If you wish to go to the current Fangoria site, you may click the top logo, "Home" or "News" links. Or click here.
Living in Los Angeles can be scary, but especially so for
Suziey (Suziey Block), the heroine of ENTRANCE. In theaters and available
nationwide today on IFC Midnight Cable VOD and digital outlets (SundanceNOW, iTunes,
Amazon Streaming, XBOX Zune, PlayStation Unlimited), this quiet chiller was
directed, co-scripted and co-produced by Dallas Hallam and Patrick Horvath, who
discussed its creation with Fango.
ENTRANCE is just as much a character study as a fright film,
the first half following Suziey through a daily routine that has led her to
feel alienated from the city and people around her. Slowly but surely, though,
the filmmakers build a sense of menace that eventually erupts into full-blown
horror (go here for our full review). It’s quite a change of pace from Horvath’s previous genre
entry, the comic zombie opus DIE-NER (GET IT?), and as the filmmakers reveal,
ENTRANCE rose from the ashes of another extravagant, but ill-fated, project…
FANGORIA: How did ENTRANCE first come about?
DALLAS HALLAM: It was kind of a long process, and then it
ramped up really quick to get made. Pat and I had been working together for
years, and I was the AD on DIE-NER, and then I was trying to set up a project
right after that I would direct; it was something I’d been trying to get off
the ground for years. I finally thought it was gonna happen, I had all the balls
in the air, and then, as so many things do, it just kind of fell apart. It was
called LAND OF DUST AND WATER; I wanted to make a very sincere love story that
was at the same time the goriest movie ever made. It would have been body
horror—a lot of people fusing together and bodies falling apart and all that
kind of stuff. But it fell apart, and out of its ashes came ENTRANCE, because
we just needed to make something; we had all these creative juices flowing, and
I had $6,000 in the bank from a job I’d just finished. So I approached Pat with
the basic idea, which he liked, and within a month, the film was made.
FANG: You mean actually completed as far as the shooting?
HALLAM: Yeah. We had all this energy built up from gearing
up for the other movie, and a real desire to work. And fate really worked on
our side, because a lot of things fell into place—the locations, the actors,
who turned out to be awesome—really quickly and easily. So within a month we’d
gone from no script, just the basic idea, to having shot the movie.
FANG: ENTRANCE has five credited writers/producers,
including yourselves and Block. Did everyone pitch in with ideas and come up
with the screenplay as a collective?
HALLAM: There are different credits for different things.
Michelle [Margolis], my wife, and her friend Karen Gorham really got the
conversation started on just making something after everything fell apart. Pat
and I really structured the whole screenplay, but that said, the character of
Suziey was very much based on input from Michelle and Karen, and their
perspectives on being women in Los Angeles and whatnot. And then, a lot of the
dialogue was semi-improvisational, so the writing credit needed to be spread
The way it worked was that Pat and I had a very detailed
script that would say, “INT. SALON - DAY. Suziey sits down to get her hair cut,
and she and Karen talk about this and that.” And it would note the things we
needed to get across. We worked with the actors and did a ton of rehearsing,
and then we would shoot and allow them, through preparing and getting to know
their characters and knowing what we needed to get across, to improvise their
own dialogue. Only occasionally we would have to stop and say, “Oh, that’s a
great line, let’s reuse that,” or “Let’s do it again, but focus more on this
other thing you guys were talking about.”
FANG: How did you divide the directing chores on ENTRANCE?
PATRICK HORVATH: Well, Dallas shot the whole thing.
Basically, the tiny crew we had was Dal shooting, I was behind him with a monitor
and we had our sound guy. That was, for the most part, our entire crew. So we
would both give notes, and as we were going through it, Dallas would help out
doing the camera placement and the blocking, and we would both chime in with
the emotional and story points that needed to be hit. We kind of share the same
brain in a lot of ways. It wasn’t stepping on toes or anything; it was actually
HALLAM: A big rule for us was to never argue or disagree in
front of people on set, but we never had to deal with that rule because it just
didn’t happen. We knew the script so well, and Pat and I had known each other
for over a decade. We went to film school together and were already speaking
the same language, so it was very easy to communicate. At the beginning of each
day, we’d know what we needed to get done and had already talked about it, so
when the actors got there, Pat would tell them what the scene was and what they
needed to do for it, I would do the blocking and we just started working. It was
FANG: This is a very different kind of horror film from
DIE-NER; did it take any kind of adjustment to get into the mindset for this
HORVATH: Not at all, to be honest. Dallas and I both love
all sorts of films. Horror is definitely the big genre we respond to, but we
both love Ingmar Bergman films, we both love Charlie Chaplin films; we’re all
over the place. So in terms of getting into the mindset for this, it definitely
wasn’t a challenge.
FANG: How did you wind up casting Block in the lead? She’s
terrific, and feels very natural in the part.
HALLAM: Yeah, Suziey’s really just golden. She’s a wonderful
person, and honestly, our movie wouldn’t have had any of the success it has at
any point without Suziey. I feel very much indebted to her. She came in to read
for that ill-fated project I mentioned earlier, and I thought she was great and
really responded to her. She wasn’t right for that movie—which I regretted,
because she was my favorite person I met during that whole casting process—but
she just wasn’t quite right for the character that I needed in that movie. But
when it fell apart, and I suggested to Pat that we make this very stripped-down
character study/slasher movie, I said, “I know the exact girl, and I promise you
she’s perfect.” Pat and I trust each other, so he knew that I was right, and I
immediately contacted her. Oh, and when I told Suziey she didn’t have the part
in the other movie, she very aggressively [laughs] tried to change my mind, and
let me know that I was wrong and that she was right for the part. That spunk
also stuck with me.
FANG: Some of the violent scenes toward the end, done in
long takes, seem like they would have been logistically complex to shoot. Did
those pose any particular problems?
HALLAM: They were difficult, and this speaks for Suziey
about what a trouper she is: Pat and I had to be very careful not to abuse her.
What I mean by that is, the last three nights we shot were extraordinarily
difficult physically for Suziey, and she was such a go-getter that she would
never say, “This is too hard,” or “I’m tired, I can’t do it again.” We had to,
together, gauge where she was at, so we didn’t hurt her.
FANG: Was the movie shot in sequence?
HALLAM: Yeah, in a sense it was. I mean, no movie is completely
shot in sequence, but ours was pretty close.
HORVATH: Yeah, I think there were a couple of pickup shots
we did later. But to help keep Suziey in the headspace she needed to be in, in
terms of everything that happens and trying to figure out just how lost she is
in Los Angeles, we did stick pretty close to a chronological sequence.
HALLAM: Another reason was that the first half of the movie
is comprised of a daily routine, and then we corrupt it with the horror
element. Part of that routine was feeding the dog, and you can’t feed a dog
five times in a row without it getting sick. And Suziey was working, too, so we
had to schedule different chunks for her to shoot: “Suziey, you have to be here
at 8 a.m. to feed Darryl for a shot.” Then she would go to work and come back
later for something else.
FANG: The film is very subtle in the way it builds up its
horror; there’s practically none for pretty much the first half. Were you
concerned about losing the genre audience through that approach?
HORVATH: Yeah, but to a certain degree, though the movie was
first of all an experiment. We had this idea—wouldn’t it be interesting to do a
horror film this way? And then once we started pulling it off… I think you
start catering to the audience when you start second-guessing everything you’re
doing, and it was sort of the same way with DIE-NER, just in terms of not
knowing if it was horrific enough for everybody or not horrific enough for
HALLAM: We certainly have gotten some reviews for ENTRANCE
from horror people who think it’s boring; they don’t like it because it’s so
slow. I just feel like there’s no way around that. I don’t think we can solve
FANG: Are you working on any other horror projects right
HALLAM: Yeah, Pat and I are developing a Christmastime
horror movie that’s called MIDWINTER right now, a
dysfunctional-family-gathering/Christmastime horror movie. We were kind of
like, “Hey, we need [more Christmas horror movies]—we’ve got GREMLINS…”
HORVATH: BLACK CHRISTMAS… There are a bunch more, but none
that take it reaallly seriously. We’re actually doing something that’s more
like HELLRAISER at Christmastime.
FANG: So there’s a supernatural element to this one?
HALLAM: There is, but that’s all I can say, because it’s
part of the construction of the suspense. But we’re going to go all the way
JOIN OUR COMMUNITY AND BE THE FIRST TO KNOW ABOUT NEWS, CONTESTS, EVENTS AND MORE!
All contents © 2011 Fangoria Entertainment