With Paul Hyett’s revenge thriller The Seasoning House set for its Los Angeles premiere Saturday, October 12, at 5:00pm at Screamfest, read on for our chat with the filmmaker, and have a look at the trailer and some stills!
Co-written (with Conal Palmer) and directed by Hyett, the film was produced by Michael Riley and Sean Wheelan and stars Rosie Day, Sean Pertwee (Dog Soldiers), Kevin Howarth, Anna Walton and Jemma Powell. The Seasoning House revolves around the character of Angel (Day), an orphaned deaf mute enslaved into prostitution for the military, though her need for brutal revenge cannot be sated.
Speaking with Hyett (who has previously worked extensively as a special effects designer on such films as The Descent, Doomsday, etc.), he stated of his inspiration for The Seasoning House, “I thought that human trafficking was interesting subject matter to tackle, for the fact that it goes on now, all over the world, and I thought [also] that setting the story in a murky rape house in order explore the seedy characters that work there, and the relationships with the girls that are forced to work there, could be interesting, thought-provoking and challenging. Given my background as a prosthetics designer, some people expected me to do a debut with lots of prosthetics and creatures. For me, the human monsters that live in the real world can be just as terrifying, if not more.”
We queried Hyett on whether he feels his film falls into the sub-genre of “rape revenge” cinema (inhabited by the likes of I Spit on Your Grave, Baise Moi, etc.), to which he replied, “I never really saw The Seasoning House as a pure revenge for rape film. I suppose it does have some themes, but without giving away what happens, it’s more about the consequences of living in that world for the characters who are trapped there because of war. I think The Seasoning House shows us a glimpse of what it can be like to live in such a horrible place, and that these places actually exist.”
“What I liked about it,” Hyett continued of the material, “is the relationships of those people: Angel, our deaf mute heroine struggling to survive, and her relationship with Viktor, the seedy, slimy owner of the rape house, he himself a layered character, and also the strength of the girls that try to survive in that place. I would see it as a more survival-thriller with a revenge tone, rather then an all-out revenge for rape. As for my feelings on the revenge for rape genre? It personally isn’t my favorite genre, to be honest.”
Given the “true to life” subject matter, we question Hyett regarding any intended subtext or commentary.
“I wanted to show a glimpse into that world,” he stated. “A lot of people, myself included, before I was shown a lot of research, have no idea on what sort of scale this happens and what these girls go through. A lot of people have asked how accurate this film is, and I tell them these places exist, and they are lot more nasty and brutal. We couldn’t show the worst sort of the atrocities which go on because the film would be unwatchable, but it does seem to have an effect on people and makes them think and talk about the subject, and of how the world sits by and lets this sex slavery go on. And that’s what I wanted to do, to create a film that people talk about, whether they like the film or not.”
As for what aspects of principal photography he found the most challenging, “It was shooting so many stunt sequences, prosthetics, car scenes, wire stunts, VFX stuff and a full-on war scene involving tanks and an entire village being torn apart, as well as real emotional drama, all in such a short amount of time,” he stated.
Regarding the Screamfest selection of The Seasoning House, Hyett concluded, “I am so pleased to be having the LA premiere at Screamfest! It’s an absolute pleasure to be introducing it, and what an amazing line-up! I’m so happy to be part of it!”
For more on Screamfest, which runs October 8th to the 17th at the Laemmle NoHo 7 (5240 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601), visit Screamfest’s website, “like” Screamfest on Facebook, and follow Screamfest on Twitter.
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