When you see the quote “This film should be played loud” as a title card for a film you know you are in for a unique experience. THE MIND’S EYE is the second film from writer/director, Joe Begos and having loved his first film, ALMOST HUMAN I knew going in to leave my sanity at the door and strap in for the ride that Joe and crew were going to take me on. If you are tired of the current trend of remakes, reboots and predictable plots I highly recommend you turn on, tune in, drop out to the sonic craziness that is THE MIND’S EYE which hits theaters on August 5th.
TERROR TIME: Hi Joe. Congratulations on THE MIND’S EYE. What made you decide to do THE MIND’S EYE as your follow-up to ALMOST HUMAN?
Joe Begos: I was getting scripts sent to me and none of them appealed to me. They were all just trying to terribly imitate the current state of horror which isn’t even that good to begin with. What appealed to me with ALMOST HUMAN was I had full control because we had so little money and I just really wanted to make an alien abduction movie because I hadn’t seen one in a long time and I love that type of film. After the film was somewhat successful I realized that if I just make what appeals to me there’s going to be someone else out there who’s into it as opposed to trying to figure out what everyone else likes. I was very steadfast on alright what kind of movie do I want to see more than any other kind of movie right now and we haven’t seen a telekinesis movie in a long time. When I settled on telekinesis I decided I really wanted to make it a brutal action packed fast paced telekinesis movie and have it be like ALIENS was to ALIEN. Once it was in my head that is all I could think about and I knew it had to be my next movie. It just really felt like a natural transition for me.
TT: That’s awesome. You’re a big supporter of practical fx and you have some absolutely amazing fx work in the film. How hard was it to find someone who could produce the fx on a budget?
JB: I reached out specifically to Brian Spears and Pete Gerner who did the fx on STAKELAND. STAKELAND is a film that has a ton of fx work that looks phenomenal. They shot it in upstate New York which is a couple of hours from where we were planning on shooting so they were my first choice and they really responded to the script and were excited that there was an opportunity to do so many different fx but they were obviously worried about pulling them off because typically low budget horror movies shoot in eighteen days and the fx guys don’t really get any money. We built this movie around what we knew we would have to do with the fx and my shoot schedule was thirty-seven days. A third of the budget was dedicated to the fx and they still didn’t think we could pull it off but we worked together and they are so good and I had the prior experience of shooting fx so we designed from the ground up how we were going to pull all of the stuff off because I was adamant in not cutting anything and in fact we actually added a few things to it. Now that I know what they can do I really want to put them thru the ringer and write something even more ridiculous.
TT: Dude please do that. You can tell that you’re a genuine horror fan by your casting of Larry Fessenden. How surreal was it on set to be directing Larry?
JB: It was awesome. I was super nervous about it. Especially since Larry is such a phenomenal director and he also has been directed by so many people over the past twenty-five years and I was worried about what’s he going to think about this movie and what if he doesn’t think I’m doing a good job? But he got there and he was so cool and open to everything and talking about how awesome it was that I also operated the camera. He was taking videos and sending them to his son. He stayed on set all day and just hung out. He’s just the coolest guy and I really want to write a lead role for him in the near future.
TT: Oh please do. You seem to really have a really good head on your shoulders because most directors who make such a great debut feature end up getting sucked into the studio system doing remakes, reboots, and sequels for the rest of their careers. What is it that keeps you making great original content and not falling into that trap?
JB: Making a movie is draining and hard work and even when it’s something your passionate about there’s days you just want to blow your fucking brains out. It’s just so hard to agree to do that for a year and a half on a movie that you think is garbage. I get sent scripts where I’m the hundredth person they’ve approached and they’re not good scripts in addition to that I won’t have final cut I can’t change anything about the movie so yeah it’s cool that I could go and start making it tomorrow but I don’t want to do that. It’s much more exciting to be able to make movies that I want to see. Our budget for THE MINDS EYE was so much smaller than these movies with million dollar budgets that just have actors talking in a house and nothing happens because they say they don’t have any money. Yet here we are with our film where we are electrocuting two people in the air at the same time and blowing up a head along with thirty locations, a car flipping in the air and ten explosions. People just don’t realize that you can do movies like that but you can. The system is just so broken with how it all works. It’s very irritating and as long as I can keep getting money to make my movies and I can scrape by to pay the rent I’ll be really happy. There’s nothing better than having a true horror fan come up to you and telling you how happy your movie made them. I think about myself as a fan and how dissatisfied I am with the state of horror and it just makes me want to continue to make original movies even more. I want to keep my directorial stamp so when I do get offered a big movie I can be like hey I have eight movies that I did exactly my way and they all came out a certain way and I’ll be able to show that I’ve proven myself. That’s the hope.
TT: That’s absolutely fantastic and the reason that I’m a fan of your work. Both of your films you leave it open to where there could be sequels. Do you think about the endings when you write the films and leaving them open for sequel possibilities?
JB: I have a really cool idea for a sequel to ALMOST HUMAN but it would cost so much money. I wouldn’t want to do a cash grab sequel. I don’t know what I would do as a sequel to THE MINDS EYE. With ALMOST HUMAN I would want to set it all in a hospital where there’s an alien in Graham’s body and he infects the entire morgue and it becomes aliens in a giant hospital. I’d need five million dollars so it’s never going to happen but that’s’ what I’d want to do.
TT: Thank you so much for the time and for making such a kick ass film. Where can people go to find out about your upcoming projects?
JB: I’m on twitter @joebegos and thank you man.
In closing let’s support Joe and all of the other filmmaker’s like him who strive to bring us horror films that challenge and excite us.
I’m Orson Welles- Brad Slaton @picking_brains