While the re-envisioning of a childhood fable is not new territory, adding a horror twist is certainly a step in the right direction. Following the premise of The Three Little Pigs, Windchaser Pictures' slasher flick Huff puts a reality-based spin on the longtime kids favorite. Three sisters (Marie Bollinger, Jenna Stone and Elly Stefanko) run away to escape the drug-fueled rage of their stepfather, played by Charlie O'Connell in a not-so-typical role. As they are hunted down, each finds herself in a hideout-specific predicament where their surroundings could be their saving grace..or their downfall. HNN staff member Sean McLaughlin caught up with Huff's director, Paul Morell, to talk about the film's unique premise, and what it was like working with the unique cast.
Horror News Network: Did you have any reservations about putting such a hardcore spin on a beloved childrens tale such as "The Three Little Pigs"?
Paul Morell: No reservations.... The original story is pretty hardcore anyway, a wolf devouring it's prey.... It's the perfect scenario for a bloody thrill. It was fun, challenging, and I think you will agree, completely worth the effort!
Horror News Network: How was the cast to work with?
Paul Morell: Cast was completely professional. Everyone brought something to their roles... We got super lucky this go round and didn't have trouble getting solid performances out of anyone.
Horror News Network: Charlie O'Connell really deviates from his usual care-free role in this film. Was it difficult to direct him into such unfamiliar territory?
Paul Morell: Believe it or not.... Mr Nice Guy played this role very naturally... Charlie did a fantastic job researching and prepping for his character. When we were casting, I knew who Charlie was, but wasn't familiar with his body of work at all. He came in and read for the part and I was hooked. He had this sense of terror about him that was laced with humor. It was something that I didn't know I was looking for till I saw it.... and then I was convinced I needed it. Due to his reputation as a comedic actor, the production team wasn't completely behind it at first. It was a risk no doubt, but a risk that has entirely paid off. What Charlie brought to this role far exceeded anything that was written on the pages of the script. I am tickled pink with the result. (yes, I said tickled pink)
Horror News Network: Would you say that "Huff" is more of a psychological thriller
Paul Morell: Yes! I looked for every opportunity to turn the ship toward a thriller and away from traditional horror. Even the kills were more in the vein of a thriller. Now, don't misunderstand - this is still very much a horror, just not a splatter fest.... I like to call it a "bloody thriller". A solid mix of blood AND story.
Horror News Network: This film explores the topics of an abusive step-parent and the role that drugs can play in destroying the family dynamic. What was it like dealing with such sensitive subject matter?
Paul Morell: This is perhaps the most disturbing part of the film.... Sexual abuse is never a pretty subject, but from a family member and involving children definitely adds an extra level of discomfort.... When on set, everyone knew the subject matter and some were more upset than others. Charlie was a superstar at keeping the mood light between takes, but unfortunately it got tense and there really wasn't anything we could do about it. Not that I wanted to.... It felt real. It was beyond distrubing.... and absolutely phenomenal to watch and bring to life at the same time! Does that make me demented???? lol.
Horror News Network: What can the audience expect in terms of blood and guts with "Huff"?
Paul Morell: Well, there is enough blood to get us an R rating.... As I said before, it is a "bloody thriller", but not a splatter fest. We went more for disturbing story. I think letting the imagination build the visuals is way more scary than just splattering blood on the lens.
Horror News Network: How cool is it to work with Clint Howard?
Paul Morell: Clint is a rockstar. I have heard horror stories before of working with established actors.... that they will come onto your set and tell you how the scene is to play out. Clint was NOT like this at all. I got the pleasure of spending a day with Clint before we shot doing character development and rehearsing his scene. Clint took solid direction and adds depth to the film no one else could have. It was an honor to work with him!
Horror News Network: Do you have your next project all lined up? What's on deck?
Paul Morell: Yes I do! I have another thriller that is expected to go into production this winter. And I just optioned Stefne Miller's book COLLISION - a romantic drama set against the grit of Uganda. It is a complete mold break for me and I am ecstatic about the project!
Horror News Network: Any word on the DVD release of Huff?
Paul Morell: We have had several distribution offers and we are trying to decide now which way to go... We will keep you posted :)
Thanks for the time, Paul. I know that HNN's readers are excited about Huff, and can't wait for the official release on DVD. For more details on Huff, currently playing at movie festivals around the country, check out www.huffmovie.com. Have a comment on this interview? Post it here.