Exclusive Interview and Stills: “Dark Haul”

We caught up with Producer Andrew Gernhard who brought us the creature feature Animal, that premiered on the Chiller Channel just this past summer, to see how things have been going on the horror movie beat. After braving a blizzard to make their latest horror film Dark Haul (which is centered around the “Jersey Devil”), Andrew and a couple of the cast members set aside some time for horror-movies.ca to talk about the bloody fun they had while making the movie.

Q: What interested you in the story for “Animal”? “Dark Haul”?

A: (Andrew Gernhard -Producer) Animal was a chance (for Synthetic Cinema) to work with Flower Films/Drew Barrymore and shoot a good-ol’ monster-in-the-woods movie, those two things are what interested me right of the top.  It was just a cool film to work on, basically the whole cast & crew went on a camping trip and made this film, tho some never returned from the deep woods of Connecticut.  Dark Haul… had me at the get-go with the chance to practically crash a 40ft tractor trailer truck and blow stuff up left and right! I’m not gonna lie… the shoot was a nightmare during the winter (freeezzzing) BUT the crazy effects are what had me —How many folks get to jack knife a big rig!?!

aerial_trailer_truck_crashedQ: Anything interesting you can share that your character had to do for the film?

A: (Evalena Marie – Actress): One of the most interesting things my character got to do in the film was go through some really fun changes, all of which would have never been possible without the amazing creative team behind the special effects and makeup on the film. Ben Chester and Jackie Zbuska really blew me away with their skills, talent, and clever solutions to the effects they needed to achieve for the film! The changes they manifested for my character were so exciting for me! … There was really never a dull moment for me. I got to train with some of the best stunt coordinators, and some of the best people I’ve ever met. Jae Greene and Sean Gallimore took really good care of me the whole shoot. They kept me safe and were always looking out for me, and best of all, they made me feel like a superhero! I could never have done it without them and owe them both for making me feel so strong and capable. And of course, I owe them for all the fun!

(Richard Ravanello – Actor): As for stories…..there are plenty. we should have shot a movie within the movie. On one occasion, upon returning from a day of filming, we actually had a bomb go off in the parking lot of the hotel where we were staying. I can honestly say…..nobody ever would have imagined that. As of today, no reason was ever given to us as to what happened. Wrong place at the wrong time for all of us staying there. It seemed like, at times, we had the Jersey Devil trying to chase us out. lol……The woods around our location happened to be dang spooky at night. Lets just say, we had an interesting and fun and unimaginable time together. lol……I’m teasing but “what happens in Connecticut, stays in Connecticut.

group_during_explosionQ: Heard there was a blizzard during the shoot. Anything you can share on that?

 A: (Richard Ravanello – Actor) It was very, very cold. The weather was very odd. We didn’t have a lot of snow at first but…..we did get dumped on towards the mid mark of filming. We filmed a lot of nights and, I can tell you, Southern California did NOT prepare me for any of it. They didn’t have to tell me twice to put my thermal undies on prior to shooting. Lol.


 Q: What was the most challenging part of working on the film and what did you do to overcome it?

 A: (Evalena Marie – Actress) The most challenging part of working on the film was probably the bitter cold. I grew up in a climate that doesn’t get very cold, and I had flown in for the shoot from LA, the land of perpetual summer. So I was definitely not equipped to handle the arctic storm we were shooting through! And my action-savvy wardrobe was swiss-cheesed through most of the shoot. Without Tammy Gibbens, I never would have survived! Tammy was the lady behind all the amazing wardrobe in the film, and my very own personal savior! She took extra good care of me, smothering me in thermal layers to wear under my wardrobe and taking extra care and time to adapt all the layers to work under my hole-riddled wardrobe. I definitely would have curled up and died without her! The whole crew took such good care of the rest of the cast and I. There was a gas-powered jet engine we fired up during the exteriors that we called The Salamander. I could always be found where ever the Salamander was! I am so grateful to each and every crew member that contributed to keeping that beautiful beast up and running on all those frozen overnights! I would never have been able to overcome the dreaded arctic vortex without all of the smiling faces and uplifting spirits around me making every minute so much fun. I miss all my friends I made making this film. My little Dark Haul family.

jersey_devil_roarQ: Back to producing… Any advice you can give to other horror film-makers out there?

A: (Andrew Gernhard -Producer) That is a tough question, my advice would be to make good films! GET a solid script, GET talent (real stars and truly talented actors/actresses), GET a budget (somehow), GET great locations & props, GET real effects (digital and/or practical), GET a solid director and real crew!  That’s a-lot-o “GETS”, but I believe in order to have a movie that people want to see, it needs to “look” like a real movie.  The time of no-budget stuff is kinda gone (low budget it still very much alive and well), the audience and distributors expect more!

Last bit of advice–work for other people/companies to learn all the crew positions and create some short films to increase your skill before you attempt a feature.

The movie is another creature-feature brought to the screen by the Synthetic Cinema team and features the fabled “Jersey Devil” and some cool crash scenes throughout the movie. It’s part of the “31 Days of Halloween” on SyFy and will have a TV premiere October 4, 2014 @ 9 p.m. EST.


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