OWEN MULLIGAN is an amazing filmmaker from Vermont, and one to keep our eye out for in horror filmdom. His two short films - THE SMOG and MIDNIGHT ROADKILL screening now in YOUTUBE are a must see. Mr. Mulligan gives you that retro horror experience with his two short films - taking me back to that eighties horror film experience. Mr. Mulligan has a professional keen eye in film direction and cinematography. The special effects in both films are just startling. You take a look at his two films you think he spent a big budget for each of his short films. Again I repeat see his two short horror films - a must see… So, with the most respect I bring to you an interview with filmmaker Owen Mulligan…
Good Evening Owen - Can you tell the Eyepus audience about yourself personally and creatively - What first got you interested in film?
The desire was always there to make a film since I was old enough to understand the concept but it seemed impossible with the equipment of the time and I really had too many problems anyway. Years later digital technology blossomed and I was a different person with far fewer problems and ready for a challenge. I was heavily involved with politics which exposed me to digital camera work, etc. and I realized that making a movie was now within my reach.
Did you go to film school?
No, I have no formal training. I’m completely self-taught.
Who are your favorite horror filmmakers of all time?
I would have to say John Carpenter.
Any favorite GORY films of all time?
The Exorcist and John Carpenter’s The Thing as well as Alien. They all had groundbreaking gore that was really well used. I definitely admire The Exorcist the most though for making use of an erect penis in several shots, which not only offends most people but scares the Hell out of them. God knows why but it works.
Any favorite horror films of all time?
The Exorcist, The Thing, The Blob, The Fog, Prince of Darkness, The Changeling, Poltergeist, The Ring. There’s so many.
The last horror film you seen?
The Human Centipede, which I definitely liked.
Favorite horror writers?
Dean Koontz and Ray Bradbury. They may not be categorized as horror writers but they got some really horrific stories.
Can you tell me the budget for THE SMOG and MIDNIGHT ROADKILL?
They both were around $1,000.
Which kind cameras did you used for your films?
I used a Canon Vixia HV30 for both. I wish I had a wide angle lens when I did those but now I do so I look forward to putting that to use on my next short. I actually don’t own this camera though. Luckily, public access will let you use their equipment for exchange of your project airing on their channel. Now that’s a win-win situation that I take full advantage of.
Which editing system you used to edit your films?
Midnight Roadkill was edited by Paul Varricchione on Adobe Premiere and I edited The Smog on Sony Vegas, which is great software that I highly recommend. I also learned that Paranormal Activity was edited on Sony Vegas so don‘t think you have to use Final Cut. There’s other editing choices out there esp. if you’re PC based.
How many days did it took you to shoot The Smog and Midnight Roadkill?
They both took three days to shoot although some additional time was spent on getting the establishing shot that starts The Smog.
Love the saturated green colors in your film THE SMOG, it has a feel of an eighties horror film look, did you played with color corrections? Was is it intentional?
The saturated green was intentional alright. I purposely made the film become more green with each shot as the story progressed and the smog seeped in. I used green gels over the majority of the lights during filming for this effect and then in editing I used color balance and color curve effects to enhance the green and also the shadows.
Are you planning to expand your short horror films to a feature film someday?
I realize The Smog could definitely be made into a feature but I’m not sure if I’d make it or any other of my upcoming shorts into a feature at this point. I think I’d rather write a feature screenplay and go from there but who knows.
Where do you hope to see yourself in five to ten years?
Hopefully still making films and ideally feature horror films that are really good and scary. That’s what I’m trying to do by making shorts is to learn the craft and what techniques, etc. make people scared. I don’t see myself in Hollywood but rather making independent films under some film entity that will fund my work. There’s plenty out there like ScareFlix and Fangoria Films. I’d be completely content working with them spending the rest of my life making micro-budget horror flicks.
As far as promoting, are you submitting your films to any film festivals? Any upcoming personal screenings of your short horror films?
Midnight Roadkill played at the 2009 Vermont Horror Film Festival. Since it was basically my first film, I didn’t feel it was good enough to go beyond my local area. The Smog I feel is an improvement and so I submitted it to a number of horror fests nationwide but I won’t know until August which ones I got into.
Any upcoming film projects in the works?
I have another short in the works that I’m planning on shooting this coming January called Call of the Wendigo. My focus this time will be purely on the fear factor. My hope is to make a short that is really scary and one that will haunt people. That’s not an easy task but I’m going to try.
Any inspiring words or advice for upcoming indie/microbudget filmmakers trying to struggle with a small penny to make a film?
Well I’m still struggling but the struggle is important so pay attention to all the lessons learned. If you believe you have the talent and filmmaking is the only thing you want to do then don’t ever give up. So patience and persistence are key. You’ve got to work hard to make yourself the best filmmaker you can and that takes practice and time so keep making films and getting them out there. Listen to feedback and be open to criticism. Listen and improve, pay attention to your weak points and fix them. And don’t ever think you’re too old for this shit. Alfred Hitchcock made Psycho when he was sixty!
Check out OWEN MULLIGAN website www.deadfi.com and his two short fierce horror films THE SMOG and MIDNIGHT ROADKILL.