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Directors Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead Talk ‘Spring,’ Upcoming Projects [Exclusive]

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Spring, the new film from Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, who brought us 2012’s Resolution, is hitting theaters and VOD on Friday, March 20. Be sure to read our review, but if you just want to know if it’s any good, I’ll tell you straight up. You should watch this one.

We had the opportunity to ask Benson and Moorhead some questions about Spring and some upcoming projects, so let’s get right to it.

iHorror: What were some of the challenges in working on a bigger film like Spring compared to a smaller one like Resolution? Do you prefer the larger or smaller scale?

Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead: SPRING was hard because our trailer was too big, they had trouble towing it down to the beach, and being inside it gave Justin the exact opposite of claustrophobia.

But honestly, the challenge wasn’t anything related to creative control, thank God. We had complete control of SPRING. It’s mostly that things expand exponentially in how complicated they get when you involve more people and a larger story. It sometimes seems like it would have been physically impossible to make the film with a hundred dollars less than we had. The budget for SPRING was really modest, though, and as producers we had a strong grasp on where and why it was being spent, plus our producer David Lawson is a demigod. It’s a miracle that a movie like Transformers doesn’t cost 3 billion dollars and either never finish or become a complete mess — maybe Michael Bay should get more credit.

We definitely sit most comfortably at a level where we feel like everyone has what they need and is provided for, but not then by proxy giving up our craving to do as many jobs as we can get our hands on (directing, cinematography, editing, producing, writing, vfx, etc). On Resolution we had fantasies of future work with a legitimate budget, and on Spring we had fantasies of running off with a camera and two of our favorite actors and inventing something. It comes and goes with the tide.

iH: You talk a lot about building mythology with your movies, and with Spring in particular it plays right into the love story backbone. Which idea came first with Spring? The love story or the mythology?

JB & AM: At a certain point it all blends together into story-mush. You know you want to tell a love story, at some point in your life you also get this idea about a very special type of monster that you’ve never seen before, you create characters, make them talk, put them in situations…it’s hard to pin something like that down, and honestly it’s just a lot of hard work to sit at your desk and think something new up. It’s really just a recipe of a lot of hours sweating and thinking hard and trying not to look at the internet, and the script is the result.

WARNING: MINORLY SPOILERISH LANGUAGE AHEAD.

iH: One of the lines from Spring that really stuck with me was the one that said something along the lines of “Just because you haven’t seen something before doesn’t mean it’s supernatural.” Can you talk a little bit about keeping the mythology grounded in reality?

JB & AM: As natural skeptics ourselves, we always have to ask what would make me keep thinking after the movie’s over? If we don’t buy the possibility in the natural world, it can only get under our skin for a second. But there’s something about Nadia in the film that you think…maybe. The Universal movie monsters (were-man, zombies, dracula, frankenstein) are all inventions with relatively arbitrary rules. We thought — what if there were a skeleton key sort of creature that inspired all of these, and the features that it took on reminded of our own evolution? A werewolf has fangs, like our ape ancestry. A Creature from the Black Lagoon has scales, like our primordial predecessors (sorry/not sorry for that PERFECT ALLITERATION). That tiny little potentially-coincidental crossover from each of our zeitgeist’s “monsters” was enough to intrigue the inner skeptic and to design something larger.

iH: Another thing I thought you guys did really effectively was using things that secondary characters would talk about, which would maybe influence main character Evan’s thought process down the line. Examples that come to mind are when one of the guys that Evan meets up with in Italy tells a story about a woman who left him, and of course the old man’s mourning of his wife. Can you talk about that?

JB & AM: We are in love with our secondary characters. We have a firm belief that they’re more than a way to salt-and-pepper your story, and too often they feel like a tool by the writer to get somewhere with the plot. For us, our side characters are about exploring another human interaction, one perhaps that can inform the plot a bit, but much more so to deepen our understanding of who these people are.

Also, Nick Nevern is hilarious and we just want to keep him talking, y’know? There’s this idea people have that if one character says or does one thing, one inspirational thing to the main character, it can solve the problem the main character is having. But nothing can solve the death of Evan’s mother and his ensuing listlessness, nothing but time. So here’s this macho guy surrounded by a bunch of guys, all trying to make him feel better rather than empathize because they have no idea how else to do it, but the only way he can really move on is by spending the rest of the movie with him and just watching him do it. Humans are complicated.

END OF MINORLY SPOILERISH LANGUAGE

iH: I’m a huge fan of The Battery. How did you get involved with Jeremy Gardner?

JB & AM: We met him briefly at a festival in Amsterdam. He thought we were pricks. We thought he was awesome. We met him again in Brazil, he revised his opinion of us, we drank together, lots of late nights were had. Had to fight with SAG to let us cast him. You can see why we did that, he’s amazing. We are opening a timeshare in his beard.

iH: I think Spring might be the most romantic horror film I’ve seen. What romances in horror film history have stuck out to you as particularly noteworthy?

JB & AM: There’s a long history of love stories with horror elements or vice-versa, but we’d be lying to you if we said we watched them all and they inspired the film. We had no idea if a love story with a supernatural side would work, we were just really confident in the script.

iH: What is the status of your Aleister Crowley movie Beasts?

JB & AM: Train’s just about to leave the station!

iH: You said in one interview that Beasts might be the darkest thing you’ll ever do. Can you elaborate on that?

JB & AM: There’s no way to tell an Aleister Crowley story with a happy ending, it’s that simple. That complicated man’s life is not a happy story, and his personality tends to lean toward extremes that many people will have trouble accepting. But it’s amazing in its meanness, its darkness is kind of like that of Boogie Nights (remember what the 3rd act becomes) or There Will Be Blood. We guarantee the film will still be fun to watch, but happy it will not be.

iH: IMDb has you guys pegged for an “untitled UFO cult comedy,” and at one point you said you were considering making an action-adventure film with horror elements, a romance with a horror element and a revenge western. Obviously Spring is the romance. Beasts is next right? Where do these other projects fit in these days?

JB & AM: Beasts is next at the moment. The other projects are stuff we’ve talked about or started: the action/adventure/horror and revenge western are orphaned scripts we’re seeking homes for, the romance with horror element became SPRING, and the UFO cult comedy is the product of our desire to constantly film stuff so we shoot it as we travel abroad and it stars ourselves. Who knows if/how it will ultimately finish, but at least we’re workin’.

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Another Creepy Spider Movie Hits Shudder This Month

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Good spider films are a theme this year. First, we had Sting and then there was Infested. The former is still in theaters and the latter is coming to Shudder starting April 26.

Infested has been getting some good reviews. People are saying that it’s not only a great creature feature but also a social commentary on racism in France.

According to IMDb: Writer/director Sébastien Vanicek was looking for ideas around the discrimination faced by black and Arab-looking people in France, and that led him to spiders, which are rarely welcome in homes; whenever they’re spotted, they’re swatted. As everyone in the story (people and spiders) is treated like vermin by society, the title came to him naturally.

Shudder has become the gold standard for streaming horror content. Since 2016, the service has been offering fans an expansive library of genre movies. in 2017, they began to stream exclusive content.

Since then Shudder has become a powerhouse in the film festival circuit, buying distribution rights to movies, or just producing some of their own. Just like Netflix, they give a film a short theatrical run before adding it to their library exclusively for subscribers.

Late Night With the Devil is a great example. It was released theatrically on March 22 and will begin streaming on the platform starting April 19.

While not getting the same buzz as Late Night, Infested is a festival favorite and many have said if you suffer from arachnophobia, you might want to take heed before watching it.

Infested

According to the synopsis, our main character, Kalib is turning 30 and dealing with some family issues. “He’s fighting with his sister over an inheritance and has cut ties with his best friend. Fascinated by exotic animals, he finds a venomous spider in a shop and brings it back to his apartment. It only takes a moment for the spider to escape and reproduce, turning the whole building into a dreadful web trap. The only option for Kaleb and his friends is to find a way out and survive.”

The film will be available to watch on Shudder starting April 26.

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Part Concert, Part Horror Movie M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘Trap’ Trailer Released

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In true Shyamalan form, he sets his film Trap inside a social situation where we aren’t sure what is going on. Hopefully, there is a twist at the end. Furthermore, we hope it’s better than the one in his divisive 2021 movie Old.

The trailer seemingly gives away a lot, but, as in the past, you can’t rely on his trailers because they are often red herrings and you are being gaslit to think a certain way. For instance, his movie Knock at the Cabin was completely different than what the trailer implied and if you hadn’t read the book on which the film is based it was still like going in blind.

The plot for Trap is being dubbed an “experience” and we aren’t quite sure what that means. If we were to guess based on the trailer, it’s a concert movie wrapped around a horror mystery. There are original songs performed by Saleka, who plays Lady Raven, a kind of Taylor Swift/Lady Gaga hybrid. They have even set up a Lady Raven website to further the illusion.

Here is the fresh trailer:

According to the synopsis, a father takes his daughter to one of Lady Raven’s jam-packed concerts, “where they realize they’re at the center of a dark and sinister event.”

Written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, Trap stars Josh Hartnett, Ariel Donoghue, Saleka Shyamalan, Hayley Mills and Allison Pill. The film is produced by Ashwin Rajan, Marc Bienstock and M. Night Shyamalan. The executive producer is Steven Schneider.

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Woman Brings Corpse Into Bank To Sign Loan Papers

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Warning: This is a disturbing story.

You have to be pretty desperate for money to do what this Brazilian woman did at the bank to get a loan. She wheeled in a fresh corpse to endorse the contract and she seemingly thought the bank employees wouldn’t notice. They did.

This weird and disturbing story comes via ScreenGeek an entertainment digital publication. They write that a woman identified as Erika de Souza Vieira Nunes pushed a man she identified as her uncle into the bank pleading with him to sign loan papers for $3,400. 

If you’re squeamish or easily triggered, be aware that the video captured of the situation is disturbing. 

Latin America’s largest commercial network, TV Globo, reported on the crime, and according to ScreenGeek this is what Nunes says in Portuguese during the attempted transaction. 

“Uncle, are you paying attention? You must sign [the loan contract]. If you don’t sign, there’s no way, as I cannot sign on your behalf!”

She then adds: “Sign so you can spare me further headaches; I can’t bear it any longer.” 

At first we thought this might be a hoax, but according to Brazilian police, the uncle, 68-year-old Paulo Roberto Braga had passed away earlier that day.

 “She attempted to feign his signature for the loan. He entered the bank already deceased,” Police Chief Fábio Luiz said in an interview with TV Globo. “Our priority is to continue investigating to identify other family members and gather more information regarding this loan.”

If convicted Nunes could be facing jail time on charges of fraud, embezzlement, and desecration of a corpse.

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