Today I’m welcoming back director, Michael G. Kehoe to discuss his new horror film, Alice. Thank you, Michael for stopping by!
Tell everyone a little about yourself.
I was born in Brooklyn, New York and grew up going to a Catholic school. My mother was a theater director in the local parish. One of the first films that caught my attention when I was very young was a film by an Australian director Nicolas Roeg titled “Walkabout”. Roeg was a Cinematographer on such films like “Fahrehheit 451”, Second Unit on “Lawrence of Arabia” just to name a few. So his attention to detail as far as composition and light was something that caught my attention for some reason.
My family moved to Ithaca and while I attended high school I became interested in drama and started acting. I wanted to direct so I approached the school and a sports booster club to produce the play “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. I produced it, directed it and played the leading role of R. P. McMurphy. The play was a success for the sports booster club and I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I was then approached by my high school English teacher to apply to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. I then waited for word, and was finally accepted.
After completing my studies there I left for California and took a job as a bartender. There is a longer story, but it would end up being a book!
Your latest horror film is titled, Alice. Prior to it becoming a feature film, it was the short film called Hush which received more than 30 phenomenal awards. Share with us Hush’s success and how it became Alice.
I had been developing an idea that would take place in one location with female leads. I happen to have 4 sisters, they’re independent and their personalities are very strong. I have a great relationship with all of them. My mother, was a huge fan of Alfred Hitchcock, and she was a very positive inspiration for me to pursue a career as a filmmaker. All of this is what lit the fuse of inspiration. I began writing a screenplay and did not have a title. The screenplay was written quickly and I knew that every screenplay I write will have a follow up journey of a rewrite and another rewrite and another and a polish and a touch up, this is the life of a writer! Within the untitled screenplay I pulled a scene that although was less than 5 minutes long, it had somewhat of a three act structure. I then decided to take that scene and shoot it as a short film. The scene itself is the catalyst of the third act in the feature script.
I had several ideas on how I wanted to shoot the film and then contacted cinematographer and long time friend John Connor. We met and discussed the approach to the film for several months. We created story boards, developed movement of the shots and composition. John suggested we shoot the film with anamorphic lenses and that was the scope I wanted for the film giving it a grand look. We then discussed lighting. Lighting for this genre is extremely important and the right lighting can give the film a style that remains in peoples minds after they’ve left the theater. I must give credit to John Connor for the style and the lighting. At first he was reluctant when I said I did not want to use any lights at all. We looked at dozens of films that inspired us over the years and John came up with an idea that created the style of the film. It has his mark on it. I then brought on a talented editor Michael Trent. Michael and I had a friendship already through our sons, he loves filmmaking as much as I do and I felt as if we were old friends when we began discussing the short film HUSH. Michael talked about the science of the horror genre. I loved those discussions we had over coffee. Each and every moment was touched upon and I knew Michael Trent was the right choice. I not only consider him a friend, but he is my editor!
We shot the short film in one day, less than 11 hours. We came prepared and the cast and crew were spot on! At the time, I fooled around with different titles such as “Dark Rain”, “The Night It Came” and several others. Then, a friend of mine read the short script and in the script there was dialogue that the baby sitter had: “Hush, I’m coming”. So, we decided to use “HUSH”. The short film went on to win 34 awards, including a Wes Craven award. The buzz for the short was extremely rewarding and it gave us faith to continue with the feature.
I then received a call from producer Malek Akkad (producer of the HALLOWEEN franchise), he had screened the short film and read the script. We met, solidified a deal and went over the ideas for the story. Malek is a passionate producer with attention to story. He and I worked diligently on the script and spent hours going over the approach of the cast. We both agreed to avoid the cliche’ of nudity and blood and worked the relationships out that would be relatable to the female audience. We moved on and scheduled the film to shoot with an 18 day schedule that ended out being shorter than that. Believe me, if I had more time we would have used it! But we accomplished what we set out to do and I am very proud of this film.
What makes Alice the “must see” film for all horror fans?
I think the element of “what’s behind the door?” is always something that horror fans love. I learned quickly that horror fans are loyal and sharp. You can’t cheat a horror fan, if you do, you’ll never hear the end of it. The genre itself has many flavors, there’s ghosts, vampires, monsters, killers, demons and the list goes on. Each of these flavors has a following that is dedicated to the history, the tone and the style. I hope we can give the fans a ride that will open the doors to a sequel! I think they’ll enjoy this as the fans enjoyed the short film. We want to scare the crap out of the audience!
What are some things people are saying about this exciting film so far?
During post, the technicians have stated that “ALICE” is creepy with great jump scares. They’ve said “you took us on one path and then jolted us to another”. No one on the outside has even seen the film, not the crew, not the cast. Only the small circle that pulled this all together. The word has been very positive.
Is there a teaser trailer available?
We’re working on a trailer right now. In fact, we will be announcing a contest on social network very soon!
When will Alice be released for all to see?
At the present time “ALICE” is due to be released in February.
Where can horror fans find updates about Alice?
Right now people should log on to Facebook and “Like” the “ALICE The Movie” page: https://www.facebook.com/alicemovie2017/?fref=ts
There will be updates and information being released. Be sure to keep an eye out for the big event we will be announcing.
People can follow me on social network: Instagram; @mikehoe11 Twitter: @MikeyKehoe https://twitter.com/MikeyKehoe
I want to thank you Sheila Renee Parker for your support and your dedication to the paranormal. Your voice should be heard all across the country. I hope you will continue to support the films I make in the future! I would also like to thank the people you inspired to follow me. I hope I can bring the film to a theater near you!
Michael G. Kehoe