The Man Behind The Camera: Interview With Indie Director Anthony Raus

I recently got the opportunity to interview one of my favorite people in the indie horror business. A great man who is talented and also willing to help others succeed, director Anthony Raus. Learn about how he got involved in this business, some of his favorite projects, who he would love to work with, and advice he would give to others.

PopHorror – Hi Anthony, it’s great to finally do this! What inspired you to get involved in the film industry?

Anthony Raus – Thank you! I’ve always looked for ways to express myself through art, even when I was a kid, whether it was drawing or taking pictures on my wind up Kodak at summer camp. I always loved the idea of capturing moments (especially candid) but I think the filmmaking journey started in the 8th Grade. I always was inspired by James Rolfe from Cinemassacre and his movies which really made me wanna start making my own. I was also really inspired by the movies of the past, ones that I loved growing up like The Wizard of Oz, Willy Wonka, Return of the Jedi, and King Kong, and the idea of making someone else feel the way that these movies made me feel was just so intoxicating.

PopHorror – I can relate to that feeling! What was the first film you ever worked on?

Anthony Raus – Umm, I did a lot of smaller things growing up and some stuff in college but about 5 years ago my filmmaking pursuits became much more serious, my first film that I ever saw through from beginning to end was an experimental feature I made in my second year of college back in 2016. Now the experiment came into play because we shot it without a script, I mapped out the basic idea, but on any given day that we were shooting, the actors got their scenes the night before (which I would write). This is a terrible idea and I don’t recommend it but I just wanted to see if I could (Roger Corman Style). It was a horror film called NORTH WOODS and starred a handful of my friends including Jesse Boone, Amber Allen, Phil Ippolito, and Jacob Batalon who later that year started production on Spiderman Homecoming. The film was trashed by 90% of the people that saw it, haha but I wouldn’t change that experience for anything in the world.

PopHorror – That’s still pretty awesome! You seem to favor the horror genre. What drew you to this particular genre? What’s your favorite horror movie?

Anthony Raus – I honestly just love movies, but this particular genre really means the most to me, primarily because of the communal experience. For instance, when you go to a horror movie in a theater and you look around, for the most part, everyone is sharing the same experience and that is the feeling of being scared. Now the same can be said about a drama where we all cry or a comedy where we all laugh. But there’s something about fear, it’s such a raw and vulnerable emotion, Hell, people even sometimes vocalize their fear during the movie, which we don’t really see in other genres. Nobody yells out during a comedy “do something funny!” Even people who don’t enjoy being scared STILL GO, it’s a lot like going on a roller coaster, it’s addictive and that’s what I find is the most interesting thing about making horror movies, controlling how an audience feels. I have soft spot for horror films with a great deal of suspense but in terms of my favorite, I’ve always loved Stephen King’s Pet Sematary directed by Mary Lambert.

Anthony Raus' Play Time
Anthony Raus’ Company

PopHorror – Me too! Out of all the projects you’ve worked on thus far, what has been your favorite one?

Anthony Raus – See that’s really tough, I think of every…well most of them as my children, though in retrospect some of them are more like that cousin you only see on holidays and can’t stand lol. I have a really soft spot in my heart for a film I made back in 2017 called The Audition (AngerMan Distribution) which actually just celebrated its 3 year anniversary but I also really love the latest one Abstraction (Concept Media).

PopHorror – Speaking of which, your recent short Abstraction has received a lot of love from both critics and fans. What was your goal for this film and how does it make you feel that people are reacting to it positively?

Anthony Raus – I honestly feel like I’m on cloud 9, the overall response has been positive which is always great, so many positive reviews and I’m just glad that people are liking it. That’s my goal with anything I do and I think that’s true of any artist isn’t it? So long as 1 person sees and likes the work, I feel like I’ve done my job. Plus I feel like we assembled an amazing team for this one. I really just wanted to make a supernatural piece that wasn’t just about a haunted house on a hill and I think (I hope) I’ve done that, especially because I tackled this story at such a hard point in my life. It’s a story that focuses very heavily on betrayal and the idea of wanting to be good enough and wanting to succeed while at the same time still featuring the things that go bump in the night. It’s so surreal and crazy to think that a film I made is available on Blu-Ray for people to watch at home.

PopHorror – It’s fantastic and you should be proud! What are your goals as a director?

Anthony Raus – Well I hope to always leave some sort of impression on the audience. I know I used to always wanna leave a staple or try so hard to have my own style but I think I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not about trying to do that. It’s about connecting with an audience if you get hung up on self-image as an artist then you’re fucked. So I really just wanna focus on telling a good story and bring in an audience and not only give them an unsettling atmosphere but also a compelling thread of events that takes you from the title to the credits as well as characters that you care about.

PopHorror – If you could work with anyone in the business who would it be?

Anthony Raus – I’ve had the opportunities to work with so many incredible people. I definitely have a list of actors that I’ve always wanted to work with one of which I actually was able to this past year. I recently finished up Play Time which features Maria Olsen, who I think is a brilliant actress, man, the choices she makes. Then there are other class acts John Cusack, Clancy Brown, and Brendan Fraser who id love to collaborate with.

PopHorror – She truly is amazing and uhh yes to all those names! What other upcoming projects do you have coming up that’d you like to talk about?

Anthony Raus – I’m currently in production on my latest film Espressivo which is my take on a twisted art house film in the same vein as A Twilight Zone Episode. I’ve also just started the festival run for my new film Play Time which is currently a Semi-Finalist in the Horror Movie Awards and a part of the October Selection for The Monthly Indie Shorts Festival.

PopHorror – That’s amazing! I know you’re a huge fan of Roald Dahl. I’m interested in knowing what you think about the remake of The Witches?

Anthony Raus – I’m not a huge fan of it, when I was little, Dahl adaptations seemed like PG-rated horror movies, they scared the shit out of me. ESPECIALLY The Witches but it seems like they are really coddling us, kinda like what Disney did to the Grimm fairytales. There doesn’t seem to be any danger its like a watered-down Goosebumps. Plus the writing is very on the nose in the trailer with lines like “your evil plot” and “try and stop me” plus there’s nothing scary.

PopHorror – I’m excited about it but I pretty much agree with everything you said as well. What advice would you give to someone that is new in this business?

Anthony Raus
Anthony Raus

Anthony Raus – Get a camera, get 2 to 3 people, and film something. There are a lot of dicks in this industry, ones that will discourage you, trust me, they don’t know what goes into making a movie, it’s passion and drive. Make stuff, create your stories and share them with the world, no matter how strange your voice is, there will always be someone listening. Even if only 4 people see the movie, that’s 4 more seeing it than if you hadn’t made it. I consider myself very lucky to have a family and a close-knit circle that supports me because I seriously couldn’t have done it without them. In closing, I’ll leave you with this, When life gives you shadows, Make Puppets!

About Tori Danielle

Tori has had a passion for Horror and music ever since she was a little girl. She got bit by the writing bug in high school where she was involved in both the school newspaper and the yearbook. While getting her Bachelors degree, she took Journalism and Creative Writing classes where her passion grew even stronger. Now, in between work and family, she spends all of her spare time indulging in music, Horror movies, and nerdy fandoms, all while running/assisting one of the biggest Horror groups on Facebook and writing for various websites.

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