Australian horror reigned supreme at this year’s Overlook Film Festival with Colin and Cameron Cairnes’ talk show terror Late Night with the Devil, the wild secret screening of RackaRacka’s Talk to Me and the world premiere of Nick Kozakis’ horrifying and heartbreaking Godless: The Eastfield Exorcism.

Inspired by true events, Godless is a tale of faith and fanaticism gone very wrong in the story of Lara Levonde (Georgia Eyers), a young woman in the throes of an extreme mental health crisis. Desperate for help, her husband Ron (Dan Ewing) turns to his congregation and the enigmatic exorcist Daniel James King (Tim Pocock) for help – with disastrous consequences. Those who like their horror bleak, brutal and based in reality will find a lot to love in Godless (and so did we, that’s why we featured them in the latest issue of FANGORIA)

Ahead of the film’s June 18 Tubi release, we sat down with Nick, Dan and Georgia to chat faith, fanatacism and cursed filmmaking.

This article contains spoilers for Godless: The Eastfield Exorcism.

Let’s go back to the very start of Godless; what inspired Nick to tell this story, and what drew Dan and Georgia to the project initially?

NICK: Godless was a long time coming. I did a feature film a while back (2015’s Plague) but I’m known more for my music videos (Nick has worked extensively with singer-songwriter Tones and I). When lockdown hit, I started thinking that I really wanted to get back into narrative. I’ve worked with Georgia and Dan before, and I’d always had them both in mind for something more. I love horror – I love all horror – so I started thinking about doing an exorcism film. While I was studying and researching exorcisms, I realized how brutal and horrifying the real ones are, and what really happens in most cases. That knowledge was too hard to shake and overlook. I mentioned this to my writer friend, Alexander Angliss-Wilson, and he jumped on board and helped me develop this idea. Together we researched so many real life cases that all seem to be identical. Once we finally had a script, the first person I sent it to was Dan, because I had only ever seen him in the role of Ron, and from there, the rest happened!

DAN: Similiarly, I was just hyped to work with Nick again, but I’m the opposite – I’m not the biggest fan of horror movies. But what attracted me to Godless was the realism – Nick and his team put together this amazing Bible (quite literally) of the story and the characters, and it was so chilling to learn just how much of this stuff really goes on. My uncle’s actually a Catholic priest, so I asked him about it and he confirmed that, yeah, it’s all very real. Catholic priests are trained for exorcism in every diocese and area in Australia. Is it always like what you see in movies? No, but it’s a very real thing that goes on to women, men and even infants. It’s a real gritty story that I think we really needed to explore and bring to light.

GEORGIA: I had just shot another horror picture prior to Godless, so I was just on this rollercoaster of really uplifting films [laughs] Similar to Dan, I just really wanted to work with Nick on a feature. I was also taken with how real the story was, and the fact that it’s inspired by so many true events was shocking but also exciting to portray a film like that.


From the allegorical beast of The Babadook to Hereditary’s titular handed-down trauma, horror has long drawn parallels between mental illness and possession. But Godless keeps things ambiguous, hinting at forces that may be more malevolent than they appear on the surface. Was this always Nick’s intention?

NK: We wanted to take the audience for a ride of is she? Isn’t she? During the directing process, I would go between Dan and Georgia and tell them different things. I’d go to Dan and say ‘hey look at her, she’s clearly full of evil spirits and there’s absolutely nothing to it other than that’. Then, like a true manipulator, I’d say to Georgia ‘nobody is listening to you. Your own husband isn’t listening to you. You need to get out, and save yourself.’ So there was a natural conflict between the characters, and a sense of ambiguity because they each have their own truth.

The scariest thing about Godless is, of course, religious fanaticism and how these unsanctioned exorcisms come about. When it comes to researching these, it can’t be easy to just walk in to one in order to get the intel needed to create a realistic scene. With this in mind, Nick’s inspiration came from varied sources:

NK: Of course, there’s the classic movies like The Exorcist as well as more modern exorcist pics like The Exorcism of Emily Rose and The Last Exorcism… but in our case it was a lot of diving into real, legal cases. It’s eerily and oddly so similar in each case – it’s usually a woman or child suffering a mental health crisis, with someone who loves them thinking that the best course of action is an exorcism. We never wanted to demonize any particular religion, but we did want to focus on extreme fundamentalism, and the brutal moments when people can be destroyed by an idea. We did actually also go undercover to some of the more extreme faiths. Our writer Alex visited one of the churches and they were talking about how the extreme bushfires that we were having at the time were a godly act – and the people who were burning were the ones who were godless. That was horrifying to hear. I grew up Greek Orthodox, seeing the loving side of religion, so that was really eye-opening and haunting to hear.


It is always a compliment to an actor’s talent when they play a character that inspires both fury and pity within a viewer. In the pantheon of terrible horror husbands, Ron is up there; gaslighting, patronising, manipulative, but clearly manipulated himself. For Dan, playing such a loathsome character meant battling with that internal conflict:

DE: What I love about this movie is the conflict with Ron, it was a great thing to play and I loved it as an actor. With the other characters like Daniel James King, Lara and even (Lara’s therapist, played by Eliza Matengu) Dr Walsh, you know exactly what they want to achieve, but Ron is so confused. You can tell he loves his wife, but is it more important to save her life, or save her soul in the eyes of God? That was a challenge, because there were times I wanted to ring his neck, but also times I could see him being manipulated himself by characters like Barbara (Rosie Traynor). We had a lot of discussions about Ron’s background as a character – he grew up in the Church and was a bit of a rat bag, a man’s man, might’ve gotten into some trouble, before meeting Barbara, a motherly figure who took him in and changed his life. And he thinks because that worked for him, it’ll work for Lara, as long as she just believes and opens her heart to God. One of my favourite moments is a moment of physicality between King and Lara, when he physically abuses her. Ron steps in, picks him up and pins him against the wall to defend her…but quickly he loses power as King manipulates him again. Throughout the film you hold on to this hope that Ron will save her.

Some of the most particularly haunting moments come from Ron’s insistence that he knows what is best for his struggling wife, at times talking over – and for her.

GE: For Lara, she just wants to trust Ron so much. Even when she’s tied to a chair, there’s a part of her that still trusts him, and trusts the process. She’s so vulnerable that it’s easy for her to be taken advantage of. I never wanted to look at Ron’s character and hate him – because I don’t think Lara ever really does. And that’s why it’s so sad, because the pair of them were so misguided and misled…Dan, do you wanna cut me off now?

DE: Yeah, are you done, sweetie? [laughs] In the earlier drafts, Ron was more misogynistic, but we wanted to bring in this horrible conflict – he obviously loves her, but he has this blind faith that’s really dangerous, even though it comes from a good place. That’s a crucial part of the film. He truly has faith that his wife will be saved. We never wanted to make Ron likeable, but it was important for us to show that conflict.

While Dan’s character struggles were of the internal variety, Georgia is well and truly put through the ringer in Godless, both emotionally and physically. The brutal and intense attempts to exorcise the young woman manifest in some truly excruciating moments:

GE: The hardest scenes to shoot were the exorcism in the shed…it was really hot, but because I was continually drenched in water I was quite cold. Physically, that was draining, but mentally, surprisingly I was fine! I think that’s down to the fact that there was a really upbeat vibe on set and that was really important. What’s portrayed in the film is absolutely brutal, and I was exhausted, but mentally I was fine.


You wouldn’t tell from Georgia’s performance that she was fine, but we’re very happy to hear she was. Of course, no good exorcism film would be complete without some brutal effects (one particularly eye-watering moment involves Lara’s lower jaw) and a suitably terrifying, fully practical demonic entity:

NK: The effects were all from Tania De Ross, an incredible artist. I was talking to her from the early stages, and that was the very first makeup that we had to get right. The whole film pretty much – no pun intended – hinges on this one moment, so it needed to be done right. The best types of effects in my opinion are when you marry practical AND digital. To Tanya’s credit, we had a very low budget and she made the world turn to make it work.

GE: [The demon] was very much practical, and very much in front of me, and very terrifying. There was one scene we shot outside when it was absolutely freezing, and I was cold in just a small dress, with this demon (Andy De Ross) covered just in spray paint with barely anything left to the imagination. It was terrifying! I did ADR for that scene and the jump scares still got to me.

NK: Georgia did all her own stunts as well! I think Georgia was pretty happy to be on set because when she was alone, that’s when the weird stuff started to happen…

Like all good exorcism films, Godless boasts a good amount of behind-the-scenes spookiness, as well as the on-camera variety. Prior to recording, the group joke about the ‘Godless curse’, so naturally we had to find out more:

NK: It was just weird, eerie things on and off set. We had two editors, the incredible Ash Lucas and Liam Kelly, and when Liam was editing the film, he started getting insane nose bleeds – which he’s never had before. While he was editing once, Lauren (Simpson, Godless producer) came in and he just had blood all over him and when he stopped editing that one specific scene – which happened to be the first exorcism – that’s when the nosebleeds stopped. There’s another moment where we have a choir singing with bugs flying all round…that wasn’t CGI, or planned. They just came into the shot like a plague of locusts. Georgia had snakes falling from her ceiling…

GE: It was a centipede!

DE: A human one?

NK: She had a spider crawl up her too…whereas Dan had lovely and beautiful echidnas outside his place.

DE: I did have a weird experience though. During a script readthrough, I was staying at a beautiful hotel in Melbourne and I went out to get some dinner – and out of nowhere, a guy stopped me and asked me ‘are you close to God? Have you opened your heart to God?’ And I like to listen to signs from the universe, so I had a lovely chat to this guy and he said he wanted to give me a gift. So he gave me two coins from – I think it was Pentecostal faith – and I kept one by my bedside the whole shoot. And that’s probably why I didn’t have centipedes falling from the roof.

It’s not just at Overlook where Aussie horror stole the spotlight – Australia has produced some of the scariest and most beloved horror movies of the past few years including Lake Mungo, Wolf Creek and Relic. What do the Godless crew think makes Australian horror so special?

NK: It must be in the water. Or the fact that we came from England [laughs] It’s an exciting time for Australian horror. I can’t wait for everyone to see Talk to Me and Late Night with the Devil. The Cairnes brothers are amazing, and that film is so unique and wonderful. Both of them are two of the best horrors I’ve ever seen. Maybe it’s because we’re quite isolated in Australia – we’re on the other side of the world from everything. But there’s such amazing talent in Australia and it’s so good to see it resonating throughout the world.

DE: I’ve got a theory. I’ve been lucky enough to do some quite high-budget projects and things in the U.S. and I think that, in Australia, because we have more budget limitations, we make up for it with character development. We have to hammer these characters down and make you invest in them first and foremost, because we don’t always have the high budgets for the big sci-fi or horror effects. That’s my theory. We like to keep it gritty and real.

Nick, Georgia and Dan – thank you so much for chatting with us today.

NK: Thank you for having us. I’ve been a massive fan of FANGORIA for years. This is a bucket list item for me. I have older brothers who would always have things lying around that they shouldn’t. Fango was one of them, and I fell in love with it. It blew my mind as an eight year old, so to finally get to chat with you guys is a dream come true.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Godless: The Eastfield Exorcism hits Tubi on June 18, with 108 Media/Bingo releasing the film in the UK in October. Catch more Godless in Issue #19 of FANGORIA.

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