEO and Publisher of Dynamite Entertainment. “The raging guitar chords and pyrotechnic spectacle of their stage shows could have come straight from the pages of the Necronomicon, and this epic battle between The Demon and Deadites will appeal to the hellions in all of us!”

Issue #1 will be available on digital platforms courtesy of Comixology, Kindle, iBooks, Google Play, Dynamite Digital, iVerse, Madefire, and Dark Horse Digital.

The KISS/Army of Darkness miniseries event hits February 2018.


KISS is on top of the world and rocking faces until the night disciples of The Destroyer show up and the band disappears. With the tour canceled, a young Ash misses one of the most important events of his life that will change his destiny. Now the Chosen One has to get back on the right path and join the KISS ARMY OF DARKNESS!

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Jason Lives Director Pitched Follow-Up: Jason Vs Cheech and Chong



One of my favorite entries in the Friday the 13th series is director ‘s Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives. The mixture of old-school gothic horror and comedy is always a welcome treat around these parts.

But why wasn’t McLoughlin asked to write and direct the follow-up?

Actually, it turns out he was asked to follow up Jason Lives, McLoughlin recently told Mick Garris on the Post Mortem podcast.

But his pitch – Jason vs Cheech and Chong – didn’t go over so well…

“[Frank Mancuso Jr.] wanted me to do another film after we did Jason,” McLoughlin says. “And I said, ‘What are you thinking? I don’t know what it could be now.’ And he said, ‘Well, what do you think about Freddy (Krueger) and Jason?’ And I go, ‘But Freddy’s at New Line and the guys at Paramount have [Jason].’ And it’s like, ‘Well, we’re going to try and see if we can work something out.’ So, I started thinking about that, going, It doesn’t make sense. I mean he lives in one realm and — you know, I take this stuff very seriously, what realm a monster’s supposed to stay in. And he came back, he goes, ‘Eh, forget it, it’s not going to work anyway.’ And I said, ‘You know what? You guys own Cheech and Chong. What if we do Cheech and Chong-meets-Jason? They’re like camp counselors or something. It’s like, ‘Hey, man, I saw Jason out there.’ ‘No, man, that’s a myth.’ But he said, ‘You know what? No.’”

Too bad. While I don’t know how well a Cheech and Chong/Friday the 13th flick would go, with McLoughlin at the helm, the film would have at least been funny as hell.

Plus we already got these two knuckleheads in Part III.

Are you upset we never got Tom McLoughlin’s Jason vs Cheech and Chong? Make sure to let us know in the comments below or on social media!

You can buy Friday the 13th: Part VI – Jason Lives on Blu-ray HERE.

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