SplaterFilms.com goes one-on-one with the director of this After Dark HorrorFest flick

The newly annual After Dark HorrorFest 2007 hits the theaters today, and one of the films in this horror lineup is Lake Dead. Our very own Mushy got a chance to interview the film's director, George Bessudo. Here's what he had to say.

How did you come up with the idea for Lake Dead?

George Bessudo: Lake Dead was actually conceived by Dan Coughlin (the writer) but he and I worked on various elements together in order to bring it closer to my style of storytelling. Dan had a fantastic screenplay with some truly gruesome scenes but I wanted a bit more back-story and some additional character development. In the end we came up with a script that both of were really happy with.

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 Lake Dead?

George Bessudo: Dan introduces some very disturbing elements that I really hadn't seen in this genre of film. Some of the most shocking moments in the movie have nothing to do with violence or gore. They're more about the incredibly demented psyche of some of our characters. I'm sure you want to know exactly what I mean but revealing it now would be a major spoiler.

What was the most difficult part of making Lake Dead?

George Bessudo:Lake Dead was made on a really tight budget so the main challenge for me was an extremely short production schedule. We had to get the movie done in only 15 shooting days so that made for a lot of re-thinking and improvising on the set. Often that type of shooting is very stressful but in our case it proved beneficial because we came up with some great stuff on the fly.

Is there something you learned while making Lake Dead that you didn't know before? Something that hit you after the production was over?

George Bessudo:Lake Dead is my first feature film so I learned many things. I think the biggest has to do with the previous question. Before Lake Dead I was accustomed to working off of storyboards and having every detail of a scene worked out far in advance of production. I had everything mapped out this time around as well but I quickly found that my plans were a bit ambitious (that's a bit of an understatement) based on our shooting schedule. In the end we had to do a lot of on-set improvising and that actually led to some of my favorite scenes. It's still not my preferred way to make a movie but this time around it really worked out.

Why do you think horror films are so popular now? They seem bigger than they've ever been?

George Bessudo: It's really hard to say. I think one of the reasons is that many people are looking for a visceral experience when they go to the movies. That's just what a good horror flick delivers. Fear is a very palpable emotion.

What scares you when you watch a horror film? On the flipside, what

doesn't scare you?

George Bessudo: I'm a fan of the less is more school of horror. The films that scare me the most are the ones that leave the biggest moments to your imagination. I think my most frightening experiences in film occurred when I was a child and those are the movies and filmmakers that influence me the most. Films like Jaws, The Shining, Poltergeist, the original The Amityville Horror and When a Stranger Calls - those are some of the films that REALLY scared me and that I like to watch for inspiration. Horror has certainly evolved since those movies were made but for me, the 70's and 80's are the golden age of horror. I'm not frightened by films that use over the top gore or extreme violence to try and scare you. It doesn't take long to become desensitized to that sort of thing.

What are you working on next?

George Bessudo: I've recently filmed my second feature with Alliance Group Entertainment entitled Farmhouse. We're deep into post production and I'm extremely happy with the way it's turning out. I think it's really going to shock audiences when they get a chance to see it. In a good way.

You can check out Lake Dead and the other films in the After Dark HorrorFest 2007 in theaters from November 9-18.