Volumes of Blood Interview With Cast & Crew

by Matthew Kaiser

Low-budget horror filmmakers discuss their creative process.

I recently had the opportunity to conduct an email interview with the cast and crew of the horror anthology “Volumes of Blood.” It was a terrific experience and it really helped give an idea of what it takes to make this kind of film, as well as some insight into the people that made it happen. Check out my review of the film here.

Lisa Duvall - Special FX Effects and Makeup

Q: What effects did you find most difficult to create? 

A: Encyclopedia Satanica was by far the most challenging. That was a complete look that transitioned as the scenes progressed. The maintenance and making sure the makeup stayed looking fresh was very difficult because of all the movement of the actor.

Q: What are the most important tools you use when creating effects? 

A: I have two... My favorite two items in my makeup kit... scar wax and latex. These two things can provide any wound/look you need for any film. Volumes of Blood

Q: Is this your first film work? If not, what other projects have you worked on?

A: I have worked on a couple other projects. But most of my experience came from "Volumes of Blood." I had to learn fast to keep up with P.J.’s imagination.

Q: What projects do you have coming up?

A: I've been working with Nathan Milliner on an awesome piece that I can't wait for the world to see. A few other smaller projects that I have scripts for are still in pre-production phases.

Q: Who or what do you draw inspiration from? 

A: My inspiration stems from all sorts of things. People, movies, shows like "The Walking Dead" (SPFX-Greg Nicotero) is my absolute favorite show. Michael Spatola, and his books, have taught me so much about FX and how to be more successful in this field.

Q: What, if anything, scares you? 

A: Demons and Germs, both are things we cannot see...  

Q: What's your favorite scary movie? 

A: “The Strangers.”

Eric Huskisson - Actor (Bag Head Killer, The Face, and Himself)

Q: Do you find it difficult playing multiple roles in the film? 

A: I wouldn't say it was difficult. Luckily the shooting schedule worked in my favor. The Baghead killer was a stand-alone shoot and I only remember two of the other nights of having to change back and forth out of the Face costume. One night, in particular, it seemed like P.J. told me to change like a 100 times.

Q: Do you wish that you had more of a speaking role? Or does your acting create a voice for you? 

A: Yes, I do prefer to have more of a speaking role. I have always wanted to play a role like this, so I’m not complaining. I just wish the Face was more of the focal point of the film. Ideally my portrayal would stand out more in people’s minds when they think of the movie. Like Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees do in their films but with the anthology format I understand why it couldn't be.

Q: You are a very imposing figure. What kind of workout/diet plan do you follow? 

A: Chad Rey played the hood in the beginning of the film. He does have a very muscular physique and some cool tattoos. I'm just a regular guy who played the Face the rest of the film.

Q:  How difficult is it to act in a mask? 

A: The mask was hot as hell, that's for sure. It's a bit uncomfortable and you have zero peripheral vision, while it's on. The mask was pretty hard to get on and off and adjust to the look that pleased P.J. So I had to keep it on during all the takes. Needless to say, I was a sweaty mess most nights, but I can't wait for the opportunity to do it all again.

Q: What, if anything scares you? 

A: I don't really believe in ghosts but the idea of them scares the shit out of me. The thought of something appearing, moving on its own, or voices when no one is around, gives me goose bumps for sure. If I ever have a supernatural experience, trust me when I wake up on the floor from passing out, I'll definitely have to change clothes.

Q: Is there a feeling of power in playing the killer? 

A: I enjoyed being the main killer in the movie but I can't say there was any feeling of power that came with it. My kill scenes were in your face quick, without that stalking intimidation in slasher films. I think if the scenes I were in were stretched out, where fear was a factor, there possibly could be.

Q: Is this your first film? If not what other projects have you worked on? 

A: This is my first feature film but I have worked on a few shorts before VOB. My first on screen role was a zombie for P.J. Starks Project “Deathpack: A Deadumentary” in 2013. This zombie scene was also seen in P.J.s “Ghastly” in VOB on the T.V. the librarian was watching. In 2014 I was a PA on “Lucky” through Unscripted at Daviess County Library (P.J.) and played Aetius in “Iscariot: Righteous Assassin” for TPT productions.

Q: Do you have any projects coming up? 

A: Yes, I do as a matter of fact. I played a doctor in the short “Lattie” from Blackstrap pictures, due out this year, and am presently working on “The Confession of Fred Krueger,” a Nathan Milliner film. I'm an Associate Producer for the film and also portraying Freddy’s father.

Q: What's your favorite scary movie? 

A: Hands down "Halloween."

P.J. Starks - Director, Writer, Actor, Producer

Q: What did you draw inspiration from, when making this film? 

A: My inspiration is my love of horror films. We give a multitude of nods, in VOB, to classic horror, such as “Pieces” and “Nail Gun Massacre” and more modern classics like “Paranormal Activity” and “Deep Rising.” When writing the scripts, I thought back on everything I loved about the horror films I grew up on and tried to give homage, when I could.

Q: What, if anything, scares you? 

A: Ironically I'm a hypochondriac, so everything scares me. I guess I'm most terrified of viruses and the random possibility of the earth being struck by an asteroid. I'm also scared of seeing my current credit score. Yikes.

Q: Do you have any upcoming projects? 

A: Right now I'm seeing “Volumes of Blood” through the festival circuit, but I'm in early talks about getting “Volumes of Blood 2” off the ground, at the beginning of next year. I am producing Nathan Milliner’s newest project, it's a “Nightmare on Elm Street” fan film called “The Confession of Fred Krueger.” We just finished shooting a huge bulk recently, and it looks amazing. It'll be in post-production soon. I'm also Executive Producer on a cool new super hero project called “River City Heroes: Ascendance” as well as a drama that focuses on PTSD, that will start shooting in September.

Q: Which do you like best - writing, directing, acting, or producing? Why? 

A: Honestly I like them all, because you can see an idea come to fruition from script to screen. I like acting least because I don't consider myself an actor. I made the decision to act in VOB because I wanted to play a dick director and thankfully it turned out well.

Q: What makes this film stand out from other anthology horror films? 

A: I hate answering this question because I feel like I'm patting us on the back, but I guess what separates our project from other anthologies is its self-aware nature and that we make so many nods to the films that did it right before us. I've actually had someone tell me that we made the “Scream” of anthology horror films. Which is a fantastic compliment because that is one of the films that we honor from dialogue to tone and, in some cases, score. We never take ourselves too seriously, and that really seems to make the film a fun ride. We've gotten some incredible reviews and one of them basically said that we have reinvigorated the subgenre. I don't think any of us set out to get that kinda reaction or kudos. We're just a bunch of horror movie nerds that wanted to make a horror flick and hang out. So far it’s been a cool and unexpected ride.

Q: What's your favorite scary movie? 

A: This is another question that I hate because I don't have one answer. I can't even narrow down my favorites to just ten, but I'll try... “Return of the Living Dead,” “From Dusk Till Dawn,” “Hell Night,” “Halloween,” “Planet Terror,” “Let Sleeping Corpses Lie,” “The Prowler,” “Frozen” and not the Disney flick; “The Mist,” “The Fog,” “The Thing,” "The Hills Have Eyes” and the remake, “Dawn of the Dead” and the remake, “The Guest,” “Monster Squad,” and a crap ton more.

Nathan Thomas Milliner - Writer, Artist, Director

Q: What made you want to get involved in this particular project?

A: It was kind of simple really. I just wanted to direct another film. I had directed my first feature and wrapped filming it in 2012, so it had been over 2 years since I had been on a film set and I really had the itch, with little prospect to direct again with my busy schedule. But Volumes of Blood was this short segment shot in one night and seemed to be something that would allow me to make another movie without the time it takes to make a feature film. I was almost ready to step away from horror as well, but there was a part of me that really wanted to make something really scary or creepy, and work in the supernatural/possession/ghost subgenre of horror, as that was always the genre that scared me most growing up. I had done a slasher film and a zombie film and those aren’t really scary genres to me. Ghosts and demons. That stuff creeps me out. So when I was given three scripts to pick from the first two did very little for me, but Encyclopedia Satanica was exactly what I was looking for. At its core, it was all there, but I really wanted to rework it. Amp up the scares and take the tone to a more serious and epic scale than what was on the page. When P.J. told me I could rewrite the script and make it all my own, I jumped head first into it and I can say that Satanica was an awakening for me. It revitalized my love for the genre and for making films. I am extremely proud of this film.

Q: How has the horror genre effected your life? 

A: It has given me a career. I became a horror fanatic in 1988 at the age of 12. By way of the "Nightmare on Elm Street" films. I started drawing monsters and boogeymen all of the time. I moved into doing comics for about 20 years, but film was always my passion, and horror was always one of my favorite genres. One day I picked up a copy of HorrorHound Magazine. Their second issue. I loved it and wrote the editor about maybe doing work for them. They weren’t hiring but two years later they added me to their staff as a writer and an artist and, from there, things were off. The horror community really embraced my work and I found a home within it. Today I have been lucky enough to work with some of the biggest companies out there, waving that horror flag like HorrorHound Magazine, Scream Factory, Synapse, Fright Rags, Trick or treat Studios and NECA. Horror has become my place.

Q: What, if anything, scares you? 

A: Horror to me is all about our fears of death. So death is the simplest answer. Because it covers it all. Everything we fear is really about our fear of demise. I think the biggest area for me is loss. On both ends. Losing those I love or having to leave those I love behind. Especially as a father. That is the scariest thing in life. That one day, we’re all destined to die.

Q: Do you have any upcoming projects?

A: I am currently writing and directing a "Nightmare on Elm Street" fan film titled “The Confession of Fred Krueger.” It is a prequel to the original 1984 film. We are almost completed on that and hoping to premiere it at HorrorHound Weekend in Indianapolis this September. I have two other possible film projects, and of course the countless blu-ray covers, album covers, magazine work, action figure packaging art and tee shirt designs I am working on daily. Most of that stuff is confidential of course.

Q: What do you draw inspiration from?

A: Life and mostly the films I grew up loving. Artists and writers are observers and we see everything in great detail. From the way people talk, to the way they dress, act and treat one another. I am always inspired by mankind, psychology, and human consciousness. I want to capture real life in my art. I am far more into that than the fantastic.

Q: What's your favorite scary movie? 

A: One could probably guess this but 1984’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” It is what started it all for me and I just find it so rich with story, color and imagination. The character of Fred Krueger, as this very unique boogeyman in all possibilities, from the way he dresses, speaks, laughs, lurks, haunts, morphs, and his choice in weapon. He’s an amazing creation with endless, sinister possibilities. And balanced out by Nancy who is one of the strongest female characters of her time. Apart from maybe Ripley, I don’t know if we had seen another final girl who immediately faced and hunted down her oppressor. When you watch that film, you can see that Nancy is taking care of everyone else in the film. She is looking out for them and on at least 2 or 3 of the dreams, Nancy is actually going in to find Freddy. Not running away from him.

Q: How do you balance your writing, art, and film-making? 

A: I don’t know. Help me?!! It’s not only my writing, art and movie making, but I work for UPS and have a 6-year old to raise. It’s hard and it requires a lot of compromising, planning, saying no when you have to, realizing when you need to stop and give your time to those who need you most and are most important to you. Life is short and opportunity will pass you by so if the chances are there then take them and find a way to make them work within your schedule. This can all be done, you just have to want it and love it enough to get off your butt and make it happen. It’s simply hard work, a lack of rest (creative people have a hard time turning their brains off) and a drive to get better at what you do, and to simply always be creating and working. Artists are like sharks. If we stop, we die.






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