Interview: Gene Fallaize, director of Cain Hill

A notorious mental asylum looming monstrously from the pitch darkness. A dedicated team of documentary filmmakers hoping to chronicle a series of grisly murders. A forgotten inmate determined to maintain his ghastly sanctuary.

These are the eerie trappings of Gene Fallaize’s Cain Hill, a horror film that promises to capture the gritty style and pulse-pounding suspense of genre classics like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), Halloween (1978), and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). “Those films in my opinion came at a perfect time in filmmaking history when everything seemed to work perfectly for those kind of movies,” director Fallaize explains. “They weren’t laced with the cheap jump scares or filled with the torture-porn of modern horrors. Instead they focused on the tension, and not the horror, and that’s what I wanted to try and capture with Cain Hill.”

 

Inspired by the visual and narrative style of the aforementioned films, Fallaize wrote the script for his new project along with collaborators Michael James Dean and Tony Cook. The story focuses on Chester Lockheart, a mysterious inmate who has remained on the property of a long-abandoned mental institution named Cain Hill. The fictional team of filmmakers only wants to document the rumors and urban legends that surround the asylum, including several strange disappearances and a fire, but what was meant to be a routine shoot soon becomes a chilling game of cat-and-mouse between a roaming psychotic and the intruders. While keeping the details of the plot secret, Fallaize enthusiastically describes some of the more frightening aspects to the story and the fate of the victims: “[Lockheart picks] them off one by one and murders them in different, but realistic ways.” Fused with 70s-and-80s-inspired horror and tension, Cain Hill seems set to return modern-day audiences to that cherished time when horror movies truly and effectively chilled the blood and unnerved the mind.

The team behind this ambitious new film certainly has the skills and inspiration to deliver the goods that genre fans have been waiting for. While discussing the murder scenes in Cain Hill, Fallaize says that the production will “truly try and capture that lower-budget ‘culty’ kind of feel, especially when it comes to practical effects.” Devotees of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Halloween will be delighted to know that some of those films’ most iconic sequences (such as Leatherface slamming shut that freakish metal door, or Michael Meyers lunging his way through that bedroom closet) have served as touchstones for Cain Hill. The movie will even include a faux-trailer for a fictional film based on the tragic fates of the victims at the asylum. While the talented production team behind this project wears their influences proudly on their sleeves, they are also determined to bring new elements to the table, including a smart script, memorable characters, a disturbing setting, and overall high production value. Unite all these factors and Cain Hill is sure to terrify audiences looking for genuine scares. The project is currently well underway, with plenty of opportunities for interested moviegoers to get involved.

“We are in the final few weeks of pre-production before filming begins in mid-September,” Fallaize says. “We are currently filming parts of a new E4 reality TV series called ‘Stage School,’ which will air in September [and] will feature part of the making of Cain Hill as a group of acting graduates try to land their first role in show business. Cain Hill will be featured as we try to find our lead actress using one of the graduates on the show.” As Cain Hill gains momentum through British television, audiences worldwide can contribute by visiting the project’s Indiegogo page and helping the production team meet its projected budget. To do so, and to learn more about the film, its inspirations, and its creators, click here. Some of the contributor perks include a digital copy of the script, a download of the Cain Hill soundtrack, and a signed Cain Hill movie poster, so be sure to check out the page.

Shot entirely on location, Cain Hill has an impressive crew behind it. In addition to Fallaize, Dean, and Cook (who will also produce), Jamie Montgomery will serve as director of photography and Damian Knight will serve as editor. Fallaize’s long-time collaborator Joseph Bennie will score the film, while cast members Phill Martin (Pan, Prometheus) and Damar Martin (“Gladiators”) will bring two of the script’s characters to life. Other cast and crew roles are being filled as Cain Hill draws closer to filming.

“They should have stayed away.” This ominous tag line from Cain Hill sets the stage for what is sure to be an exciting and nerve-jangling good time and a much-needed return to the raw terror of the films we all know and love. Stay tuned to the Indiegogo page for all the latest news and updates, and consider sharing the campaign to alert others to Cain Hill .

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Josh Hancock is the author of two epistolary horror novels, The Girls of October (2015) and The Devil and My Daughter (2016), both published by Burning Bulb Publishing. For reviews, book trailers, and convention appearances, please visit www.foundfootagefiction.com.

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