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iHorror Exclusive: Interview With ‘Proxy’ Director Zack Parker

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Richmond, Indiana’s Zack Parker made a big mark in 2014 with the excellent and unpredictable Proxy. I had the film (which is currently available to stream on Netflix) at number 4 on my best of the year list, and to tell you the truth, I could easily move it to any spot above that on any given day. Out of all of the great movies of last year, few stuck with me as much as Proxy. If you haven’t seen it yet, I really can’t recommend it enough.

Proxy is also the kind of film that’s hard to discuss without giving too much away, so beware of that. You may find some spoilerish language below, so if that’s a concern, go watch the movie first. Besides, it’s one of those that’s almost certainly best when you go into it knowing as little about it as possible.

We had the chance to catch up with Parker, and discuss the film (among other things). So without further ado:

iHorror: From what did your interest in the mental condition that Proxy is based on stem? 

Zack Parker: It’s always difficult to pinpoint where an idea comes from. I will say that I’m always trying to tackle a subject matter I haven’t seen before when starting a new film. It really just evolved out of several conversations Kevin Donner (my writing partner on the film) and I were having. Subject matter that was relevant to both of our lives at the time.

iH: Some have complained about the film being too long. This seems ridiculous to me as it’s only two hours, and every minute is used excellently to either advance the story or develop the characters, which are both major keys to what make Proxy so good. Do you think the film could have worked if it were any shorter?

ZP: If there is anything I’ve learned over the course of making four features (and many shorts), it’s that you’re never going to please everyone. There is no sense in even trying. The only thing you can do is trust your own instincts as a storyteller and try to make the film that you would want to see. To me, every piece of the film that exists now, for the story I’m trying to tell, needs to be there.

iH: You have said in the past that you had to cut more from this film than any other project you’ve worked on. Was it a struggle to get it down to two hours to begin with? Is this two-hour film the version you really wanted, or is there really a longer version you had envisioned? 

ZP: This is the only version of the film that exists, and it is my cut. I’m never really conscious or concerned with running time when cutting a film. I’m trying to let the film dictate to me what it wants to be. When I get into the editing room (my favorite stage of filmmaking, btw), I try to forget about everything prior to that: the script, the shoot, etc.. They are now irrelevant. All that matters is the pieces you’ve accumulated. The film exists somewhere in those pieces, and it is now my job to find it.

iH: Proxy deals with some difficult subject matter. As a family man, did you find it difficult to work on at times, on an emotional level? 

ZP: There are always going to be some parallels to your own life when writing something, and the fact that my own son is in the film gives me a connection to it that I haven’t experienced in previous work. But I try to stay objective to those connections, to avoid unnecessary influences that may water the film down.

iH: I’m originally from Indiana and still have a lot of family there, but had no idea there was such an interesting film community until recently. Two of the ten movies on my Best or 2014 list were filmed in Indiana – yours and Scott Schirmer’s Found. Can you just talk a little bit about the Indiana film scene? The pros and cons to making a movie in the state? 

ZP: It’s a relatively small community, but there are certainly some talented people here. I think most struggle with getting their work to break the boundaries of the State, but that’s difficult for any indie film. Having no production tax incentives in Indiana doesn’t help lure or keep productions here as well.

iH: Music is so integral to a film’s effectiveness, particularly in horror and otherwise dark content, yet it seems like an afterthought in so many genre films. Can you discuss your approach to the use of music in Proxy and maybe give a few examples of your favorite uses of music in other films? 

ZP: Well, The Newton Brothers have scored all of my films so far, and those guys are just brilliant. I honestly can’t imagine making a film without them. I like the music in my films to have real structure, not just be a source of atmosphere. Rarely do I have a scene with music and dialogue together, because I feel music should be used as a form of dialogue, almost another character in the film. In my opinion, guys like Kubrick, Hitchcock, and more recently von Trier are true masters of how to elevate film through music.

iH: Based on other interviews, I get the sense that you are a horror fan, but don’t necessarily consider yourself a horror filmmaker. As a fan, beyond the classics, what are some modern horror flicks you’ve been particularly fond of? 

ZP: I am, of course, a fan of cinema in general. But I do tend to gravitate toward films that are a bit darker, take risks, and show me something I haven’t seen before, or perhaps present it in a way I haven’t seen.

I don’t really think about genre when making a film, I’m just making the story the only way I know how, filtered through whatever sensibilities I may possess. I understand why people may label PROXY as horror, as it certainly deals with pretty horrific circumstances, and there are much worse things than having your work embraced by one of the most passionate and loyal cinema communities that exist. Like any filmmaker, I just want people to see my work.

iH: I understand your next film is to be shot in Chicago. What can you tell us about that? Any timeframe on when we might see it? 

ZP: Not too much I can say about it except it is something I’ve been working on for awhile, and is definitely the largest film in terms of scope that I’ve ever attempted. Currently, we are scheduled to begin in Chicago late spring/early summer. If things go according to plan, we’d be looking to premiere in early 2016.
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There you have it. We’ll certainly be on the look-out for Parker’s next project, as he has established himself as one of the most interesting filmmakers to keep an eye on, if you ask me.
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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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