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Interview: John Fallon on “The Shelter”

John Fallon (R.) with "The Shelter" star Michael Pare (L.)

John Fallon (R.) with “The Shelter” star Michael Pare (L.)

John Fallon has a number of terrifying screenplays to his credit – the newest being his thrilling directorial debut, The Shelter.  In a recent blog post, Fallon referred to his new script as being a “…different animal”, and in our interview, explained what it is about The Shelter that separates it from his other works:  “Well, everything you write has pieces of yourself in it, obviously.  But The Shelter is definitely the screenplay that reflects me as an individual the most. Not meaning that the script is the story of my life, but more in terms of the themes that are explored in the piece. They’re just very close to me. My passion for horror films, nature, using imagery to convey substance and my spiritual streak are all in there.”  Continuing he said, “It’s more psychological, dramatic and layered than the ‘tits, gore, guns, cheap laughs’ exploitation films- that I am proud of by the way- that I’ve written in the past. So it’s a very different type of project for me. And yes, being that it took me three years to crack, I will most surely not give it to somebody else to direct. As they say: It’s my baby!”

Along with being an actor, writer, producer, and now director – Fallon is also the voice of the popular horror review site, “Arrow In The Head”.   Showing his love for horror in comparison to other genres, Fallon told me, “I like the wide range of strong emotions that the horror genre can make you feel.  It’s like the rollercoaster ride of cinema.  And its vastness appeals to me as well. As much as horror can be cheap, exploitive fun, like a slasher film for example, it can also be a bent fairy tale that captures the imagination or act as a metaphor/social statement as to what is going on in the world or/and the human condition. The possibilities are endless!  Moreover, the horror genre is an ideal playpen to experiment in when it comes to your narrative structure and the way you tell your story visually and audio wise. You have a lot of room in horror to try diverse things and get away with them, more so than in any other genre in my opinion. I will do that in The Shelter: step outside the norm, take chances and create something as unique as can be.”

"The Shelter"

“The Shelter”

Fallon’s interest and appreciation of different roles on the film set is no surprise, considering who some of his idols breaking in to the industry were.  “I had many [idols]. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme, David Lynch, Clint Eastwood, Mel Gibson and the list goes on. But growing up I truly looked up to Sylvester Stallone. He came from nothing, worked hard and got to the top. He wrote, he starred, he directed and he pulled all that off due to hard work, courage and a refusal to give up. He inspired me then and still inspires me to this day.”

Fund raising is one of the most daunting tasks for an independent filmmaker.  Making his directorial debut on The Shelter, which is his first time crowd funding, Fallon shared what was new – and surprising – about the process.  “A friend of mine recently said ‘To be a good director, you have to be a good producer.’ And he was right. I was surprised at how hands on I have to be on the production side of things to be able to be prepared for the directing challenge that lies ahead.  I’ve also been taken aback by how much I don’t know, hence I am relishing in soaking in the knowledge.”  In regards to funding, he added, “Well it’s a lot like running a website, which I have been doing for 13 years now. You interact with folks, you put up updates, you promote your content, etc. I guess the only two thing that have truly taken me aback so far have been just how much you have to keep putting the campaign in people’s faces via social media day after day after day (I am sure I lost some Facebook friends due to that, sorry guys! It’s how it works.) and how everybody that I have interacted with so far has been so nice and supportive. That is not always the case when you run a website. So I appreciate the positive energy.”

"The Shelter" test shot

“The Shelter” test shot

The intended style of The Shelter is reminiscent of 1970’s classic horror films such as The Shining – an era of horror that is Fallon’s favorite:  “What I really loved and still love about horror films from the ‘70s was that often enough they would get their cake and eat it too. They would have well defined characters/relationships and very strong actors; hence you really cared about the people in the story. And that of course upped the scare factor. They were also bold and often experimental. Repulsion, The Shining, Rosemary’s Baby and The Brood all took chances and it paid off. So I want to do the same thing with The Shelter.”  Fallon said The Shelter “…tells the tale of a homeless man with a bleak past who finds shelter in a luxurious abandoned house for the night. Yes, we dropped the often done ‘Gothic house’ setting and went for something more unusual. Once inside, he inexplicably gets locked in, has to face the threat (s) that are in the house with him and he also has to face himself. Where the story goes and the way we will go about it will surprise many. This is not a ‘by-the-numbers’ affair.”

Michael Pare will be starring in The Shelter, a talented actor widely known for his role in The Virgin Suicides, Streets of Fire among other hits.  I asked Fallon how Pare came to be a part of this project and he answered, “I’ve known Mike since 2006 or 2007, my memory escapes me. We were in the same film together; Eric Red’s 100 Feet in 2008 and we have sporadically kept in touch. When I wrote The Shelter, I actually had him in mind; the character looked like him in my head. So once done, I sent him the script. He responded to it and agreed to be a part of it. We’re very happy to have him onboard; he’s one hell of an actor. His character is pretty much in every frame of the film and is put through quite the physical and emotional ringer.  I have no doubt that he will own it.”

For more on The Shelter, you can help crowd fund the film here and you can follow the film’s progress at its official Facebook page. You can also learn more from John Fallon via his official blog, Arrow in the Head and following him on Twitter: @johnhfallon. For more on The Shelter, John Fallon and Michael Pare, keep checking back to DiaboliqueMagazine.com.

About Brianne Marie

Raised in upstate New York, Bree Marie grew up fascinated with filmmaking and all things macabre. Moving to Orlando in 2010 to pursue her BA in Cinematography, Bree became a media correspondent and journalist at The Movie People in fall 2012, covering cast and crew interviews. She is now also a moderator for the publication. Bree began attending festivals as press in 2012, and frequents many of the East Coast horror conventions. She is a contributing writer to Diabolique, and her work made international print in the UK’s top horror rag, Scream Magazine.

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