Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with John Poliquin, the director of the highly entertaining Grave Encounters 2 (currently out on Video on Demand in the States) for the Monster Movie Podcast and HorrorNews.Net.
John spoke about the his background in music video and the influences on making his first feature film. He shared about the film’s spectacular fire gag, the special effects both CGI and practical and teased information about both Lance Preston (Sean Rogerson) and the red door. It’s a revealing interview that will be included in a future episode of the Monster Movie Podcast here on HorrorNews.Net in the next week.
Below is an excerpt from the interview:
Doc Rotten (DR): John, you picked up the banner from the Vicious Brothers to direct the sequel for Grave Encounters. How did that come about?
John Poliquin (JP): I’ve known the Vicious Brothers for years. I was on the set for first Grave Encounters and Colin and I are both music video directors. After they released the first film and were discussing the second film, they came to me with the script and told me they were interested in me directing; and things went from there.
DR: It seemed to be a pretty quick shoot. I heard that [Grave Encounters 2] was going to be filmed in the spring and the next thing you know it was ready to come out. How fast was the shoot?
JP: Yeah, you could say it was probably one of the more insane film shoots and frantic schedules of all time. I think, from the time I received the script to when I had to deliver the final film was four and a half months. Everything was go, go, go. It made it fun and challenging, but also kind of great because we had to shoot the movie in four and a half months.
DR: The special effects in [Grave Encounters 2] are really fun and I have one in particular I want to talk to you about which was a fire gag which is fairly new for this. How was that to film, execute and plan?
JP: The fire gag was pretty crazy. We had to get a Fire Marshall there and we didn’t know if we would get approved for the gag until the morning of or the day before we were scheduled to shoot it. Like a lot of days, we had a fair amount of freedom shooting; but, for this one, there was a big concern because we were lighting a significant amount of fire in a room. We had to be really specific about what we were shooting.
That sequence is actually broken down into four chunks. So we shot the approach where we made sparks and then we shot a slight amount of fire on our actor. Then, we replaced our actor with a stunt double and did a more significant stunt burn on him. And, then, we replaced our stunt double with a replica dummy of the actor for the final burn. So it had to be broken up and then hide seamless edit points so it didn’t feel like we were switching all these different elements. It was challenging, but I think we pulled it off.
DR: Some of the other effects, you seemed to have some practical versus CGI. How much practical was there and how challenging was that?
JP: I pushed for practical as much as I could. There are some digital effects because we didn’t have the time or necessarily the budget to go practical. A lot of the demons are practical aside from doing some slight darkening and some painting of the faces, like the little girls and the skinny ghost had prosthetic jaws applied. The builds were all practical. The elevator sequence was practical. There is a lot of practical effects. I am glad they went with it that way.
Interview: John Poliquin (Director of Grave Encounters 2)