Quantcast Stevan Mena 2005 interview (2)

Stevan Mena
- Interview 2
We've been keeping tabs on writer/director Stevan Mena ever since we were caught off guard by his nerve-racking intense debut 'MALEVOLENCE'. Since it's release last year, we've been eagerly awaiting his next project, which up until now, we assumed would be the 'Malevolence' prequel & sequel. Good thing we decided to check in with our favorite local independent filmmaker! Read on for the scoop & maybe a bit of tomfoolery! - by Robg. 8/05

So, what's changed for you both personally and artistically in the past year since last we've spoken?

Well, I moved from my apartment to a slightly bigger apartment. Artistically, I've begun several new scripts, all different genre's.

Alrighty. It's been almost a year since 'Malevolence' first played theatrically. How does 'Malevolence' sit with you now, almost 10 months after the first screening?

Well, I find it hard to watch the film, because there is so much I feel I did that could have been so much better. I have to keep reminding myself the conditions under which those scenes were shot, and remember I was just lucky to finish it at all.

Stop! You did awesome! You were in the rare position to see your film open theatrically around the country at different times and watched it slowly build up a fanbase. What was it like for each each time the film opened in a new market?

Honestly, exhausting. I traveled the country promoting it. But it's always cool to view it with an audience. Especially when there's someone who doesn't like it and yells at the screen. I'd sit behind them and throw popcorn at them or spit in their hair. (laughs)

Hope you're kidding there, pal. Although we're guilty of doing the same thing. Anyways, we've heard that 'Malevolence' was incredibly successful overseas; beating out 'SAW' in Spain! Horror in general seems to be more respected out of state. Why do you think foreign audiences are responding so well to 'Malevolence'?

Well, I guess because we are all universally evil, and we all get off on seeing innocent people tortured and killed for our amusement, regardless of what language we speak :)

Right-O. Umm... Moving on, making 'Malevolence' took 3 years of your life, but for the DVD features, you were able to revisit your experiences in the making of documentaries and the commentary. Tell us what it was like to look back upon the film making experience now, while partaking in those special features.

It's surreal. What's funny is the making of is a very sanitized version of how bad it really was. It doesn't even touch upon the darker things, like how during a re-shoot, we had to hire a security guard to protect us from the guy who was squatting in the house with a collection of handguns, and threatening to shoot us because one of our crew remided him of his brother.

Um... wow. Speaking of the DVD, this film was obviously Anchor Bay's first theatrical release. It seems they really pushed the marketing on the DVD, even doing an exclusive deal with Best Buy for a bonus disc. How's the DVD been doing so far & how has your working relationship with Anchor Bay been thru this entire process?

Anchor Bay has been great. I haven't heard anything about how many we've sold, but I have heard that it is doing well. I heard Walmart is happy.

What exactly is next on your slate? We know the 'Malevolence' prequel and sequel are planned, but is your next film going to be the 'Malevolence' prequel?

My next project is a ghost story. I can't tell you much, except it will be like no other ghost story you have ever seen.

A ghost story!? We heard you've also been working on a "ghost story" script as a potential future film. Is there anything you can tell us about it? Come on!

Hey, aren't you listening!? Anyway, like I was saying, I'm applying elements of suspense to the ghost story that some might consider relentless. But I want this film to really have an impact. Just wait!

With the 'Malevolence' prequel, you mentioned to us in person that there were 2 potential scripts. One, based on your original vision & backstory. And the other, a little less brutal version which would have been a plan B depending on the movie distributor. Now that Anchor Bay is set & giving you free reign, just how brutal is your prequel going to be?

The 'Malevolence' prequel is so brutal, I have actually sat back and wondered if I have the stomach to do it. It's not the gore factor, but the sheer intense nature of the subject matter. It's rife with Mysoginy, and child abuse, and torture, and murder. It's truly horrific. It would be a challenge if I decide to do it.
You had a pretty solid group of actors involved in 'Malevolence'? Whom MIGHT we see coming back for another go round? Please bring back Jay Cohon as the killer!!!

No one from the original will be returning, except for Courtney.

Damn you! Well, you had mentioned the characters from the bank robbery most likely won't be in the prequel, but in our last interview, and this is a quote; on the prequel you said, "It will reveal the identity of his tormentor, the original killer, Graham Sutter. It will also go deeper into Julian's debt, his relationship with Marylin, and will also completely turn everything in Malevolence 1 on it's head, especially the end!!!" How much of this is still accurate? Throw us a bone here!?

(Laughs). I lied. None of that is in the prequel. It contains none of those elements. The sequel, however...?

We hear that there's a huge horror icon interested in playing the role of Graham Sutter in the prequel. Someone you've become friendly with over the past few years & one of the first endorsers of the film. Can you either confirm or deny this particular person's involvement, as of RIGHT now?!

That was speculated on, but nothing confirmed, and in the end it will most likely be all new faces.

There's very little known about the 'Malevolence' sequel. Is the story for the 'Malevolence' sequel something you have ready to go as well? Possibly at the same time as the prequel? Or is it too far away to even talk about?

It's ready to go, but not at the same time, that idea was scrapped. It will once again depend on the reception of Malevolence 2.

For the most part, fans have been smart enough to "get it" when they see your film. On most websites, there's a slew of extremely positive reviews and comments about 'Malevolence'. But as with everything, there's always a few people whom feel the need to bash or put something down. For the record & hopefully for the last time - let's set the record straight on all counts. What would you like to say to everyone who's commented on your film, both with positive & negative reviews?

Well, you can never please everyone, and I'm certainly not trying. I have noticed that for the most part, people who like the film tell a friend. People who don't like the film jump on the internet and vent to everyone, as if they feel the need to warn the world of their opinion. Personally I think it's really funny how people have nothing better to do. I'm lucky if I have time to sit down and watch a movie. How glorious it must be to be able to sit and blab for hours about little minute details about a film.

One of the funniest is people who complain that Samantha Dark falling while running away from the house was cliche. The truth is she actually fell, and we didn't have time to do another take, or else we would have run into overtime, which I couldn't afford. So we just used it. Courtney just improvised, and picked her up. If you watch the scene, you'll see the camera actually struggles to keep up with them, because the dp was expecting them to just run past. I laugh my ass off every time I read someone complain how cliche that is. If they only knew, haha...

It seems PG-13 horror & Japanese imports are starting to die down a bit. And now with Clive Barker's new slew of films based on his books, we can look forward to more original horror films again. How do you personally feel about the current state of horror filmmaking, and has there been anything you've seen recently that has stuck out as something special?

I think Hollywood is milking it for all it's worth, and will squeeze the life out of it very soon. Horror at the moment feels very desperate to me. As if they are being pumped out as fast as possible in order to capitalize on the horror "craze" before it dries out. And it will, very soon. Unless the remake craze exhausts itself.

People, even young kids, know when they are being pandered to, and Hollywood needs to show them some respect by at least attempting to try something new, take a chance. Otherwise, it will become a played out trend again. It's very simliar to the late eighties right now. The production values are better, so people feel they are getting their money's worth visually. But when was the last time a horror film stayed with you after the credits rolled? I can only think of a few, 28 Days Later for example. I enjoyed Saw as well. But that was a fresh idea. I liked it.

Considering the strength of 'Malevolence' as your first film; as a writer/director/composer; your name has been thrown around on-line by fans and various websites as an ideal candidate to tackle a 'Halloween' film. Granted, it's still up in the air weather they (the producers) will continue the 'Halloween' franchise or do a remake, but given the chance, would you take a chance at pulling the strings for Michael Myers?

Yes, if they granted me a few requests. 1 - I would require full access to the original Carpenter Soundtrack, and 2 - I would like to continue the story in the ONLY logical place, which is to re-imagine the ending of Halloween 2, and continue from there. I have an idea for that. I would also require the original mask. I think Castle owns it. So, I'd need to track him down & borrow it.

You've got our vote of confidence. There ya have it, folks!

Read our first interview with Stevan Mena from October 2004
and check out: Icons Of Fright Salutes Malevolence!!!

Special thanks to Adam Barnick for help with the pictures.

Visit: MalevolenceMovie.com

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