Darryl Shaw and Sanjay S. Rajput teamed up to interview Eduardo Sanchez, director of The Blair Witch Project and Lovely Molly, which premieres Wednesday, September 14 at Midnight Madness!
1) With The Blair Witch Project's mainstream success you brought the found footage style of filmmaking to a new generation of filmmakers--with great successors in Paranormal Activity, Troll Hunter, REC and Home Movie--how was your transition into the more traditional filmmaking style, and do you find that you are given more flexibility because of your proven ability to innovate in the medium?
I think people were surprised that I could just make a normal film. I remember studio people asking Dan Myrick, my partner in crime on BW, and me if we knew what a real script looked like! I honestly think it gave me less flexibility. People were wondering what was going to come out of us as my second film. When it wasn't the game-changer that BW ended up being, I think there was definitely a certain amount of disappointment.
BW was born out of necessity. Dan and I needed to convince people that what they were watching was real so the style just evolved from that basic directive. We were pretty happy when films using that technique started breaking through. I'm a big fan of most of them.
Yeah, I feel strongly about that one!
2) What makes Lovely Molly stand out from previous haunted house or possession films?
I think the unique thing about Lovely Molly is how it rides the line between the supernatural and the psychological journey that Molly takes. My plan was to do an exorcist film without the exorcist, without that clear diagnosis. What the hell happens to the people around the person when they start acting crazy? When they can't see the shit that the afflicted person sees or hears? That to me is the creepiest part of Lovely Molly.
3) What draws you to the supernatural? Did you have any paranormal experiences you'd be comfortable in sharing?
Never had any kind of paranormal experiences, besides waking up from a horrible nightmare and thinking Satan was in my room. But that was just the fear taking me over. I think. I'm attracted to it because it allows us filmmakers and writers to explore really dark human issues and package them in a more palatable form--a horror movie.
4) What scares you?
EVERYTHING. I'm a real chicken shit. My mother was really protective of me and used the age-old technique of the boogey man (but the Cuban version) to sometimes scare me into submission. Sounds a lot worse than it was (she was a damn good mom), but she definitely cultivated this idea of something being out there, beyond my window, behind the trees--in the darkness. So I scare myself even in my own house. Always think that something's going to pop out at me or look through a window.
Creeping myself out now.
5) You shot this film in Maryland, any chance you'll come back and for the Zombie Apocalypse 5k race on October 22 (runforyourlives.com)?
I'm in horrible shape, but I'd love to get in shape and be there next year! Could happen.
6) Half of your films have been shot in Maryland, is it really that scary over there?
There is a ton of history here. I'm right in the middle of a lot of Civil War battlefields so there's a massive amount of violent death that occurred all around me. I guess I tap into that sometimes because my best ideas come to me while driving down the isolated country roads around my home. I pop in my ipod (SCARY playlist) and let my mind wander.
The house where we shot Lovely Molly is a prime example of the kind of location gem that can be found in this area. Two hundred years old, in the middle of nowhere on over 200 acres, the house seeped a certain creepiness that I think found itself onto the film. At least it affected me as the director. A lot of crew and even Gretchen (Molly) stayed there alone at night.
LOVELY MOLLY screening times:
Wed., Sept. 14th, 11:59PM, RYERSON
Thurs., Sept. 15th, 5:15PM, AMC 2
Sat., Sept. 17th, 4:00PM, SCOTIABANK THEATRE 4