So far, 2017 has proven to be an amazing year for the horror movie genre. I recently had the chance to watch director Victor Mathieu’s The Monster Project. This film is easily one of my favorite films from this year. I had to know more about it and how it came about, and Victor Mathieu was so kind enough to let me in on how he created this world and film that is The Monster Project!
PopHorror: Thanks, Victor, for taking the time to talk with us. I just want to say how much I loved your film, The Monster Project!
Victor Mathieu: Thank you! I sure hope everyone loves it as much as you did!
PopHorror: Oh, they will! Tell me, how did you get your start in the industry?
Victor Mathieu: I started out at The University of Southern California for Cinematic Art. After I left USC, I started directing short films and commercials. I tried to develop my first feature length film, CarnieVille, which proved to be too expensive, so that’s how I came up with The Monster Project. A film that I could actually shoot on a budget.
PopHorror: Besides it being made on a low budget, how did you come up with the concept behind The Monster Project?
Victor Mathieu: Multiudes of reasons. For one, I am a huge fanatic of R. L. Stein’s Goosebumps. I have seriously read all of them. Escape from HorrorLand always drew me in with the atmospheric elements. That was my main inspiration to become a filmmaker. There is a movie called The Hamiltons about a family of vampires. It is so well done and on a low budget. It inspired me to make a less expensive film. I got to thinking, “What if I told a story about a group of vampires that had some Goosebump-like monsters?”
PopHorror: Oh, The Hamiltons! I believe that was one of the 8 Films to Die For, right?
Victor Mathieu: Yes! I loved the After Dark Horror Fest Movies.
PopHorror: Me, too! I wish they would bring it back. I love that you said Goosebumps is what inspired you… I was totally a Goosebumps kid as well. There are a lot of awesome shots in The Monster Project, like when the film crew is interviewing the skin walker. What was your favorite scene to shoot?
Victor Mathieu: My favorite scene to shoot… Oh, there are a lot of scenes I really love. One of my favorites is with Bryan (Toby Hemingway) and Shayla (Yvonne Zima) while he is giving her the interview. They played off each other so perfectly. I love how the third person camera has such subtlety. So many scenes are so cool, like the Skinwalkers were so badass. It was like being on a playground. Preparing for scenes was challenging with time restrictions, though.
PopHorror: How long did it take to shoot the movie?
Victor Mathieu: It took 15 days to film. So many stunts. Practical and digital effects with a lot of wires. We had to make sure everyone remained safe, which is ultimately what makes the film stand out.
PopHorror: So many cool special effects! How were you able to pull those off with it being in the found footage style?
Victor Mathieu: It’s not just a found footage film. It is also a POV. It’s told through a different perspective, like a first person shooter game. As for the SPFX, Jim Beinke came aboard and he is immensely talented. He helped with the SPFX on The Craft, which is one of my favorite movies. He did such a phenomenal job and transformed monsters onto the set. The practical effects portray monsters from the early 1900s. That’s why they really came to life.
PopHorror: There are some very cool monsters in the movie. Do you have a favorite?
Victor Mathieu: All three are really cool. They all bring their own element to the film. The Skinwalkers are terrifying. The vampire was just calm and cool, but has this different edge. Then there is this demon that is just so crazy and scary. I thought people would want to see a movie that portrayed multiple monsters.
PopHorror: I think people are really going to love it! What would you like your audience to take away from The Monster Project?
Victor Mathieu: I would like to bring more awareness to drug addiction, so that it doesn’t encourage it. I also want to show how monsters are like drug addicts because they are addicted to blood and carnage, and I also want people to see how this film is about faith and religion. It’s a very difficult thing to go through. Basically, that’s the theme of the film. This is a character film and monsters are there to bring out negatives and positives. Monsters help focus on the relationship between the core of these characters. It is a rather sad film, but eye-opening, if you let it be.
PopHorror: That’s why I liked this movie so much. It has so many layers and a major re-watch value. What other upcoming films or passion projects do you have?
Victor Mathieu: My team and I would love to do a sequel or a spin off of one of the characters like the Skinwalkers. Maybe picking back up with CarnieVille, which is something I came up with when I was 16 and I really want to make it a reality. There is also this Mexican urban legend, La Llorna. If you haven’t heard of it, you should look it up. I would love to make a film about something that it is so terrifying!
PopHorror: I haven’t heard of it. I will look it up! What is your favorite horror movie?
Victor Mathieu: Evil Dead 2. I love it so much. I would put it on TV at night as my lullaby to put me to sleep. Sam Rami was genius. I love the energy and how non-stop it is. It’s such an inspiration. Other favorites are The Exorcist, The House of the Devil and The Shining.
PopHorror: All awesome picks! What advice do you have for future filmmakers?
Victor Mathieu: Don’t give up! It was a long process to complete my first film, but I did it. My partner’s in crime and I would scratch our heads, asking ourselves if this is this ever gonna happen. We kept the faith and it did. I would say, if you have an idea that you feel strongly about, go with it. If an idea keeps you up at night, you are probably onto something, so don’t let it go. Put yourself out there.
Thanks again to Victor Mathieu! You can now check out The Monster Project on VOD, iTunes or Amazon.