Andy Davis and Scott Morabito, the team otherwise known as Emptyhouse Film, have been entertaining festival audiences with oddities such as Mechanazoid and “The Pumpkin Man.” Now, Davis and Morabito plan on scaring the Schlitz out of you with their new shorts “The Dark” and “Beneath the Frostline.”
Director Andy Davis took some time with us to discuss his inspirations and the horrors of Emptyhouse.
What sparked the decision to start Emptyhouse Film?
Scott and I were talking while editing “The Pumpkin Man,” trying to come up with a new name for our company. We had just gone through 9/11, and we didn’t think that Zero Doomsday Productions should be our name anymore since it almost associated us with terrorism. So we were at a little cafe in Boston, and Emptyhouse Film was the best of the names we were throwing back and forth.
How do you feel about the current state of horror movies?
I would have to say that horror has crossed a lot of boundaries as of late. We still have the typical “Scream” structured films with flat characters you don’t even want to remotely care about, but then we have films like Donnie Darko, or Requiem for a Dream, which remind me of the films of the 70s like “Taxi Driver.” Myself, I like a nice mind screw. I was wishing that The Ring would have taken me to a new place and it was a beautiful film, but it just didn’t really cross any lines for me, I was hoping though. 28 Days Later is probably my favorite new horror film.
Which are you favorite horror movies?
Horror movies…Texas Chainsaw Massacre has always been there, love the cinematography, and the settings. “The Crazies” has always been there, “The Changeling,” Night of the Living Dead, Kubrick’s “The Shining” is probably my favorite horror film. Some other films I enjoy, “The Frighteners,” “Straw Dogs,” “Taxi Driver,” Deliverance,” “The Legend of Boggy Creek,” Fight Club, Signs (in the theatre…on dvd it kinda blew), “The Elephant Man,” “Freaks”…man, I could seriously go on and on. I like all kinds of movies. My wife runs a video store so we see EVERYTHING.
Are there any new filmmakers that impress you?
Holy shit, yeah. All these actors making films, some nice stuff. I really appreciate any film being made, knowing how hard it is to get them made period. I’ve also met a bunch of great filmmakers through Emptyhouse, there’s quite an underworld of independent film, even in Maine…I’m looking forward to seeing Kyle and Efram’s film for Project Greenlight, they’ve had some hard times.
Is Maine the ideal place to shoot a horror film?
For me, yes. The people, the places, the woods, the pumpkin patches, the rivers, oceans, cities, small towns, everything is like under an hour away from home base, and since films rarely are shot here, most people will jump at the chance to help. I live in a very small backwoods town, the kinda place where everyone knows everything about everyone, yet, they strangely keep to themselves…there are a lot of dark secrets and stories out here. A lot of characters.
What was the inspiration behind “The Dark”?
“The Dark” was my way of getting back into filming after two years off. I basically created an homage to all of my favorite horror films from when I was a kid. The films that got me interested. When I watch the film, I don’t feel as if it is my film, because I can look and know what each scene represents for me.
Any chance of turning “The Dark” into a feature?
I think it would make a great “Scream-esque” feature, and we did have a jump on the resurgence of “backwoods horror”, but my mind is in different places right now. After working a year on “The Dark,” I’m in no rush to revisit.
Get the rest of the interview in part two of ANDY DAVIS AFTER DARK>>>