Filmmaker out of Melbourne Glenn Triggs has just produced his first feature, a horror comedy called CINEMAPHOBIA.
A no-budget wonder, CINEMAPHOBIA is a slasher flick set in a cinema during a horror fest that's haunted by a hooded killer with a mirror for a face. CINEMAPHOBIA had a premiere at the cinema it was largely made in at the end of last year.
26 year old Triggs, who is looking to securing some festival play for CINEMAPHOBIA along with some local distribution, submitted himself to all the hard questions…
Michael Helms: How did CINEMAPHOBIA come about?
Glenn Triggs: Well, I've been making films for many years and had the idea that I should make a bigger sort of film, a feature. I'd only been making shorts. I was working at a call centre at the time and I'd been working on the script in between phone calls. CINEMAPHOBIA happened because it could be shot indoors and if you could find a cinema then that's your set. I started with that and the ideas just kept coming. I developed it over 8 or 9 months.
MH: Where did you get your cast?
GT: Got actors through the internet. I'd met a lot of actors through previous films, so just put out casting calls on the internet for an unpaid job and probably auditioned about 100 people. Different actors were harder to find but eventually we found them. The internet was the biggest thing for that.
MH: Your co-producer also plays Mirrorface.
GT: Adrian Straton is a good friend of mine and he worked on the last film, a short film set in the '60s. He loves horror films and once he knew this was a horror film he was really keen to do it. He did all the make-up effects, all the blood and all that sort of stuff. It's mainly a lot of camera tricks because we wanted to get away from CGI. We didn't really have the people to do that anyway. He played Mirrorface as well. He wears a mirror and he couldn't actually see out of the mirror.
MH: What went into the development of Mirrorface?
GT: I love killers. I love movies like HALLOWEEN and I thought, what was the last thing that no one's done yet, something that no one had thought of. Like, we thought of animal heads and all that sort of stuff and then I thought ' what about a round mirror?' If you were getting killed you'd actually see yourself dying in the reflection. So I'd stick with that. That could work. Greg Hunt and Adrian put together the cloak and it worked out fine. The mirror itself only cost $3 or something like that and we got the frame from one of the actors.
MH: What's your favourite gore gag in CINEMAPHOBIA?
GT: I'd never seen that in a film before, where someone had their head cut off and they're still urinating while the head falls down. That was the joke, I guess. We took weeks and months on that, working out how to shoot it and never actually got the idea of how we could pull it off. And then it got to the night and I was going through the script and thought that we need a shot where you see the head and his feet at the same time. A simple effect where you shoot the background of the urinal and then his head could be lying down and then we could move the rest of his body so it looks like chucking his head to the ground. We did that on the night, hoping it would work and luckily, it all came together.
MH: What's the movie playing that all the horror film fest attendees are watching?
GT: Originally we actually wanted about 3 different movies that they'd be watching on the screen, to go with it, but we only had the time to do one because it would take much longer than we thought. I was talking to Adrian and he said he had the scuba costume and I thought SCUBA DIVE and tried to make a play on words, take the V out of dive to become DIE. It was as simple as that. We got one of the actors who had originally auditioned for the film and we just went down to the Dandenong Creek and ran around for about 2 hours, shooting B-grade horror movie gags and cut them together, whatever worked the best. We had the idea that we could get an actual film but then thought it would be more fun if it was totally original. There is actually a lot more footage to that, that I'm going to put on a DVD eventually; make a very short film of SCUBA DIVER. May do that, would be a laugh.
MH: How did you get the cinema location?
GT: That was probably the hardest thing to do. That was the most difficult part of the filming. I wrote the script before we found the cinema. That was probably the biggest mistake. I'd started auditioning people before actually knowing the location. We came very close to getting one cinema that I really wanted to film at—I had everything in my head—but they wanted to charge so forget that one. I went to a family cinema one night. Then sent a letter, copy of the script, my last film... got a call the next day to say it would be fine. So we were really lucky to get that one.
MH: There's a poster for BLOOD HOUSE 4 in CINEMAPHOBIA.
GT: Yes, all the posters in the background are fake. Adrian did them on Photoshop and got them printed up. Because there's always a worry about copyright issues we decided to make it all original. Yes, the posters kind of fill it up and give it a bit more colour in the background.
MH: What was the biggest challenge?
GT: That was probably the organization, to sit down and work out what days we were going to shoot people, because we only had 2 days a week, no, 2 nights a week, at the cinema, Sunday night and Monday night. No one who worked on the film was paid, no one made any money from it. So, to try and get 8 or 9 actors, who all had full time jobs as well, to come down on a Sunday or Monday night till 2 or 3 in the morning sometimes, that was really hard to do, really hard to organise. I did the organization for it as well. We found a way to do it with phone calls and e-mails and, yeah, it all worked out.
MH: What have you made in past?
GT: I've made things for about 50 minutes or so and I'm not quite sure if some are features or not. Yeah, there have been a lot of films. I've been making them since I was in High School. That's when I started and it's slowly escalated and the next thing is always better than the last thing. You keep moving forward. I just love it. It's good fun.
MH: Initial motivation to pick up a camera?
GT: I was always into making like David Copperfield illusions, circus and magic stuff etc when I was really young. It got to the point where I liked entertaining people with those sorts of illusions and I realised you can do almost the same effect with film and have more emotional impact on people. At the same time you can perfect it with film. With a magic trick you are in front of someone and if you stuff it up, you stuff it up, but with a film you can take your time to perfect it and then show it to people. So just a matter of progression I guess. A friend and I got a camera and just started making films and I haven't stopped. I just wasn't to keep going because I guess I never feel I've got everything right. I always think I can do better next time. I just want to keep going, making bigger films and better films, different genres, which I love. I don't know exactly what direction. I've got a few scripts on the go at the moment. I'm not sure which one will get made next but, yeah, just keep pushing it.
MH: Where does the title CINEMAPHOBIA come from?
GT: It just came. I don't know how I thought of it. I just thought CINEMA PHOBIA It almost sounded like a real word. I've actually come to realise since then that there's another CINEMAPHOBIA a short film.
MH: There's no denying CINEMAPHOBIA sounds great?
GT: I'm a huge fan of film soundtracks. I composed all the music for the film myself but I also wanted that real band sound in the background. Again, I used the internet, which is such a powerful tool. I just put out calls for bands and I got calls from bands from all over the world, the States, Scotland. People sent me heaps of demo tapes, probably about 100 or so and I just chose 10 or 11 for our film. I just went on what suited our film and the quality of the sound as well. So we were very lucky that there are a lot of people out there who want to get their stuff out. It took a long time to do because I composed some too and, with the programme I was using, I could never watch the film and compose at the same time. I could lay it over the top of the film to see if it worked and then edit it together. I had to make changes in the score many times, going back and forth.
MH: What do think about CINEMAPHOBIA now?
GT: I think it's a real fun sort of horror film. It doesn't take itself too seriously but it has a bit of heart in it. It's got some memorable moments, I guess. It's a real sort of fun, gory comedy, something that you won't forget too easily. People will walk away feeling a bit different from when they walked in, in a good way, not a bad way.
MH: Do plan to make more horror films?
GT: Yeah. I've actually got 3 scripts at the moment and the one that seems to be getting finished quicker is this other horror film. It will be a feature but a very quick kind of handicam movie. That will more than likely be the next one. And then I've got one about time travel and a science fiction film. That's a few years off yet I think, as it's a bit more of a budget. I have ideas all the time. It's just getting scripts finished really.
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