Interview with Izzy Lee, actress, writer and director from Boston. She’s a woman in horror we need to keep our eyes on because of her extraordinary talent. She loves acting and directing horror films and she is also the contributor to multiple horror publications like Diabolique, Rue Morgue, Fangoria and Twitch Film. This remarkable filmmaker talks with us about her short films (Postpartum, A Favor…) and her future plans.
L: Hello Izzy, I’m very glad to have you on DarkVeins and ask you some questions! Tell us something about yourself and more specifically, what draws you to the horror genre.
I: Thanks! I’m a weird person that’s completely addicted to horror. I’ve been watching and enjoying horror since I was in kindergarten.
L: How did you get involved in acting and in directing?
I: I was an actor first, just in some plays and films that never saw the light of day, and then gave up on it for quite a while. I’ve always been a storyteller, either as a writer, painter, or illustrator. After writing about and programming films, this was the next step. I wanted to see if I could do it, and I love it. I’ve also acted more in the last two years than I have combined for my entire life. It’s fun. I only go for select roles that I enjoy or can bring a part of myself to. I’m more of a writer-director.
L: Can you talk about your short films (“Legitimate”, “Come Out and Play”, “Picket”) you wrote and directed in 2013 and 2014?
I: “Legitimate” is my first film. It’s a reaction to the horrible male politicians we have in the US that think it’s okay to police women’s bodies.“Come Out and Play” is a trailer for a book called “Snowblind” by best-selling author Christopher Golden. It’s funny; when we made it, I didn’t know him. Now, he’s a friend and someone I intend to collaborate with. “Picket” was inspired by some religious lunatics over here that like to provoke people after tragedies; the type of people who picket the funerals of dead children and taunt the parents that God made this awful tragedy on purpose as retribution for sinning. Ridiculous.
L: What about your award-winning short film “Postpartum” starring Kasey Lansdale and Diana Porter? Shayne Gryn’s score is also really creepy.
I: It hasn’t won an award yet, but it’s played some pretty cool festivals like Fantasia, Fantafestival, and Boston Underground Film Festival, with many more to come. It’s about a woman visiting a new mom who is really not okay. There’s some plastic wrap involved, and a lot of death.
L: The film deals with postpartum depression. How did you come up with this idea?
I: Believe it or not, it was originally going to be a horror comedy. But what I wrote ended up being very dark, ha ha. I met Kasey Lansdale at a screening put on my friend and (“Postpartum” co-writer and “A Favor” writer) Chris Hallock. He booked “Christmas with the Dead”, a film adaptation of one of Joe R. Lansdale’s stories which Kasey has a small part in. We met and really hit it off, and planned on working together when she returned to Boston. “Postpartum” is the result of my brain being a bit demented. It was a fun shoot.
L: You also directed “A Favor”, your latest and brilliant short film starring Diana Porter and Shaun Callaghan. What can you say about it?
I: Thanks! Chris wrote a really funny, morbid horror comedy. It’s about a guy that’s indebted to a friend who has a bad habit of killing people. He helps her clean up, but it doesn’t go so well for him. He should have stayed home to watch the big game.
L: “John Smith” is the title of your segment which takes part of the horror anthology “Grindsploitation”. Can you talk about this project and, more specifically, about “John Smith”?
I: I made this film as part of a local fake film trailer contest and we were given several choices of setting and style of film, but it had to be called “John Smith”. I created a post-apocalyptic, gender-bending, frontier nightmare of sorts, in the style of old-school ‘70s trailers, when they were really fun. Robot are involved. “Grindsploitation” is a collection of weird shorts and trailers. I can’t wait to see what everyone else did.
L: What are your cinematic influences?
I: Cronenberg, Carpenter, Lynch. Anything that seeps with terror, atmosphere, and dread.
L: You also write for Rue Morgue, Diabolique, TwitchFilm and Fangoria. How do you reconcile writing for cinema with doing cinema?
I: I started as a horror film lover, then began programming them for festivals and writing about them. Eventually, I just moved into filmmaking. I still write about film, but it’s getting challenging. I’ll probably focus completely on filmmaking soon. It’s difficult because I love horror movies so much that I want everyone to know about the good ones.
L: What are your favorite horror movies of all time and why?
I: There are too many to name, but John Landis’ An American Werewolf in London was the first full horror movie I remember watching, and it’s a great one. I adore John Carpenter’s The Thing. It’s atmospheric and full of dread and paranoia. You can’t beat the awesome practical effects and downer ending. I love it. I’m also a huge fan of David Cronenberg’s The Brood for both personal reasons, as well as the acting and story.
L: Any idea what you want to do next? Do you have any desire to do more horror? Maybe a horror feature film?
I: Always more horror. I’m working on a feature script, and I’m also interested in working on thrillers and revenge stories.
My next film Innsmouth is a bit of throwback to ‘70s genre film with a Lovecraftian twist. It stars Tristan Risk (American Mary, ABCs of Death 2), who does something previously never seen outside of a select gentlemen’s club in British Columbia… Some pretty weird stuff happens with an all-female cast, excepting two male extras.
L: Would you like to leave a message for the DarkVeins readers?
I: Thanks for reading! I’m always creating something weird. Check out www.nihilnoctem.com, https://www.facebook.com/nihilnoctemfilm and @nihilnoctemfilm for teasers, news, and festival dates.
L: Izzy, thank you for taking the time to talk with us!