Today Rumseys sits down with filmmaker Robert Conway to chat about his new film Krampus: The Reckoning (released yesterday on DVD and Digital). Krampus tells the story of a child called Zoe whose ‘imaginary friend’ winds up not being so imaginary, in fact he is the horrifying Krampus who is a sort of inverse Santa Claws. Probablly more like what the Nightmare Before Christmas characters imagined Santa looked like…. Krampus is not jsut a dark Santa though as he gets up to all sorts of mischief at Christmas, not giving out presents, but instead tracking down those who weren’t so good, torturing them and then dragging their screaming souls down to the fiery pit below! Nice. Here’s Robert to talk about the film in more detail…
Hi Robert, thanks for the interview. First do you want to tell our readers a bit about Krampus: The Reckoning?
Thanks for having me. Frist I would like to tell everyone that Krampus: The Reckoning is a film I’m very proud of. I had an amazing cast and crew on this and I think I’m being objective by saying we made a scary fun little movie that I think audiences will enjoy. Our film is a bit of a mystery/horror with a series of twists, turns and I think will keep people guessing until the end. And it stars Krampus so how can we go wrong?
The Krampus seems to be in vogue as a horror villain right now; he’s already featured in A Christmas Horror Story, and there are six other Krampus films either in development or released in the last three years. What is it about this character that resonates with people, and why does he seem to have only just been “discovered”?
Well it’s true that 2015 is the year when Krampus makes his long overdue American splash, the legend of Krampus is by some accounts, older then Christianity dating all the way back to pre-Roman times. He’s been a big star in Germany and Austria for a long time now and it’s great to play a part in brining him to an American audience. I have no good answer as to why such a cool and charismatic character has taken so long to hit here in America but I think the reason so many of us are fascinated by him is that he is truly magical. He is a dark fantasy of an avenging spirit who punishes the wicked and adds a little fright to a holiday so synonymous with light and fluffy things.
You must have to keep an eye on the trends in horror and genre cinema. Is there any type of film you’d really like to see come back, or to make yourself?
There are two that I miss. First are gangster films in the vain of White Heat. James Cagney was the man and making a fun shoot em up filmed in high contrast black and white is a dream of mine. The second would have to be the old swashbuckler adventure stories like the films Errol Flynn used to make. The ballet of violence via intense but graceful swordplay is something we kind of did away with in favour of realism. I miss the fun of the more fantastical.
How do your own projects tend to come about? Do you work from a story pitch, or finish a script before seeking funding?
Most of the time I think of an idea that I want to do. A film I would really like to make and a story that interest me. Of course it’s great when your film sells well and that makes life a lot easier but we can never predict what will hit and what will miss. For me I keep my budgets lower so that we stand a good chance to cover our cost. Micro budget filmmaking is limiting but no one wants to loose a lot of someone else’s money and if I did, I wouldn’t be making films for very long.
I need to work all the time. That’s when I happy. I need to be on one stage or another on a project that I centre my life around or I get stir-crazy. It can be difficult at times but keeping busy keeps me happy. I get a lot of fulfilment out of creating things and working in all stages of production and I’m very lucky that I get to do what I love and pay the rent at the same time.
Here at mrrumsey.com, we were fond of your found-footage feature, The Encounter. As an independent filmmaker, were you gratified by the recent success of found footage?
First, Thank You! It’s always nice when you hear your work is appreciated. Found footage is a cool genre and I’m glad I did it but it was far more difficult than I thought it would be. Keeping the narrative compelling without the aid of music and convectional editing seemed at times, a daunting task. My goal is always to keep the audience engaged in the story and when you remove some of the basic elements of filmmaking, this can be a challenge. But new challenges are fun. They are adventures in the way all film should be. When I was a kid picking up a camera for the first time I needed to figure everything out and that really hasn’t changed for me because I try to make each one of my films very different from the last.
How did you find that style of filmmaking affected the way you approached direction? How did it affect your actors?
The actors hated it for the same reason my DP hated it. I’m telling people to break all the rules that are so ingrained in us as filmmakers and actors such as telling people to look at the camera or telling the DP that shot was too good. Too smooth. It needs to be more chaotic. We did that entire film hand held to make sure we never lost that “real” feeling.
The Encounter also made the most of its low budget with some efficient CGI. What do you think about the impact of CGI on independent filmmaking?
It’s opened up our world and expanded our options and freed us up to put very high budget items in our stories. CGI is a great recourse and often the only option for filmmakers on a tight budget.
As much as I think CGI is amazing, to me the best CGI works in conjunction with practical’s but I don’t ever want to imagine a world were CGI would totally replace practicals as we would loose a lot. In Krampus, as in all my films we use a mix of both.
In addition to Krampus: The Reckoning, you’ve also got Breakdown Lane coming soon. Do you want to tell us a bit about that movie?
Well credit for that film really goes to writer/director Bob Shultz. My involvement was limited to writing some additional scenes and then filming them. I think we made some good contributions to Bob’s story.
What other projects have you got coming up in the future? What would you really like to do?
Right now I’m working on a demonic possession film in the vain of the Omen or Exorcist and it’s the centre of my world but as for the future beyond that, I don’t know yet. Once this one’s in the can, I’ll figure that out.
And that’s all folks! Krampus: The Reckoning was released on DVD and Digital November 3, will you be seeing it? Let us know in the comment box below!