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Exclusive Q&A with Gallows Hill Writer Richard D’Ovidio

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We recently had the opportunity to catch up with the writer behind the upcoming supernatural thriller Gallows Hill, Richard D’Ovidio, who has made a name for himself as a successful screenwriter on several projects over the last few years including Thir13en Ghosts, Exit Wounds and Brad Anderson’s next project, The Hive.

During our interview with D’Ovidio, we heard more about how his love for 70’s horror films inspired his latest supernaturally-infused thriller, his experiences collaborating with director Victor Garcia and the cast of Gallows Hill, and more.

Read on for our exclusive Q&A with D’Ovidio, and look for more on Gallows Hill in the near future! In the meantime be sure to “like” Gallows Hill on Facebook.

Exclusive Q&A with Gallows Hill Writer Richard D'Ovidio

Dread Central: Can you start off by discussing what inspired the story behind Gallows Hill?

Richard D’Ovidio: I have always been a big fan of contained thrillers, and I’ve always wanted to write one. Over the last ten years I found myself watching a lot of foreign horror films because they always seemed more frightening and more believable to me than the ones we were making here in the States. I think it’s because the world and the settings were unfamiliar to me. This is what I wanted to accomplish with Gallows Hill.

I also wanted to set the story in another country where the language barrier played a part in upping the tension. We tried hard to keep raising the stakes by putting the English-speaking characters into situations where they couldn’t communicate with the Spanish-speaking characters and vice versa. I wanted the audience to feel that if the characters could only understand each other, they could work together to figure out a solution. That frustration was a part of the engine of the story.

Dread Central: Did you work with Victor once he came on board the project at all? How about the actors?

Richard D’Ovidio: Yes, I worked closely with Victor on revising the story. We’re both big fans of 70’s horror films, and we wanted this to feel as realistic as possible. Some of the movies we kept referencing were psychological thrillers like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Omen, and The Shining. I also worked closely with the actors once they came on board. It was a very interesting situation where Victor, the actors, and I were all living together in a small inn in a rural area of Bogota, and we’d get together at night after work and discuss the next day’s scenes and just keep honing the script and the characters. It was a wonderfully collaborative process and a lot of fun, too.

Related Story: Exclusive Q&A with Filmmaker Victor Garcia on Upcoming Supernatural Tale Gallows Hill

Dread Central: So you were on set during the entire shoot then?

Richard D’Ovidio: I was, and I had a great time in Colombia working with the actors and the crew down there. The house in the movie fits perfectly with the script, and it also had a history of its own. The producer, David Higgins, and I were standing in the dark living room one night talking about the house and what kind of scary stories it could tell, when an old framed photo of the house fell off the shelf beside us and crashed to the floor. There was no wind, no one around, and we just looked at each other and laughed. But it made us jump!

Exclusive Q&A with Gallows Hill Writer Richard D'Ovidio

Dread Central: Because you’ve worked on numerous successful modern horror scripts, I was curious if you could talk about your genre sensibilities- what kind of stories interest you?

Richard D’Ovidio: For me, the more grounded a movie is, the more I lose myself in it. I think the reason I’m a fan of 70’s movies, especially horror, is because the stories were so believable. Even if the movie was about the devil possessing a little girl, it always seemed realistic by showing the mother exhausting every possible medical and scientific reason behind her behavior before they finally settle on possession. Or a movie where alien pods are cloning people on earth. They just captured a realism in those films that scared the crap out of me.

Lately, I really enjoy the Paranormal Activity movies and the way they can keep you on the edge of your seat with very little going on. They can send a chill up your spine with just a door closing in the background. I love that.

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SOMA Sailing to Xbox One on December 1

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SOMA (review) will be heading to Xbox One on December 1st with the addition of a new safe mode, and we have all the details you need right here!

SOMA Coming to Xbox One with New “Safe Mode”
There’s no need to be concerned. You are always safe…

Isolated, submerged in the ocean’s darkness, chaos has overtaken the halls of PATHOS-II, and the boundaries of humanity strained beyond repair. From Frictional Games, creators of the critically acclaimed Amnesia series, SOMA is coming to Xbox One on December 1st with the addition of Safe Mode.

Safe Mode introduces an optional new way to play SOMA in the Xbox One and PC releases. Protected from the hostile creatures below, let yourself sink into the mystery and atmosphere of PATHOS-II as you uncover the truth and determine the fate of the station.

SOMA is coming to Xbox One on December 1st and is available to pre-order now. Safe Mode will launch simultaneously as a free update for PC and will be available for PS4 at a later date.

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Thelma Is Fantastic and Now You Can Watch the Opening Scene

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One of this year’s most beautiful and subdued horror films is Joachim Trier’s Thelma (review), which opens in Los Angeles tonight. To give you a bit of what the film is like, The Orchard have released the opening scene, which shows a man and his daughter hunting in the bleak Norwegian winter. When they come across a young deer, the true intentions of this trip become apparent…

Having seen Thelma, I can tell you that it’s truly something special. It’s a slow burn, to be certain, but it plays out gorgeously, resulting in a film that has yet to leave my mind.

Related Story: Exclusive Interview with Thelma’s Joachim Trier

Locations and tickets for Thelma can be found here.

Synopsis:
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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Award-Winning The Child Remains Playing Tomorrow at the Blood in the Snow Festival

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The award-winning supernatural thriller The Child Remains, which has been on the festival circuit, is returning to Canada to play tomorrow night at the Blood in the Snow Film Festival in Toronto. Tickets for the screening, which is at 9:30pm, can be found at the festival’s website.

The film has won awards in festivals across Canada as well as Best Foreign Feature at the Unrestricted View Horror Film Festival in London, UK.

Described as The Shining meets Rosemary’s Baby meets The Orphanage, the film stars Suzanne Clément, Allan Hawco, Shelley Thompson, and Geza Kovacs. Directed and written by Michael Melski, who co-produced the film alongside Craig Cameron and David Miller, The Child Remains is aiming for a Canadian theatrical release in Spring 2018 and a US theatrical release in October 2018.

Synopsis:
An expectant couple’s intimate weekend turns to terror when they discover their secluded country inn is a haunted maternity home where unwanted infants and young mothers were murdered. Inspired by the true story of the infamous ‘Butterbox Babies’ and their macabre chapter in Canadian history, The Child Remains is a twisting supernatural thriller that emphasizes story and suspense over shock and gore.

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