Today we have an interview with experimental horror filmmaker James Quinn. He is making a film called Sodom and Chimera ( trailer above ) and it looks amazing. To finish his film he is trying kickstarter to try to raise the cash. So we are going to have a talk with him and if you are able and want to support the indie horror film scene please think about helping him out. Information on how to contribute will follow the interview.
1. Can you tell us about your film Sodom & Chimera?
Sodom & Chimera is an experimental horror film that visualizes the experience of schizophrenia. I believe it is the first film that tries to do this that is created by an actual schizophrenic. The film is not like other schizophrenia films, it focuses more on delivering the actual feeling of madness and going crazy, instead of telling a story that is built on human interaction. The film will have different chapters, with every single one showing a different side of the illness. For instance, Chapter III is going to be one big psychedelic trip, while Chapter IV will be less psychotic, but more subtle, with elements of a classic horror film. It will focus on the paranoia and delusions, providing a feel like reality is losing it's structure, which will intensify as the happenings become more and more bizarre and frightening. So basically, there will be very few moments in the film where you can relax, it's going to be very intense almost all the way through.
2. Love the title. How did you come up with it?
The title is something that I put much thought into. It was only after a significant amount of scenes were already done and I decided to split everything in chapters, that I started thinking about a name. I had previously started reading The 120 Days of Sodom, and the word “Sodom” just got stuck in my head. First, I decided to use it in the title of Chapter III, which is now called The Law of Sodom/The Eviscerated Mind. Sodom of course referring to the actual Sodom and Gomorrah. One day, the word chimera came to my ears. I had never really thought about it much before, but it instantly hit me. In the end, it was the perfect metaphor. Sodom stands for the downfall, in this case the downfall of the mind, and Chimera for the figments, the insanity, the madness, and, as a chimera is also a very dark mythical figure, for the evil and vicious. Besides that, it's an obvious play of words on Sodom & Gomorrah, which I also really liked.
3. Is this your first film and if not what other work have you done?
This my first feature film. I have finished another project earlier this year, an eight minute short film. This month, I will get information on whether it is going to be premiered at a certain film festival or not, then I will release more information about it, the title and some images of the film. All you need to know about it for now is the following: It's about a man trying to deal with his awful past by dedicating his life to god, only to face a horrible truth. It is completely different than Sodom & Chimera. While S&C is a film that is full of noises, loud music and grotesque imagery, this film is very nihilistic, quiet and completely in black and white.
4. Do you prefer film or digital?
Well, up until now I have only shot digital, as it was the easiest way so far, and it enabled new ways to shoot scenes for Sodom & Chimera. But I am very neutral on this subject, I think both options have it's positive and negative aspects. What I'm going to use for my next projects, I don't know yet. Time and budget will tell.
5. What are some of your favorite weird/experimental/horror films?
I have lots and lots of films from these genres that I like. Some major influences were David Lynch's Eraserhead and Inland Empire, even though my film is very different from these. But those are the two films that got me into surreal and strange cinema. I also got heavily inspired by the imagery of Lars von Trier's Antichrist, a film I absolutely love. It has these beautifully looking shots that look like moving paintings, and I tried a similar approach in my film. You can even see it in the trailers, there are several shots of woods, which are all very dark and thick looking. Other films I love in this genre are Karim Hussain's Subconscious Cruelty and The Abandoned, also two films that inspired me a lot, Taxidermia, Enter the Void, Tetsuo, a very important film to me that influenced some of the fast black and white shots, Begotten, Donnie Darko, the short film Haze, I also love french films very much, not only classic stuff like Martyrs, Irreversible and I Stand Alone, but also more subtle and weirdly disturbing flicks like À ma soeur! (Fat Girl) and Dans ma peau (In My Skin). Also I like lots of classic films, like the ones from Jodorowsky or Luis Buñuel. I could go on endlessly here, I have so many favorites as I've seen so much already. I'm really into abstract cinema and those I listed are only the tip of what I've seen. Some more classic and less weird horror films that heavily influenced S&C are The Shining and the newer The Canal. Also partly very surreal, but most importantly very creepy and atmospheric films, and atmosphere is what I'm going for.
6. What's next after Sodom and Chimera?I have several projects in mind. I'm not sure which will come first, but I have tons of stories ready. One film that I've already started writing for instance is about misfortune. It tells different stories of people that have things happening to them that are emotionally crushing or just downright horrible. This is a film I really want to do, just not sure yet when exactly. Other projects include a story about a woman who is dying of cancer, when suddenly her husband reveals a shocking secret that completely changes their relationship until something horrible happens, a story about a man who, after witnessing several incidents of death, tries to actually “live” more, which takes a bizarre turn, and one that covers a subject that many people don't think about a lot, which is the private thoughts of people, showing different human beings and what's going on in their head, stuff that no one ever gets to know, focusing on the dark and sinister. There are several more, but I won't list all of them. I'm going to try to get them all made though, sooner or later. After the last chapters of Sodom & Chimera have been done writing, I will immediately start working on the next story. Hopefully, it will be easier to get the next one made, the process of creating Sodom & Chimera has already been a very long one with lots of obstacles. And it's still not done yet. It will most likely be released in 2016 though, if everything goes right of course. That is a date that I feel is very realistic and I'm hoping for it to be the first half of 2016. But in the end, as always, time will tell.
Here is a link for his kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1314278794/sodom-and-chimera-an-experimental-horror-film
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