An interview with :

Eric England

DGEMadison County, Roadside & Contracted - three very different movies in many, and in some cases, very obvious ways. Obvious being the fact we have a pig-masked killer, a couple who are terrorised by an unknown assailant and a woman infected with some kind of body-eating virus! Is it fair to say you kind of like experimenting with different `genres`. I know all three movies are horror related but to different extremes.

Eric :  Definitely. Thanks for picking up on that. I love horror movies, but horror is such a vast term that I don't want to keep myself in just one corner. I have tons of different ideas for horror movies that I would love to do some day, so the more I can play in the sandbox and still do something different, the more I'll keep doing it! But having films that were very diverse was definitely a goal from the get-go.

DGE :  So what got you into writing/directing and producing movies in the first place?

Eric :  It came from two place. The first, just a natural born love for movies. I loved watching them. I loved talking about them. And eventually, I loved telling other people about them... Eventually, that led to me wondering what kind of stories I would want to come up with on my own if I could.

:  I’m a low-budget, indie movie lover and so when a movie like Contracted or Madison County is released I’m buzzing with excitement. Do you think there is a big gulf between the Hollywood blockbusters and if so, how can up and coming writers/directors possibly compete? It’s a shame some indie movies don’t get the recognition they fully deserve and yet many blockbusters fail to live up to the hype!

Eric : That's just part of the business we're in. There's always some band in their garage that is playing better songs than what's on the radio. The idea is to get your product in front of the right people. And sadly, even the "right" people sometimes can't do things at the opportune time. So you kind of just have to keep banging on the door no matter what. Eventually, someone will let you in... Or if they don't, you will have banged hard enough that you just broke through on your own. I often like to say that the people who find success as artists are just too stubborn to know when to give up.

DGE :  Going back to Madison County, where did the initial idea come from? If I had to compare it to any other movie I would go down the Friday the 13th path possibly due to the location (woods) , a slasher vibe and the killer wearing a mask ;-)

Eric : It came from local urban legends while I was growing up and my love for backwoods slasher films. I wish I would've waited to try and make Madison County until I was more capable as a filmmaker, but I really love backwoods slasher films and when I was asked to make my own, I jumped at the chance. I don't love the film, looking back on it and in a lot of ways, I was making it up as I went along -- which you should never really do as a filmmaker... But one day I hope to get back into that subgenre do it the correct way.

:  Speaking of slasher movies, and with the taboo that seemed to follow Eli Roth’s `The Green Inferno` - is there any subject matter that you would simply refuse to work with? Anything that would not interest you in the slightest?

Eric : I'm not a big fan of films that take a political stance on something. I'm not a very opinionated person, in general... So when a film feels preachy to me, it turns me off. So I'd probably stay away from anything that feels too "hot topic" at the moment that I couldn't do in a very objective and neutral way. But as far as subgenres, there's not much that I wouldn't be interested in tackling. I want to think that I could make a movie about a unicorn and still make it scary and compelling.

DGE :  Now, I've bent your ear quite a few times on social media (twitter) about a sequel to Madison County. Is there any update you can give the fans to a possible sequel?

Eric : Sadly not yet. I will say though that I'm looking for a director on it. I don't think I want to direct it. I have an idea for a reboot/spin-off of the idea that I want to make... But as far as a sequel to my original film, I don't know if I want to direct one... But I would love to let a young filmmaker that is passionate about the idea take it and run with it.

DGE :  Talking about sequel's we have recently seen the release of Contracted: Phase 2 to which you really didn’t have a huge part to play in the making of it? How disappointed were you not to have YOUR ideas put onto the screen? I read on your blog that you have a great storyline for Contracted 2 and hope one day it will see the light.

Eric : It's disappointing... Like having a child and watching someone else raise it. But as time always does, it heals the wound. My main issue with the film was that it wasn't a good sequel to my original film. The director of the sequel didn't like my movie, the writer really liked my movie and the producers felt like they knew everything. The movie had a lot of things going for it and basically just became a gross zombie movie that felt like a clunky mess. A polished turd. So I didn't want my name or my original film associated it with it. But sadly -- you can't escape that when people want to make money.

DGEContracted also seemed to be liked universally if the tweets I’ve read on Twitter are anything to go by. Are you surprised by the success of that movie and why do you think people seemed to like it so much?

Eric : I was pleasantly surprised by the success of the film. I always hoped it would do well, but I didn't think it would resonate as well as it did. And I think the reason it did is because it's a relatable film and a unique twist on the subgenre. So it checked a lot of boxes for a bigger demographic than your average horror movie fan.

DGE :  For us lovers of movies who possibly don’t appreciate just how hard it is to bring something to the screen, can you give an insight into the pro`s and con`s of movie making. Is there anything that disappoints you in terms of marketing, promoting your movies? I guess piracy is a big concern and in this digital age it seems movies can be found pretty much anywhere and with such ease.

Eric : Piracy is obviously a big downer. I think the process and the red tape is probably the worst... especially as your career continues to grow. The waiting on answers for money, distribution, actors, etc can all really bog you down and take away your momentum. I loved that my first few films were made at the speed of thought, but as your budgets grow and more people have a say in your film, the slower that process becomes.

DGE :  Out of the three movies we have covered, Madison County, Roadside and Contracted, which did you most enjoy making and which (if not all three) proved to be the more demanding to make?

Eric : CONTRACTED and MADISON COUNTY were definitely the most fun to make. They both had a very familial aspect to the making of them and everyone just gelled together. Both of those films were just big love fests. ROADSIDE was definitely the most challenging to make. We just greatly underestimated the making of that film and it hit us pretty hard while making it.

DGE :  You seem to be close friends with one actor in particular, Ace Marrero, who has appeared in both Madison County and Roadside. So, how long have you known each other and do you plan to work together on future projects?

Eric : I met Ace in film school and we've been great friends ever since. I used to date his wife's sister and we were very much like family for a long time. His career is doing great things and if he can find time in his busy schedule to come make another movie with me, I'd love to!

DGE :  Coming away from your movies for the time being, lets talk about the man, Eric England. A quick fire round of questions just for fun!

    Favourite movie of all time and why?  SCREAM. It has everything I want in a movie. Thrills, chills, mystery, fun, a great/realistic love story and a twisted sense of humor.

    Favourite actor and actress?  Way too tough to narrow down.

    Favourite Director? David Fincher and Alfred Hitchcock.

And one question I’m asking everyone who I interview is, if you could REMAKE movie from any era, what would it be?  This changes a lot as there are tons of films I'd love to make... Probably STRANGERS ON A TRAIN.

DGE :  Before we finish and with Halloween just around the corner, do you have any plans this year? Have you a costume already!

Eric : I'm working on a couple of movies at the moment, so sadly my Halloween will probably be quite lame.

DGE :  Final question and one I’m sure your fans will be interested in knowing is what have you planned for the future? I see you have a title called 'Get The Girl' in the works which I believe is a comedy (and another genre for you) - can you elaborate more on this?

Eric : I do. GET THE GIRL is finished and hopefully being released next year. It's a black comedy thriller. Very fun, but very dark. I'm also directing my first drama called HUNTSVILLE, which will be the first feature I direct that I didn't write. Other than that, I'm working on a couple of new horror movies that I'm excited to hopefully announce soon.


Madison County (2011)

Synopsis (IMDB) : A group of college kids travel to a small, mountain town called Madison County to interview the author of a tell-all book on the accounts of several grisly murders that happened there.

Directed by : Eric England

Written by : Eric England

Cast :  Colley Bailey, Matt Mercer, Ace Marrero, Joanna Sotomura, Natalie Scheetz, Nick Principe, Dayton Knoll, Adrienne Harrell, Katie Stegeman

My Rating :

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