Interview with Bobby Easley Director of HP Lovecraft’s Witch House
H.P. Lovecraft is a name synonymous with the horror genre. One of his short stories written in 1932 “Dreams in the Witch House”, is arguably one of his most cerebral although less well received later stories in his career. From our personal love of Lovecraftian cosmicism we feel that it is an important story in Lovecraft’s body of work and the visuals it creates of the dimensional spaces experienced by the protagonist would be a huge undertaking to bring to visual media. Enter writer/Director/producer Bobby Easley.
Geekpost.net was invited to view the movie “The Witch House”. We turned the lights out, popped some popcorn, and set in for 80 minutes of a movie that captures the feel and renders the visuals of the story wonderfully. Just like any good movie or show that follows an author’s story or book, this is not a scene-by-scene telling of the story. In our opinion it took a lot of work to even get close to making the story make sense for the big screen and that is just what was accomplished here.
Geekpost.net got a chance to ask Writer/Producer/Director Bobby Easley about the film. Enjoy the interview.
GeekPost: How long have you been a fan of Lovecraft? And how did you discover his work?
Bobby Easley: I’ve been a fan of Lovecraft since I was a teenager. I didn’t really read a lot of his stories, but there was a fascination with the “Necronomicon” and I borrowed it from the local library. I just knew of him through bands like Metallica, Iron Maiden album covers, and some of the films made by Brian Yuzna such as Re-animator, From Beyond, and The Necronomicon.
GeekPost: What drew you to directing your take on H.P. Lovecraft’s “Dreams in the Witch House”?
Bobby Easley: I met Brian Yuzna at a film festival in New York back in 2018 and he suggested I look into the public domain works of HP Lovecraft. That’s where we came up with the idea to direct the adaptation to his short story “The Dreams in the Witch House”.
GeekPost: “Witch House” is a very visceral and visual film that invokes some interesting imagery. How difficult was the writing process? How long did it take you?
Bobby Easley: Thank you for that comment. We worked very hard trying to portray some of the alien world like dimensions that Lovecraft mentions, on a limited budget. We spent a considerable amount of time in pre, production, and post doing rewrites. We all felt in the time spent in such a lengthy production that some ideas grew stale, and we wanted to up the ante as we began to really flesh out our true design.
GeekPost: What was it like to shoot in such a historic location as the Hannah House? Were there any challenges? Since it’s rumored to be haunted, did the crew experience any activity?
Bobby Easley: Shooting in the Hannah House was a trip to yesteryear. We did experience paranormal activity at times. Our batteries drained very easily, we heard an infant’s cries come from within the walls, crew members felt uneasy and there was an overall sense of dread at times working there. Despite this, an amazing location and the production value that it gave us was just so important to the story.
GeekPost: While there was not a lot of gore, there was some great disturbing and creative images throughout the film. What was the most challenging part about the special effects for “Witch House”?
Bobby Easley: Thank you again for another good comment! We wanted to show the gore and horror but at the same time we had to keep track of different dimensions, dreams, and reality. James Brenton, our director of photography had some pretty complex lighting set ups and Marc Wellington brought a lot to the video special effects spectrum in post-production. Those two guys had a big hand in the film having a 1970s Italian psychedelic horror picture look.
GeekPost: The movie contains a lot of camera effects involving the dream sequences. How much of that was done post-production?
Bobby Easley: I’d say there’s a healthy 50-50 mix. We had a lot of artists working on body painting and practical effects like the blood, latex, gore, etc. Phil Yeary, veteran indie special effects guru of Nightmare Images, did an incredible job of building some of the demonic entities in this film. Marc Wellington just took it over the top in post-production with the colors and a lot of the special effects smoky you know type Witchcraft dinging’s ha ha!
GeekPost: The soundtrack for “Witch House” was very effective in cultivating an atmosphere of unease and gripping tension. What can you tell us about it?
Bobby Easley: Our composer Dyllen Nance has done a lot of great work for me in the past and we brought him back to help paint the atmosphere for this, along with some really nice 80s obscure music tracks from composer Kevin Macleod, Heather Hart, and my favorite song in the closing credits, Lock the World Outside by El Creepo.
GeekPost: What was it like to work with Brian Yuzna and John Penney on “Witch House”?
Bobby Easley: It’s been an honor and a privilege to work with these two legends, but they didn’t take it easy on us! Haha. They expected us to step our game up and take our cinematography to the next level. We did just that. We listened and learned a lot. They literally broke the story down and we rewrote quite a bit, time and time again as we didn’t have the script fully formulated. They have showcased the film at Cannes Film Market, American Film Market and continue to represent us to the fullest. Can’t wait to work on the next one with them!
GeekPost: You worked with a talented cast. Do you have any stories that you can share with us?
Bobby Easley: My goodness, yes, we were blessed with Andie Noir, Julie Anne Prescott, and Michelle Morris. These ladies have at least 100 films between them, and just getting started. Michael Todd, Solon Tsangaras, and John Johnson really had their work cut out for them with the very talented scream queens in this film. What a handful of really great actors that we know from the convention circuit!
GeekPost: Do you have any upcoming projects that you’d like to talk about?
Bobby Easley: Right now, I am assistant director on the Ultimate Throwdown with Rob Davidson of American Muscle Films. Once that wraps next month, I’m gonna take some time to enjoy life and spend a good year writing our next project. Don’t worry, we already have some great ideas!
A big thank you to Bobby Easley of Horror Wasteland Pictures International for granting us an interview as well as a chance to experience true madness and delicious terror.