We know he can deliver a movie fast and efficiently, and he’s also an old pro at delivering scares, but according to the writer and star of his latest movie, horror filmmaker James Cullen Bressack can boost the morale on any film set. Madeleine Wade, who co-wrote and stars in BLOOD CRAFT, tells us why Bressack is such a force to be reckoned with while explaining how the script for the bewitching new horror film came to be.
-PH: Would say this is a genre you’d normally gravitate towards?
-Madeleine: It’s probably the one genre I’ve done the least of. My favorites are comedy and historical dramas. But, I have to say, there’s absolutely something really fun about being covered in blood and feeling that real fear and just letting it all out! Being able to scream and cry is kind of therapeutic.
-PH: Does the project remind you of anything you might have watched as a youngster?
-Madeleine: Not one particular thing, but I’ve always loved psychological thrillers and the look and feel of old horror films from the 70’s and 80’s. Old school horror like “Rosemary’s Baby” and this really obscure old movie called “Let’s Scare Jessica to Death” – I feel things like those types of films have been influential for me.
-PH: Did you have any interest in magic or spells?
-Madeleine: Prior to writing this I was always fascinated by it, but never fully immersed myself in it. I was raised in this strict Catholic family. I mean, I was even an altar girl at one point and I when I was 10 my parents furiously made me return an Iron Maiden album because they though it was satanic. I would consider myself spiritual but somewhat agnostic now, which opens you up to exploring other things. I’m lucky to have a husband who was born and raised in the Salem, MA area and practiced Wicca. He was my consultant while writing the spells and chants. It was really fun to delve into!
-PH: There’s different types of horror films – where do you think this one fits? It seems to encompass more of a supernatural vibe?
-Madeleine: It’s definitely a supernatural/psychological thriller type of horror film. I like that it has all those different elements. I love the witchcraft aspect of it, which is ironic because when I first came up with this story 5 years ago it wasn’t the ubiquitous theme it’s become of late. Witchcraft is everywhere right now! It’s like Hansel from “Zoolander” – it’s so hot right now!
-PH: In terms of how you decided to play the character – where did you start?
-Madeleine: I wrote the character for myself, so I just basically had to say the lines while feeling all those emotions. I did feel it was important to play her a bit monotone at the beginning of the film, as she was numb and suppressing things, and on psych meds. The longer she’s back in her childhood home, these suppressed memories and feelings come flooding back more and more. By the end she’s a babbling mess with copious amounts of tears and snot dripping down her face. It’s not pretty!
-PH: Some actors like to come up with comprehensive backstories for their characters, even if none of it is referenced on screen. Did you do that?
-Madeleine: I wrote the back story into the script, so it was all pretty much laid out there already. I based it a lot on real things I’d experienced. A lot of the abuse you see referenced in the film were things that actually happened to me as a child. Except in my real life, there was no sister involved in the abuse from my father.
-PH: What makes your character tick? Can you speak about the arc without giving away much?
-Madeleine: She is processing the abuse that happened to her and her sister. Their need for closure and revenge is the driving force of the film. She goes from being an almost robotic person drifting through life, just trying to survive, to trying to accept the abuse, then ultimately being enraged by it and needing vengeance.
-PH: Can you tell me about working with James Cullen Bressack?
-Madeleine: James is really, really good at keeping up morale on set. Aside from being such a good director and creative force, he creates a very fun and easy going vibe on set. That is not easy to do when you’re shooting 90 pages in 13 days! It was very much a collaboration with him, the way he works with actors and the crew. He brought so much to the look and feel of the film. James is also a really great writer, and for me as a first time screenplay writer coming to him with this script, I was so grateful for his contribution to it.
BLOOD CRAFT is released in April.