Jordan Pacheco Sheds light on Upcoming Film “Abyzou”
Jordan Pacheco is a special makeup effects artist with over six years experience. Pacheco is not only known for his creativity in designing constructs of artistic carnage. He’s also experienced in film production. In 2011, Pacheco penned and directed the Horror short “Murder Kills”. Pacheco would unveil his first feature film with “Provoked” aka “American Poltergeist” in 2013.
Jordan Pacheco is working on a new vision in Horror. The concept lies on a demonological specter. Roots to this sinister entity live buried within ancient Hebrew folklore. In an exclusive interview with DecayMag.com Jordan Pacheco discusses his upcoming supernatural Horror, Thriller. Pacheco sheds light on the concept, crowdfunding, and production to: “Abyzou: Taker of Children”
[box type=”info” align=”” class=”” width=””]Visit the”Abyzou: Taker of Children” Crowdfunding campaign for more information or to contribute[/box]
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DecayMag.com: Influential filmmakers have often said their source of inspiration were sourced from visions, dreams or nightmares. In your Kickstarter campaign for the film “Abyzou: Taker of Children” you stated such an experience. Can you please elaborate on this incident.
“As long as I can remember, I have had the same nightmare where I’m in my bed, it’s very dark, and this terrifying old woman comes into view. She reaches out towards me and quickly hovers at me. She’s letting out a terrible wail. It gets very hard to breathe, and I try to scream but no sound comes out. Meanwhile, I scream bloody murder in the real world while sleeping. It turns out a lot of people with sleep apnea and insomnia like myself have very similar night terrors. In folklore, Abyzou doesn’t rest at night and she targets children and pregnant women, so I thought the two would make a good merger.”
DecayMag.com: The source of the film is based on Hebrew Mythology, specifically the entity called Abyzou. A brief description is provided on the Crowdfunding page by what exactly is this creature and what are the sinister deeds it’s known for?
“Abyzou is a demon who is unable to give birth herself, so she takes it out on mankind. In the mythology, she is blamed for miscarriages, stillborn babies, deaths while giving birth, as well as causing madness in men so intense they murder others. She is really an interesting demon. There is a good deal written about her in the Testament of Solomon. In the mythos, she is said to have the body of a snake or fish, but I decided to have her represented by the woman from my own nightmares.”
DecayMag.com:The subject of Hebrew Mythology is lightly explored in the Horror genre. “The Possession” seems to be the only film to touch this subject. What led you to explore Hebrew Mythology as source material to your film?
“I actually came across Abyzou while researching different demons for a character in a Dungeons & Dragons campaign I was playing. After reading so much about her, I really loved how much personality and motivation for evil she had. The Possession is a great film and does say it is Abyzou possessing the girl, but they don’t delve into her mythology at all. They merged her with an entirely different demon. In fact, most people I’ve spoken to don’t even realize Abyzou is the demon in that film.”
DecayMag.com: How challenging was it to tailor a centuries old villain for modern audiences?
“For the most part, writing the character into a modern setting went really smoothly. We used a few heavy dialogue scenes between Abyzou, talking through a possessed Hailee, and other characters to get a sense of how Old Testament she is. We went through some rewrites in these scenes to make sure we got it right.”
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Abyzou -The Film Production
DecayMag.com: Two Part Question “Abyzou: Taker of Children” is a supernatural Horror, Thriller set to deliver atmospherics and practical effects:
- Although compared to “The Exorcist” and “Insidious” how important is creating a unique genre defining production?
“It’s important to know where your inspiration came from, but it’s more important for your film to stand out as your own and not some low budget throwback. To create a unique and interesting story is a filmmaker’s greatest challenge and responsibility. To be genre-defining is a daunting task that we should all strive for.”
- How will “Abyzou: Taker of Children” differ from other supernatural Horror films in terms of concept and execution?
“We are offering more gore then your average possession film, but I really think our story and characters are unique in comparison. It’s a love story and all the characters are very likable. You even almost feel sympathetic for the demon. She just wants to have a child. Most demons in possession films don’t really have an endgame beside collecting souls and causing pain in their host, whereas Abyzou has a very clear objective and fights to accomplish that.”
“We also are avoiding the stereotypical offensive vulgarity the possessed host spews out in nearly every possession film. We actually have very little offensive language at all. The gore, however, might be kind of offensive. I mean, we drop a fetus on the ground, which can make some people uncomfortable, but we really are approaching these scenes with a lot of care to not be campy or offensive for the sake of being offensive.”
DecayMag.com: With zero budget what was the challenge in assembling a dedicated team of actors?
“For this film, we cast most the roles without a casting call. While writing the script, I had actors in mind that I knew were very dedicated and talented. I sent them the script and informed them of the budgetary restraints and time commitments, and luckily everyone was very receptive to the project and offered their time and talent.”
“I wouldn’t say it’s gore-centric, but we certainly have more gore then your average possession film. I believe the blood total is up to 4 gallons. We have some really cool dream sequences that tend to get a bit bloody.”
DecayMag.com: The trailer to “Abyzou: Taker of Children” is amazing. Short films are usually created to entice investors to finance bigger projects. Was a short film ever considered or did creating a trailer seem economical in execution?
“Thank you! I love the trailer. I was really taken aback by how much it exceeded my expectations. It served a dual purpose. I really wanted to test some challenging scenes lighting- and execution-wise with our very limited budget. It would also be used to show our supporters what we were striving for.
“A short film would have been ideal to pitch to investors and studios, but it would have been much more of an initial investment of time and money. We probably wouldn’t be able to actually start filming until next year, as dealing with investors and studios takes a good amount of back and forth to come to an agreement. Eventually, I would like to do that for a bigger budget production, but for now I just want to be creating. I love being on set directing, so I just couldn’t wait. I’m thinking of developing a web series so I can put the necessary time into cultivating a relationship with a studio or larger scale investors.”
DecayMag.com: The cast featured in the trailer are also part of the full production?
“Most the cast from the trailer is in the full production. Michael Thurber was kind enough to help us out in the trailer, but we were looking for a older middle eastern actor for the role, which has proven very difficult without the budget to expand casting out of New England.”
DecayMag.com: Will audiences expect to see an “edge of your seat” Thriller or “eye covering scares” with the film “Abyzou: Taker of Children”?
“We’re hoping to deliver a film that does both! We are avoiding a lot of jump scares, as I believe they belong in a haunted house and not film, but we do a fair amount of suspense building up to eye-covering scares.”
DecayMag.com: “Abyzou: Taker of Children” marks the second film dealing with the supernatural, the 2013 release “American Poltergeist” being the first. Do you find your creative expression to be catering audiences growing fascination with the paranormal?
“I love the paranormal. It’s really the only thing that frightens me, and I really enjoy the subgenre as a filmmaker. I’ll probably do a paranormal film every few years, but I’m hoping to avoid being put into a box as far as my creative expression is involved. I don’t want to be a filmmaker like Charles Band or Lloyd Kaufman – I love Lloyd and his wife, by the way; they are amazing people – who are very successful, but soon as you hear their making a movie you know exactly what you’re getting.
“I hope to be varied in my craft and even direct outside of the horror genre. Horror will always be my home, but creating a crime drama or rom-com could really help me grow as a horror director. Horror films include elements from every genre of film, and expanding out of the genre will really help me become a better storyteller.”
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Abyzou -The Crowdfunding
DecayMag.com:The total goal for the crowdfunding campaign to “Abyzou: Taker of Children” is miniscule. This is stated as “… the minimum required to complete the movie”. Why not take advantage of the campaign, establish a higher goals which in turn expands production budget?
“As I stated before, I really wanted to get started and just get on set. I honestly can’t stand going a month without directing, so this is reflected in our goal and budget. We felt it was a comfortable number to raise in the short period of time. I also believe resources like crowdfunding are heavily overused.
“I know we can make this a quality film with the projected budget, thanks to our cast and crew donating their time, so I didn’t want to take advantage of our supporters. I have had a few successful campaigns in the past, and I really want this to be my last. Crowdfunding is always a last resort for me as I believe it should be for all filmmakers.”
DecayMag.com:Three Part Question The budget pie chart posted on the crowdfunding campaign offer the following figures: Post production $400 Practical effects $400 Craft Services $400 Insurance $200 Wardrobe $200 Set Design $200 Kickstarter fee $100 Travel $100
- Will a limited budget hamper production efforts on this project’s development?
“It hampers our schedule a lot, as we can’t pay people to miss work, so filming around day job schedules is causing us to shoot mostly on weekends spread out over a few months. We also have a 30 day shoot schedule, which is much longer than my first two films. But we are saving a lot of money on special effects, since I’m doing them all myself.”
- What’s the contingency plan if the budget dwindles to zero?
“Well, I guess that would be the starving artist plan! I’ll do whatever it takes to get the film done. If that means getting a second job while filming, then so be it.”
- With investors in place and the small campaign effort on Kickstarter is the distribution goal and film festival submission a definite in the forecast?
“Yes, we are planning on submitting to festivals and having screeners ready by the winter. We have our post-production team in place and ready to go. I have two other features that will be ready to submit to festivals in the next few moths, so we plan on having a strong presence in conventions over the next year as well.”
Special Thank you to Jordan Pacheco for this interview opportunity.