Humble, haunted and a pioneer, filmmaker Eduardo Sanchez seems to be one of the true pillars of the modern horror filmmaking era. Films like the BLAIR WITCH PROJECT truly scared people throughout every ounce of their being. ALTERED redefined the alien sub-genre of horror. V/H/S 2 reintroduced Ed to fans of a new generation of horror on a simple bike ride of the undead. EXISTS took his love of the Bigfoot to an all too close level of discomfort…
No matter the style of filmmaking, themes that arise from his storytelling or a masterful collaboration of technology and vision, Eduardo has been held in true high regard as a “Master of Horror” for the last 15 years with a legacy that will influence for generations. Now branching out into television with “Supernatural” and “From Dusk Till Dawn,”along with collaboration on the new BLAIR WITCH project, his true masterpiece and what I believe to be his most personal work comes like a mounting scream deep in the countryside and on the canvas of abuse, addiction, dark psychosis and true dread that is the LOVELY MOLLY. Wanting to continue to understand this infamous journey that connects to so many, we had time before Eduardo’s next project came calling like the haunting tones in Molly’s childhood home.
We thank Eduardo Sanchez so much for his time as we welcomed him into THE NIGHT MARKET to journey into the darkness of LOVELY MOLLY in this two-part conversation. Part two talks the performance and talent of the film, development of the narrative, camera work and the things that go bump in Molly’s night here on TOM HOLLAND’S TERROR TIME.
Terror Time (Jay Kay): How much did you rely on Gretchen Lodge’s, Johnny Lewis’ and Alexandra Holden’s performances to carry that reality into the darkness?
Eduardo Sanchez: A whole hell of a lot. I put a lot of responsibility on my actors. I don’t like to give them too much direction as far as performance is concerned, especially in early takes. I thrive on the surprises they bring to the material – it’s almost always better than what I had in my head and these actors certainly surprised me every day we were shooting…
TT: Were you amazed by their force of nature performances, especially Gretchen who laid it all out there?
ES: I was in awe, honestly. All three leads did an amazing job and Gretchen just gave me a performance that elevated the writing and directing to a whole new level. Force of nature is a good way to describe what she did in this film.
TT: Was it intentional that we don’t know much about Molly’s back-story and issues?
ES: I didn’t want to crowd it too much with back-story. I did enough to set up what was happening (or at least gave you an idea) but I feel like this kind of horror movie had to concentrate on the moments we shared with Molly along her dark journey. I wanted it to be of the moment; about sitting there and seeing what was happening to this young woman.
TT: What did the location, Gretchen’s performance and the house offer you?
ES: Just instant and constant inspiration. The house was like a gift – creepy and super-secluded, down a long, woods-lined driveway. Perfect vibe. And an owner that was cool with us taking over for a few months! Gretchen was the ultimate gift – a truly fearless young actress to take the inspiration of that house and my words and create a character like Molly in all her disturbing beauty.
TT: What research or personal connections went into the aspect of the horrors addiction, abuse and Molly’s psychosis?
ES: Luckily, not many personal – I’ve been pretty lucky. But I did look into some case studies and of course have heard heart-breaking stories of this kind of thing. With Molly and her addiction and psychological breakdown, I wanted to touch on certain aspects of it but didn’t want to be limited by the reality of those situations. I definitely wanted to touch on real events but also wanted to push this into somewhat of a supernatural direction. I never wanted it to be clear either way.
TT: What were the conversations like with Gretchen, cinematographer John Rutland and makeup artist Karin Darnell to convey the terror behind these two aspects as well as the divide in her marriage?
ES: We definitely wanted to track her downward spiral throughout the film using all the techniques we could to keep it interesting but not go too far too soon. We basically came up with a Molly at her best and Molly at her worse, and then came up with the stages inbetween. Costuming was also important. How does a person going through this dress herself? That was something Gretchen and I would talk about, especially in the later scenes.
That final scene was written with no clothing description but we both decided that Molly would not have the sense to even dress herself in her final condition. Gretchen didn’t hesitate at all doing it the way she did.
TT: Was it always planned to incorporate the aspect of POV and the confessions of the lead character?
ES: Yes. The original idea by Jamie was for a totally found footage film. Once I started writing, I started getting frustrated by the limitations of that style. But I didn’t want to lose the aspects of found footage that were really working in the story. So I figured I’d mix the two and see what happened.
TT: For me, this is one of the most effective and terrifying uses of the camera as part of her possession or psychosis. Were you worried how fans would react to this film being another semi-found footage film?
ES: I was worried that it wouldn’t work at all. I had never really seen it done like this. And yes, I definitely didn’t want to make another totally found footage film at the time.
TT: How does the video camera break down each of the characters you have written over the years?
ES: It just has a way of planting the audience into an altered sense of hyperreality that only existed in documentaries before found footage came around. It’s a great tool for breaking down story barriers and bringing a certain raw aspect to everything … if done correctly.
We are so very humbled Eduardo made time for Terror Time! Looking forward for masterpieces in the future from this talented man!
(Images from Google)
Interview Conducted by Jay Kay @HorrorHappensFF