Exclusive Interview: Mitchell Altieri and Phil Flores Discuss Holy Ghost People, Raised by Wolves and More - Dread Central
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Exclusive Interview: Mitchell Altieri and Phil Flores Discuss Holy Ghost People, Raised by Wolves and More

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Exclusive Interview: Mitchell Altieri and Phil Flores Discuss Holy Ghost People, Raised by Wolves and MoreJust a few weeks ago, Mitchell Altieri’s (one half of The Butcher Brothers) Holy Ghost People (review) celebrated its world premiere at the 2013 SXSW Film Festival.

Starring Emma Greenwell, Joe Egender, Brendan McCarthy, Cameron Richardson and Don Harvey, Holy Ghost People follows a young girl named Charlotte (Greenwell) who enlists the help of an ex-Marine (McCarthy) in locating her missing sister, who last contacted her while living on a religious compound tucked away in the Appalachian Mountains.

Holy Ghost People was co-written by Altieri, Phil Flores (the other half of The Butcher Brothers), Egender and Kevin Artigue. Dread Central recently chatted with both Altieri and Flores about their latest collaboration and their experiences working with their cast in the mountains of Tennessee. The duo also discussed their next feature project, Raised by Wolves, which is currently being wrapped up in post-production.

Dread Central: How much research did you guys do before writing Holy Ghost People? I enjoyed your approach to balancing out all these characters; often times we see the religious ‘crazies’ being vilified, but I felt like your depiction was very humanized.

Mitchell Altieri: Thank you for saying that; it was very important to me from the beginning that we didn’t demonize the Pentecostal religion or anything like that because that wasn’t the intent of the story. It’s a fictional story. Brother Billy was really the cause of all this, and the followers were victims as well; they’re just lost souls too.

What ended up being fascinating to me, though, was exploring the extremist personalities and what people are willing to do for their faith. It’s kind of amazing just how far people are willing to go and not even think twice. And that goes for both sides of things too- for Charlotte and Wayne, they’re both so broken that it’s easy to see how they could quickly fall into this world the way that they do.

Phil Flores: And for the research that went into the story, all the writers had different aspects they’d handle; Kevin Artigue really dug in there deep when it came to the research though. Kevin and Joe (Egender) had found this book called Salvation on Sand Mountain about this phenomenon, and there’s of course the documentary called Holy Ghost People as well. So we used a lot of those resources and the fact that we all come from a religious background so we all have our own experiences that we poured into this story. None of it was as extreme as what you see in the film of course- no whipping, no snakehandling.

Dread Central: Emma, who played Charlotte, was really great in the film, and I thought that her flaws made her an interesting protagonist for this world. Can you talk about building that dynamic within the character and more about Emma’s involvement on Holy Ghost People?

Mitchell Altieri: Emma was just great; if you’ve never seen it, she has a great role on “Shameless” which is a blast. And what we always had wanted for the role of Charlotte from the very start was someone like Emma- a scrappy, fighter chick who had a great emotional weight to her. I think this could have been a very different movie if we had gone with a male lead- I really do think that.

And for the most part- when she came in to read, Emma just nailed it; she came into the audition and just killed it in ways I couldn’t even have believed. She’s British and the way she could just shed the accent and slip into the character of Charlotte was incredible. Watching her take on this role and really throw everything she had at it physically and emotionally was something really special; the minute she walked into the room like a total badass, with this Sissy Spacek out of Badlands type of energy, we knew we had our Charlotte.

Dread Central: You evoked a lot of palpable intensity throughout Holy Ghost People– how hard was it keeping up that kind of intensity in a project like this where you have things dialed up, especially in the church scenes which were often emotional and violent?

Mitchell Altieri: It was hard, and you’re absolutely right; the way we chose to shoot everything with our DP Amanda Treyz was specific to the emotion of the scene; Amanda’s just amazing though. I call her my “cinematic wife.” So the idea from the very start was that I wanted you to feel like you were there, like you were in the middle of all this, so we went for the handheld approach where everything is shot at eye-level, almost like it was documentary-style. Amanda even spent a lot of time with a rig on her shoulder walking alongside all of the cast at key moments so that you’d really feel like you were walking right there too and living in this world; that was so important to the feel of the movie.

Dread Central: Where did you find the compound that you guys shot at? It’s hard to believe places like that – almost like they’re untouched by time – still exist in North America.

Mitchell Altieri: Tennessee; that’s where we found our location- Tennessee. There were like four or five states we were looking into shooting in… Virginia, Kentucky, a few other places, and then Tennessee was where we landed at.

Phil Flores: It was between Crossville and Cookeville; we shot at an old girls camp that had been around for something like 120 years. There was this really great couple who had been running it for a long time, and we did everything there – we shot there, we ate there, we slept there – we became the camp. We even had some of the locals come in and become extras in the church scenes, and I think that’s also part of why you really feel like you become immersed in this world; everything just feels authentic to that part of the world, which only adds to the story we’re telling.

Dread Central: One of the reasons I think it’s so easy to become immersed watching Holy Ghost People is because of Joe’s character in the film; Billy’s infectious and charming but also kind of creepy too. How much did you work with Joe to develop that performance, or was that all inherent on his part?

Mitchell Altieri: Joe’s been with us on a few things now from The Violent Kind to The Hamiltons, and he’s always so great. He’s just a monster of a talent and we knew what he could do with a role like Brother Billy. After we worked on The Thompsons, I was looking for my next thing, and I knew whatever it was, I wanted to do it with Joe.

And all that you see onscreen is all Joe, and he really found a way to make this guy likeable so that you could believe that 60 people or so would choose to follow him up that mountain and away from society. He really had to bring it; he could not let his foot off the gas at any time, or the movie would not have worked.

Dread Central: Were you guys ever concerned that some people may get turned off by the subject matter, especially people who are involved in the religious community?

Mitchell Altieri: I think we always knew from the very beginning that Holy Ghost People would be a movie that would polarize viewers, but ultimately, that’s what we wanted because we don’t set out to tell stories that are safe or easily accessible. We want to push buttons sometimes and challenge the way that you think, and those who get too hung up on more of the religious aspects of the story are missing the bigger picture- this movie is about faith as a whole, not just about one specific religious group. We never set out to pick on one group in particular or anything; it’s just about what people will do in order to keep their faith strong, the lengths they’ll go to find proof of something that may or may not be real. And that goes for the other characters too, not just the people at the One Accord church. They’re all looking for proof of something that may or may not be there.

I think that, for us, we just hope the message of the film gets across whether you were brought up religiously, not religious at all or even somewhere in between.

Dread Central: So are you guys spending the next few months supporting Holy Ghost People then, or do you have some other things coming up too?

Phil Flores: No, we have a new movie we just are wrapping up in post right now called Raised by Wolves, which should be out soon. It’s pretty badass; it’s about Native American skateboarders that hear about this old abandoned pool a few hours out from them on a reservation where a massacre happened back in the 70’s. When they get there and start hanging out, they begin to relive the gruesome details of the massacre where you can’t really tell who’s being possessed and who’s killing who, which should be a pretty fun ride.

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Alien: Covenant’s Carmen Ejogo Joins True Detective Season 3

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“From the dusty mesa her looming shadow grows…”

The first season of HBO’s “True Detective” was one of the best seasons ever put on a TV screen. Hands down. The second season was another story altogether. While not a complete waste of time (Colin Farrell owed) the season was basically merely ‘meh’.

But what about “True Detective” season 3?

Well, a few months back it was announced that the third season had been greenlit by HBO, with creator Nic Pizzolatto returning to pen the series and director Jeremy Saulnier (Green Room) taking the helm of the episodes.

Today we have news that Carmen Ejogo – who you may recognize Ejogo from such recent fright flicks as It Comes at Night, Alien: Covenant, and The Purge: Anarchy – will be joining the previously announced Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) for Season 3.

Ejogo will play the female lead, Amelia Reardon, who THR describes as “an Arkansas schoolteacher with a connection to two missing children in 1980.”

Nice Pizzolatto will serve as showrunner and direct alongside Jeremy Saulnier. Executive producers include Pizzolatto, Saulnier, Scott Stephens and season one stars Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey as well as original director Cary Joji Fukunaga. Steve Golin, Bard Dorros and Richard Brown are also credited as exec producers.

Synopsis:

A macabre crime in the heart of the Ozarks and a mystery that deepens over decades and plays out in three separate time periods.

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Danielle Harris Tried to Get Jamie Lloyd into New Halloween Movie

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One of the top films all of us are looking forward to the most here at Dread Central is Blumhouse’s upcoming sequel/reboot thing to John Carpenter’s Halloween.

The new Halloween (2018) film is written by Danny McBride and David Gordon Green and is all set to be directed by Green this year. Recently we learned that original Halloween star Jamie Lee Curtis was going to be returning to the new film.

Not only that, but Curtis’ classic character Laurie Strode would have a daughter… played by Judy Greer. But what about Danielle Harris?

After all, Harris was the star of Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and Halloween 5: The Curse of Michael Myers. Let alone, she had a starring role in both Rob Zombie’s remake and it’s sequel. So how about the new film?

Turns out Harris tried to get her character Jamie Llyod (aka the daughter of Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode) from Halloween 4 and 5 into the new film… but she was turned down by Blumhouse and the new creative team. That sucks.

Harris was pretty bummed about the whole deal and took to Facebook recently to clear the air. You can check out quotes from her video, along with the video itself, below.

After that make sure to hit us up and let us know how much you would have liked to see Harris return to Halloween in the comments below or on social media!

“What I am bummed about is… [Laurie] has a daughter,” Harris says. “I was okay with it when she had a son… but they’re saying it’s the last one and… she has a daughter. And it’s not Jamie. It’s just kind of a bummer, I guess. I think somebody had said, it wouldn’t have hurt the movie to have Jamie reunited with [Laurie]. But that didn’t happen.”

“We did put in a call, thought it’d be kinda cool even just to have a little flashback…” She continues. “They were not interested. So. I tried.”

Blumhouse’s Halloween hits theaters October 19, 2018.

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Posted by Danielle Harris on Monday, November 6, 2017

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Through the Cracks – Trick or Treat (1986) Review

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Starring Marc Price, Tony Fields, Lisa Orgolini, Glen Morgan, Gene Simmons, and Ozzy Osbourne

Directed by Charles Martin Smith


I have been a horror fan for more than half of my life at this point. Meaning I have seen most of the quality horror offerings under the sun. But that said, every once in awhile a classic sneaks past so we wanted to create this “Through the Cracks” review section for such films.

Case in point, I had never seen the Halloween horror flick Trick or Treat until last night. I know, right? How the hell did that happen? But these things do happen and so for everyone that has seen the flick a million times, this will be a review of the movie from a super horror fan that – at the age of 33 – is seeing Trick or Treat for the very first time.

Now let’s get to it.

First off you have to love the movie’s plot. Mixing horror and heavy metal seems like a given, yet preciously few films Frankenstein these two great tastes together.

Like many of you out there, I am a big metal fan as well as a big horror fan. The two seem to go together like chocolate and peanut butter. Or Jason and horny campers.

I dig bands like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and even those hair metal bands (Dokken forever!) and I’m well aware of the legends surrounding playing these records backward.

Off the top of my head, the only other flick that combines the two to this degree is the (relatively) recent horror-comedy Deathgasm. I say more horror-metal flicks! Or should we call it Metal-Horror? Yeah, that’s a much more metal title.

It only makes sense that someone, somewhere would take the idea of “What if Ozzy Osbourne really was evil and came back from the dead (you know, if he had passed away during his heyday) to torment a loner fan?” Great premise for a movie!

And Trick or Treat delivers on the promise of this premise in spades. Sammi Curr is an epic hybrid of the best of the best metal frontmen and his resurrection via speaker is one of the great horror birthing scenes I have seen in all my years.

Add to that the film feels like a lost entry in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. More specifically the film feels like it would fit snugly in between two of my favorite entries in that series, Dream Warriors and The Dream Master.

This movie is 80’s as all f*ck and I loved every minute of it.

And speaking of how this film brought other minor classics to the forefront of my brain, let’s talk about the film’s central villain, Sammi Curr. This guy looks like he could share an epic horror band with the likes of Mary Lou from Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II and the Drill Killer rocker from Slumber Party Massacre Part II.

Picture that band for a moment and tell me they aren’t currently playing the most epic set in Hell as we speak. I say let’s see an Avengers-style series of films based on these minor horror icons sharing the stage and touring the country’s high school proms!

In the end Trick or Treat has more than it’s fair share of issues. Sammi Curr doesn’t enter the film until much too late and is dispatched way too easily. Water? Really? That’s it?

That said, the film is still a blast as director Charles Martin Smith keeps the movie rocking like an 80’s music video with highlights being Sammi’s rock show massacre at the prom and his final assault on our hero teens in the family bathroom.

Rockstar lighting for days.

Even though the film has issues (zero blood, a rushed ending) none of that mattered much to this horror hound as the film was filled to the brim with striking horror/metal imagery and a killer soundtrack via Fastway and composer Christopher Young.

Plus you’ve got to love the cameos by Gene Simmons (boy, his character just dropped right out of the movie, huh?) and Ozzy Osbourne as a mad-as-hell Preacher that isn’t going to take any more of this devil music. P.S. Watch for the post-credits tag.

More than a few of my closest horror buddies have this film placed high on their annual Halloween must-watch lists. And after (finally) viewing the film for myself, I think I just may have to add the film to mine as well. Preferably on VHS.

Trick or Treat is an 80’s horror classic. If you dig films like Popcornand if you put the film off like I did, remedy that tonight and slap a copy in the old VHS/DVD player.

Just don’t play it backward… God knows what could happen.

All said and done, I enjoyed the hell out of my first viewing of Trick or Treat. But what do YOU think of the film? Make sure to hit us up and let us know below or on social media!

Now bring on Trick or Treat 2: The Prom Band from Hell, featuring Sammi Curr, Mary Lou Maloney, and Atanas Ilitch’s Driller Killer from Slumber Party Massacre Part II!

  • Trick or Treat (1986) 3.5
3.5

Summary

Charles Martin Smith’s Trick or Treat is a sure-fire Halloween treat for fans of 80’s horror flicks, as well as fans of heavy metal music.

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User Rating 3.25 (12 votes)
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