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Excl: Neil Marshall & Axelle Carolyn talk their favorite Halloween tales

10.23.2015by: Eric Walkuski

 

There's probably no cooler couple working in the horror genre today than Neil Marshall and Axelle Carolyn; in fact, you might consider the duo the First Couple of Horror. Marshall has a fanboy friendly track record consisting of films like DOG SOLDIERS, THE DESCENT and DOOMSDAY (not to mention a couple of terrific Game of Thrones episodes), while Carolyn has established herself as a promising filmmaker with her 2013 feature debut SOULMATE. If you need to see more of their horror credentials, consider this: They got married on Halloween!

This past week saw the release of the spirited anthology TALES OF HALLOWEEN, which was based on an original idea by Carolyn; both directed a segment for the film, alongside genre luminaries like Darren Lynn Bousman, Lucky McKee and Mike Mendez, just to name a few. The film is a welcome addition to the catalogue of flicks that actually take place on Halloween, and should become an October staple for years to come.

Since I've been talking All Hallow's Eve movie playlists with a number of actors and directors recently (check out my talks with Patrick Wilson HERE and the Soska Sisters HERE and stay tuned for many more next week), I figured Neil and Axelle would be a perfect pair to add to the conversation. Read on!

 

Can you talk about how quickly this film came together?

Axelle: I've been thinking about making an anthology for three or four years, but this specific story revolving around Halloween came up early last year. It was really, really quick. I've been wanting to make something with my friends for years, you know, the horror community. Everybody hangs out together and goes to screenings together and we all support each other, and I was thinking, instead of hanging out and talking about other people's movies, we should just go make our own. I had been thinking of that for a while. And then a bunch of new anthology movies came out which made it much more of an easy sell. The filmmakers responded to it really well, straight away.

Neil: It's kind of unbelievable how easily it all came together. Within about the space of a week Axelle was pitching the idea to the directors, the directors were on board, we went and pitched the idea to Epic Pictures and they were like, "Yeah, we'll finance it." That's unheard of. And that's on the basis of not having any scripts either, it was just an idea with some directors attached, but they had had a great experience with Mike Mendez on Big Ass Spider and Mike vouched for us and that's why it came together so well, I think.

How early do you start preparing for Halloween?

Axelle: It's a huge part of my life. Right now I'm pretty much wearing Halloween attire, pumpkins on my shorts and on my t-shirt, I'm all Halloween'd out. It's the time of the year when the rest of the world catches up with what we're doing the whole year. You go to the supermarket and there's a ghost in the window and you're like, "I feel right at home!"

Neil: You start celebrating as early as you can get away with it, really. I love the fact that it's a seasonal change as well, the color palette changes around us, it gets a bit cooler. Growing up in the UK, where the change is much more dramatic, that all ties into the time of year for me. Obviously, the traditions, like going to Halloween mazes, watching as many horror movies as you can pack into that time, discovering new horror movies as well. All the pumpkins and everything to do with that, pumpkin spice lattes. [Laughs] It's just the best time of year.


Re-Animator  

Do you remember the first horror movie that made a major impact on you when you were growing up?

Axelle: My parents wouldn't let me watch horror movies when I was little, so I saw them pretty late. I remember seeing a lot of children's movies and Disney films, like the Silly Symphonies Skeleton Dance, that made a huge impression so I knew I was attracted to that kind of thing. I do remember my parents buying me a TV when I was 17 or 18-years-old, and you have your own TV now and suddenly the floodgates open. I was just watching horror movies one after another for an entire summer. I remember seeing Re-Animator and thinking, "Wow, this is so much fun." Re-Animator was a big one. The Fly was another where I thought, "Oh wow, you can do that with a horror movie? You can make people feel like that?"

Neil: The Bride of Frankenstein. I think I was about 5-years-old, my dad showed it to me on television late one night. He came and woke me up and said, "You need to come and see this." I was just completely hooked. That was the first one, but then it was seeing films like Alien and American Werewolf in London when I was 11 or 12, the films that I saw in my early teens influenced me massively.


Trick 'r Treat

What horror movies do you revisit around the Halloween season?

Axelle: Nightmare Before Christmas, although that tends to be more of a Christmas movie. Halloween 3: Season of the Witch is fantastic. Trick 'r Treat is amazing, it's obviously the first film that comes to mind when you think of Halloween anthologies. I consider Trick 'r Treat the one you watch at the end of the night that sends you off to sleep. I love some less known ones too, like Idle Hands is a great one. Satan's Little Helper is really fun. Every year I watch the Disney version of the Sleepy Hollow story, which was a big inspiration. There's a bunch. Every year I watch Donnie Darko, which is not really a Halloween movie but it has that tone. I love that movie so much.

Neil: Certainly Halloween itself. I'm a big fan of Halloween 3 as well, that's a very cool movie. Trick 'r Treat is always a winner. There are also non-horror films, like E.T. is a good one to watch because it has that great Halloween sequence that really captures the flavor of it all.


Lake Mungo

Give me an obscure horror movie, one that isn't so well known but you try to get people to watch.

Axelle: I think it depends on who you're talking to. [Laughs] Lake Mungo is a great one, for people who like found footage I always mention that one. Another one I think of is Eyes Without a Face. I discovered it very recently, just a couple of years ago, and it just went straight into my top ten.

Neil: It used to be an Australian film called Long Weekend, which is just so weird and disturbing. I certainly recommend that film. Nowadays the film I recommend everybody watch is Lake Mungo, which I didn't know what to expect when I saw it but it's very creepy. It has a real wonderful payoff at the end.

You can check out TALES OF HALLOWEEN right HERE; the film is also playing in limited theaters around the country.

Extra Tidbit: Have you seen TALES OF HALLOWEEN yet? (I must also concur with Axelle's suggestion of Eyes Without a Face, see that flick if you never have!)

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