The Films That Influenced AMONG US

It's funny to see this pic I took with the films I had the cast watch prior to filming....

The film I set out to make definitely falls within the "horror" genre, but I wanted to make something more than just a ghost story.  I was interested in exploring broken people, who were dealing with loss and the inability to move forward. People who weren't in a perfect relationship...

This would be a tragic love story set against the backdrop of a haunted house. 

So, in a sense, I wanted to play in a sandbox with some horror genre tropes -- but then put a twist on it by actually emphasizing a character driven story. I wasn't as concerned with the how and why of the haunting as I was about how the people dealt with it --- and each other. 

So this stack of films (pictured above) is what I watched as I co-wrote the script with my brother (Mike King) and as we were filming it in Maine.  They all represent various stories about survival, whether it be against some type of external force (nature/creature) -- or even more interestingly -- with other people. 

While filming the ending of the movie -- and even more so while editing the last sequence with Jamie Cobb -- 3 film endings came to mind.

The first 2 were David Cronenberg's THE FLY (1986) and LET'S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH (1971). There's something absolutely lovely about how bold these movies are on how to close a film. In them, when the story ends, it ends. There's no fluff. No tacked on epilogue. After trying few endings, the one we used just felt natural. Everything else felt a bit forced. It was really liberating to have these films guide me and give the confidence to just do what we did. (Note: we actually filmed an alternate ending. It's included in the DVD and Blu-ray bonus features)

THE ENTITY (1982) was also a huge influence on how to close AMONG US. I won't spoil their ending, but there are some title cards that close the film that still brings chills every time I think of them. They leave you with more questions than answers -- and I love that. Not knowing why can be way more frightening than knowing.

So hopefully, people will feel the same about the ending of AMONG US, in that it will generate discussion. Those are the kinds of films that stay with me. I can only hope that AMONG US does the same for audiences.

See the film // iTunes // Blu-ray // DVD

Available on Cable VOD August 8th

De Palma's Vision

It’s no secret I love De Palma. He's one of my favorite filmmakers and is such a genius with his visual style. I finally got to play with split diopter shots in my latest film UNNERVED,  which are mainly influenced by De Palma & other 70s films.

Here's an interview with him during his press junket for THE UNTOUCHABLES. He drops the fact that both Harrison Ford and Mel Gibson were also in the running for the role of 'Elliot Ness', ultimately played by Kevin Costner.

Here's a shot by shot analysis of the famous train step sequence from THE UNTOUCHABLES.

Vashi Visuals (@vashikoo) explains the split diopter shot and shows us how they're used so effectively in BLOW OUT.

A great montage on how he loves to use the overhead shot.






The best thing I love about his films is that they are spectacularly amazing -- or spectacularly awful. But he doesn't stop. Success or fail, he keeps going.

Rumblings from the Mancave: UNNERVED update

I love seeing this photo. Our UNNERVED editor Jamie Cobb has been working her ass off shaping this film to where it is now. To see her be able to sit back and take it all in makes me smile. She's doing some amazing things with this cut that I would've never done myself, which is a great thing. Certain scenes I shot have been cut in ways I didn't expect, and that's exciting. That's an editor. I wonder if she'll start letting me call her my Thelma.