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‘MONOLITH’ Director Matt Vesely on Crafting the Sci-Fi Thriller – Out on Prime Video Today [Interview]

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MONOLITH, the new sci-fi thriller starring Lily Sullivan (Evil Dead Rise) is set to hit theatres and VOD on February 16th! Written by Lucy Campbell, and directed by Matt Vesely, the film was shot in one location, and stars only one person. Lily Sullivan. This basically puts the entire film on her back, but after Evil Dead Rise, I think she’s up to the task! 

 Recently, we had the chance to chat with Matt Vesely about directing the film, and the challenges behind its creation! Read our interview after the trailer below:

Monolith Official Trailer

iHorror: Matt, thanks for your time! We wanted to chat about your new film, MONOLITH. What can you tell us, without spoiling too much? 

Matt Vesely: MONOLITH is a science-fiction thriller about a podcaster, a disgraced journalist who worked for a big news outlet and has recently had a job taken away from her when she acted unethically. So, she’s retreated to her parent’s home and started this kind of clickbaity, mystery podcast to try and claw her way back to some credibility. She receives a strange email, an anonymous email, that just gives her a phone number and a woman’s name and says, the black brick. 

She ends up in this strange rabbit hole, finding about these weird, alien artifacts that are appearing around the world and starts to lose herself in this possibly true, alien invasion story. I guess the hook of the film is that there’s only one actor on screen. Lily Sullivan. It’s all told through her perspective, through her speaking to people on the phone, lots of interviews holed up in this palatial, modern home in the beautiful Adelaide Hills. It’s kind of a creepy, one person, X-Files episode.

Director Matt Vesely

What was it like working with Lily Sullivan?

She’s brilliant!  She’d just come off of Evil Dead. It hadn’t come out yet, but they had shot it. She brought a lot of that physical energy from Evil Dead to our film, even though it’s very contained. She likes to work from within her body, and generate real adrenaline. Even before she does a scene, she’ll do pushups before the shot to try and build up the adrenaline. It’s really fun and interesting to watch. She’s just super down to earth. We didn’t audition her because we knew her work. She’s extremely talented, and has an amazing voice, which is great for a podcaster. We just talked to her on Zoom to see if she would be up for making a smaller film. She’s like one of our mates now. 

Lily Sullivan in Evil Dead Rise

What was it like making a film that’s so contained? 

In some ways, it’s quite freeing. Obviously, it’s a challenge to work out ways to make it thrilling and make it change and grow throughout the film. The cinematographer, Mike Tessari and I, we broke the film into clear chapters and had really clear visual rules. Like in the opening of the film, it has no picture for three or four minutes. It’s just black, then we see Lily. There’s clear rules, so you feel the space, and the visual language of the film growing and changing to make it feel like you’re going on this cinematic ride, as well as an intellectual audio ride. 

So, there’s lots of challenges like that. In other ways, it’s my first feature, one actor, one location, you’re really focused. You don’t have to spread yourself too thin. It’s a really contained way to work. Every choice is about how to make that one person seem on screen. In some ways, it’s a dream. You’re just being creative, you’re never just fighting to get the film made, it’s purely creative. 

So, in some ways, it was almost a benefit rather than a drawback?

Exactly, and that was always the theory of the film. The film was developed through a Film Lab process here in South Australia called The Film Lab New Voices Program. The idea was we went in as a team, we went in with the writer Lucy Campbell and producer Bettina Hamilton, and we went into this lab for a year and you develop a script from the ground up for a fixed budget. If you’re successful, you get the money to go make that film. So, the idea was always to come up with something that would feed that budget, and almost be better for it. 

If you could say one thing about the film, something you wanted people to know, what would it be?

It’s a really exciting way to watch a sci-fi mystery, and the fact that it’s Lily Sullivan, and she’s just a brilliant, charismatic force on the screen. You’ll love spending 90 minutes sort of losing your mind with her, I think. The other thing is that it really escalates. It feels very contained, and it has a kind of slow burn, but it goes somewhere. Stick with it. 

With this being your first feature, tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from, what are your plans? 

I’m from Adelaide, South Australia. It’s probably the size of Phoenix, that size of a city. We’re about an hour flight west of Melbourne. I’ve been working here for a while. I’ve worked mostly in script development for television, for the last  like 19 years. I’ve always loved sci-fi and horror. Alien is my favorite movie of all time. 

I’ve made a number of shorts, and they are sci-fi shorts, but they’re more comedy. This was an opportunity to get into scarier stuff. I realized doing it that it’s all I really care about. It was kind of like coming home. It felt paradoxically so much more fun trying to be scary than trying to be funny, which is painful and miserable. You can be bolder and stranger, and just go for it in horror. I absolutely loved it. 

So, we’re just developing more stuff. At the moment the team is developing another, kind of, cosmic horror that’s in its early days. I just finished up on a script for a dark Lovecraftian horror film. It’s writing time at the moment, and hopefully getting onto the next film. I still work in TV. I’ve been writing pilots and stuff. It’s the ongoing grind of the industry, but hopefully we’ll be back really soon with another film from the Monolith team. We’ll get Lily back in, the whole crew. 

Awesome. We really appreciate your time, Matt. We’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for you and your future endeavors! 

You can check out Monolith in theaters and on Prime Video February 16th! Courtesy of Well Go USA! 

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Interviews

Tara Lee Talks About New VR Horror “The Faceless Lady” [Interview]

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The first ever scripted VR series is finally upon us. The Faceless Lady is the newest horror series brought to us by Crypt TV, ShinAwiL, and the master of gore himself, Eli Roth (Cabin Fever). The Faceless Lady aims to revolutionize the world of entertainment as we know it.

The Faceless Lady is a modern take on a piece of classic Irish folklore. The series is a brutal and bloody ride centered on the power of love. Or rather, the curse of love may be a more appropriate depiction of this psychological thriller. You can read the synopsis below.

The Faceless Lady

Step inside Kilolc castle, a magnificent stone fortress deep in the Irish countryside and home to the infamous ’Faceless Lady’, a tragic spirit doomed to walk the crumbling manor for eternity. But her story is far from over, as three young couples are about to discover. Drawn to the castle by its mysterious owner, they have come to compete in historic Games. The winner shall inherit Kilolc Castle, and all that lies within it… both the living, and the dead.

The Faceless Lady

The Faceless Lady premiered on April 4th and will consist of six terrifying 3d episodes. Horror fans can head over to Meta Quest TV to watch the episodes in VR or Crypt TV’s Facebook page to view the first two episodes in standard format. We were lucky enough to sit down with the up and coming scream queen Tara Lee (The Cellar) to discuss the show.

Tara Lee

iHorror: What’s it like creating the first ever scripted VR show?

Tara: It’s an honor. The cast and crew, the whole time, just felt like we were part of something really special. It was such a bonding experience to get to do that and to know that you were the first people doing it.

The team behind it has so much history and so much fantastic work to back them up, so you know you can rely on them. But it’s like going into uncharted territory with them. That felt really exciting.

It was really ambitious. We didn’t have a ton of time… you really have to roll with the punches.

Do you think this is going to become the new version of entertainment?

I think it’s definitely going to become a new version [of entertainment]. If we can have as many different ways of watching or experiencing a Television series as possible, then fantastic. Do I think it’s going to take over and eradicate watching things in 2d, probably not. But I think it’s giving people the option to experience something and be immersed in something.

It really works, in particular, for genres like horror… where you want thing to be coming at you. But I think this definitely is the future and I can see more things like this being made.

Was bringing a piece of Irish folklore to the screen Important to you? Were you familiar with the story already?

I had heard this story as a kid. There is something about when you leave the place that you are from, you suddenly become so proud of it. I think the opportunity to do an American series in Ireland … to get to tell a story I heard as a child growing up there, I just felt really proud.

Irish folklore is famous all over the world because Ireland is such a fairytale country. To get to tell that in genre, with such a cool creative team, it makes me proud.

Is horror a favorite genre of yours? Could we expect to see you in more of these roles?

I have an interesting history with horror. When I was a kid [my dad] forced me to watch Stephen Kings IT at the age of seven and it traumatized me. I was like that’s it, I don’t watch horror movies, I don’t do horror, that’s just not me.

Through shooting horror movies, I was forced to watch them … When I choose to watch these [films], these are such an incredible genre. I would say these are, hand on heart, one of my favorite genres. And one of my favorite genres to shoot as well because they are so much fun.

You did an interview with Red Carpet where you stated there is “No heart in Hollywood.”

You’ve done your research, I love it.

You have also stated that you prefer indie films because that is where you find the heart. Is that still the case?

I would say 98% of the time, yes. I do love indie movies; my heart is in indie movies. Now does that mean if I was offered a superhero role that I would turn it down? Absolutely not, please cast me as a superhero.

There are some Hollywood movies that I absolutely adore, but there is something so romantic to me about getting an indie film made. Because it is so hard… it is normally a labor of love for the directors and the writers. Knowing all that goes into it makes me feel a little bit different about them.

Audiences can catch Tara Lee in The Faceless Lady now on Meta Quest and Crypt TV’s Facebook page. Make sure to check out the trailer below.

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[Interview] Director & Writer Bo Mirhosseni and Star Jackie Cruz Discuss – ‘History of Evil.’

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Shudder’s History of Evil unfolds as a supernatural horror thriller filled with eerie atmospheres and a chilling vibe. Set in the not-so-distant future, the film features Paul Wesley and Jackie Cruz in leading roles.

Mirhosseni is a seasoned director with a portfolio brimming with music videos he’s helmed for notable artists such as Mac Miller, Disclosure, and Kehlani. Given his impressive debut with History of Evil, I anticipate that his subsequent films, particularly if they delve into the horror genre, will be equally, if not more compelling. Explore History of Evil on Shudder and consider adding it to your watchlist for a bone-chilling thriller experience.

Synopsis: War and corruption plague America and turn it into a police state. A resistance member, Alegre Dyer, breaks out of political prison and reunites with her husband and daughter. The family, on the run, takes refuge in a safe house with an evil past.

Interview – Director / Writer Bo Mirhosseni and Star Jackie Cruz
History of Evil – No Available on Shudder

Writer & Director: Bo Mirhosseni

Cast: Paul Wesley, Jackie Cruz, Murphee Bloom, Rhonda Johnsson Dents

Genre: Horror

Language: English

Runtime: 98 min

About Shudder

AMC Networks’ Shudder is a premium streaming video service, super-serving members with the best selection in genre entertainment, covering horror, thrillers and the supernatural. Shudder’s expanding library of film, TV series, and Original Content is available on most streaming devices in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. Over the last few years, Shudder has introduced audiences to groundbreaking and critically acclaimed films including Rob Savage’s HOST, Jayro Bustamante’s LA LLORONA, Phil Tippett’s MAD GOD, Coralie Fargeat’s REVENGE, Joko Anwar’s SATAN’S SLAVES, Josh Ruben’s SCARE ME, Kyle Edward Ball’s SKINAMARINK, Christian Tafdrup’s SPEAK NO EVIL, Chloe Okuno’s WATCHER, Demián Rugna‘s WHEN EVIL LURKS, and the latest in the V/H/S film anthology franchise, as well as the fan favorite TV series THE BOULET BROTHERS’ DRAGULA, Greg Nicotero’s CREEPSHOW, and THE LAST DRIVE-IN WITH JOE BOB BRIGGS

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Unveiling ‘Lisa Frankenstein’: Interview with Director Zelda Williams and Writer Diablo Cody

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Lisa Frankenstein

Focus Features presents a coming-of-RAGE love story from acclaimed writer Diablo Cody (Jennifer’s Body) about a misunderstood teenager and her high school crush, who happens to be a handsome corpse. After a set of playfully horrific circumstances bring him back to life, the two embark on a murderous journey to find love, happiness… and a few missing body parts along the way. Lisa Frankenstein hits theaters just in time for Valentine’s Day, on February 9th, 2024.

Director Zelda Williams and Screenwriter Diablo Cody on the set of their film LISA FRANKENSTEIN, a Focus Features release. Credit: Mason Novick / ©Mason Novick

 iHorror had the chance to have a quick candid conversation with Director Zelda Williams & Writer Diablo Cody, where we discussed the challenges of directing, writing inspiration and the planning, the collaboration process, and whether there is a sequel currently planned for Lisa Frankenstein.

Interview: Director Zelda Williams & Writer Diablo Cody

ZELDA WILLIAMS – Director

Zelda Williams, a multifaceted artist, is making waves across the entertainment industry as an actress, director, producer, and writer. Her journey of diversification and evolution in various facets of her career is evident in her upcoming feature-length directorial debut, Lisa Frankenstein.

Lisa Frankenstein In Theaters February 9th, 2024

Previously, Williams showcased her talents in Acting for a Cause’s live performance of Julius Caesar, where donations benefited amfAR. She also made her mark in the drama short film A Disagreement About Flies and demonstrated her directorial skills in the comedy/horror short film Kappa Kappa Die. In 2016, Williams lent her voice to and co-produced Freeform’s The Letter and graced the screen in the Lifetime drama Girl in the Box and Freeform’s drama/horror series Dead of Summer. Her recurring role in MTV’s Teen Wolf and her contribution to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV series added to her diverse on-screen portfolio.

Williams has left a lasting impact in the world of film, starring in productions such as “Never,” the award-winning gay satire Were the World Mine, and various independent films like Don’t Look UpDetentionLusterThe Frankenstein Brothers, and A Beer Tale. Her cinematic debut at 14 in David Duchovny’s House of D marked the beginning of a promising career, sharing the screen with Tea Leoni and Robin Williams.

Beyond acting, Williams is a talented singer and artist, showcasing her creativity in 2015 by directing JoJo’s Save My Soul music video, which garnered nearly 4.5 million views on YouTube. In addition to her artistic pursuits, Williams inherited her father’s knack for accents and impressions, being conversational in French. Currently residing in Los Angeles, CA, Zelda Williams continues to captivate audiences with her diverse talents and creative endeavors.

Kathryn Newton stars as Lisa Swallows in LISA FRANKENSTEIN, a Focus Features release. Credit: Michele K. Short / © 2024 FOCUS FEATURES LLC

DIABLO CODY – Screenwriter & Producer

Diablo Cody stands as an accomplished and award-winning screenwriter whose debut film, Juno, secured prestigious honors such as the Academy Award® for Best Original Screenplay, the BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay, the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay, and the Writers Guild Award for Best Original Screenplay. Her illustrious career extends to several critically acclaimed films, including Young AdultTully, and the now-cult classic Jennifer’s Body.

In collaboration with Steven Spielberg, Cody co-created the Emmy Award®-winning series United States of Tara, which enjoyed a successful three-season run on Showtime. Additionally, she contributed to One Mississippi for Amazon alongside Tig Notaro. Cody’s versatility extends beyond screenwriting, as evidenced by her Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, Jagged Little Pill, a compelling adaptation of Alanis Morissette’s seminal album of the same name. Her remarkable achievements underscore her position as a creative force with a diverse and impactful body of work.

Kathryn Newton stars as Lisa Swallows and Cole Sprouse as The Creature in LISA FRANKENSTEIN, a Focus Features release. Credit: Michele K. Short / © 2024 FOCUS FEATURES LLC

Feature Image Credit / Description: Director Zelda Williams and Screenwriter Diablo Cody on the set of their film LISA FRANKENSTEIN, a Focus Features release. Credit: Mason Novick / ©Mason Novick

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