Scream Horror Magazine

Scott B. Hansen talks The Possession Experiment

Posted on: December 5th, 2016

possessionexperimentSCREAM’s Jessy Williams recently caught up with director Scott B. Hansen to chat about his experiences on The Possession Experiment. In the interview he discusses working with horror icon Bill Moseley, how is background in music helped his relationships on-set and his surprising (but excellent) favourite horror film.

SCREAM: You wrote, directed, edited and worked as a cinematographer on The Possession Experiment. How did you manage to juggle all of those roles?

Scott: It was very complicated. I’ve been trying to do my first film for about 4 or 5 years now. I’d been working on a lot of other film sets, working as a DP and other jobs so I finally got to pull everything together and do one of my own projects. You’ve got to pull your weight in a lot of areas when it’s a smaller film. I just tried to do what I could, basically.

SCREAM: Which role did you enjoy the most?

Scott: It’s going to lead to straight directing, so I don’t have to do everything next time. For your first movie you’ve got to do a lot, because we’re not a big studio-funded film, but I definitely enjoyed directing more. It was a challenge.

SCREAM: What was your biggest challenge?

Scott: Probably getting Bill Moseley. It was pretty big to work with him because he’s a big horror icon. To lock him was interesting. I’d actually worked with him on another film a few years ago as a camera operator and I got to know him pretty well. I reached out to him and asked him to be in that crazy opening scene in the movie and he was all for it. He had a lot of fun, but getting him on board was the hardest part.

SCREAM: What do you think when people say that making a horror film is easy? Or perhaps the easiest genre?

possessionexp2Scott: I would say that it’s definitely not easy. I’ve worked on other films and I think all movies are hard to make in general. There is so much going on behind-the-scenes that people don’t realise, years of planning and so many things that can go wrong. I just prefer horror movies myself, but if you were to do an action or a comedy it’s the same degree of difficulty. I think people gravitate to horror because you have no boundaries. You’re restricting yourself when you do a comedy film, but with horror you can go anywhere and that’s the fun of it.

SCREAM: What is it about horror that interests you personally?

Scott: I grew up on it. My parents used to let me watch Critters, Ghoulies and Gremlins, all that stuff from the ‘80s. I grew up on all of those kinds of films, so that lead me to gravitate towards it now. I love horror and for me it’s the most exciting genre.

SCREAM: What’s your favourite horror film?

Scott: Oh man, that’s tough. I have a few of them, but I’ll say one if I have to. There’s a movie called Frailty that’s a horror-thriller it’s pretty incredible.

SCREAM: I love that film!

Scott: Yeah! There’s demons in there and sort-of possession, Matthew McConhaughey is creepy… I love that film. Bill Paxton was a first-time director when he directed that and he did an incredible job. I consider it a horror film, but it’s also a bit of a fairytale.

SCREAM: Going back to The Possession Experiment now. Can you tell me about the visual style you were aiming for? The opening scene in particular is striking and very interesting visually.

Scott: The location for the opening scene took us a few months to find and we considered that the house should be like a character in the movie, especially towards the end. To get that look we couldn’t faithfully film in the basement, so we built sets to be the basement. It was challenging to make that come alive, but it looks great. We didn’t have any air conditioning, so it was pretty hardcore. All the sweat that you see in that scene on Bill Moseley was totally real, it was like 125 degrees inside. Kudos to the girl doing all the make-up, because she was awesome.

SCREAM: The make-up you used during that opening scene was pretty epic.

Scott: We tried to keep it simple. You watch movies like The Exorcist and I love that movie, but the make-up is over-the-top. We wanted ours to look more human and thought that less would be more and to keep it simple.

SCREAM: It’s refreshing to see a possession film go in a different direction to The Exorcist. What films did you look to for inspiration instead?

Scott: I’m a huge Wes Craven fan, so you can definitely see some Freddy [Krueger] influence in the film a little bit. I’m actually a Hardy Boys and Sam Raimi fan, I love Evil Dead and Drag Me to Hell, so I think comedy is very important in horror. A lot of people think possession films are going to be this horrific experience, but this has a lot of comedy and it’s based on the Hardy Boys and Goonies vibe. You want to laugh too, you don’t want to be too terrified or take yourselves too seriously. I think Sam Raimi has always had this down with his films, the way he adds comedy is great.

SCREAM: You’ve got horror and comedy in The Possession Experiment, but there’s also an interesting idea about possession being transferred through the genes. Where did this idea come from?

possessionexp5Scott: I think it came from personal experiences. I’m not a very religious person, but my family are religious and go to church on Sunday. I’m agnostic and not in to that kind of stuff, so I think you can see a lot of references from there and how I used to deal with that, especially when I was younger. I think that’s where the idea of family ties come from in the movie.

SCREAM: I’m speaking to your star Chris Minor tomorrow. Can I pass on good things from you, or was he terrible to work with?

Scott: *laughs* Cool! Yeah he was terrible. No, Chris was a fun actor. I did a lot of music videos before I got into film and I actually knew him from a band called Time Will Tell. He was a cool, good-looking, quirky, strange guy, you know? He had a great aura and sense about him. We had looked into about 150 people, but then we got to him. He didn’t have any acting experience, so working with him was pretty awesome. He went off on directions and stuff, but his performance is very much who he really is. It was great to see his evolution from being on stage to being in a possession movie, because he always wanted to be an actor.

the-possession-experiment4SCREAM: Do you think your background in music helped your relationship on this film?

Scott: Definitely. We meet when he’s in a band and then 8 months later we’re doing a casting call and he pops up. I let him do a read-through and it cane off so normal, so we did screen-testing and he just nailed it.

We’d like to thank Scott B. Hansen for his time and all the best with The Possession Experiment. We will leave you with the trailer for the film below, which is out on 6th December, 2016. Look out for our review of the film and following interview with the lead actor Chris Minor.

Words: Jessy Williams (@JessyCritical)

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