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ADDinterview: Dante Tomaselli

Let's face it: most horror today sucks. You can count the number of decent horror films made in the last decade on your hands. While large-budget nonsense like Ghost Ship continues to get made and franchises like Halloween have gone down the toilet, there are those occasional films that stand out from the rest and please long-time horror fans (those of us that drool whenever the phrases "Dario Argento" and "big screen" are uttered near each other).

One of those films is Desecration, an excellent debut from newcomer Dante Tomaselli. Tomaselli's style will make you think a surrealist painter is sitting in the director's chair. His upcoming release Horror (which features a freaky Satanic goat) has been highly praised and some underground hype is being built around Satan's Playground, forcing horror fans to wipe the anticipatory spittle from their chin.

ADDmovies' Laze had a chance to speak with the well-respected young horror director.

Dante Tomaselli

When did you decide that making movies was what you wanted to do?

Since I was 3 or 4... or since birth. I was always fascinated with the supernatural, nightmares, hallucinations, magic...

Why horror?

As Depeche Mode once said, "There's a pain... a famine in my heart... an aching to be free..."

What movies have influenced you most?

Don't Look Now, Texas Chainsaw Masscare, Halloween, Alice, Sweet Alice, The Brood, Let's Scare Jessica To Death, The Omen.

What were your greatest obstacles in shooting Desecration?

Freezing cold. Lack of funds. Too many shots to cover each day. No sleep.

How about Horror?

Ditto.

How have you kept costs down on your projects and still gotten such good results?

The images are as clear as slides projected in my mind. Once on the set, everything falls into place.

How would you describe Horror in 20 words or less?

It's about damnation, the apocalypse, dysfunctional-families, extrasensory-perception, drugs, religious-fanaticism, hypnosis, perversion, surrealism and madness.

How about Desecration?

A guilt-ridden Catholic boy goes to hell. It's an interior journey. Like Horror, it's a time/space dislocation.

Have any nuns seen Desecration?

I'd feel guilty showing it to a nun. I never meant to mock nuns. I'm sure some would be offended.

Will Satan's Playground be the best movie about the Jersey Devil to date? Please tell me yes.

If you like your Jersey Devil movies ultra-scary—then this is the one. The emphasis is on scare sequences.

What is the dynamic between Felissa Rose and Ellen Sandweiss?

They'll portray sisters. I was with both of these early 80s scream queens recently and it was horror fan heaven.

What is your favorite era of horror?

The German expressionism period of the 20s all through the American and European splatter films of 70s and early 80s.

What's your opinion of modern horror in general?

1987. Hellraiser. That was the last gem. Things are getting better. I enjoyed Jacob's Ladder, Pin, Frailty...

What other young directors do you admire?

There are none. I admire Kubrick, Lynch, Carpenter, Argento, Maya Deren, Romero, Henenlotter, Raimi, Cronenberg, Pasolini, Hitchcock...

What direction do you hope the horror genre goes in the future?

We need more low budget independent horror films released to theaters like we had in the 70s and early 80s.

Do you think it's possible to make a truly good horror movie while under the thumb of a major studio?

It's possible, though I need a lot of creative control. I definitely would have to direct and score the film.

Which would you choose: $1 million and total free creative reign or $10 million for a "mainstream" horror film?

$1 million. Hey, low-budget horror has a history of sometimes entering the mainstream... $350,000 is all I really need.


Be sure to visit HorrorTheMovie.com to keep up with Dante's films.


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