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Spencer Legacy, the Senior Editor at ComingSoon, chatted with director Kevin Lewis about directing The Accursed and fusing comedy with horror. The Accursed is currently available in digital stores and through video-on-demand.

The movie’s synopsis states, “Elly (Sarah Grey) is requested by a family friend (Mena Suvari) to spend a few days caring for an old woman (Meg Foster) living in a remote cabin. She nods in agreement, reasoning that a quick excursion to the woods will be a pleasant respite.

The cottage proves to be everything but peaceful as Elly starts to experience hallucinations that mix her fantasies and reality. Elly discovers as the images take over that she was brought there by a demonic presence that was inside the woman and was only waiting to escape.

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There is a little tone change from Spencer Legacy: Wonderland Willy’s to The Accursed. What prompted you to go with this story now?

I absolutely adored Rob Kennedy’s script after reading it. I believed that the first seven pages were like a mini-movie. Man, it’d be wonderful to do something different, I simply [thought]. a little bit more sinister, menacing, and grounded. working on these characters with all these fantastic actors and creating a gripping tale about guilt and loss… Everything about the concept of mothers’ sins being visited upon their daughters simply just spoke to me. I, therefore, thought, “I’ve got to do this.”

On top of that, the movie has a lot of themes dealing with grief and remorse. Why did you feel the need to truly explore those concepts?

It’s odd because I’m caring for my 91-year-old mother and a lot of those thoughts keep popping into my head. “Could I spend more time with her,” and similar phrases come to mind. When I read the script about Ambrose, my wife’s nurse, and Elly’s nurse, some of these themes hit home to me.

I just love the idea of making a 70s vintage horror movie. Willy’swas a love letter to the 80s and movies like evil Dead that I loved. The idea of making more of a grounded kind of [film], dealing with the mind, the psychological horror film was very compelling.

There’s some really great and unsettling imagery all throughout the film, especially the hand in the mouth. What was the process behind deciding what sort of visuals to create?

I love the idea of the hand in the mouth. That was really exciting to me. We did a prosthetic hand, but we also mapped it for the VFX. A great company, Ntropic, did all the VFX for us. It was just really cool. I wanted to make it as organic as possible.

I used a lot of practical effects in this movie as well. [I wanted to] blend the things and try to make it as real as possible because I think a lot of movies get bogged down on the VFX and it’s like a CGI fest.

It looks more like a cutscene from a video game. I didn’t want that in this movie and I knew we were making a serious film about a serious subject matter. So the VFX needed to be serious and feel real.

I think the practical effects worked really well. All the goo and slime really make it feel grosser than digital blood and that sort of thing.

We had a demon, we built — that was Troy James. We built the suit, Cinema Makeup School built the suit for us. Did a great job. Then we added the goo and stuff. Then the VFX were the flies and things like that, so we augmented it with VFX.

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There are so many designs throughout mythology and pop culture for demons. How did you land on what you wanted the demon to look like?

Do you know what’s really interesting about that? The demon … they’re dealing with demons, right? In the movie. So the idea of now we have manifested it into a physical form … how do you do that? Dave McAdoo was the artist. He did a lot of concept drawings with this [and] just did a fantastic job.

We went through it and said, “I like this part. I don’t like this,” and everything. But at the end of the day, it was really about what the demon does to the world it affects, right? When he comes from his world into, let’s say the real world or the cabin world in our movie, it’s “what does he do to those people around him?”

So that’s why I did that whole — I call it the demon shake — where you do a demon POV. A VFX where the image would do the image shaker as he would come in. It would have that low-base rumble. I researched a thing on low frequency.

A good friend of mine, Scott Harbert, he’s an executive producer of this movie, was telling me about these low frequencies in horror movies. I started doing research and it’s true. It’s like this low-base hum. It kind of unnerves the spirit a little bit.

Sometimes they do it where you can’t even really hear it, and sometimes it’s a little more prevalent. I just thought, “man, that’s the way the demon has his own kind of score,” right? His own vibe to it. The sound is part of that extension of the physical form.

So when we’re shaking that image and then we’re doing that demon hum or the demon base, and just trying to bring his world into the real world and the cabin world, it felt very invasive. And that’s what the scene’s about, right? It’s about these women getting invaded.

I think that one of the scariest things for women too is being invaded without their consent. That’s kind of what’s going on. I also wanted to manifest that physically and emotionally and visually, and that’s where we all came together with all those, those things.

 

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