Horror Hauntings! The Hanover House: An Interview with Director Corey Norman
In this interview I speak with Corey Norman about his upcoming film The Hanover House, a spooky haunted house flick that also focuses on the grief process. The film also marks Anne Bobby’s return to horror, she is most famous to genre fans for the lead female role, Lori in Night Breed.
A freak accident leads protagonist Robert Foster to a mysterious house where he must battle his own problems as well as try to stay alive! With plenty of intrigue and a chilling plot, The Hanover House is one of the most eagerly anticipated films of this vein and not only that it was actually shot in a real haunted house, bringing in plenty of authenticity. It certainly seems a refreshing take on the haunted house sub-genre, something horror enthusiasts have been craving for a long time. In an unintended link with my last review on urban legends, potentially a ghost could well be captured on film! That would certainly be terrifying!
Corey reveals information about the film’s production, his overall vision for the film and his hopes and aspirations for the project.
1. Tell us a little bit about your upcoming film The Hanover House. How did the concept come about?
Returning from his father’s funeral, Robert Foster is faced with the unimaginable; he hits a young girl with his car. In a desperate attempt to save her life, he seeks help at a nearby farmhouse. Little does Robert know that the house has been waiting for him his entire life. Once inside its walls, Robert must overcome his own personal demon’s in an attempt to save both his wife and himself. But there’s a problem, only one may leave The Hanover House alive.
The Hanover House started with a simple idea; what if someone you lost could come back? What would you say to them? When I had lost my own father, I was thankful we had a strong relationship. He was my best friend. But then I thought, what if we hadn’t had a good relationship? What would I want to say? What would I need to say? That is how the film was born.
With my work, I like to start with a character with regular problems, and place him into an extraordinary situation.
2. Was the haunted house sub-genre something you always wanted to explore as a filmmaker?
Since I started watching horror films as a kid, the ones that would always creep me out were ghost stories. The first to really scare me was Poltergeist. I remember staying up late, afraid something would suck me into the tv.
The fun part about making a haunted house film is that there are so many possibilities to explore. I love the idea of letting the landscape of the house morph as the story progresses.
3. Your official website reveals that the film was actually shot in a real haunted house. Did you encounter any spooky occurrences while shooting?
Prior to the production of The Hanover House, I wasn’t sure if I believed in ghosts or not. On my third night in the house, I was awoken by my two dogs standing on the edge of my bed, growling. Standing above me was the figure of an old man.
Other crew members saw shadow people, orbs and experienced cold spots.
4.Would you say the use of the location managed to bring a sense of authenticity to the actor’s performances?
There is something spooky about shooting in a haunted house at night. I definitely think this affected the mood on set. Things definitely took on a creepy vibe and our actors really let their performances reflect that.
5.The Hanover House marks Anne Bobby (Famous for her role in Clive Barker’s Night Breed) return to the horror genre. How did she come on board after such a long absence from these kind of films?
It turns out that Daniel Noel, a long time actor for Bonfire Films, was friends with Anne. They had done some theater work together some 20 years ago and had recently connected through Facebook. He asked Anne to read the script and she loved it. It was an honor to have her join our team for this project.
I don’t necessarily know if it was important to cast someone with prior horror experience. I saw this more as an opportunity to work with a strong actress who has played a diverse stable of characters. However, having name recognition in the film has helped us gain a larger following.
7. What can you tell us about the characters in the film?
Robert Foster has recently lost his father, an event that’s weighed very heavily on him, impacting his relationship with his wife. As a result, he’s really internalized a lot of his problems.
Shannon Foster is a strong woman. She stands by her husband during the good times and the bed, never losing hope in the power of matrimony.
8. As a director, what challenges did you face during production and how did you overcome them?
Weather was our biggest problem during production. We had 36″ of snow on the first day of production, delaying the flights of both Anne Bobby and our Assistant Director Jimmy Crocco. It also slowed our travel greatly. On day 3, we received another 26″ of snow.
We traded snow for -25 degree weather in the mountains. This made our exterior shoots extremely uncomfortable. To make matters worse, our blood would freeze before even hitting the ground. On another evening, we lost half a shooting day when the pipes burst due to the cold.
9 .What was the most enjoyable experience of making The Hanover House?
It’s very hard to choose just one memorable experience from the making of the film. New Year’s Eve was definitely surreal. We spent the new year making a kitchen come to life and attack our protagonists. This meant swinging cabinets and a flurry of flying dishes.
I also really enjoyed the day we used 150 gallons of blood… But unfortunately you’ll have to see the film to see the effect itself.
It was also a dream come true to shoot on my first set. Our set designer has worked on some big name films: Crocodile Dundee 2, R.I.P.D., The Good Son, Empire Falls, Here Cones the Boom and Blown Away. Having Erik on hand to design a hallway and bathroom that not only fit my artistic vision, but also fit into the house stylistically, was incredible. Those two rooms in the house presented many logistic issues, so having this new location really helped sell my vision for the film.
10. What do you think genre fans will take away from it?
I tried to make a horror film that takes it’s time to create well rounded characters. I want the audience to develop a bond with these characters, and I want them to genuinely care whether they live or die.
11. You’ve previously stated the film will be circulating festivals in the coming months, which ones do you hope to gain screenings at?
Well, as an Indie filmmaker I definitely have set my scopes high for this one. We’d love to screen at: Toronto After Dark, New York City Horror Fest, The Mile High Horror Fest, Screamfest and Slamdance.
12. Who are your main influences within the industry? Were there any particular inspirations for The Hanover House?
I’m a huge fan of Ti West. I love his slow burn style of horror. I respect the early work of Sam Raimi and his low budget, DIY ethics. I love John Carpenter’s use of wide open, minimalistic environments. All of these directors have impacted me, but guys like: Polansky, Craven and Kubrick are large influences as well.
13. Finally, could you tell us about your production company Bonfire Films, how did it begin? And what future projects can we expect to see in the future?
My company, Bonfire Films started in 2009 and has been making short films, music videos and commercials since. As we wrap up The Hanover House, we have entered preproduction on a short Lovecraft inspired, original horror film that will premier at the Damnationland Film Festival this October. We have also begun writing our second feature, Native American revenge film tentatively called ” The Reservation.”
I would like to thank Corey for taking part in this interview and I wish him, his cast and crew all the best with the film.
Interview By: Hayley Alice Roberts (https://www.facebook.com/HayleysMovieAndTvReviews)
Official Site for The Hanover House: http://www.thehanoverhousefilm.com
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/TheHanoverHouse