RICH INTERVIEWS: Patrick Meaney Director/Writer “House of Demons”
Patrick Meaney: House of Demons is a psychedelic horror movie about four friends who have drifted apart after a tragic car accident. A few years later, they reunite to spend the weekend at a remote house that used to be home to a Manson Family like cult in the 1960s, who did all kinds of strange magic rituals that blur space and time, and soon the present, past, and hidden darkness manifest themselves into terrifying reality.
I love horror movies, especially ones with weird trippy stuff, but also really like movies that focus on characters in relatable situations, and spend a lot of time diving into what makes someone who they are. So, I wanted to come up with a movie that would fuse those things together. There are portions of the film that are really just exploring the dynamics between these people, and the troubles and challenges they face, while other portions are driven by action or horror elements.
Another major inspiration was reading about Charles Manson. I read a great biography which opened by describing a scene where he was at a club on the Sunset Strip in LA and was dancing around in such a way that he seemed to shoot off electricity as if he had possession of some kind of magical power. So, I thought, what if someone like him really had the ability to manipulate space and time and do everything he claimed to be able to.
1st: Why should people watch “House of Demons”?
Patrick: I think it’s doing something different. The movie has a very psychedelic storytelling style, and the goal is to take the audience on a trip through the darkness and out into the light. If you’re a comics reader who enjoys the stories of Grant Morrison or Neil Gaiman, this is bringing that style to film.
It’s a movie with strong characters, out there ideas, and uses horror to tell an emotionally compelling story. That was the goal.
1st: Who are a few of the stars in “House of Demons”?
Patrick: It was a real joy to work with all the cast members in the film. Many of them are well known in the geek world, including Amber Benson, who played Tara on Buffy, and Tiffany Smith, Whitney Moore, and Chloe Dykstra, who all both work as hosts and actresses. You might know Taliesin Jaffe from Critical Role.
And those are just a few of the great people in the movie. It’s an ensemble cast for sure.
1st: What is the setting for “House of Demons” and why is this important to the story?
Patrick: The setting is a remote house in the woods, which was home to a dangerous cult in the 1960s. In the film, the house becomes a kind of conduit for the past and subconscious to manifest together. It’s kind of like The Shining, where we see the 1920s overlapping on the present day.
I like the idea of the house as a vessel in which the characters’ subconscious could manifest, and rather than cutting away to a flashback, the flashback would happen right in front of them.
1st: In a few words how would you sum up “House of Demons”?
Patrick: It’s a group of friends going through a trippy dark night of the soul, and hoping to come out the other side.
1st: Why do you enjoy making movies?
Patrick: I’ve loved watching movies ever since I could remember. Seeing visuals and acting and music come together to create emotions is such a powerful thing, and ever since I can remember, I’ve imagined movies in my head and had ideas for what I’d want to do.
The most enjoyable part of House of Demons was being on set and getting to work with the great cast and crew. Movies are unique because there are so many different people contributing their particular expertise to help the piece come together, and whether it’s a really cool prop that production designer creates, a line that an actor adds, or the lighting the DP and gaffer create, you’re all working together to make the movie the best it can be. That’s such a rewarding and fun process.
Patrick: The principles of doc storytelling are the same as narrative, in that you want to take the audience on a journey. I think that directing and editing docs taught me a lot about pacing, and trying to let the audience absorb and enjoy a moment while keeping everything moving forward and building momentum to the end.
Ideally, you want a movie to grab the audience in the first few minutes, then you have a little latitude to dive into character and background, but the deeper you go into the movie, the less room there is for digressions. And watching those movies with an audience definitely was an illuminating experience.
Patrick: Yes, I read comics all the time. Lately, I’ve been re-reading some old favorites I haven’t read in a long, long time. So, I’m just about done re-reading Grant Morrison’s Animal Man, which is still a really wild and emotionally strong work. I also re-read The Dark Knight Strikes Again, which I love, and is so crazy and bold.
1st: Since you make movies do you find you still watch them as much?
Patrick: I still love watching movies, though I do think you enjoy them a bit differently once you’ve seen “how the sausage is made.” But, I can still get caught up in a story and lose myself in the world of a movie. Last year, I absolutely loved mother!, which was one of the wildest and most surprising movies I’ve ever seen.
And I always love to see more classic movies as well. It’s a really fascinating window into the past, and the best of classic Hollywood, like Sunset Blvd. or Best Years of Our Lives, are classics for a reason. They’re still amazing and unique works to this day.
Patrick: Last Born is the story of four people from disparate times who all come together in a dead, post-apocalyptic future to restart life on Earth. I definitely was taking advantage of the fact that comics have no budgetary restrictions since it spans from the beginning of humanity to the end of time, and several time periods in between.
It was published by Black Mask Studios and co-created with the awesome artist Eric Zawadzki. You can get more information here: blackmaskstudios.com/last-born/
1st: Do you have any ideas for another movie, maybe a super-hero movie?
Patrick: I have a whole bunch of ideas, and scripts that I’ve been working on with House of Demons co-producer Amanda Sonnenschein, and actress Tiffany Smith. We’re hoping to announce something soon, so keep an eye out on my Twitter (@patrickmeaney)
As for superhero movies, I don’t have.
Patrick: Most days, I’m working at home doing editing, writing and working on logistics for new projects via e-mail. But, sometimes it’s taking meetings, sometimes it’s going to shoots, all kinds of different stuff. I love to work on new projects, so I’m always trying to do as much as I can.
1st: Any words for the people who enjoy your work?
Patrick: Thanks for the support! And keep an eye on my Twitter (@patrickmeaney) for updates on all my latest projects. There’s a lot more exciting stuff coming up soon.http://www.firstcomicsnews.com/rich-interviews-patrick-meaney-director-writer-house-of-demons/http://www.firstcomicsnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/House-of-Deamons-logo-600x257.pnghttp://www.firstcomicsnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/House-of-Deamons-logo-150x64.pngInterviewsRich Interviews