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THE BLACK SHEEP INTERVIEW: JOHN GEDDES (HELLMOUTH)

20130422111229-HELLMOUTH-Final_Poster_-_WebSmallAn interview with HELLMOUTH director, John Geddes.

John Geddes, the Collingwood based director who brought us EXIT HUMANITY, comes a new film, a fantasy-horror hybrid that will probably leave most viewers perplexed. It starts off something like a ghost story, then becomes  a tale about venturing into hell, with a few prison escapees thrown into the mix. It’s a beautiful film that is mostly in black and white with incredible art that is mostly filmed against a green screen. I was able to catch up with the director of HELLMOUTH a this year’s Toronto After Dark Film Festival, where we discussed his new film and the sad state of physical art dying. Mr. Geddes even got a little teary eyed thinking about the past.

Black Sheep Reviews: Congratulations on your new film, can you tell me about it in your own words?

John Geddes: There’s not much mystery in the world, mostly because of the internet,  and I grew up in the 80’s, so I like really obscure and artsy stuff and it’s rare to find now. I wanted to create a daring story that makes you think, that makes you want to discuss the plot, as opposed to a very linear plot from A-Z.

BSR: How did you get involved with this project initially?

JG: I just wanted to do something that had a medieval element and folklore. I love movies like FAUST and NOSFORATU and Tony Burgess lives up in Collingwood near where we live and we drank together and we started spitballing ideas and somehow it was created. I’m not sure exactly how, but probably born on a few reckless nights of partying.

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BSR: Would you say that how of all your movies are born?

JG: Probably (laughs). EXIT HUMANITY I thought up on my own and I wrote it by myself, but with HELLMOUTH I just wanted to do something different. The thing is I feel like people take storytelling too seriously and people go into cinema with their backup, like they are anticipating negativity. The average move goer doesn’t care about the inner story, they just want an hour and a half of entertainment. I think there is something sacred in taking a risk and making something really bizarre and unique because that’s what creative storytelling is about.

I was saying there is no mystery left in this world, and I just had a kid, my son is 1 years old, and he is going to grow up without a sense of mystery, all of that is gone from the world. Do you remember going to the video store and renting a movie that might of come out on a Friday, and it wasn’t there? I remember we would go to our local video store in Collingwood and rent about 4 VHS’s, get a bunch of junk food and make a weekend of it. And that’s gone. People still binge watch at home, but there isn’t the action of going out and getting a movie, of renting and knowing you have to return it. There was something sacred about it, about borrowing art and returning it. When my son is our age, he won’t know VHS or DVD and that makes me sad. At least with musicians they can tour, but with film you’re stuck.

BSR: I agree with that nostalgia, as kids, me and my brother would go to the store to rent horror movies and pick something based on the art, and the movie was probably crap.

JG: Oh yeah, the cover art was the best part and the movie was always horrible. I’m so depressed that the physical world is dying, all art like books are gone.

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BSR: How did you get the film made?

A studio would never green light a movie like HELLMOUTH, so we had to make it, and make it fast with out small budget. We went into it head first and I tried to make the movie visually what my childhood represented. Growing up in the 80’s with the films my parents showed me, I tried to make this movie with 3 acts, it starts in the 1950’s, goes into the 60’s and 70’s and ends up in the late 80’s by the end of it.

BSR: You had mentioned creating something artistic, so how do you think audiences react to something a little more bizarre and artistic?

JG: I don’t know, I hope an audience member would appreciate it’s something worth discussing, and that’s the best thing you could ever have, to have someone say “I want to watch it again”. That’s the biggest compliment to a film, especially low budget wise.

BSR: And one more question for you, do you believe in ghosts?

JG: I do. I believe in a higher power of some kind, I believe in the cosmos.

Whether you liked his new film HELLMOUTH or not, one thing that is for absolute certain is the passion and drive that John Geddes has when making a film. Yes, his new film is bizarre and calls for a discussion, but at the very least, it is an interesting experiment that begs for audience to discuss and dissect his work to figure out what exactly is going on.

The 2014 Toronto After Dark film festival runs through Friday, October 24 in Toronto. For tickets and more information, please visit the Toronto After Dark website.

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