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Metal Life interview with Michael Aguiar, director of horror movie The Laughing Mask


Director Michael Aguiar’s indie slasher The Laughing Mask, starring John Hardy, Sheyenne Rivers, Gabriel Lee and Jeffrey Jenkins, is now on VOD.

Jake (John Hardy) has lost his wife to the Laughing Mask killer. Recently, his daughter has been kidnapped by this same madman. Jake must work with the diligent detective, Kate O’Malley (Sheyenne Rivers), to track down this elusive man. But, where the Laughing Mask takes him, Jake is unprepared to go. Jake must deal with a strange assortment of monsters and creatures, within the Laughing Mask’s darkened lair.

You’re obviously a fan of old school horror. When did your love affair with the genre begin?

I remember how terrified I was watching The Exorcist for the first time and that experience marked me forever. Over the years we’ve seen the ups and downs of the horror genre but that is for me where it all started. How a movie could bring that much terror and inspire those feelings.

What’s your favorite horror flick?

That would be Angel Heart. It was a horrifying movie and yet showed very little gore and you can’t go wrong with Alan Parker and Robert De Niro, but I suppose that is considered more of a thriller, so for a traditional type of horror The Exorcist is still the most impressive movie I’ve seen.

Is there a type of horror flick you prefer over another though?

I like thriller horror and of course slashers, but not so into the torture porn genre. I understand the need and how people like it but I’m just not into it.

How did you cast the film? Traditional process?

Yes and no. Amanda and Kate were written specifically for Amanda Pierre and Sheyenne Rivers to play, I never considered anyone else for those parts. After that we had a big casting call and got our great cast from here.

How did you get distribution? Was it all about festivals…?

Not at all. I don’t think that festivals are a great way to go for features at our budget level. Its not 1992 anymore and unless you have a strong name attached or a massive buzz surrounding the project, odds are you won’t even be screened. I bypassed the Festival route and went straight to AFM where our producer had meetings with several distributors interested in The Laughing Mask and we were lucky enough to strike a great deal with Leomark.

And are you thinking ‘sequel’ yet?

We lived and breathed Laughing Mask for at least 3 years so although there is a great story for The Laughing Mask sequel where it would take place in the 1930’s and detail the origins of the mask, we needed to take a break from our killer and invest our energy into bringing The Harbinger into life. That will be our next project.



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