The following is a transcription of an interview I conducted with Jeremy Kasten, director of “The Attic Expeditions” on March 31 following a sneak-screening of the horror film at the Dead by Dawn film festival in Edinburgh, Scotland.
DD: Hi, I’m Simon with DarkDestinies.uk. May I ask you some questions?
DD: First of all, what did you think of the response?
JK: Pretty incredible. We hadn’t screened the film for an audience until Luxembourg last week, so this is all very fresh to me. The crowd here is great! Rowdy, true fans with really great senses of humour. It doesn’t hurt that the theatre was packed either. I swear I had all but quit smoking before this trip. Have you got a light?
DD: You seem to have made a film that would be terribly difficult to summarize. How did you explain what it was about to get people interested when you were starting?
JK: I asked them to read the script mostly. Truly, I think the script itself is what attracted our cast, it’s very wordy, but I’d like to think in a good way. People who got it really got it, and everyone else we probably didn’t want to work with anyway. The reason, in fact, that I got excited about Andras Jones [who plays the lead, Trevor], was that he got his hands on the script and started emailing me extensive letters citing influences on the writing, really obscure stuff, actually. And Andras lives in another state, and for a film this small to bring an actor in from out of town and feed him and house him, well it’s pretty unheard of. Luckily Andras was game and stayed right in the house that was our location. I think I got off track, though. Did I answer the question?
DD: You’ve put together a cast of interesting horror film actors, Wendie Robie, Alice Cooper, Ted Rami, Jeffery Combs and Seth Green. How did they become involved and what did it take to entice them?
JK: As I said, I think it was the fact that we had an intelligent script with well-fleshed out characters and real surprises. A lot of credit should go to the Rogan, uh, the writer, Rogan Marshall, for that. You’ll have to excuse me for the late hours and the drinking everyone here expects you to keep up with. I, um, I must say, I think our enthusiasm helped too. Not just with the cast, but to get vendors with stuff we needed excited. You can get your crane shot if you can talk the guy who
owns a crane into bringing it down to the set for a few hours for free.
DD: So all you paid for was the cast?
JK: In truth we paid them very little. The actor’s union in LA has become much more friendly to independent film in the last few years and made it possible to hire someone for very little with some cash on the backend, when the picture sells. Seth, and, in fact most of the cast, worked for $75.00 [45.00] a day.
DD: Your producer, Dan, told me to ask you about a ceremony that you performed on the set.
JK: I think Dan wanted to see if he could get you to throw me off so I will answer that, even though there was a bit of swearing to secrecy involved. Before starting shooting Rogan, who can be a little touched in the head if you know what I mean, had the idea that we should have some kind of ritual performed in the house to ensure a safe and successful film. It sounded fun and the idea of being involved in some real ceremonial magic before shooting a film about magic was appealing on many levels. We hired a guy from a local temple of some sort that Rogan found, and me, Seth, Rogan, Andras and Shannon (another actor in the film) were led through some pretty weird stuff. Lots of repeating after the guy and doing specific movements. What was kind of weird about it was that it felt like it took an hour or two, but the sun was coming
up when we left the house.
DD: Did you have to sacrifice anyone?
JK: What do you mean by that? Of course not.
DD: What are some of your favourite films?
JK: I grew up on horror films. I, of course, love The Exorcist”, “Texas Chainsaw”, the third “Exorcist” film is amazing. Then, of course, there’s “Suspiria”. Oh, know what, it’s time for the next show. Can we continue later?
Unfortunately we never met up again that night. But suffice it to say, if you get the chance, “The Attic Expeditions” is a very interesting horror film.
Simon Johnson, “DARK DESTINIES”