We have a rather rare treat today, friends, as joining us once again down here in the Retroist Vault is none other than Daniel Wilder. Dan is not only an author here on the site but a frequent collaborator on the Halloween Specials for the Saturday Frights podcasts. To top all of that off he also happens to be a prolific writer of reviews for horror films as well as being a screenwriter and last but certainly not least, Dan is a great friend. Now though it appears he has one more hat to add to the rack as he is also a Director of short films, just a month ago he released Mercury Screams. A creepy and somewhat unsettling tale of a couple who happen to encounter something very otherworldly and decidedly unfriendly in nature. I thought it might be nice to have a sit down with Daniel and let him talk a bit about Mercury Screams and his career.
Vic: Thanks for dropping by the Vault for this interview, Dan. How about you give the readers a little background information on how you got into writing?
Dan: I honestly got seriously into writing as a career after writing my novella The House of Thirteen Doors. I had always dabbled in writing, but that’s when I thought; “Hey stupid, you could probably make a real go of this and entertain people in the process. Thus began my award losing foray into the high stakes world of sitting on my couch peckin’ on a keyboard like an arthritic ape!
Vic: Now we are both horror movie fanatics of course but what was the very first horror film that you recall seeing?
Dan: The first horror film that I can recall seeing was JAWS when I was four. I saw the reaction it got from the scaredy-cats around me and I knew the horror biz in some way, shape or form was going to be my life!
Vic: What is the absolute scariest film you have ever seen?
Dan: Scariest film, hands down CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. For some reason the aliens in it terrified me as a child (even though they were peace minded little boogers) and when I watch it to this day the hair on the back of my neck stands up during those alien scenes.
Vic: Who are some of your favorite Directors in the horror genre?
Dan: My all time fav fright flick makers are John Carpenter, Panos Cosmatos, Lucio Fulci, Bruno Mattei, and my pals Henrique Couto, Byron Miller, Michael Epstein, Sophia Cacciola and Dante Tomaselli. I also really like the work of up and comers Richard Stringham and Torey Haas!
Vic: Now Mercury Screams is your first short film but it wasn’t the first screenplay you worked on, right?
Dan: No sir. I have written a multitude of screenplays, most of which are in production, and most of which I can’t talk about. I do however have a feature comin’ from the aforementioned Henrique Couto called HAUNTING INSIDE; a real ghostly gasser if I do say so myself…and I do!
Vic: What made you decide to take that giant leap forward of writing and Directing your very own short film?
Dan: I had written MERCURY SCREAMS as a feature length spec script, which I hoped to one day direct myself. To keep production costs down, I set the story in a near empty house (as the residents were just moving in). As fate would have it, my in-laws bought a house, and we were offered a day to film in the location (after my partner in crime JB Sapienza convinced me to shoot a film). I then banged out a short film version that condenses the script to it’s basic elements. I basically wanted it as a proof of concept so we can get financing to make the feature…plus I figured if I messed it up, it’s only six minutes long so I wouldn’t waste folks time too awful much!
Vic: Dan, would you like to give the readers a little explanation of Mercury Screams?
Dan: Oh man, you folks better buckle up! MERCURY SCREAMS concerns a young couple who move from the city to a rural existence after suffering a miscarriage. We are shown this via re-enactments from a speculative paranormal television program called Within the Gaze of the Third Eye hosted by a famous Hollywood fortune teller and Satanist named Danny Dusk. Anyhow, the couple try to settle in, but their marriage is strained…and before long the wife gets impregnated by an alien from another dimension (as one does), and the program begins to have real world consequences…because I wanted to keep things nice and simple LOL
Vic: You had some people of note behind the camera of Mercury Screams, right?
Dan: Yeah, the film was shot by Cinematographer Jon Caron, and edited, co-produced, and scored by JB Sapienza both of whom worked on the award winning documentary MY NAME IS JONAH, I also had production help from David Weaver the writer/director of the upcoming fright flick THE LAST FRANKENSTEIN…hell, we even stole TLF’s FX wizard Jarod Balog and it’s creature performer Roderick Klimek!
Vic: One last question for you and I hope you don’t find this offensive. I have had the pleasure of seeing your excellent short film already and to me it has touches of both Suspiria as well as Beyond the Black Rainbow. My question to you though is why in the World did you pick me to be the narrator for Mercury Screams?
Dan: That’s easy; you have the perfect voice for the film…so soothing and modulated as you inform people of stillborn babies being spirited to other dimensions!!