Dave: "Horror movies that engross you with
style, plot, characters, and unexpected twists are my absolute favorite".
Conducted by Phil Davies Brown
July 19th, 2004
After a short break, we are pleased to continue the celebrations with a special birthday interview with director Dave Campfield. Feeling generous, Dave took the time to talk to me about his new movie Under Surveillance which is almost finished after a very taxing production process which lasted much longer than anticipated.
The film is already receiving attention and is sure to please fans of 'Sleepaway Camp' as it stars Felissa Rose and Jeff Hayes the popular webmaster of www.sleepawaycampmovies.com not to mention that the film sees the return of Desiree Gould after an acting hiatus of almost 20 years!!
I'm sure that you will all agree that Under Surveillance is definitely a project to keep your eye on. The interview is also complimented by the brand new poster art and an exclusive clip from the movie which has not been seen anywhere before.
When did you first become interested in the medium of film?
I was four years old. I was taken to the re-release of Star Wars. It was unlike anything I had experienced. It captured me on so many different levels. From that point on, for better or worse, film has been my obsession.
Did you go to film school?
I went for about one year to the College of Santa Fe in New Mexico. It was promoted as the only film school in the US to have a functioning sound stage for Hollywood productions. Movies like Wyatt Earp were shot there. But something became clear to me during my first year. The only thing a film degree guaranteed was debt. I needed a calling card. I figured I'd take the money I'd pump into film school, and make my own feature. So, I dropped out, and returned to New York. I wrote scripts and got my film education from books and working on low budget indies.
Are you a fan of the horror genre?
When horror is about story, I love it. When it's simply about gore for the sake of gore, it's not my thing. Horror movies that engross you with style, plot, characters, and unexpected twists are my absolute favorite.
What are some of your favourite horror movies?
Off the top of my head, I'd say The Exorcist, Jaws, Psycho, and Misery. I think they're VERY smartly written, and extremely well made. I also enjoyed the hell out of Red Dragon, 28 Days Later, and Scream 1 & 2.
As far as my guilty pleasures are concerned, I really dig the 1986 Horror-Comedy "House", Rob Zombie's "House of 1000 Corpses" and Steve Cuden's low budget opus "Lucky". Well crafted and written in their own right, but a little more "out there".
Dave: "I wrote scripts and got my film
education from books and working on low budget indies.".
You are currently putting the finishing touches to your new movie Under Surveillance. Where did the original idea come from?
Economics. I thought to myself, what is the most interesting idea I can conjure, to take place under the most extreme confines. One big house, a number of tenants, one killer. Peering into their lives, trying to figure out which of them has been behind a bizarre series of crimes, and why. Cross cutting between black and white surveillance footage, and color film. I felt there was a lot of potential there. It ultimately took about a year to write.
How did you go about getting the film made?
Friends, family, local businesses, and my entire life savings. In recruiting crew, the internet became a major catalyst.
How did you get the excellent cast on board?
Some were friends; some were cast through the magazine Backstage. I knew Felissa Rose from the local film scene. I sent her the Under Surveillance script, and she gave me a resounding yes.
Felissa Rose, Jeff Hayes and Desiree Gould. A fan of Sleepaway Camp are we?
I hadn't seen Sleepaway Camp until after production wrapped! Again, I knew Felissa personally. At a Sleepaway Camp re-union, she had put me in touch with Jeff Hayes and Desiree Gould. I took one look at Desiree and thought; she HAS TO BE IN THIS MOVIE. I had written a role only she could play. And to my surprise, she was quite agreeable. All three of them were great to work with.
Obviously, the idea of watching everything via surveillance cameras was your way of making the production more cost effective, but this technique has now been used countless times. What did you do to ensure that the film will stand out from other similarly themed movies?
The surveillance cameras are simply used as a means of telling the story. After a body turns up on the lead character's lawn, he becomes suspicious of his new housemates, and puts them under video surveillance. It's the tool he uses to solve a mystery that's put his own life in danger.
How long did the shoot last and did it go to plan?
The shoot was supposed to last 3 weeks in December of 2001. Well, all did NOT go according to plan. Among other things, last minute expenses killed us. The plug was pulled on production early. All the money had been spent, and only 50% of the movie had been shot. I spent the next year raising completion funds.
Dave: "Expect a very ominous
mysterious air to it all.".
What has been holding the film up in post? Principal photography was completed well over a year ago wasn't it?
When making a movie for a budget as low as mine, about $30,000, you find yourself working around people's schedules. Also, it took quite some time finding the proper composer(s). Music means so much to a movie, I didn't want to short change it. I was fortunate enough to come across Evan Evans (Hunting Humans), who along with Joseph Bauer has been creating a masterful score.
When can we expect a release and is the film likely to go direct to video and cable, or are you hoping for a theatrical release?
I'm aiming to have the movie complete by September or October. I would like to go the festival route, followed by a small theatrical release, then DVD, and cable. This is what I'm aiming for, whether or not I accomplish it is a different matter.
What can we expect from the film in terms of tone?
50% Rear Window, 25% Scream, 25% Cape Fear (1991). Expect a very ominous mysterious air to it all. Expect big plot twists, and an ending that answers all the seemingly unanswerable questions.
Is it likely to be R rated?
Yes. For language, themes and some scary moments.
Which movies and directors would you say have influenced the film and your work in general?
Mostly Hitchcock. I also enjoy the frenetic pace of a lot of Tony Scott's efforts. But like any other filmmaker, I've drawn from any number of influences. Be that Steven Spielberg or someone as unrecognized as Edgar G. Ulmer. Obviously the goal is to create a style wholly specific to yourself, but it's hard not draw from previously existing techniques of those you appreciate the most.
What will you be working on next?
I made a promise to myself, I'd never make another movie as low budgeted as Surveillance. NEVER. But for some reason I just took on a $600 comedy entitled Caesar and Otto. Not only is that a fraction of the Under Surveillance budget, it may very well be the lowest budget feature in history! I suppose I needed to keep myself active during the LONG post production period of Surveillance. So after the pure absurdity that is Caesar and Otto (check out davecampfield.com), I have a supernatural thriller planned, entitled LOST DISCIPLE. My goal with which, is to create the most down to earth, and logical look into the afterlife we've seen thus far in cinema.
"Thank you for taking part in this interview Dave.
We all wish you the very best of luck in the future."
In addition to this exclusive interview with Dave Campfield Director of the forthcoming horror/thriller Under Surveillance, we can brgin to you the brand new poster art and an exclusive video clip both of which have NEVER been seen before by anyone other than the people who made it.
<< Click the poster for a larger view.
And here is an exclusive clip from the movie featuring Desiree Gould from Sleepaway Camp. This is her first movie after a nearly 20 year hiatus. Scene description: Justin Besler has left his medication addicted mother to start life anew with his father. Problem is, she won’t leave him.
Click here to see the clip.