Axelle Carolyn talks TALES OF HALLOWEEN, Genre Films and More

I recently had the chance to talk with Axelle Carolyn about her new film Tales of Halloween and her work in genre film. Tales of Halloween premieres at Fantasia Fest on Friday.

Tales of Halloween already looks like a blast! Tell us a little about the film?

Well my friends and I all make horror movies for a living, or work in the genre in one capacity or another, and I’d been thinking for a while that it’d be great to pool our talents to make an anthology movie. I thought about it for a while, and one day it just struck me that Halloween was the perfect theme, because it’s by far our favorite time of year. Here in LA Halloween lasts 6 weeks; we go to theme parks and screenings and parties and pumpkin patches and all kinds of events. So I pitched my friends the idea of ten short films taking place on the same night in the same town, and they loved it. We all worked on our stories and we’d meet regularly to discuss and use the others as a sounding board. It was a very collaborative process throughout.

tales-of-halloween-movie-axelle-carolyn2Was balancing 10 different stories more difficult than you thought?

My job at script stage was to coordinate it all and make sure the stories were different enough from each other and were the best they could be. Working with friends in that capacity is not always easy but at the end of the day we all wanted the film to be great; nobody wants to be the weakest link. We all have different tastes, so the stories balanced each other out naturally: I wanted to make people jump out of their skins, Neil Marshall embraced the chance the do something funny, Mike Mendez made a film that’s quintessential Mendez. Paul Solet made a modern Western. Ryan Schifrin made a gangster story. There’s something for everyone, but they all reflect the spirit of the holiday, they’re all supernatural, spooky fun.


How many minutes will each story have? Will they be told story by story, or multiple stories overlaying each other?

Each story runs between 7 and 10 minutes. We found it was a pretty good length to tell a story with a beginning, a middle and an end. And it keeps the whole length around 95 minutes, which hopefully will help avoid the viewer fatigue that’s often felt with longer anthology movies. They’re told story by story; there’s not a lot of overlap, but there’s lots of Easter eggs for people who look out for them: trick or treaters from one episode ring at the door in another episode, cops investigate events in several stories, etc.

What is it about horror that attracts you more than all the other genres?

Probably the fact that it encompasses so many different types of stories. There’s so much diversity, I never get tired of it. And I love that you can use the supernatural to express all kinds of tales-of-halloween-movie-poster-axelle-carolynemotions and ideas; there’s much more to the genre than just being scary or gory. Although clearly that’s awesome too.

As a female director, have you experienced challenges you feel male directors don’t typically have to deal with?

I’d be lying if I said I’ve never witnessed or been the object of sexism, but on the whole my struggles have been the same as any first- or second-time filmmaker. We’ve got a long, long way to go before women get treated equally in this business, on screen and behind the scenes. But you know, given that I grew up in Brussels, Belgium, with no connections whatsoever to the industry, in a family where I wasn’t allowed to watch horror movies until I was 16, I really can’t complain with where I’ve landed!

Top 3 favorite horror movies of all time?

Man, my top 3 changes with the day of the week, there’s so many movies to choose from! Right now I’d say:

– The Ghost and Mrs Muir, for being a huge inspiration on my first feature, Soulmate;
– Black Sabbath, one of the best horror anthologies ever (the segment with the old lady and the stolen ring is really creepy and the photography throughout is stunning);
– Sleepy Hollow – both the Tim Burton version and the Disney version -, they both inspired my segment for Tales of Halloween.

If you could snag any musician or composer to create a soundtrack for your next movie, who would it be?

I’ve been extremely lucky to work with the same composer, Christian Henson, on Soulmate and on Tales of Halloween, and he’s crazy talented. So he’ll always be my first choice. There’s also a young composer called Blair Mowat who’s done some work for us on Tales of Halloween, and he was fantastic.
In a different register, I dream of directing a video for Rammstein some day!

Who would win in a fight, your character in Centurion or Doomsday?

Hahah, well I didn’t really get to know that Doomsday character; I was an extra really. But Aeron from Centurion would kick pretty much anyone’s ass!

Check out the terrifying trailer for Tales of Halloween below:

The Author

Jim Napier

Jim Napier

Geek with a voracious appetite for movies, technology, social media and digital marketing.

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