Horror-on-Sea Interview with Suicide Club writer-director Max von Vier
Horror-on-Sea Interview Maximilian von Vier – Suicide Club (Saturday 12th January 17:30)
Suicide Club (2018)
Director: Maximilian von Vier
Writer: Maximilian von Vier
Stars: Klariza Clayton, Kate Lister, Therica Wilson-Read, Louisa Warren, Claire-Maria Fox, Adam Newington
Locked in her flat for several years, a reclusive young woman stumbles upon a mysterious web community. According to an urban myth, the Suicide Club grants death to those wishing for it. Unless these “cyber suicides” are actually murders.
Date & Venue: 12th Jan 2019 17:30pm
Park Inn by Radisson Palace, Southend, Church Rd, Southend-on-Sea SS1 2AL, UK
Suicide Club is a new award-winning thriller from writer-director Maximilian von Vier, which has been selected to play at the Horror-on-Sea Film Festival. I got a chance to ask Maximilian von Vier a few questions about what we can expect from the film.
Q. The award-winning Suicide Club has been selected to play at Horror-on-Sea, what can we expect from the film?
Suicide Club is a confined thriller in the vein of Disturbia (2007) and Hitchcock’s classic, Rear Window (1954). It’s a thriller taking place almost entirely in one room, dealing with themes such as loneliness, depression, social violence and voyeurism. It’s a dark, suspense-loaded character piece that also has elements that are typical to indie thrillers.
Q. The film deals with suicide and the mythology of the dark web. What were your influences when writing the script and did you do any research into the dark web?
As most filmmakers I’ve faced some really dark episodes in my life, so quite a few elements of the story are actually metaphors representing my personal experience. So, although the story is a complete fiction, the protagonist, Liz (Klariza Clayton), is a character symbolising some very real struggles that I had to face in the past. The theme of the dark web emerged quite naturally while I was writing the script, as it’s a good reflection of the problems we face in modern society. People allow themselves to express some very dark things as long as they feel protected by anonymity, things they would never reveal in real life. So, it was a great way to allow the protagonist to express herself even without the presence of other characters. She’s completely alone trapped inside her flat and facing only herself and her demons, until the plot kicks in and she’s forced to interact with the outside world again.
Q. The film has a very claustrophobic feel and make use of the lighting really helps to set the scene. What were your influences for the look and style of the film?
The look came quite naturally, as it had to feel dark, gritty and suffocating. You’ll find similar cold colours in some very efficient horror films, such as Verbinski’s The Ring (2002). The highly contrasted lighting really helped put the focus on the main character and her emotions, so the DOP and art department did a great job there.
Q. What makes Suicide Club stand out as something different in the horror genre?
The setting is fairly unique and it’s almost a one-woman show. It’s not gory or visually graphic, so most of the violence comes from the raw emotions experienced by the protagonist. And on a more behind-the-scenes aspect, the film was done in a totally independent way as I wrote, directed and financed it myself. I raised the funds while backpacking around the world and wrote the script inside a tent on the flanks of a Hawaiian volcano, under the glow of a flashlight. So, it was made with very minimalistic means and the result is a really raw and organic piece, at the crossroads between classical commercial horror and art house indie thrillers.
Q. Klariza Clayton gives an excellent performance as Liz, whose emotional struggles remain central to the story. What was Klariza like to work with during filming?
Very focused, she knew all her lines and delivered them perfectly. That was no small feat, since the entire film rests on her performance. She gave us some really powerful moments.
Q. Did you have to adapt any elements of the original script during filming?
Only the ending, which I had to cut short due to lack of time. Apart from that, I was able to shoot exactly what I’d written in the script, which was great.
Q. What was one of your favourite moments during filming?
There’s a really long dialogue scene between Liz and Josh (Adam Newington), that lasted ten minutes straight when we shot it. It was really powerful as both Klariza and Adam gave us amazing performances and I enjoyed every second of it.
Q. Do you have any other projects which you are currently working on?
Yes, I have a feature in prep and two more in the pipeline.
Q. If someone was looking direct their own horror film, what advice would you give them?
Go for it, with or without funds! You don’t need a lot of money to make a good film, all you need is a good concept.
You can find out more about the feature films playing at Horror-on-Sea Film Festival and details of tickets on the website.