Dario Piana challenges viewers with this After Dark Horrorfest selection

Ian Stone is murdered each day by paranormal entities, only to wake up in a new life the following day and experience being murdered all over again. Such is the plot of Director Dario Piana's supernatural thriller, The Deaths of Ian Stone. Piana recently took part in an interview to discuss the multiple themes layered within this film.

How did you come up with the idea for The Deaths of Ian Stone?

Dario Piana: Brian Gilbert (Stan winston ex. producer) gave me the script written by Brendan Hood and I liked it immediately.because behind the never ending horror story, there is a deep and strong love story... Fear and pain can't win against love.... Simple message but truth. Basically it's about how difficult is to get rid from an addiction , but if you find the right person, you'll gonna make it. The Deaths of Ian Stone it's based more on the characters relation then just on gore and spfx, and there was lots of space to do my job properly, even if we had very short time and very low budget... A monster movie with a surreal script like The Deaths of Ian Stone for me is like a fairy tale, a little bit over the top with a constant eye winked to the audience.

Since it seems that audiences have gotten a bit comfortable with certain forms of violence and on screen scares, in what ways did you try and subvert their expectations with The Deaths of Ian Stone?

Dario Piana: People expect always the same things from an horror movie ,and they might like to see always the same things. They expect to see blood, to jump on the chair, a scary monster... I understand that, it's like to go on a rollercoaster. For my p.o.w the most scary things is still the death, and a guy killed every day I think is more disturbing than blood an violence. It's more subtle... You're leaving your life with your girlfriend , your friends, your family and somebody kills you without any reason... it happens every day in the world. Can you imagine if this happen every day for ever??? Pretty scary!! So I've tried to put the accent on the absurdity of the situation more than on effects and gore... I'd like the audience feel the same paranoia as Ian... But don't worry, there are few scary and disturbing bits in the movie.

What was the most difficult part of making The Deaths of Ian Stone?

Dario Piana: Shooting with a very tight schedule, less than seven weeks!!! No time to think, no time to make mistakes. The Deaths of Ian Stone is a movie with lots of locations, action scenes, spfx... So it was very hard, but we did it. The producers were very supportive and Stan WInston team was incredibly helpful..

Is there something you learned while making The Deaths of Ian Stone that you didn't know before? Something that hit you after the production was over?

Dario Piana: Basically two things: I've shot more than 400 commercials and "technically" shooting a movie is not so different, but the relation with the people around you is so important, it can affect everything. I never thought that shooting a movie should have been such a great human experience. Second I learned that you don't have to care too much about marketing, nobody in the movie history has predicted the biggest hit, so choose the projects following your heart..

With this film were you trying to tap into the universal idea it seems we all have about wondering what it would be like to be somebody else?

Dario Piana: You've got the point, that's the main concept of the film: what happen if you realize that you're not who you think you are??? I can't tell you more without revealing the film plot...

What scares you when you watch a horror film? On the flipside, what doesn't scare you?

Dario Piana: When the camera is facing the darkness a little bit too long and nothing happens, that's very scary for me... Or when the monster is an unpredictable human being... Or when the worst thing happens into the bright light. Pouring blood, horrible faces, when stupid people open the door and walk in the darkness when obviously something dangerous is around... all these things doesn't scare me at all.

What's it like being involved with the After Dark Horrorfest? Do you feel that maybe it's like Sundance for Horror Films?

Dario Piana: I never though about it... Sundance is a very prestigious festival and I never seen before the After Dark Horrorfest.I was so excited when I heard about After Dark.It was over my best expectancy. Anyway doing a movie for USA market was already a great goal for a non-American director...

What are you working on next?

Dario Piana: I've already signed for a very creepy thriller with some supernatural elements, no monsters and gore, very suspenseful and breathtaking. Still looking for the lead role... I'm developing two different projects also: a family movie in the way of Goonies and Back to The Future and a kind of horror/noir set up in San Francisco during the prohibition era: Marlowe meets Anne Rice. A very original script, may be too original. Looking for the right Studio... I'd like also to develop a project for a very outrageous comic book.. but it's very difficult to found a brave publisher.

The Deaths of Ian Stone hits movie theaters November 9th - 18th as a part of After Dark Horrorfest 2007.

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Evan Jacobs