Interviews: Director James Klass Talks About His Horror House on Elm Lake Film

Book a date with death at the House on Elm Lake – the rooms are to-die-for!

Director James Klass conjures up a holiday of horrors in a new Wild Eye Releasing release, now on VOD.

In the tradition of The Conjuring comes a critically acclaimed and genuinely frightening feature “chock-full of superbly scary imagery” and “oozing with atmosphere” (The Schlock Pit).

A young couple moves into a lake house that was the site of a ritual murder, and soon realize an ancient, dormant evil has awakened to prey upon them.

Directed by James Klass (Mother Krampus), and starring Becca Hirani (Unhinged, Mother Krampus), Oliver Ebsworth (Curse of the Witching Tree, Mother Krampus), and Tony Manders (Darker Shade of Elise, Fox Trap), House on Elm Lake is open for inspection.

It definitely helps to be a horror film fan if you’re going to direct one, says House on Elm Lake director Jim Klass.

TMS: Do you have to be a horror fan to make a horror film?

JK: It certainly helps as we have the best research available from incredible films and DVD extras for help. But in the end all you have to do is make a film that scares yourself or find your deepest fears if you are a horror fan as your tolerance may be higher than normal, but have a dark sense of humour is handy.

TMSWould you say the movie resembles any other horror films in particular?

JKWhen I first read the script ‘The Amityville Horror’ and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ came to mind. It evolved in homage to the 70’s and 80’s horror films that inspired me with the third act assembled to break the cliché ending I hope. Epilogue was added, as the producers always want their sequels.

TMSAnd your work doesn’t end until the film is distributed, I imagine?

JKYou never finish a film, you abandon it! As the allocated time for each part of production ends you do the best with what you have especially low budget where this films was shot in 8 days with £3000 everything is squeezed, your sanity mostly. As I edited this it was around 6 months of my life where I was nailed to the computer but loved the challenge and learnt so much.

TMSAnything you had to lose, because of the budget or duration issues?

JKSadly we didn’t have Charlotte the special effects designer there for all the shoot which left us to fend for ourselves so some do look very rough. But the crew were amazing and they did shoot in that house for 3 weeks night and day so they lived the nightmare. Scenes with Mike in the garage were cut to what I could shoot in an hour, shame as he dies suddenly and there was a relationship build between them over the movie. Its hard when you edit your own work as you want to keep everything, it was helpful having Scott and Becky trimming the fat, but now looking back maybe 5 to 120 mins could be trimmed.

TMSHow much of the movie was in the script and how much just happened ‘on the day’?

JKWe only all first met on the first day of shooting the first film ’12 Deaths of Christmas (AKA ‘Mother Krampus’ USA) So was also the first time I had scene the locations so things were changed slightly for that.

Biggest changes came with the baby sitter scenes as Charlotte the special effect designer stepped up to play the part and did an incredible job, this happened as suddenly the cast kept changing overnight for that scene.

TMSAnd were the scares all set up to go in the script or did stuff just impulsively happen on the filming day/s?

JKAll the baby sitter scares where made up on the day of night before, the blood bath and bed arm orgy was an addition to the original script which we build by a local designer over night and were set up and shot with no rehearsals so were lucky they came out as well as they did.

The bath was made out of plywood with Broa the designer inside under a small tray of water with red dye where his arm pushed through a hole tapped with plastic so the water stopped leaking through which it did very quickly so flooded that shed.

Arm orgy was 4 crewmembers under a fake board with the head and tail of the original bed added.

TMSWhat makes your hero tick?

JKThe film is all about light overcoming dark as only the pure can beat these demons in the film and Hayley possesses that power as does her child Penny. She is strong and just isn’t tempted like Eric in the way he cheats with her best friend. Light always wins if you lie you have to keeping it up to cover that lie.

TMSWhy do you think there’s been a renewed interest in fun, spooky movies in recent times?

JKEverything has a cycle and the time has returned for horror, there are so many original stories out there in the novel form that haven’t even been touched yet and with the budgets being so small for a cinema release roughly 10 million a film the payback is huge compared to some in the hundreds of millions is too much of a risk for studios.