The Void: Director Jeremy Gillespie discusses the acclaimed Canadian horror movie
Primarily known for their tongue-in-cheek work as two of the members of Astron-6, the filmmaking collective behind cult classics such as Father’s Day, Manborg and The Editor, directors Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie through genre fans quite the curve ball this year by co-directing a laughless, scary as hell cult and monster-filled ride called The Void (out now on Blu-ray, DVD and all digital platforms). A terrifyingly intense film, The Void invokes Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness, Fulci’s The Beyond and even a bit of Hellraiser in there for good measure, forming a scary flick that features tonal nods to those films, while also standing firmly on its own as this writer’s favorite horror film of the year thus far. We caught up with Gillespie to chat about The Void, the inspiration behind it and the seamless marriage of practical and digital FX found in the film.
ComingSoon.net: You both really knocked it out of the park with The Void. Being familiar with your work for quite some time, it was awesome to see you and Steven give genre fans such an intense, terror-filled film. It’s my favorite horror film of the year so far.
Gillespie: Holy s**t dude, thank you!
CS: The Void has a really cool vibe to it, and it’s interesting to see the approach to it, plot-wise. I’m curious where the inspiration for the film came from?
Gillespie: Around 2011, I was working on a movie and I was in an office that was adjacent to where they were putting together Guillermo del Toro‘s At the Mountains of Madness. I remember hearing him talk about how they were going to do Lovecraft like you’ve never seen Lovecraft before and I was like, “WHOA, what does that mean?! That sounds amazing.” I was always trying to sneak over there and see if I could catch a glimpse of anything but I never did. That kind of really got the wheels turning in my head. A lot of the imagery for The Void was somewhat born out of that. I pitched the idea to Steve and we kind of mashed that together with another idea that we had and that’s how we came up with it. That was the starting point and I would say that the rest of it just came out of conversations we’d have.
CS: There’s definitely a Lovecraft vibe to it but It has a very unique feeling to it that’s all its own. Where those films ones that you two were thinking of when putting it together?
Gillespie: We’re fans of those movies for sure. I think early on, when we discussed the tone of the movie we were interested in making, Prince of Darkness definitely fell into that. That was the vibe we were going for, that kind of apocalyptic, doom-y vibe. We didn’t spend a lot of time talking about movies, aside from visual references, where we mentioned Alien or No Country for Old Men, as far as lighting and color and stuff like that. At the same time though, when you’re making a film filled with practical effects like that, it’s almost impossible not to reference films like The Fly, The Thing or The Blob.
CS: The film really utilizes the combination of practical and digital FX. The practical FX are top notch but I noticed how great some of the digital FX visual elements to the film were as well. In a time where a lot of film fans are quick to discount digital FX, do you feel that the combination of both can work out just as well?
Gillepsie: Yeah, it all depends on what you’re trying to achieve. The idea that a lot of people have that nobody is using practical fx anymore or that everything has to be digital and that in their eyes, digital sucks in a really odd way to think. Digital fx work best when you don’t even know you’re looking at digital FX and practical FX always looks best when you’re having someone interact with them, it just looks better when you’re lighting a real thing.
CS: It was great to see Art Hindle and Kenneth Welsh in the film. Did you have either of them in mind when you were putting the film together?
Gillespie: We didn’t really have an idea of what the film would eventually be when we were writing it, but we got really lucky with the cast. They all came together very nicely and worked together really well, it was great working with all of them. The elevated the material, that’s for sure.
CS: I’m a big fan of films that are set in almost just one location, it forces the filmmakers to really make character-driven pieces. Was that something that you guys intended from day one?
Gillespie: That was definitely our intention. We said, “This is going to be our SMALL movie.” and I guess this is what our small movie ends up being (laughs). I’m the same way you are, I love movies that are small, restricted films and it’s always perfect for horror movies. It really allows you to focus on the characters and story, rather than going into outer space or something like that. I think limiting yourself can push you to make better films in a lot of ways.