Exclusive: 1st “WE ARE STILL HERE” set pics, filmmakers talk Fulci influence
It’s a brisk, very chilly morning when Fango visits the upstate-New York location of the grisly ghost story WE ARE STILL HERE (from which we brought back exclusive photos you can see below). But things have clearly been heating up in the rural house the filmmakers have commandeered for the occasion, judging by the splattery remnants scattered around the interiors.
“We had a gore gag go off in here that literally painted the entire ceiling red,” says writer/director Ted Geoghegan (1st photo below), pointing up to where traces of red are still visible. “We not only washed it, we had to repaint parts of it, but you can still see it.”
Indeed you can, and you’ll be seeing a lot more of the crimson in WE ARE STILL HERE, which we first reported on here and stars RE-ANIMATOR’s Barbara Crampton (2nd photo) and UPSTREAM COLOR’s Andrew Sensenig (pictured above with Crampton) as a couple grieving the death of their son who move into the rustic home, where they run afoul of the resident evil spirits. The latter are named the Dagmars, and if that name strikes a familiar chord with Lucio Fulci fans, that’s entirely intentional.
“Almost every single person in the film is named after someone from a Fulci movie,” Geoghegan reveals. “Most of them are named after characters or actors from HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY, or Americanized versions of them; for example, there’s a character named Cat, after [HOUSE and THE BEYOND stary] Catriona MacColl. One of the ghosts is just called Dagmar, but I jokingly say his name is Lassander Dagmar, after [HOUSE actress] Dagmar Lassander. Pretty much everyone has a Fulci reference, except for the elderly patriarch of the town, Dave McCabe, played by Monte Markham, who’s been in a ton of stuff over the years. Dave McCabe is named after a character in SORORITY BABES IN THE SLIMEBALL BOWL-O-RAMA, another favorite of mine. It’s my only step away from Eurohorror, to include just a little slice of cheese that I love.”
Contributing a Fulci-esque visual texture to WE ARE STILL HERE is cinematographer Karim Hussain (3rd photo), shooting his first film in the U.S. following Canadian features like ANTIVIRAL and HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN, with a rig that’s appropriately named given the genre. “We’re one of the first feature films to use RED’s new camera, the RED DRAGON,” he says. “We’re shooting in a certain way to make it look similar to the image texture that those Fulci movies, which were shot in two-perf Techniscope, would have. We’re also using older lenses to replicate that look, and special filters and things like that throughout. It’s a very conscious choice to capture a particularly grainy image that’s similar to how two-perf looked, because two-perf used a very small portion of the negative, and therefore the images were much grainier. If you look at some of the Fulci Blu-rays, you can see they put a lot of noise reduction on them to try to knock down the grain. But on the ones that didn’t do that, you see just how grainy two-perf was, and that’s the feeling we want. We’re not doing it in postproduction; we’re exposing the movie in such a way that that grain is organically integrated into the image, to give a very filmic feeling to what’s going on.”
WE ARE STILL HERE also stars New York horror stalwart Larry Fessenden (4th photo) and SLEEPY HOLLOW and MARS ATTACKS’ Lisa Marie (5th photo), with makeup FX by Marcus Koch, and is produced by Travis Stevens (6th photo with Geoghegan) of Snowfort Pictures, which is collaborating on the film with MPI/Dark Sky Films. Look for more on WE ARE STILL HERE at this site and in the pages of Fango as it approaches release! See the movie’s Facebook page here.