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Monday, March 15, 2010

Interview With Chad Rullman Of Thrall

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1. How did you come up with Thrall?

...My motivation for creating this film project comes from my disappointment in what I was seeing as a movie viewer. I have been noticing more and more that American horror films just aren't scary anymore and many of them seem cheap or passionless. There are plenty of gore and slasher movies. Campy horror is abundant, perhaps overwhelmingly so. I've liked the first installments of Saw and Hostel, but with all the sequels and over-saturation, they're stale and formulaic.

On top of that, I don't much like CGI or digital cinematography, two things that are way overused these days. So I'm setting out to make a really creepy film, shot with film cameras using practical FX and makeup. There is no reason why low-budget has to be low-quality. As far as the story goes, it is a brief glimpse into the world I'm developing into a feature film. It will showcase the mood, setting and style of the feature, plus introduce an important character to the full story. The short will be somewhat surreal, very dark and creepy... but the feature film to follow will be utterly terrifying, and violent.

2. What is your goal for the film?

...My goal with Thrall, is to bring a new vision to the horror genre. Sure there will be some classic elements, but I will present them with a fresh look and through an original story. The short film will be under ten minutes in run time. We'll enter it into some festivals, but the real purpose of the short will be to catch the attention of investors who can back the feature film. Movie trends come in big waves. I feel we're long overdue for a shift in horror films and I am going to do my damnedest to make Thrall a spearhead project.

3. What is your budget and how far are you from that amount?

...I need to raise $6,000 for the short. I would like to pull in closer to $8,000 so I could better pay my cast & crew, but we can make an awesome little film for $6k. Right now we're closing in on $2,000 and hoping to shoot on May 1st & 2nd. This is my first time delving into "crowdfunding" or "fan-funding" and the process has been both motivating and humbling. We have been lucky to have a steady flow of people joining our Thrall Crew and they get some cool perks in exchange for helping us. If this film really takes off, I love the thought of our early supporters' names being attached in the credits. I can't do this without our Thrall Crew and I am happy to include them as part of the team.

When real people and real horror fans give you out-of-pocket money for something you're creating, it makes you step up your game and want to deliver. I started this project because I hated the horror movies that were out there and it's been awesome to encounter people who feel the same way. Many of our supporters are fans of horror movies, hungry for something fresh. I don't think they'll be disappointed with the short or the feature for Thrall.

For anyone interested in joining our Thrall Crew, check out

4. What has it been like to work with your cast and crew? Any good stories?

...We're still pulling the cast/crew together, and it will be a healthy mix of people who've worked with me for years and people who I'll be working with for the first time. We have some great talent joining our team: Andre Freitas of AFX Studios (Zombieland, Vampire Diaries, Kalifornia) will be in charge of our makeup FX; heavy metal legends, Neurosis, are giving me full access to their dark, atmospheric Tribes of Neurot soundscapes for the score. I'll be working with the same set designer, costume designer, and core crew who work with me on my music videos... We'll be posting production stories at I'm very excited about the crew we're pulling together. Great energy and drive.

5. What other film making experience do you have?

...I spent a couple years in film school, then a series of professional workshops, then hustling and busting-ass crewing on whatever shoots I could find. I directed my first short film in 2000, and that led me to direct several music videos for groups like Mastodon, Nile, Neurosis and The Agony Scene. I always produced my music videos in a very cinematic style, anyone who's seen my work will have a solid idea of what to expect with the look of Thrall.

6. What film makers inspired you and why?

...Probably my strongest influences are Stanly Kubrick and David Lynch. I am a very visual director, and those two filmmakers always focus heavily on the visual storytelling. I am also highly driven by the works of Martin Scorsese, The Coen Brothers and Francis Ford Coppola.

Taxi Driver, Apocalypse Now, 2001, Blue Velvet and No Country For Old Men forever rotate in my all-time top 5 films list... though Taxi Driver never really falls out of the #1 slot.

I do also admire directors like Tarantino and Paul Thomas Anderson who are modern directors making films in a similar manner. All these filmmakers are extremely passionate and put quality at the forefront. I don't think I could ever produce to the level of these greats, but I feel like I am also very passionate about my work and strive to one day be that type of filmmaker.

7. What are your favorite horror movies?

...Alien, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Exorcist, Carpenter's The Thing, Rosemary's Baby, The Shining, Seven, Night of the Living Dead... I Love the first Hellraiser and Nightmare on Elm St., but they've been a bit diluted by the relentless assault of unwatchable sequels. I realize these are all older films, the modern horror films I love are European; Let the Right One In, Martyrs, and 28 Days Later.

I think a big part of the reason I, and many others, have been drawn to the European horror films, is they are made like the classics mentioned above. CGI, goofy writing, and copy-cat storytelling have been corrosive and damaging to all films, but especially horror. I cringe when I think about the coming prequel to The Thing. It is almost a guarantee that it will be ruined by CGI.

8. What is your next project?

...If all goes as planned, we'll jump right into the full-length version of Thrall. After that, I have another feature screenplay, Infectious World, ready to go. Its a bit of a hybrid between a Tarantino style action movie and a zombie apocalypse story. I'm really happy with the script and can't wait to get some traction on that one. I'm sure there'll be another music video or two in there somewhere.
We would like to thank Chad for taking the time to answer our questions. Please check out his page and support the film.

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