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Exclusive: Interview with ‘The Canal’ Director Ivan Kavanagh



Ivan Kavanagh’s The Canal was one of the best horror movies of 2014. If you ask me, it was the scariest. You can read my short review here, but just trust me on this. It’s not one you want to let slip by.

It tells the story of a film archivist whose wife is murdered leaving him as the prime suspect in her killing while also taking care of their little boy. Meanwhile, he has discovered through old crime scene footage that another murder took place in his own home in 1902. It’s a fresh ghost story that’s both brutal and downright creepy.

I had the opportunity to pick Kavanagh’s brain about the film and what else he’s up to, so without further ado…

iHorror: I read that you wanted the 1902 footage in The Canal to look like Louis Lumière’s Feeding the Baby. What’s the significance of that particular film? 

Ivan Kavanagh: This film has no significance to The Canal, but it’s just one, for me, that represented perfectly the very particular look that the films from the period had, which is what we sought to recreate in my film. The background details (in this case the trees blowing in the wind) are what makes them look unique. It’s the quality of the movement and the grain structure I think, and I knew we had succeeded when we recreated this look perfectly.

iH: Is the hand-cranked camera in the film the same one you used to film that footage?

IK: Yes, the same one. It’s an amazing camera from 1915 that still works perfectly and, of course, was one of the reasons we could recreate the look of the films from early cinema.

iH: How easy or difficult was it to direct a young child with no acting experience?

IK: Well, once you cast the film correctly, then it isn’t that difficult. The audition process was quite intensive and involved quite a lot of call backs and acting exercises such as complex improvisations and line readings. Calum, who played the little boy, is uniquely talented and way beyond his years as far as intelligence and acting intuition goes.

iH: Do you have kids yourself? If so, did you find that aspect of the subject matter of the film difficult to work on? 

IK: No, not just yet. But I understand the film partly deals with a fear that I imagine all parents must have and I don’t think I will be any exception.

iH: You’ve said in the past that with The Canal, you wanted to fill the film with your own fears. Can you elaborate on those fears in how they pertain to the context of the film?

IK: The best horror films all deal with common, sometimes primal, fears, such as fear of the dark, of violence, of harm coming to a loved one, of realising you don’t really know the person you’re closest to, of knowing we are all capable of both great good and great evil. The way I always thought about it was, if I fill the film with some of my own fears, like some of the ones I mentioned, it’s bound to frighten at least some other people too.

iH: You’ve called the horror genre “unfairly dismissed and neglected”. After all the great horror films to be released over the years, why do you think that still is? 

IK: I’m a fan of cinema in general and I like all types of films. Before The Canal I made two art house films back to back, and so I don’t differentiate between types of films, there’s just films I like and don’t like or I feel I must make. I think many great filmmakers were unfairly neglected (awards wise) because they made films mostly within genre. Hitchcock and Kubrick being the prime example of this. I think it’s because people see genre films as less worthy, because they are about (at least on the surface) less “serious” subjects than art house films or dramas and are generally more commercial too. However the cinematic artistry within the best genre films is a constant inspiration to me and always reawakens my love of cinema. Ingmar Bergman does that for me too, but the older I get, the more my love of Hitchcock, Kubrick, DePalma, Polanski and other great genre filmmakers grows.

iH: I know you’re a fan of the genre and have mentioned films like The Shining, Rosemary’s Baby, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre as having an impact on you. Can you think of any specific horror films from the last few years that have left a significant impression?

IK: There is a film called Soft For Digging, directed by J.T. Petty, that I caught on late night TV a few years ago that really unsettled me. I also really enjoyed Sam Raimi’s Drag Me To Hell, which I thought was great fun and had a great ending.

iH: You’ve started writing another psychological horror film. Anything you can tell us about that? 

IK: I want to keep it secret for now. All I’ll say is it’s very different from The Canal and deals with a different type of horror. I also think it’ll be absolutely terrifying and I’m very excited about it.

iH: You’re also working on a horror thriller with another writer? Any details you can share there? 

IK: No, sorry! It’ll have to remain a secret for now as it’s at very early stages.

Kavanagh has also been said to be involved with an unknown television series and a western, but couldn’t talk about those either. All I know is that after The Canal, I’m looking forward to seeing more from him.

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Another Creepy Spider Movie Hits Shudder This Month



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.


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



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



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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