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Exclusive Premiere; Q&A: Graham Denman’s Brutal Short “HOUSE CALL”

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Anyone who has attended a film festival in the past several years knows that horror shorts are becoming a quick way to discover excellent, up-and-coming talent in the genre. And as of recently, FANGORIA has been quite lucky to give the online premieres to some truly great scare fare, including a short from Fango’s own Rebekah McKendry. Today, FANGORIA is very proud to add another entry to our rousing roster of shocking shorts with Graham Denman’s brutal and effective HOUSE CALL!

Written by ADVENTURE TIME’s Dick Grunert and directed by actor/composer/SFX artist Graham Denman, HOUSE CALL is an intense and bloody tale about a disturbed stranger who harasses a dentist late one night. To say more would to give away much of HOUSE CALL’s scary surprises, but rest assured, HOUSE CALL delivers on it’s petrifying premise. With the premiere imminent here at FANGORIA, we caught up with director Denman for an exclusive interview about how HOUSE CALL came together, and you can check out the short itself at the link below after the chat…

FANGORIA: What inspired HOUSECALL?

GRAHAM DENMAN: My writer/co-producer, Dick Grunert, and I wanted to collaborate on a project together for a while. He knew I was passionate about film and dying to direct something horrific, but he also knew I wanted to create something beautiful looking with real substance. So, I told him to send me a few of his “not going to shoot this anytime soon” scripts and I immediately locked on to one called EYE TEETH.

I called him back with the excitement of a child who had just discovered sugar and I was instantly making every call I could in order to put a crew together, lock a location, get my actors and get it made. I knew this was it: A chance to prove that being a director wasn’t just a theory; this was my evidence. That’s where my production company name came from. I gave some input on the script, we renamed it HOUSE CALL and we began shooting a month later. We shot it in two nights.

FANGORIA: What was the most important part of Dick’s script to translate correctly as a director?

DENMAN: Aside from the dining room scene between our characters where we set everything up, I’d have to say the ending, which wasn’t originally scripted the way it plays out. I felt that in a story like ours where I wanted to explore the motif of perception and reflection, there needed to be a visual payoff. That’s when the final shot was born, and I think it ties everything together with a nice little bow on top. It’s important to make your audience feel something before the credits roll, especially when you only have 14 minutes to do so.

House_Call-Final_Poster

FANGORIA: What is it about short-form storytelling that works so good for horror?

DENMAN: I believe it’s all about execution. Short films give genre filmmakers, writers and fans a chance to go on a journey where you can get your gore and scare fix without having to stretch a good story by turning it into a drawn-out feature that leaves you feeling like it would have worked better as a short. I see that in feature horror films a lot these days that sometimes less, really is more. Drew Daywalt, Ryan Spindell and many other talented short directors continue to prove that you can still tell a powerful, scary story, even in a contained time frame. It’s a challenge, but I like that.

FANGORIA: What inspired the casting for HOUSECALL?

DENMAN: Ruben Pla and Sean Keller are both good friends of mine, and we knew Ruben was our guy but we didn’t know who our other actor was going to be. Ruben recommend Sean and I thought he looked perfect for the role, but I had never seen him act. I called him up, he was on board as soon as he read it and we were off to the races. I only knew Sean as a writer at the time and he wound up surprising us in the best way with a great performance.  He totally killed it. Ruben and Sean are both wonderful actors that I would work with again in a heartbeat; Very professional, good guys.

FANGORIA: Are you and Dick working on anything else at the moment?

DENMAN: I’m sure we will soon! As for now, we are both working on separate projects but we talk about it often. I’m currently trying to get my first feature film off the ground, I recently executive produced and wrote the story for Eric England’s next film, GET THE GIRL, and I was the star of Jose Prendes’ new feature THE DIVINE TRAGEDIES. So, keep your eyes out for those in the meantime. Thank you Fangoria, it’s been an honor. Long live the new flesh.

You can check out Denman’s HOUSE CALL here!

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About the author
Ken W. Hanley
Ken W. Hanley is the Managing Web Editor for FANGORIA and STARLOG, as well as the former Web Editor for Diabolique Magazine and a contributing writer to YouWonCannes.com. He’s a graduate from Montclair State University, where he received an award for Excellence in Screenwriting. He’s currently working on screenplays, his debut novel "THE I IN EVIL", and various other projects, and can be followed on Twitter: @movieguyiguess.
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