‘Unholy Night’ a Frightfully Festive Triumph for Ottawa Filmmakers

While there is no doubt that, I love film I am especially fond of local filmmakers. I have a special place in my heart for not only Canadian filmmakers, but also ones from Ottawa. I appreciate the challenges of getting a movie made and think it is great that, once it’s completed, it can be shown at a theatre like The Mayfair, here in Ottawa. This Saturday night a group of filmmakers will get to experience that feeling as their project ‘Unholy Night’ gets its Ottawa premiere.

Unholy Night is a horror/thriller film but its filmmaking is original and doesn’t feel recycled from other horror films.

Unholy Night is directed by Kristian Lariviere, Chris Chitaroni and Randy Smith. I had the opportunity of screening it and I really enjoyed it. (Please check out my review)

We had the opportunity to speak with one of the directors, Kristian Lariviere.

Ottawa Life: Congratulations on the film. What was your inspiration behind this film?

Lariviere: I was making a lot of short films and me and some friends decided to make something collaboratively. We love anthology films, it’s a great way to make a feature without it all being on one teams shoulders. We tossed many ideas along. At first it was going to be a holiday anthology where every piece was a different holiday but that was made in the U.S. and we all wanted Christmas so we said lets just do a full one on Christmas.

What is it about the horror genre that attracts you?

I grew up watching horror movies especially low budget horror movies. The first time I saw Evil Dead 2 I thought ‘I could do that’ it seemed achievable. When you watch giant budget movies that’s out of the realm of possibility to do but low budget horror movies give you a lot of leeway.

What were some of the challenges that you encountered trying to make this film?

It’s hard. You have to find locations. We had to find a hospital and that’s challenging because there are patients. We spoke to Algonquin College because they have a training facility but finally our producer, Jenn Allanson, found a medical building in Smiths Falls that is abandoned and that worked out. We had to do a lot of set decorating to make it look like it was being used.

It doesn’t take a genius to look at your films and realize as you are heavily influenced by Stanley Kubrick. Who are some of the other directors who have inspired you?

Well you are definitely right about Kubrick, huge inspiration. Also Sam Raimi. I also love Edgar Wright who did Baby Driver but also Shaun of the Dead. I love John Carpenter movies like The Thing and the Halloween movies. I could go on.

One of the things I have spoken to other filmmakers about is the frustration around distribution. I know you have a big night coming up at The Mayfiar but what is the plan after that? Are you trying to get into a multiplex like Cineplex or are you looking at an iTunes release?

That honestly is the biggest challenge. What do you do once your movie is done to get it out there? It was important to have a hometown screening. We would like to do a Festival run. It is probably going to be a digital release because theatrical releases are so costly.

I watched your movie and then the trailer, which is rare for me as I usually do the reverse.  I have to say I am usually disappointed with trailers but I loved the trailer of this film. It was a great tease that didn’t give anything away but enticed me enough to want to see it.

Thank you. I am very touchy about trailers so I hear you. Especially when you are a low budget film that nobody knows about, you want people to see it without giving anything away.

Let’s do some rapid fire! What I your favourite movie of all time?

The Shining

Since you have taken to horror, do you find your friends are acting differently around you?

(Laughs) No, my friends are used to it but people who don’t know me wonder ‘how did you come up with that?’ They have questions after

At your holiday dinner, will you be offended if people don’t want you carving the turkey because they don’t want you near the knives?

(Laughs) I’m not a good turkey carver. I prefer to let someone look after that anyway.

What movie would you want to remake that you could direct?

There is an Italian horror film called ‘Susperia’ which I loved which was a big influence on me. I would gladly remake it because it is not perfect. I love it and admire it but it’s not perfect. You don’t want to remake a perfect movie because what could you add to it?

Could agree more. Thanks for your time and good luck with the movie.

Thanks so much.

Unholy Night screens Saturday night at The Mayfair. Check it out