LA Film Fest 2011 Interview - 'Entrance' Trio Dallas Hallam, Patrick Horvath And Suziey Block Talk Terror
In today’s slice and dice horror fare it’s rare to come across a film that manages to slowly but surely get under the viewer’s skin. The unsettling new movie "Entrance," which was chosen for The Beyond category at this year’s LA Film Fest 2011, is one such singular piece of work. Taking inspirations from the likes of Hitchcock and De Palma (with a little Sean Cunningham thrown in for good measure!), "Entrance" tells the story of disenchanted barista Suziey who finds herself getting more and more detached from her lifeless existence in Los Angeles and eventually falls victim to it’s dark side. The film has a superb dread-infused slow pot boil and features a tour-de-force performance by leading lady Suziey Block in a role that makes one think of a more sullen Catherine Deneuve in Roman Polanski’s "Repulsion." (Her work in the film is THAT good!) Starpulse got a chance to chat one-on-one with not only up and coming actress Block, but her two directors Dallas Hallam and Patrick Horvath for one fun and revealing group chat about everything "Entrance." You may not sleep once you’ve experienced this Q&A – but enjoy anyway!
How did you guys all team up for "Entrance?"
Patrick Horvath: Dallas and myself met at the University of Iowa film program and we became fast friends there. Dallas had moved out to LA first and I then I followed three years later around 2006. He had already laid the groundwork with meeting all these awesome people out here and immediately introduced me to people who were making their own little features and we just helped out. And around 2008 was when we started doing "Die-ner (Get It?)" and were still working on other people’s projects too. But then Dallas pitched me this idea to do Entrance and that’s how we got the idea to do it.
Suziey Block: I auditioned for Dallas for a different project and I stayed in touch with him via e-mail – even though I didn't get the part! It’s very rare you meet someone like Dallas or Patrick who are very passionate about filmmaking.
Dallas Hallam: And I got that e-mail from her just about the same time I was pitching to Pat. The previous movie just fell apart and we needed to make something that we could do on a very small scale – the one that fell apart was a much bigger movie. But part of my pitch to Pat was Suziey. It was like I got this idea, I know we can do it for this amount of money and I got this girl. So even though Suziey wasn’t right for this other thing, she was perfect for this. Then it was my job to convince her that she had to come and be apart of it.
SB: He was like, ‘I have this slasher flick you’d be good for!’ And I was like, ‘Uhh, okay?’ (Laughs)
I have to ask – can you tell me a bit of background about the title "Entrance" and what it means?
PH: We worked on titles for months! We were throwing out everything, like what about "Albatross!?"
DH: At one point we were gonna call it "Slasher" and then one day it was actually Karen (Gorham, Producer), who owns the house we shot in and it was also her dog in the movie, who came up with Entrance and Pat and I heard it and that was it. And a great title, a really great title is difficult to say exactly why. Like when you go see "Magnolia" that’s the title of the movie and it’s Magnolia Blvd., but it’s so much more then that – there’s a magic to it. I feel "Entrance" is kind of like that. We have a whole bunch of our own reasons why it’s called that, some of which have to do with the entrance of a new way of living.
PH: At a film panel earlier somebody also asked if it was "Entrance" or "En-trance…"
That was my feeling too – just because Suziey’s performance both haunted and En-tranced me!
SB: Oh, thank you!
DH: And she’s in a trance too up until the tragic event happens!
Suziey – your performance is quiet yet filled with inner and outer emotion that at times disturbed me as much as the circumstances. How did you approach the character and was it hard to maintain your somber disenchantment during shooting?
SB: My approach was just trying to be as natural as possible – I try not to act. I try to think of an emotion that evokes and what makes me feel that way in my real life. But Dallas and Patrick were such amazing directors and I think having even a tiny crew helped as well. It was very much like being caught in my own haunted house.
DH: She’s a great actress and the three of us day to day got really close. We were like a team and developed our own short hand cause we had to move really quickly – we shot in twelve days.
Wow! Well, for the directors there is a real sense of dread throughout the film – what were some of your influences in terms of tone and mood?
PH: We had such a stripped down limited approach to it because we had such a limited time to pull everything off. It was all by design as we definitely wanted to make this very stripped down character study, but we wanted these little tease moments to keep building up to the point where we’re so tied into Suziey’s perspective that you’re wondering I don’t know how threatening these thing are. But they build to the point where you can’t discount them – it was a challenge to see if we could pull it off.
I have to know - what really scares all of you?
DH: Monotony, home invasions...!(Laughs) Actually I’m making fun of the response we got where a guy was like, ‘What’s so scary about monotony and home invasions?’ And I’m like those are the two scariest things that I can think of!
PH: The thing that scares me the most are people – what people are capable of. Sort of this veneer of safety and illusion of safety and how easy it is to shatter that. When everyday life erupts over into something that’s truly frightening, which I think was definitely an inspiration.
SB: I think random acts of violence really scare me – strangers really scare me. The not knowing always scares me the most.
So what’s coming up for you all and if you could all work together again what would you like to tackle next?
DH: We have a whole bunch of ideas, a whole bunch of stuff. Together Pat and I have at least four really good scripts in the works that we would do together and then outside of that we each have our own projects. We got a movie called "The Town That Hell Forgot" that Suziey would definitely be involved in…
SB: Nice! That’s the first I’ve heard of it! (Laughs)
DH: (Laughs) No I mentioned it – it’s set out in the desert.
SB: Great, a desert movie! (Everyone laughs)
DH: It’s about a town that’s basically built by an evil house.
PH: That’s one of many ideas!
SB: And I just finished two movies back to back. I did a movie in 3D called "American Mummy" that’s coming out and I did a movie called "A Wonder Valley."
Thanks gang! (And special thanks to the great Emily Lu of Brigade Marketing – love ya!)
You can check out "Entrance" on the web at http://entrancethefilm.com/ and watch the trailer below!