Interview With Anthony DiBlasi And Jessica Sula For ‘Malum’

One of my favorite movies of the past 10 years is Anthony DiBlasi’s 2014 psychological horror film, Last Shift. Its scary, violent, and drenched in blood. It’s the movie I suggest when someone asks me for a scary movie. So when I heard that Anthony was making Malum, a reimagining of Last Shift, I was beyond thrilled

A rookie police officer willingly takes the last shift at a newly decommissioned police station in an attempt to uncover the mysterious connection between her father’s death and a vicious cult.

While some might say it’s too soon for a “remake,” Malum gives us everything that we wanted with Last Shift and more. More blood, more of the cult, more ghosts. It’s more of everything. To celebrate the release of Malum in theaters, I chatted via Zoom with Anthony and star Jessica Sula about making the film in a real abandoned police station, how the project came about, and more!

Anthony DiBlasi

PopHorror: I really enjoyed Malum. I’m a huge fan of Last Shift so I was super excited to see this, and it did not disappoint. I’m delighted to speak with you both.

Anthony DiBlasi: Great! That’s awesome.

PopHorror: My first question is for you Anthony, and I’m sure this is the question of the hour. Why did you want to do a reimagining of Last Shift, and how did the project get set into motion?

Anthony DiBlasi: Welcome Villain, when they created their company, I was introduced to Luke (co-founder LaBeau) by a friend. We had a meeting and were talking, and he said, “You ever feel like you want to revisit the world of the Last Shift?” I said, “I did everything I wanted to do with that movie, but because it was a limited budget, we just inherently had to leave things on the table. Things we couldn’t do.” I love that world. I love that it built an audience over the years. It had longevity. It found a fanbase. But when I made it, I really wanted to make it an experience for people to see in a theater with a group. I felt like it was a crowd-pleasing film, people could tune out and just go for this ride, and just be scared. That always plays best in an audience, when you can feel that group experience. So for this film, it was early on and said let’s give it a proper theatrical run and really get people to see it in a theater, the way it was meant to be done. So that was a great way in to get me to be like, okay. I want to make another terrifying movie that’s great for a crowd, but deep in mythology, deep in the character development, give things that were once said in the first film more of a name. The Flock of the Low Gods didn’t exist in the first movie. Just create a world that horror fans, and I myself as a horror lover, can get behind and want to see more of.

PopHorror: I’m glad that you decided to do that because this one… I find Last Shift terrifying. It’s one of the first movies I will recommend to people if they want to watch something at home that’s scary, and this one did it too. I have to say, sitting in a room like that, I would not have my back to the window. So that got me.

Anthony DiBlasi: Great! That’s good to hear!

PopHorror: Jessica, what intrigued you about the script and made you want to be a part of the project?

Jessica Sula

Jessica Sula: I remember I was going through and just trying to figure out what my next job was going to be. I read it and felt… Also, my dad read it and we did say it was like Assault on Precinct 13 and we were like that’s really fun. Then I thought, I don’t know if I will be able to do this because there’s still a lot of responsibility in going to places that have always been interesting to me, like being hysterical and having hysteria, and at the same time having to be a detective. It all seemed very cool, but I felt that I didn’t know if I was up to the job. I also wanted to know who were Welcome Villain? Who were these guys? Who was Anthony? I looked up Last Shift, saw it had a cult following, and that added even more pressure. Then I talked to Anthony and we really got along, and it just felt like, why not? I’m never really seen in this light so it would be cool to challenge myself with it.

Anthony DiBlasi: Do you send your dad all your scripts or just the horror stuff?

Jessica Sula: This one in particular because you know, it had been a thing of, “Man, I hope I’m not reading something I think is good and it doesn’t translate.” Do you know what I mean? It’s so delicate. So I sent it to him, and my dad is not a fan of gory horror. That’s not his bag. He does not care for it. So when he came back and he said, “Actually the through line of the story and the world, it is cool to me. I like it.” I sent it to a few people… To my boyfriend. I just didn’t want you to make fun of me and bring that up.

Anthony DiBlasi and Jessica Sula on the set of Malum.

Anthony DiBlasi: She’s got a boyfriend.

Jessica Sula: He is into that and loves having a good scare. And he thought this actually could be legit and fun, running around with a shotgun, covered in blood.

Anthony DiBlasi: When he came to the set, he was like, “Why wasn’t I in this movie?”

Jessica Sula: He didn’t say that did he?

Anthony DiBlasi: He did, actually! Because when he saw Price (R. Price played by Sam Brooks), he was like, “I could have played that part!”

Jessica Sula: That’s really cracking me up! Wow!

PopHorror: Has your dad seen the final product?

Jessica Sula: No, he has not. He’s in Wales. He will suffer it because he’s just seen the recent poster and he is a huge fan. You know what he did afterwards? Because I love watching horror and he was always like, “Why are you watching this disturbing… ?” Like “Why are you watching Audition?” He didn’t catch me at the end of that movie. When I was filming, he threw himself into documentaries about making horror movies, and he was so excited about it. He’s now very much on board. I think Anthony does it really well. There’s depth to the character you can work on, and there’s a story to follow, because you need logic in order to have a scare. Well, for me anyway. Because she’s unraveling, so I need that logic behind in order for it to be fulfilling.

PopHorror: I read an article that this was filmed in a real abandoned police station. How did you come about that while location scouting and what was it like shooting there?

Anthony DiBlasi: It was interesting. I had talked to a lot of the middle guys early on. We had an investor that was in Kentucky, one of the producers, Justin (Brown). And very early on he was like, “Hey, we have this police station we want you to check out in Kentucky,” because he knew about this location. It had been empty for a few years. So we flew down there, and immediately when you go there, it’s like holy shit. The first one was shot in an actual police station too. Number one, it’s always easier to say, “Hey, can I find an actual abandoned or decommissioned police station?” Because there’s a lot to replicate if you don’t. So the first one we shot in was tiny. It was a tiny police station. This one was like four stories. It was big. It was a massive building. It was completely empty except for all these remnants. It’s just like what you write on the page. You walk into it and there’s like wires hanging from the roof, and things overturned, and random furniture in places. Blood on the wall, mold on the ceiling, and you’re like why does this look like this? All the production design, so much of it is already inherent in the location.

Jessica Sula: Also, when I found out you were filming there, that helped a lot.

Anthony DiBlasi: Once you know, it’s like, okay we can get this station, it’s a massive place and you can make it home base for many, many days. It just adds to the realism and the feel. Because it felt, and Jess has said several times, there was a heaviness to being there. It has a weight and almost sadness to it at times. You can’t help but get freaked out wandering around the cells and the halls. It was also a very easy place to get lost in.

Jessica Sula: Yeah!

Anthony DiBlasi: They do that on purpose. We talked about that with the police. I didn’t say this earlier. They create these places more labyrinthian because if there ever is an escape, or an escape attempt, they’ll be disoriented. It’s hard to find your way out of the building. It took so long for me to get my bearings, like okay. This is where this is, and where this is. And that’s intentional with the design of the place.

PopHorror: That is interesting! I did not know that. It lends to authenticity. I have just one last question for you today. What’s your favorite scary movie?

Jessica Sula: This is hard. I think Dumplings is up there for me.

Anthony DiBlasi: It’s up there for you?

Jessica Sula: Yeah, and I remember seeing The Texas Chain Saw Massacre for the first time. I watched it late and that terrified me.

Anthony DiBlasi: Texas Chain Saw is definitely one of my go-to favorites.

Thank you so much to Anthony and Jessica for taking the time to speak with us. Malum is in theaters now!

About Tiffany Blem

Horror lover, dog mommy, book worm, EIC of PopHorror.

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