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Interview: Director Christopher Chapman Talks Inoperable Starring Danielle Harris

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Last week we shared the trailer for the upcoming horror-thriller Inoperable starring Danielle Harris and featuring makeup FX by the legendary Robert Kurtzman’s Creature Corps.

This past weekend, we had the opportunity to sit down with Inoperable co-writer/director Christopher Chapman and talk about his new film and what might be in store in the near future.

You can check out our quick interview with the Chapman below and then make sure to hit us up and let us know how excited you are to see Inoperable in the comments below!

Dread Central: Tell our readers a bit about Inoperable.
Christopher Chapman: Inoperable is basically an adventure through a haunted hospital where all the sights and sounds cause one to feel slightly claustrophobic and a little panicked as various things outside of one’s control seem to be closing in, trapping you inside a hellish location where there is no safe harbor. (thankfully for us at the theaters, or at home, we can’t smell the content of a movie otherwise this one might smell like burnt rotting flesh or that eerie smell of bleach mixed with that strange hospital odor). One could possibly even think of Inoperable as a creepy 3rd person video game where you are playing the part of Amy (Danielle Harris) as she navigates the halls of the hospital, looking for the pieces of a puzzle in order to effect an escape. We use some pretty cool camera angles, shots, and we keep the camera moving a good bit. We use plenty of oners / long-takes, which are really fun to watch.

DC: How did the film come about?
CC: Jeff Miller, whom I met on Clowntown (where I was a producer and acted in it), asked me if I was interested in creating a horror movie. Personally, horror movies slightly creep me out, and since I’m a visual person, the images get stuck inside of my head for a good while. Anyway, I had never even considered writing a horror story, until Jeff asked me to give it a try. I love writing and have written a few novel-length stories, one of which is already out there on Amazon, iBooks, etc., and so I was up to the challenge. I first thought about what was personally creepy to me, and my thoughts took me back to a while ago when I was admitted into an emergency room at a hospital for a bout of food poisoning, while a hurricane lurked closer toward the area in which the hospital was located. While by myself in this room inside the emergency room, I could hear activity outside of my room, and I let my mind wander. I thought about how freaky it would be if, during an approaching hurricane, a serial killer was on the loose or something, while the power went out and there was no way for the police or help to come and catch the killer. I felt helpless there, and very exposed to a potential threat, which is not a fun feeling, especially with a brewing hurricane. This was the premise behind the story, and I wanted Amy (Danielle Harris) to experience horrors as a hospital and its staff became slightly possessed and began performing demented acts while a hurricane kept everyone inside and help far from being able to effectuate any sort of rescue.

Jeff and I then played with it in script form, tweaked and re-tweaked until we were happy.

DC: How did the casting of beloved scream queen Danielle Harris come about?
CC: I felt that the part of Amy should be played by someone a little older and more mature than maybe the more typical rolls would call for. Inoperable is a thinking film, and its lead needed to be someone with the range and ability to “learn” inside of her environment, and it be believable, growing with each “reset” back into the hospital. I wanted the viewers to feel like they were learning along with Amy and I did not want the audience to be ahead of the lead(s), especially Amy.

Jeff had his finger more on the pulse of the right people for casting. We had some names, some bigger, and some smaller, which we were interested in, but when Jeff mentioned Danielle, we thought more and more about it, realizing that she would be perfect. And perfect she was!

DC: The film was completely shot in Dade City here in Florida. What was it like producing a movie in Florida?
CC: Producing a film in Florida is amazing. For starters, I live here in Florida, and I love filming here. Inoperable is my second longer film to be shot here, the first being The Accident (available on Amazon, iTunes, GooglePlay) which we shot in the greater Tampa Bay area.

Florida has a special feel, unique, and even outside of Miami, has wonderful locations. I really support filming in Florida, and although not always practical, I’ll even make some sacrifices to do it. However, with Inoperable, our location was incredible. We looked far and wide for a hospital or at least a location which could play for a hospital, and through a series of people connecting me with other people, I was able to locate this “hospital” in Dade City, FL. The location was owned by the Pasco County Government and they were very supportive with helping us with our location needs. When you see the film, keep in mind, that we had to bring all the props, hospital equipment, monitors, computers, etc., into the location. Bobby Marinelli, the production designer, did an absolutely wonderful job.

Although incentives in Florida are not in the same league as some other states, I still love shooting here, using some local cast and crew, and giving the film a look you don’t often see.

DC: What were some of the films that inspired Inoperable?
CC: I can’t really think of any films that inspired Inoperable. I like to approach a story with a clean mind and with as little influence as possible. However, I can tell you, there are some movies which generally hit home with me as being especially interesting from a quasi-horror genre type of film. I would say that if I were pressed to think about, in retrospect, which films Inoperable may feel like I might say that the following were deep-seated in my conscience as being more relevant as a whole when it comes to what gets my thoughts churning:
ALIEN, SILENT HILL, SHUTTER ISLAND, JAWS, EDGE OF TOMORROW and TWILIGHT ZONE.

DC: How long have you been a fan of horror films?
CC: Although not a historic fan of horror films, I’ve grown to like them over the recent years. I’m more a fan of Science Fiction but until I’m getting much larger budgets, horror films are deployable and fun to tell a story on a lower budget. However, I really like horror films that make you think, ones that aren’t just about gore and frights, and I think that horror films in the last 15 years, or so, have really become great stories worth telling.

DC: What was the film that spawned your love of the genre?
CC: I really liked The Blair Witch Project, Jaws, 28 Days Later, The Others, Silent Hill, Alien, World War Z, I am Legend, but I also like the more eerie films too like The Village, and series like The OA, Stanger Things, The Walking Dead, and, of course, Twilight Zone.

DC: What’s next?
CC: Well, I am a producer on another horror film which will be shot in west central Florida early next year. Stay tuned…

***

Thanks for chatting with us, Chris!

Inoperable is directed by Christopher Lawrence Chapman from a screenplay he co-wrote with Jeff Miller. The film stars Danielle Harris, Katie Keene, and Isabella Sofia Menna.

Robert Kurtzman’s Creature Corps handled the film’s makeup effects, with David Henson Greathouse (Syfy’s “FaceOff”) supervising, and he, Barry Aslinger, and Beki Ingram handling the bulk of the effects. Philip Jessen is unit production manager, Ashley Eberbach is first assistant director, and Bobby Marinelli is production designer.

Inoperable hits select theaters December 1st.

Synopsis:
A young woman wakes up in a seemingly evacuated hospital with a hurricane approaching. She realizes the storm has awakened malevolent forces, trapping her in a time loop. She must escape the hospital before the storm passes or she will be trapped in its halls forever.

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