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Fantasia ’13 exclusive: “MANBORG” makers talk “THE VOID”; first photo

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Continuing our series of exclusive chats with filmmakers who pitched new genre projects at the Frontières International Co-Production Market during Montreal’s Fantasia festival last month, we sat down with the MANBORG team of Steven Kostanski (pictured above) and Jeremy Gillespie, who screened a very impressive promo trailer for a horror project called THE VOID, and shared an exclusive first pic from that clip with us.

THE VOID’s storyline opens with patrol cop Daniel Carter happening upon a bloodsoaked young man and taking him to a small-town hospital staffed by a skeleton crew. He soon finds both the doctors and patients mutating into bizarre creatures, and teams up with a couple of mysterious hunters to track down the man responsible and put an end to the horrors. If that FX-packed teaser is any indication, THE VOID will be a monsterfest to be reckoned with when it eventually hits the screen, with a serious tone that stands apart from the over-the-top antics of MANBORG.

“It’s a very straightforward horror film,” Kostanski tells Fango. “It will have humor in it, but we keep stressing that it’s very much in the vein of an early John Carpenter film. It has a lot in common with his siege movies like ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13, where it’s a very intense situation; humor can come out of that, but we want to make something that’s atmospheric and terrifying. Ultimately, that’s the hardest kind of movie to make—something that actually scares people.”

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THE VOID will also be a showcase for the duo’s practical FX work, one in which the monsters will be crucial to the narrative. “It’s always been my dream to make a creature feature,” Kostanski says. “I feel like even though people seem to strive for movies like that, they don’t really seem to exist the same way anymore, where the creatures become characters themselves and are more than just a device to be scared of.”

“We want each monster to be unique and memorable unto itself,” Gillespie (pictured below) adds. “I believe there’s such an audience for practical effects at this point; people are really hungry to see them.”

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“There’s an appreciation for them too,” Kostanski continues, “because that hard work is up on screen, whereas when there’s a CG creature in something, I think people get so disconnected that they don’t appreciate the effort that goes into it. But with practical things, you can see that there is true artistry behind them. I really appreciate being able to put that kind of money up on screen in terms of the creature effects.”

The setting, Gillespie adds, will also set THE VOID apart. “I remember watching THE EXORCIST III,” he says, “and thinking that I wanted to see a really good, hospital-centric horror movie, and I couldn’t think of one—there probably is one, I just couldn’t come up with it. I thought it would be a cool idea to set a movie in one tiny town hospital and have it be a very contained story, and that could be really scary.”

“Jeremy pitched me this idea,” Kostanski recalls, “and it got my mind working on the idea of that contained space, and also the creature potential. We agreed we wanted it to be not necessarily totally Lovecraftian, but to have those elements to it, which got us thinking in terms of what other kind of otherworldly elements we could introduce into this environment.”

“It’s about people falling into a Lovecraftian situation and getting stuck there,” Gillespie continues. “Not based on one of his stories, but that kind of mythology. We’ve very much made it our own, and tried to make it as unique as possible, with very abstract monsters and surreal scares.”

The duo first unveiled the project at the Frontières market, and are currently actively seeking backing for it. “We spent a lot of time developing the script, designing the creatures and coming up with the imagery,” Kostanski says. “One of the important things about this movie is the mythology behind it and the creatures. That’s something we really wanted to take our time with, and create a unique world that people would find interesting and intriguing.”

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About the author
Michael Gingold
Michael Gingold has been a member of the FANGORIA team for the past three decades. After starting as a writer for the magazine in 1988, he came aboard as associate editor in 1990 and two years later moved up to managing editor, the position he holds to this day while continuing to contribute numerous articles and reviews.
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