HB: First off Steve, awesome film, have to say it’s by far the best horror film I’ve seen this year. I saw all the influence of such films like Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre. with all the films that I’ve seen this year coming out of Hollywood it’s good to see someone that did not have their backing and with a limited budget, producing such great meaningful horror.
SM: Thanks man, thanks. You know it’s funny you mention that. with the film being low budget, We made this film on paper clips and rubber bands. And it’s great to hear and read all the great reviews and for the film to be here, at this level it’s just amazing.
HB: Where did the idea for Malevolence come from, how did you develop the story?
SM: The script from the film came from a hybrid of scripts. I wanted to write a horror script, but had a bank robbery script developed and it was kind of like a chocolate and peanut butter thing. You mix the two, and I kind of combined the two stories and it just grew from there. The story ended up getting layered with the whole child abuse element. I wanted to do a horror film that had more of a meaning than just kids doing drugs, having sex and getting killed. So I just kept on developing the story and then this back story kind of grew into itself and grew into this big script 500 pages long. So I had this huge story that I chopped up into 3 scripts. The first and last script called for a high budget, nothing credit cards could pay for. But the middle story involving the bank robbery and just the house, I figured I could do that cause it just called for one location, and that’s why we shot this part first.
HB: “Malevolence” won best picture at The Long Island Film Expo, and at The New York Horror Film Festival. How did you feel to see your film winning at all these festivals?
SM: Both festival launched this film. Long Island was amazing, because they rarely let horror films in that festival, and so I guess they saw something in our film to let us in, and to win best feature was surreal. You know it’s just so hard to get into some of these festivals, but to win them is great, And I think that’s how it got into the New York Horror Festival was just off the buzz of that, also Fangoria picked up on us, and did an article on the film in the Hellboy issue, they saw the film and loved it.
HB: Now you said the film Is compiled of three scripts are there any plans we could see a prequel and a sequel?
SM: Oh yeah, everything comes down to how well “Malevolence” is received. Anchor Bay is set to do both the sequel and the Prequel together, do them all in one shot. The scripts are written and all ready to go, so if the film does well it will most likely happen.
HB: How does it feel to have your film picked up by Anchor Bay, mainly known for releasing Horror and Cult films on DVD? And to for them to release the film in theaters?
SM: Anchor Bay is in a experimental stages right now, as you mentioned their the number one distributors of horror films on DVD right now. They just got bought out by a big company that’s goal is to try and turn the company into the next Lion Gates. So they are breaking into theatrical distribution right now and picked Malevolence to be their first film, which I thought was the greatest thing ever. So they are waiting on the results from the limited run to see how far of a release they want to give the film. Their also hoping to bring it over seas, and are really hoping it can be their first nation wide release. It’s just really amazing.
HB: Gunnar Hansen was quoted as calling you the next John Carpenter, and after seeing Malevolence I’ll even call you the next John Carpenter myself. How does it feel to be compared to such a horror great?
SM: Thank you! He actually drove six hours down from Maine to meet us at a screening and said he got a copy of the film, I’m not sure how he got it. He came up to me and told me he loved the film, We actually got him on video saying it, and even got up and talked to the crowd and got them all pumped up about the film. He’s a really smart man and it was an honor when he gave us that quote. He’s a really great guy.
HB: How long did it take to complete the film?
SM: Principal Photography was over the course of two years. them like with any low budget film we would run out of money, and then have to raise some more money, put more money on my credit cards. we stated in the fall of 2000 and we had to take winters off because of snow and everything and we finished up around the spring of 2002. It was about 30-35 days of shooting.
HB: You shot most of the film on Long Island, correct?
SM: We shot mostly on Long Island, out in Calvington, Some shots in Baiting Hollow, and Allentown Pennsylvania, and the surrounding area. The Bethlehem Steel Mill out in Bethlehem and around there in a few other small towns.
HB: How long did it take to get the locations?
SM: About a year to get them all. That was mainly why it took so long to shoot the film cause I was doing a lot of the producing myself so we’d shoot in one place, then I’d find the next location and move on to there. We really lucked out in finding all the perfect location for the film. I was really happy when we found the slaughter house, it was actually once a working slaughter house. It still had the meat hooks and blood on the walls, The 1950’s style cars was even left there from when the place shut down. It was amazing to find such a location.
HB: What films influenced you to make the film?
SM: Halloween was an influence in terms of a visual style, Texas Chainsaw Massacre I believe is the biggest influence in the film. Some people have said The Shining because of the way I like to crop my shots. I’d say Stanley Kubrick and Ridley Scott were big influences. Mainly Scott in terms of style of shoots and the way I moved the camera, was very similar to the way he did in Alien. I’d say both of them were directors that inspired me. The opening scene was very much influenced by the first scene of Nightmare on Elm Street, when Freddy is making his glove.
HB: Just some general questions, Where do you see the future of horror going?
SM: It’s hard to tell really, I think with low budgets with Independent horror films, actually helps enhance the feel an look of the film, it helps with the atmosphere of a film, it worked really well with Texas Chainsaw Massacre being shot on 16mm and that 3D documentary feel. So I think if indie filmmakers can be innovative, they can steel horror back from Hollywood. Cause what Hollywood has done is kind of thrown everything into a boiling pot and mixed it up, and I think a lot of the time they lose the point of a horror film. I think it mainly started with Scream where someone would get killed then it would become a joke and someone would wink at the audience. It’s like yeah we know we’re in a horror film, we’re making fun of ourselves. I don’t think horror fans want to be stuck in a film like that it all. They want to be in a horror film that makes them scared, you don’t want to be reminded that it’s a film you want to lose yourself in the film. I think a great example is 28 Days Later. There’s no humor in it at all and that’s what made it work. And it’s scary and it’s not scared to be scary and that’s one of it strong points. So in order to help the future of horror they need to take it back to it’s roots like the 70’s, In the 70’s every filmmaker was trying to one up each other in the scare meter. where now it’s all about T & A and gore, and you don’t need all that stuff to make a good horror film. You need the suspense and you need to grab the audience by the throat and not let them go. The minute you tell a joke it’s al over, I mean death is a serious thing, you don’t joke about death. And the minute you tell a joke your diminishing everything your trying to achieve in a horror film. And then the audience feels safe because it’s all fun. With Malevolence I did not do that at all, because I felt this is a horror movie and I’m not letting you go until the end.
HB: Who would you say is your favorite horror director?
SM: I really don’t have one right now. I’d probably say overall my favorite is Ridley Scott. I also love David Fincher, I love Se7en. I’d love to see David Fincher go all out and make a horror film, I think it would be insane.
HB: Excellent, well thank you for time and what a great movie, you’ll be getting a good write up.
SM: Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it.
I once again like to thank Stevan Mena for his time and inviting me to see Malevolence and giving me the opportunity to sit down one on one with him and discuss his great achievement in producing, writing and directing such a great horror film and talking horror with me. For all you true horror fans out there if Malevolence makes it way into your hometown theater, make sure you get your ass off the computer and go see it. It is truly a great accomplishment in horror.
Visit The Official Malevolence Website: www.malevolencemovie.com
Read Horror Bob’s 4 Star Review of Malevolence: Click Here
- Interview with J.R. Bookwalter - January 22, 2015
- Interview with Andrew J. Rausch - January 22, 2015
- Interview with Rick Popko and Dan West - January 22, 2015
- Interview with Director Stevan Mena (Malevolence) - January 22, 2015
- Interview with Screenwriter Jeffery Reddick (Day of the Dead 2007) - January 22, 2015
- Teleconference interview with Mick Garris (Masters of Horror) - January 22, 2015
- A Day at the Morgue with Corri English (Unrest) - January 22, 2015
- Interview with Writer/Director Nacho Cerda (The Abandoned, Aftermath) - January 22, 2015
- Interview with Actress Thora Birch (Dark Corners, The Hole, American Beauty) - January 22, 2015
- Interview with Actor Jason Behr, Plus Skinwalkers Press Coverage - January 22, 2015