Director Joe Dante‘s children’s horror tale, The Hole – which stars Chris Massoglia, Haley Bennett, Nathan Gamble, Bruce Dern and Teri Polo – opens in theaters tomorrow September 28 before arriving on Blu-ray and VOD October 2 from Big Air Studios. In fact, if you’re in LA the film has added another location at the Downtown Independent Theater (251 S. Main St. Los Angeles, CA 90012). Mr. Disgusting thoroughly enjoyed the film and I thought it was a lot of fun myself.
The film is, “a 3D thriller that explores the fears and secrets buried deep within the human mind. After moving into a new neighborhood, brothers Dane and Lucas, along with their neighbor Julie, discover a bottomless hole in the basement of their home. They find that once the hole is exposed, evil is unleashed. With strange shadows lurking around every corner and nightmares coming to life, they are forced to come face to face with their darkest fears to put an end to the mystery of THE HOLE.”
I recently hopped on the phone with Dante and we talked at length about The Hole, his cool web project “Trailers From Hell” and a little bit about the future of Gremlins! Head inside to check it out.
I saw ‘The Hole’ last night and really liked it, though I kind of wish I had seen it in 3D.
I kind of wished you’d seen it in 3D too [laughs]. We went through a lot of trouble!
It’s got a lot of kid-friendly elements but goes to some surprisingly dark places. What was the access point for you?
I get offered a lot of horror films, but they don’t all tend to be that good. Given where the genre is today it’s a bit more difficult than it used to be to do something different. What attracted me to this one, though, wasn’t necessarily the fact that it was different but that I couldn’t tell where it was going. And when I finally got there it was not where I thought it was going to go. It’s mostly character driven and the characters are well drawn. They speak like real kids and they have a rocky relationship as many siblings do.
What was your internal gauge in terms of what you felt was okay, or too much, to show the younger audience.
It’s a little tricky because the movie does have a dark side. And the history of what happened in the hole is pretty bleak. So there’s a tightrope there in how to suggest things without necessarily depicting them.
A lot of the set design near the end of the film has this weird dreamy quality. A lot of angular stuff.
It backs up a bit to my “Twilight Zone” episode! But you know we didn’t have a lot of money so it was a problem of imagining a world that you could show in 3D without spending a fortune. So most of it had to be practical. We managed to use a lot of old-fashioned effects that worked out.
Another unconventional project you’re working on is “Trailers From Hell”. Any new plans for that?
In fact, we’re going to run the trailer for The Hole since it’s coming out at the end of the month! Hey, I own the site! So that will hopefully put a few more butts in seats.
One of the things I’ve heard – and maybe you can clear this up – is that you might willing to do Gremlins 3 but with traditional puppetry. And the studio might be leaning towards CG. Is that really where the dividing line on that project comes down?
No, I don’t think there is a dividing line. I haven’t had any formal talks, or even informal talks, with them about it. It’s a title in their library that sooner or later will be re-exploited. You can’t obviously do a sequel to the second picture because the cast is too old and I don’t know that that’s the way they’re thinking. I think they’d probably reboot the whole thing and start all over or go in a different direction – take the Gremlins someplace else.
I do know that there have been attempts at Gremlins pictures. I know that people have gone in with pitches, but nothing has caught their eye. But I’m not positive that it’s entirely Warner Brothers’ decision, because it’s an Amblin project. It probably has to be signed off on by Spielberg.
I think sooner or later there will be something, I just don’t know what at is.
At this point in your life is it something you you would want to revisit?
Well I was a little leery of revisiting it right after the first picture. So I didn’t. But no one else could figure out what to do with it for a couple of years and so it came back to me. I would certainly entertain the idea [of doing a 3rd film], Gremlins has been very good to me.
Gremlins 2 is such a unique sequel. Studios are so proprietary with their brands that I can’t imagine that happening today.
That was only because they promised me that, as a condition of doing the movie, that I could do whatever I wanted. They couldn’t back down from that if they wanted to. They were very uncomfortable making fun of the product placement and things like that but ultimately they kept their word and let me do it that way.
Circling back to The Hole, what’s the one thing you’d like a family to walk out of this film talking about?
The good thing is they might be able to all walk out and talk about the same thing. Even if they’re not all talking about it in the same way. I think it is a bonding movie. It’s a movie about conquering your fears. I think that would be a good conversation. What are you afraid of and how can you conquer it?