The new horror western The Pale Door from director Aaron B. Koontz (Scare Package), features a perfect ensemble cast that includes Devin Druid, Zachary Knighton, Noah Segan, Stan Shaw, Pat Healy, Bill Sage, Melora Walters, and Natasha Bassett. Written by Koontz, Cameron Burns, and Keith Lansdale, The Pale Door follows The Dalton Gang as they attempt to rob a train and then end up in a nightmare when they find themselves in the middle of a coven of witches. The film is filled with exciting fight sequences and bloody practical effects. You can read my full review of The Pale Door here.
Dread Central had the pleasure of chatting with Pat Healy about filming The Pale Door, working with the outstanding cast, and being covered in blood. Read on to find out what we talked about!
The Pale Door will be released by RLJE Films and Shudder in theaters, on demand, and digital on August 21st.
Dread Central: I think you guys have such a great ensemble cast and the way that all of you work together really made the movie work for me. What was it like working with Noah Segan, Stan Shaw, Melora Walters, and everybody in the cast?
Pat Healy: You know, some of the people I knew in the film, some people I am fans of, like Stan Shaw and Bill Sage and some people are new to me, everybody’s different. I think some of us, Bill and I are very much alike in many ways, same with Zach, and everybody is very talented which makes it easier to interact with each other. We had this hotel in a small town in Oklahoma, we got to come together off camera, even before we started shooting, so that was nice. You know, it’s always easier and more fun when you are surrounded by good actors and good people and it’s nice to not to have to be the one to carry the load all the time. There are little moments to shine, scenes together, a nice thing with Bill, I had a nice thing with Zach, it’s really fun to do and with those two, we’ve already connected as people, so there’s a nice feeling to it, you know? It’s nice to be part of an ensemble like it’s nice to be part of a group doing anything.
DC: Yeah, and it really does come through in the movie, it’s great.
PH: We were all together against the elements, small budget, the weather, Oklahoma in the summer is humid as hell, you’re working nights, so you’re all united against time and elements, like you’re against the world.
DC: This is such a unique horror western. Why did you want to be part of this project?
PH: Well I love westerns, they’re my favorite genre and it’s so rare to be able to be in one, they don’t make many anymore, so I’ve been lucky enough to do two movies and I always jump at the chance. One of the things that interests me most about westerns is they are sort of our American nostalgia, the western. Then you have this other mythology, the horror element as you say, and I can’t really think of that being combined that way before, kind of telling stories, mythologies of America, two different ones combined together and what would happen when those worlds collide. That was a really interesting idea to me and I think it was written well, when I read it, it made sense because particularly my character, coming from a place of the brains of the operation, all about logic and writing things out, and suddenly he’s presented with this thing he doesn’t even really believe in and completely throws everything out of control, that’s super interesting to me. The genres combining also worked in a way for the character when the worlds collide.
DC: I enjoyed the story and I really loved the creature effects in The Pale Door. I was wondering what was it like filming some of those bloody sequences, like in the brothel?
PH: It was a bit, it was like just one day, it was a very tight set, we were shooting in this western town. We had to establish that in Oklahoma, in a small town, and one of the houses where the crew lived, was also for the actors and make-up and hair place, so one day you just show up for work and there is half a dozen women in that make-up. You know, it’s hard to negotiate, very difficult for them I’m sure, and they’re also working with these people, talking with them all night and the next day, one night some lovely woman is talking to you as they know you and you’re like, who is this, and you realize it was the witch that was crawling on top of you the night before, you just have no idea what they look like. There’s some technical stuff there, that I’m no stranger to, but we did really shoot it in sequence so by the time I got to the really horrible stuff I was done.
It was like my last night of work, covered in prosthetics and blood and all kinds of stuff. I can’t see, I have no idea what’s going on, I just have to take the director’s word that it’s working. It’s always a challenge. A challenge because you have a set plan for what you want to do as an actor, what you want him to be, where you want the character to go and the challenge is, including what we just discussed, but also weather, shooting at night, all kinds of stuff. It would just start pouring for hours in the middle of the shoot but that’s kind of the story of the movie, there’s a plan and then everything goes out the window, so it kind of works.
DC: We’re all in this pandemic situation, but I’m wondering if you are working on anything new that you can tell me about?
PH: I think I’m going to do a movie next month. I can’t really say too much about it, and everybody has to test negative twice, get tested every day. I’ve talked to some people who’ve gone back to work and it sounds pretty challenging. It’s challenging to make anything to begin with so I’m keeping my fingers crossed it works out and I’m able to do it. It’s a cool little project. I would like to go back to work but I’m interested to see, I mean I hear about these protocols, but I don’t know how it’s possible to get anything done. It already takes twelve hours to get very little, so with all that stuff added I don’t know. I ‘m interested to see how it will all turn out.