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Exclusive Clip; Q&A: Jeremy Gillespie and Steve Kostanski on “THE VOID”

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When it comes to horror, there always seems to be an international renaissance of genre entertainment strong and consistent enough to influence the zeitgeist as a whole. In Japan, “J-Horror” reigned supreme, followed by the French Extremity movement and then the South American horror revolution. But now, it seems the Great White North is having it’s time in the sun, with Canadian filmmakers such as The Soska Sisters, Jason Eisener, Denis Villeneuve, and Lowell Dean bringing old school horror aesthetics from the ’70s and ’80s to the table with contemporary storytelling methods. But perhaps no Canadian filmmakers have translated these aesthetics into pure cinematic chaos as well as Astron-6, unleashing both MANBORG and FATHER’S DAY upon an unsuspecting public, and now, two of Astron-6’s members are now venturing into something much more visceral: THE VOID…

That’s right: Jeremy Gillespie and Steve Kostanski, the VFX/SFX masterminds in Astron-6 who were also behind the “W is for Wish” segment in THE ABCs OF DEATH 2 are back and are tackling their most frightening project to date, THE VOID, turning to Indiegogo to make sure the film happens with their unique brand of splattery top tier practical SFX. But make no mistake, their proof-of-concept (which you can see at the Indiegogo above) posits something much more serious and terrifying than we might be accustomed from the horror collective. FANGORIA caught up with Gillespie and Kostanski about entering THE VOID, allowing us to debut an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at how they made their bloody proof-of-concept teaser, which you can see following the Q&A below!

FANGORIA: How did you come up with the concept for THE VOID?

JEREMY GILLESPIE: I was reading an interview with Guillermo Del Toro, back when he was working on AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS, and he said something to the effect of “We’re doing Lovecraft monsters in a way no one has ever seen before.” I instantly had a vision of what that meant to me, and it’s an image very key to THE VOID, that everything built off of. I had also been watching ‘70s horror movies obsessively, and I kind of melded two ideas together. I pitched it to Steve and it evolved from there.

STEVE KOSTANSKI: Jer told me he liked the idea of setting a horror movie in a hospital, and because of our mutual love of EXORCIST 3, HALLOWEEN 2, HELLRAISER 2 and SILENT HILL, we slowly started fleshing out an idea that grew into THE VOID. 3 years later, here we are making a movie!

FANGORIA: The proof-of-concept teaser appears much more serious than previous Astron-6 films. How will THE VOID stand out among previous Astron-6 productions?

GILLESPIE: Astron-6 movies are almost their own genre at this point, so I can’t really compare. There’s definitely a difference in tone, and we’re really trying to push the production value and subject matter to the next level. The scope of ambition is very large for us on this project.

KOSTANSKI: The analogy I keep telling people is that THE VOID would be in the same video store as MANBORG and FATHER’S DAY, just on a different shelf. While it may not be as self-referential as our other work, it has the same creative spirit.

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FANGORIA: It seems that in Canada, there’s almost this renaissance to nostalgic horror happening, emulating the styles, music and tone of ’70s and ’80s horror but with a contemporary awareness. What about that era of horror do you all find most fascinating?

GILLESPIE: In retrospect, it feels like there was a lot more freedom and diversity in the styles of movies made then. They hadn’t developed the “rules” of modern horror, so crazier concepts made their way through. But I might be saying that because I’m totally jaded. Most things feel pandering or focus-grouped to me now.

KOSTANSKI: There was a fun innocence back then, even in the darkest, bleakest horror movies. People were inventing filmmaking techniques as they went along. There’s a raw, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants sense of creativity to movies like TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE or EVIL DEAD that is infectious. You can’t watch either of those films and not immediately want to run out, grab some fake blood and make a crazy movie. At least that’s how I feel when I watch them!

FANGORIA: In your video, you stress the importance of practical SFX. With that at the forefront of THE VOID, could you guys ever see yourselves approaching a horror project without practical SFX (either narratively or technically) or is that just hard-wired into your mindset at this point?

GILLESPIE: I don’t have any preconceptions about how to make a movie, but as an audience member, I always enjoy seeing things I can tell were physically present when the scenes were being filmed. Also, for CG to be done right, it’s monumentally expensive. But if someone wants to give us that much money, I guess we could try it out.

KOSTANSKI: Practical effects are just another tool to help tell a story, and CG is no different. Both can be valuable assets, but neither are totally necessary to make an effective horror movie.

FANGORIA: Though the project is shrouded with mystery, is there anything specifically about THE VOID that you could tell us that would inspire FANGORIA readers to keep a close eye on the project?

GILLESPIE: No one is making anything like this. I guarantee it.

KOSTANSKI:  Monsters aren’t scary anymore. It’s time to fix that.

You can help Kostanski and Gillespie make their all-practical SFX goal at the Indiegogo HERE. Check back at FANGORIA.com for more on THE VOID!

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About the author
Ken W. Hanley
Ken W. Hanley is the Managing Web Editor for FANGORIA and STARLOG, as well as the former Web Editor for Diabolique Magazine and a contributing writer to YouWonCannes.com. He’s a graduate from Montclair State University, where he received an award for Excellence in Screenwriting. He’s currently working on screenplays, his debut novel "THE I IN EVIL", and various other projects, and can be followed on Twitter: @movieguyiguess.
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