The founder of Seraph Films, Gene Blalock can be described as a master storyteller. He is best known for his work in making horror films with human perspectives in his characters. He has won numerous accolades for his work. His latest film, The Nightmare Gallery, is now available on VOD platforms from Gravitas Ventures.
World Film Geek had the opportunity to interview Blalock via e-mail about his love for horror and this latest film.
How long have you been a horror film fan?
I’ve always been attracted to the macabre. When I was younger, I would read books by Poe. My friend, Patrick, and I would watch all-day monster-movie marathons on Saturday… I guess I always empathized with the outsiders, the cast offs who didn’t fit in.
Who would you consider your inspirations?
I think my biggest inspirations for stories and story-telling come from my own life experiences and the emotions surrounding those events. My father used to tell us scary stories and I remember the drama, the tension that he managed to create, and I try to emulate that. As for influences in film-making, I have a few directors who really made an impact in the way they tell stories – Steven Spielberg, Tim Burton, and David Lynch have definitely helped me find my own voice.
Let’s talk about The Nightmare Gallery. What attracted you to direct the film?
I met Jhan [Harp], the writer, a year or so before starting this film and he wanted to do a project together. We produced a low budget short film together and decided we should pursue something larger. He brought me the script for what was then titled Gnosis. I knew this was going to be an intellectual, dialogue-heavy film, but I liked the connection between the characters and yet, at the same time, how strong and independent they were.
What was it like working with the cast?
The cast was amazing. It was a long casting process, almost six months, if I recall. But I was fortunate enough to get to work with some really strong talent. Each of them brought a unique insight into their character and really helped shaped the film. I hope to get to work with all of them again.
Is there any particular scene you would consider your favorite in terms of shooting and how it came out?
All of the dream sequences were a lot of fun to shoot because we weren’t restrained by logic. Dreams can be a stream of consciousness that makes for beautiful and horrible images. One of my favorite scenes is in the film, but a much more streamlined and edited down version. I wish I could have kept the original edit in there…
Were there any difficulties you had to endure during production?
When we do a low-budget, indie feature such as this, everyday has its own particular set of challenges. You never have enough time or money to really achieve what you have in your head… you have producers worried about making your day or going into overtime… you don’t have the gear you need to do a particular shot… but that often forces creativity. You start to push what you can do with what you do have… but it does get stressful at times.
Are there any new projects in the works that you can talk about that fans can look out for after The Nightmare Gallery?
I just directed a dark drama feature called Carpe Noctem which should be completed later this year. Also, Seven Days in Mexico, a documentary feature I directed a few years back is finally getting released. Currently, the first episode of a sci-fi web series I am directing is streaming on YouTube. I hate being bored!
Thank you so much Gene for talking about The Nightmare Gallery and I hope it becomes a hit!
More info about The Nightmare Gallery film can be found at http://www.thenightmaregallery.film
A Special Thank You goes to Wendy Shepherd at Studio Matrix PR and Gene Blalock for making this interview possible.