Putting It to “Sleep”: An Interview with Director Phillip Guzman

phillipguzman

Phillip Guzman is a lifelong film film fan who got his start directing an action film in 2007, The Lawless. He then delved into crime dramas and a short film. His first foray into the horror genre, Dead Awake, had inspired him to make another film, which would eventually evolve thanks to writer Jason Murphy, to his latest film Sleep No More, coming to DVD, VOD, and Digital HD on October 2 from RLJE Films.

World Film Geek had the chance to talk to Guzman about his latest film.

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Thank you so much Phillip for talking about Sleep No More. This was a very tense film and I mean that in a good way. It was better than I expected after seeing the trailer.
That’s awesome man! Thank you so much! I’m pretty excited at how the film turned out and having such a great cast in the film. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

What interested you in directing Sleep No More?
My friend (and co-star) Brea Grant sent me the script. Interestingly enough, I was working on a script for a similar project called Specter, which was about a group of college students as well and I got this script from Jason Turner and I was blown away because I had a similar premise. So that’s how I got involved with the film.

Have you always been a horror film fan?
I love genre films. I love horror films, sci-fi, and gritty crime films. Yeah, I definitely love horror films.

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Stephen Ellis as Dale and Keli Price as Joe in Sleep No More (RLJE Films)

What was it like working with the cast? I thought they did a great job on the film?
They were great. We have some up-and-coming actors. I mean Keli [Price] was great. Brea is one of my best friends. Stephen [Ellis], who plays Dale, he was just as fun off the set as he was on the set. Christine [Dwyer] was great too. Lukas Gage was great as well. This was such a great experience. We had a lot of patience. We never really had an issue. We knew what we were going for and I think we succeeded.

What was your favorite part about the film?
The “Night Vulture” scenes (laughs).

I have to mention this, for those who don’t know what Phillip is talking about, the “Night Vulture” is a movie that Dale watches in one scene that is supposed to be like an 80’s cheesy horror film.
(Laughs). Yes, that was so much fun and our producer, James LaMarr, plays the Vulture in that scene. We decided to come up with this idea of making a film and I asked James if he wanted to be a part of it. He said yes, so I went to the make-up effects team and found this mask that looks like a vulture. I was so excited and asked to use it. I saw this model, Amanda Myers, and I just asked her if she is willing to get naked for this one scene and she said yeah I’ll do it. So we shot it in six hours and it was a lot of fun. It truly is like those 80’s cheesy horror films.

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Christine Dwyer as Molly in Sleep No More (RLJE Films)

Well, I am all for a Night Vulture feature film (Laughs). That’s one of my favorite genre of films, the classic 80’s slasher films full of cheese.
I totally agree, maybe that’s something I can look into down the road. (Laughs).

What difficulties did you face during shooting?
Not many really, just the weather. We shot in the summer in Austin, Texas and it was all in this one building. And we’re talking very hot. We had a few difficulties with the visual effects, but it was mostly with the weather. I mean it was really hot, but we were able to get one of the rooms cooled off, so when we finished shooting, we would take the actors to this room to cool off.

Shooting in Austin during the summer reminded me of the story of making the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, where they were shooting outdoors in 110-degree weather and there were so many stories. But, from what it sounds like, this was a much smoother experience.
It definitely was. We all worked together to get this made and we were able to do it despite the heat.

Are there any new projects in the works that you can discuss?
Yeah, I produced a few films and I am working on a film that is going to be a giallo-style slasher film that’s in the works.

Sleep No More comes to DVD, VOD, and Digital HD on October 2. Those who are looking for a good indie horror film about the potential dangers of no sleep, then this is your film. Thank you again Phillip for talking about the film.
Thank you so much!

A Special Thank You goes to Katrina Wan PR and Phillip Guzman for making this interview possible.

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