Interview: Michael A. Isaacs – Director of Who’s There?

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Who’s There? Is shaping up to be one of the creepiest films in recent memory, with an awesome cast to boot, as director Michael A. Isaacs explains.
1.Can you tell us a bit about the premise of Who’s There?
 
A young woman mysteriously dies after experimenting with black magic. Grief stricken by this tragedy, her brother and his wife call upon a family friend to house-sit the deceased’s residence as they make funeral arrangements. Little do they know the severity of the sisters involvement within the dark arts. Something they will quickly find out as they become entangled in her unfinished incantation.
2. On the Indiegogo campaign you said that you first got interested in horror at the age of 2. Can you elaborate?
From a young age Horror has always fascinated me, I found it entertaining. When others are 2 years old they like things such as barney, I liked Freddy Krueger. I thought he was the coolest person and wanted him to come to my house and play. haha
Always interested in how monsters were made, I used to want to be a special fx artist as a kid. As I grew, I learned more about filmmaking and transitioned to writing and directing.
3. I understand that the film will pay homage to ’90s horror like Tales from the Crypt?
 
That is correct, I originally wrote the film to be set in the 90’s, which albeit was a fun idea in itself. While working on the rewrite it was decided to make the film modern with 90’s inspiration. Horror films in the 90’s were awesome, they had such imaginative storylines and character development. They built up suspense and threw it all on the table at the same time. I want to bring audiences a fun experience when they watch the film. Horror films today just don’t have the same charm like they used to. I want to bring that vibe back.
4. The idea was originally a short that transformed into a feature right?
 
Yes, I originally wrote this as a 30 minute short film. While that script was great and received an abundance of positive feedback, it also had a much broader storyline underneath it which at the time was simply implied. Everyone always wanted to know more and as I was writing script extensions the new script was nearing 60 pages with many more to go. This was the time I decided to go ahead and make it into a feature film. This way nothing is held back.
5. What does Who’s There? bring to the horror genre that is completely new?
 
Who’s There? introduces a new take on classic scares. This isn’t the torture porn that is so overdone these days. It’s taking the elements and nostalgia that horror fans love and presenting them in a new light. This will not be a “T ‘n’ A” splatter gore fest. It’s a dark film full of deep involved storylines which builds suspense mixed with in your face horror fun which will entertain fans of the genre and hopefully entertain those which are not yet fans.
6. The Indiegogo campaign also refers to the film as having “heart, scares, laughs and blood”. Can you describe these elements?
 
One of my main focuses when writing films are the characters. I’ve seen so many films with generic characters and dialogue.
I love creating characters with relatable attributes. I want characters audiences will care for. This film deals with multiple forms of relationships, from best friends, marriage, to family. These are characters whom are dealing with their own personal issues while being thrown into a horror film setting. Every relationship has it’s ups and downs, some days you laugh, some you cry. The goal is to establish characters , then you throw in some horror elements and blood and see what happens.
7. As the film is about the Dark Arts what kind of evil will we see on display?
 
Well I can’t give everything away haha
What I can say is that the dark arts are a form of religion to some individuals, so what the film will display is how no matter what you believe in or practice you are still apart of something and the lengths people will go to in order to show their devotion.
8. And are you hoping for the film to be as as scary as possible?
 
My mission first and foremost is to entertain audiences. If they find it scary, that’s a bonus.
I’m probably the worst person to ask about something being scary, I’m quite immune to it at this point. haha
I can tell you however that the cast does finds the script to be scary.
9.Can you tell us about the cast?
 
I’m sure almost every director says this when promoting their film, or at least I would hope so.. but I truly have an amazing cast !
Aside from being great actors, they all have respect and support for the genre.
Each actor truly becomes their roles and understands who they are more than I could imagine.
It’s an incredible feeling when your actors are excited about a project. Everyone has been incredibly supportive and involved.
Tricia Brooks (Amy)
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I love pushing actors and bringing them out of their comfort zones. Our lead actress Tricia Brooks is one of them, Most of her previous work is within the comedy genre which is definitely beneficial when it comes to the precision and timing in her performance. It’s been an immense pleasure working with her and bringing out her inner scream queen. Tricia assesses every aspect of what is needed for her role and delivers flawlessly.
Kelsey Zukowski (Scarlet)
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Someone who is no stranger to the scream queen label is Kelsey Zukowski, with over 20 credits within the horror genre Kelsey is an actress who knows what it takes to make fans scream in terror. When casting for the role of Scarlet I knew that in order to convey my vision accurately I needed the goth queen herself, Kelsey Zukowski. Thankfully Ms. Zukowski fell in love with the character and accepted.
Kelsey had the following to say about Who’s There?:
Who’s There?, being inspired by horror films of the 80’s and 90’s, clearly comes from a true horror fan mentality. I think fellow horror fans are really going to be engrossed by the film, having this same sinister and fun tone as so many beloved films that inspired it, but while being its own beast. Most of us involved are hardcore horror fans first and you can tell the project is beaming with passion. Even at our recent poster photoshoot, beginning to touch the surface of these characters and their individual stories, coming together and creating the bigger story, you could see it already coming alive. Michael created a lot of gripping complexities and layers with the story, all of the characters having a different relationship with the light and darkness that has the potential to breed in every one of us. I love that nothing is totally black and white in the film. My character was a strong girl, attracted to the darkness and consumed in black magic, but ultimately was still able to be manipulated enough to be taken over by something far more evil than anything that she could have ever fathomed. This consumed her in death transforming her to be a spirit restlessly haunting the house. Scarlet is not the only thing to fear; unknown malice lies around every corner. There are far more wicked and demanding evil forces than her lurking throughout the house, hungry for fresh torment. That puts our protagonists in a pretty daunting fight for their lives. – Kelsey Zukowski

Maria Olsen (Aunt Morrigan)
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We are truly honored to be working with Maria Olsen. Considered a new horror icon, Maria has more than put in her time within the genre. I have been a fan of Ms. Olsen for many years. As I remember when Maria was just starting out in her career, I can honestly say that I am incredibly proud of her and her success. She is an amazing actress and individual who is one of the hardest working actresses I know.
Jocelyne Watts (Taja)
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Jocelyne is an actress that never disappoints, instead she constantly surprises you with new levels of talent you were unaware of.
Passionate about her craft she commits 110% to her work and does so with a smile. Proving time and time again she is more than a pretty face, this woman can act !
Christopher Huff (William)
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Having Mr.Huff on your production feels like you are working with a seasoned actor who has been in the industry for at least 40 years. Despite his young age, Christopher brings a magnitude of professionalism not commonly found in actors his age. A truly remarkable amount of drive and determination makes Mr.Huff incredibly focused on set and a refreshing experience for any director.
Michael Jude Murphy (Kemper)
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When auditioning actors for this role, there was something specific I was looking to get from the actors performances. Michael gave that something and then some. With a substantial understanding of the character and material, Michael truly brought the character to life.
Anthony Kiyoshi LePage (Tommy)
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An extraordinary martial artist and choreographer, Anthony takes on the role of Tommy with equal skill. Displaying an astute comprehension of the characters mannerisms , LePage possesses the ability to make the character lovable in ways more than even thought possible.
Who’s There?
Written / Directed by Michael A. Isaacs
Cast
Tricia Brooks
Maria Olsen
Jocelyne Watts
Kelsey Zukowski
Christopher Huff
Tori London
Anthony Kiyoshi LePage
Michael Jude Murphy
Ruth Allynn Anderson
Alan Maxson
William Daubert
Aaron Slater
Gina Lee
Produced by
Michael A. Isaacs (American Slaughter)
Jack Hunter (Paranoia Tapes)
Dustin Hubbard (Slaughter Daughter)
Necrocity Entertainment
Southern Sykos Productions
Ruth Allynn Anderson (Line Producer)
Gina Lee (The Right Man)
Gina Lee Productions (in association with)
Crew
Miya Wang ( Make Up Artist )
Daniel Pinto ( SFX / Hair ) 
Andrew Brown ( Make Up Asst)
Vanessa Selik (Photographer )
Douglas Selik (Photographer Asst)
Photo Editor (Michael A. Isaacs)
Sound Recordist (Anthony Kiyoshi LePage )
Score by
Andreas Widegren
Photos: Storybook Imaging
Imdb:
 
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Twitter:
TRIPAN2487
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Written by
Ash Hamilton is not only the owner of Horror-Fix.com, but also one of its major contributors. A long time horror movie enthusiast, Ash has lent his personality to radio and television and continues to support his favorite genre through his writing and art. He also loves beef jerky and puppies... and low-grade street-quality hallucinogens.

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