David W. Bostaph: What is it about H.P. Lovecraft
that keeps you making films based on his works?
Ivan Zuccon: It was accidental. In 1998 I was writing
a short film called "L'Altrove", a
war story, and I remember that I wasn't able to finish writing
it; I had no more good ideas. So I started reading some books,
and I read an H.P. Lovecraft collection called "Necronomicon"
that was a truly great discovery. The discovery of a new world,
the world of Lovecraft. After reading the collection I decided
to put some of Lovecraft's elements in the short film, and
after a few days the script was ready. Then a few years later
the short was expanded into a feature film called "The
Darkness Beyond". This was the beginning of true
love. I love Lovecraft, although I'm much more interested
in the man than in his stories. Someday I'd like to make a
film telling his life story as it really was.
David W. Bostaph: What made you choose to
do Colour Out of Space?
Zuccon: I love all of Lovecraft's tales, but this is
one of the most intriguing stories Lovecraft ever wrote!
Also, the monster is not a big tentacular Lovecraftian thing,
but a strange entity that eats colors, energy and the minds
of people. Great stuff for a filmmaker!
David W. Bostaph: The trailer for Colour
indicates a few changes to the story, how did you approach
Zuccon: There are a few changes, you're right. Our idea
was to do it as a horror movie and not a sci-fi feature.
For this reason we decided to drop the meteorite from the
story. The entity is hidden under the Earth, inside a well.
One day, while drawing water from the well, the protagonist
of the story produces a casual and apparently insignificant
incident, which frees something evil from Earth's womb.
The other changes concern the fact that the story is set
in Italy during World War II, so there are some elements
that are not present in Lovecraft's story, like the German
soldiers or the persecution of the Jewish people by the
fascists. I think that there is also a sort of a parallel
aspect between the two types of evil in the movie, fascism
and the entity from the well.
David W. Bostaph: What are the key elements
to creating an effective Lovecraftian film?
Ivan Zuccon: This is a difficult question to answer.
You know, Lovecraft is more atmosphere than action, so the
risk is to think too much about the movie and less about
Lovecraft, trying to do a fast paced and solid movie, but
this is not a good choice to do an effective Lovecraft movie.
But we can't make an atmospheric movie only, because this
would be commercial suicide, so you have to make your choices
and think about these two aspects. I usually use a lot of
Lovecraft's atmosphere and as little action as possible,
and I try to film the unfilmable, that is the most exciting
thing for a filmmaker.
David W. Bostaph: What should film-makers
avoid when attempting to adapt Lovecraft?
Ivan Zuccon: I don't know what to avoid, but I know
what to do when approaching the author: respect him. I'm
not saying to respect the story or to adapt the story in
the same way it is written; I'm saying to respect the ideas
of the author.
David W. Bostaph: What is your favorite
Lovecraftian story? Why?
Ivan Zuccon: That's a difficult question! I love
many of HPL's stories, and have already used some of them
in my movies. I'll probably use more in the future, but
there are some I know I'll never use since I feel they are
impossible to shoot. I really love The Shadow over Innsmouth,
which I prefer to The Dunwich Horror, but to tell
the truth, I love all of Lovecraft's stories. I love his
letters too! His biography, the transcript of his dreams
David W. Bostaph: What film do you think
best captures Lovecraft's writings? Why?
Ivan Zuccon: I really enjoyed Dan O'Bannon's The
Resurrected, based on The Case of Charles Dexter
Ward. I saw this movie many years ago during a festival.
I don't remember it perfectly, but it made a great impact
on me. The title is impossible to find in Italy, since distributors
don't take the horror genre seriously. In spite of its not
being inspired by any particular Lovecraft tale, I loved
John Carpenter's In the Mouth of Madness. It's evidently
Lovecraft-inspired and a very peculiar movie. It tells a
lot about the workings of fear and has a powerful and original
David W. Bostaph: Very few directors are
able to do Lovecraft effectively. What makes Lovecraft's
writings so difficult to adapt?
Zuccon: Lovecraft is so cinematic, really! Some of his
visuals are really perfect for the screen, but the problem
is the slow pace of his style of writing. I love his rhythm,
but it is not easy to transform this onto the screen.
David W. Bostaph: Independent films and
their creators celebrate Lovecraft, while Hollywood ignores
him. Why do think this is?
Zuccon: Hollywood ignores HPL because his stories are
not commercial. If you see the movies that do well at the
box office you can understand perfectly what I'm saying.
In one word: action, action, action.
David W. Bostaph: In The Shunned House/La
Casa Sfuggita, I thought you did a terrific job with
the Music of Erich Zann segment. The image of the darkness
outside the window was simple and yet so terrifying. Tell
me a bit more about this scene, and how you approached it.
Zuccon: I'm really proud of the results of that Shunned
House segment. I must admit that I spent a lot of nights
thinking about how to realize the music outside the window.
The only approach was with the music. When I had found the
right music, in this case Paganini's music, all the elements
of the scene became clear in my mind. For some aspects of
the segment I found that thinking about and watching Sam
Raimi's films, like the first two Evil Dead chapters,
was useful. I tried to use the movie-camera in the same
way when the strange music came from the window, and it
David W. Bostaph: One thing that took me
out of Shunned was the digital look of the film.
Colour looks much better. How do you approach improving
the look of your projects as they progress?
Zuccon: We are working really hard on Colour from
the Dark to give it a cool film look. We shot the movie
in High Definition with the Sony HDcam, and the detail will
make the process of color grading easier without compromising
the image quality. We also gave a lot of attention to the
look of the film's photography. Another aspect is the frame
rate, by using the HD camera we were able to shoot at 24p
which looks very cinematic.
David W. Bostaph: Any ideas of what you
would like to do after Colour?
Zuccon: No ideas really. I'm writing a couple of scripts
but there are no plans for a new movie at this time.
David W. Bostaph: What is your dream project?
Zuccon: My dream is to make my own films and find enough
money to realize these without too many compromises. I have
a lot of ideas and projects and all of them are interesting
and are dreams of mine. I don't know which one will be my
next or if I will be able to make a new one after this,
but all of them are dreams of mine!
David W. Bostaph: What H.P. Lovecraft adaptation
would you like to see made?
Ivan Zuccon: I can't wait to see Guillermo del Toro's At
the Mountain of Madness. This is definitely an adaptation
that I'm looking forward to!
You can find our previous interview with Ivan here...
content © 2011
David W. Bostaph, Ivan Zuccon and Craig Mullins unless