The Horror Club speaks to writer and filmmaker, Michael Coulombe, about his latest short film, Soundbite, the popularity of online horror, his new short horror film channel and much more!
Tell me about yourself?
My name is Michael Coulombe. I left my full time job to make movies. I always tell everyone that film found me. I started off as a script supervisor (the person responsible for continuity) in September of 2006. Twelve years later, I have worked on over 200 films. That has helped me become not only a better writer, but a better director as well!
I have also had a play produced and have written a book of poetry. I run a podcast called ‘Mimosas With Michael.’ At the age of five I had my first solo as a singer. I grew up thinking I wanted to be a singer and an actor, except when I was introduced to creative writing at the age of 10; I knew then – and I am serious about this – I knew at the age of 10 I wanted to be a writer.
What drew you to horror?
The simple answer: I grew up in a haunted house. I had this strange fascination with haunted houses when I was a child and I wasn’t really sure why. I was also very terrified to fall asleep in my room as well as go into the dark garage alone. I remember my room always being so cold. It’s funny to note that as a horror filmmaker and writer, I am deathly afraid of the dark. Another great story is that my sister, my cousin, and myself heard a strange male voice come from my parent’s bathroom when we were in there once. It said two simple words: ‘Get Out!’ Scout’s honor! Scared the Holy Bejesus out of us.
The long answer: my cousin Daryl was obsessed with horror as a kid and helped me truly
appreciate what horror is. I was fascinated with the macabre in a sense and some gothic as I am a huge fan of Edgar Allen Poe. I love his beautiful poetic style of writing.
What also draws me to horror is the sense of community. You feel it when you meet other horror fans; or go to conventions or screenings. I always say horror isn’t just a genre, it’s a lifestyle. So in some ways, horror to me is community.
Why do you think people liked to be scared?
As a horror writer and filmmaker I get this a lot. I can only describe it like this: people love to experience emotions. We watch comedies to laugh, we watch dramas to cry; we watch actions to feel adventure, and we watch horror to feel afraid. Movies to an audience help feed the soul – much as I would say music does. That is the true gift of art! Plus it gives you adrenaline – a rush!
I think there is a huge difference between being scared and being terrified. I had a friend tell me something one time that stuck with me. He said the best part of a roller coaster is standing in the line – because that is when all the anticipation builds up, waiting for that rush. Once you get on the ride, it’s fun, but then it’s over. To me, the anticipation and build up you feel with horror is the same you feel when waiting in line for something exhilarating.
Being a creator of horror, do you still get scared?
Of course! Like I said, I am terrified of the dark. It’s legitimate too; I sleep with a night lite. And I travel a lot for work and staying in new hotel rooms is rough because it’s a new environment and my body hates that! Maybe I was haunted as a kid, when I was young and vulnerable. I think there is a story here!
Your latest film, Soundbite released on Halloween. Can you tell me a bit about that?
My writing partner, Brantley Brown and I wanted to explore something in the realm of social media and the world of digital media. So we asked ourselves, what would happen if you stumbled upon a song, that when you listened to it, you would die? Hence, Soundbite was born. And we created a song called DEATH SONG, which was composed and sound designed by my friend Nicholas Basil, who was also our editor.
What are the challenges of creating a short film?
The biggest challenge is money. Moreover, the city of Los Angeles is very difficult to film in. Plus, you run the risk of people not wanting to take you seriously. But we approached Soundbite differently. I didn’t just want to make a short film. We also wanted to make something that people could watch and say, yeah, we need a feature version of that – or Heaven forbid – a franchise! We also wanted Soundbite to be a launching pad for a new online horror content channel.
What is Horror House Media?
It will be our new online horror channel. First, beginning on Youtube and then venturing into other partnerships in 2019. It is the collective collaboration of me, Brantley J. Brown, and Ray McCann. Horror House is a platform to stream amazing short horror content and to showcase me as a director, Brantley as a writer and Ray as a producer. I consider myself lucky to have so much amazing people. Our crew on Soundbite was small but I will tell you they are mighty. It consists of Doug Frerich, our DP, Calisto Thompson, our Gaffer/Grip, Zack Edwards as special effects make up and Nicholas Basil as our Editor. And we lucked out by having an amazing actress, Taylor Murphy-Sinclair, in Soundbite. But as we move forward with our next film ‘Bag of Tricks,’ I am excited to see how our family grows!
Why do you think web horror has become so popular in recent years?
I think it has always been popular. But the reality of horror is that it has the most loyal audience.. and it is usually the easiest to make. There is a whole audience for just low budget B horror films, which means young filmmakers who are starting out will have a receptive crowd to make movies for. How brilliant is that? Plus, conventions are getting more popular, as are haunted attractions. And let’s be honest….Christmas seems to start long before Thanksgiving nowadays….so why can’t Horror and Halloween have a stab at the holiday season too. See what I did there? Stab! Clever, I know!
What is the plan for the near future?
To write and direct more. Brantley and I write a LOT. We write together as well as on our own. I would like to say that 2019 will be filled with many projects both with Horror House as well as theatrically. Just know this, I plan to create amazing stories until they have to pry the pen from my cold dead hand.
You can check out his website here