Director Michael Caissie discusses influences for his new film Hunter’s Moon…
New horror Hunter’s Moon is here, and we spoke to writer, director and producer Michael Caissie about his directorial debut and what inspired him to make the film. He previously co-wrote the Al Pacino thriller Hangman, wrote and directed new TV series Purgatory and has penned upcoming horror Sin Origen which was translated into Spanish and directed by Mexico’s Rigoberto Castañeda. So, he’s a man of many talents and we can’t wait to see what comes next.
In Hunter’s Moon three girls throw a party in their new country house when their parents leave town. When dangerous local boys show up, the women are forced to defend themselves from a predator, and something evil in the orchard outside! The film stars Thomas Jane (The Punisher, Deep Blue Sea), Sean Patrick Flanery (Dexter, The Boondock Saints) and Katrina Bowden (30 Rock, The Bold and the Beautiful).
So, what inspired Hunter’s Moon?
The Stephen King Style
“I read a lot of Stephen King from a young age, probably too young at the time, but it was my form of escapism. I love his ability to create worlds and characters, they’re always rich but also very different. From a writing standpoint, starting with a blank script, I aspire to follow that process beginning with the characters and concept, then building outwards, creating a rich new world.
Stand by Me is one of my favourite movies of all time. I’ve seen it about 6000 times, and I wonder if, subtly, the Chambers influenced the Bloomfield brothers in Hunter’s Moon. River Phoenix’s character even says in the movie that his last name defined him, so he’s pigeon-holed before he ever evolved into his own person. With Stephen King, I think it’s about how he tackles characters and brings humanity to the stories, whether it’s drama or horror.”
“Although I never wanted to show too much of our werewolf character, the biggest inspiration in how we portrayed him came from Jaws. I didn’t want to see much of the creature, which was a workaround for them since they didn’t want to show the mechanical shark. It turned out to be so iconic!
I talked to Vincent J. Guastini, our creature creator, and we wanted to do something completely practical that also looked a little old school. He told me about this stunt performer who walks on stilts, so had him in the movie wearing the werewolf suit and standing 9 feet tall. It’s an important part of the film but this isn’t a werewolf movie for me, it’s just a story that has a werewolf in it.”
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
“Wes Craven is a huge influence and A Nightmare on Elm Street is one of the first films I saw that really blew my mind. To this day, I’m still afraid of it! It was really cool to work with Amanda Wyss on Hunter’s Moon who played Freddie’s first victim, Tina, and I thought it might alleviate some of that fear I have from the film, but it didn’t [laughs]. Still, she was fantastic to work with.
A Nightmare on Elm Street has such a cool concept to begin with and what the cast brought to it, especially Robert Englund in that iconic role, is really amazing. I love that the documentary Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy really goes deep into the franchise and what they had to go through to get the films made, including the sequels. As an indie filmmaker, that’s inspiring.”
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
“Interestingly, this remake and the Friday the 13th (2009) remake influenced the visual style of Hunter’s Moon in terms of colour tones and palettes. Both of those were shot by director of photography Daniel Pearl who was also the DP for the original 1974 The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. I actually didn’t know that for a while.
Marcus Nispel also directed both films and he did a great job. These two films definitely inspired my movie and I feel they were great remakes to classic films. It’s not easy to do, bring something fresh to a formula or story people already know. It inspires me to keep going and stay creative. Hopefully audiences get a flavour of that from Hunter’s Moon!”