Tales Of Halloween: Pollyanna McIntosh Interview

Title: Tales of Halloween
Director: Various
Starring: Lin Shaye,
Ben Woolf,
Pollyanna McIntosh,
Greg Grunberg
Genre: Horror, Comedy
Runtime: 1 Hour 37 mins
Certificate: 15
Release Date: Available to download now
See If You Like: Trick ‘R Treat,
The ABCs Of Death.

This week we got the chance to chat to Pollyanna McIntosh about the release of the new horror movie Tales Of Halloween a collection of 10 short films designed to scare, shock, amuse and entertain fans of the horror genre this Halloween.

Featuring a huge cast (including appearances and cameos from names such as Joe Dante; John Landis; Mick Garris; and Barry Bostwick), and a number of recognisable directors including Neil Marshall (The Descent) and Lucky McKee (The Woman), Tales Of Halloween takes place in a small American town one Halloween night; where demons, ghouls, witches, monsters, aliens, and even murderous pumpkins terrorise the town in various manners.

Read our interview with star Pollyanna McIntosh (known for The Woman, and Filth), and watch the trailer for Tales Of Halloween below…

Hi Pollyanna, would you like to start by telling us a little bit about your segment?

Sure. It’s called ‘Ding Dong.’ It was written and directed by Lucky McKee, and myself and Marc Senter play a couple who are unable to have children; it’s a great wear on the relationship; and on Halloween night, my character decides it’s time to stop being hermits about it, to get into my witches costume while all these children come to the door guising. I try and put on a happy front, but it doesn’t go so well. There are elements of The Wizard of Oz in there, and Hansel and Gretel, and it was just great fun to shoot.

It looked like fun. Namely because your character is so unhinged.

She is rather unhinged yes. And as I was going through a break-up at the time it was rather good timing, because I was a little unhinged too. No… I wasn’t unhinged, but it was good timing because I’m always happiest on set and I got to go and work with people that I love and just get stuck right into an extremely insane character, and it took me away from all my worries.

So did you have to rein yourself in at all?

[laughs] There’s no reining that one in! It’s quite the opposite, we were encouraged to be as big as possible. We weren’t even really encouraged, it was there in the script; it’s a melodrama with very dark undertones. So neither Marc nor myself played it small, and hopefully that worked.

It was all played pretty big. Even the make-up.

Oh we had amazing people doing the make-up, and we had a lot of laughs in that make-up room. It was a long process. Marc had a lot of make-up as well; when he doing Hansel. So there was a lot of colour going around. The arms were quite something; Lucky’s wife Vanessa is an amazing visual artist, she designed the look of my character and then the wonderful make-up department came up with a way to make it a reality; there was another woman who does a lot of animal/creature work, and she played my other two arms. So I even had somebody else who was in the same position as me; with these crazy long finger extensions on, which you can do very little with when you’re wearing them. I’m sure a lot of actors go through a lot worse with intense make-up, and for much longer periods of time. Whereas I feel like I got away with it on a lot of levels.

You mentioned working with Lucky McKee again, because you two worked together on The Woman didn’t you…

Yes! We did The Woman together and, we collaborated so happily on that, when he called up and said “I’ve got something else for you” I was like “Oh yes!” He wrote The Woman, with Jack Ketchum, for me (which was nice because he didn’t know me at that point, and he wrote Ding Dong for me and for Marc. We feel like partners when we’re working together, because he’s just such an open director.

Now, knowing Tales Of Halloween is a series of shorts, does that breed a sense of competition?

Oh, that’s a good point. I’ve never thought of it that way. I think the filmmakers would have to answer that. I didn’t know what the other stories were like, and I’m not a competitive person; I don’t really want to get ahead of anybody else; I just enjoy working with people. So I didn’t feel a sense of competition no, but I do wonder if the filmmakers did; they were certainly under a lot of pressure. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a bit of healthy competition, but I like to live in the moment rather than project; just have fun and do your best with it.

I suppose everyone had to be focussed, as it was quite a tight shoot?

Yeah. Everybody had two days. Some people ended up with two and a bit; we did because we had so many effects, like fire and getting people into ovens, so we needed a little bit extra. But you know what? It’s always tight these days; it amazes me how much is expected of these crews, and sometimes it pisses me right off. Not saying that on this one, because we only had a couple of days, but if you think about the crew; many of them were shooting the whole entire feature (a lot of people were used across the entire movie); like with every independent film, people were just absolutely knackered. It’s incredible how well they do under those circumstances, and I bet the crew don’t feel like they get any sleep. It’s a shame.

Tales of Halloween banner

Have you had chance to watch the whole film?

Yes, I saw it when it premiered at FrightFest. I saw it at the British premiere there, and I love FrightFest – I’ve had movies there many times and the audiences are always fantastic. It was great getting the chance to watch it with an audience. I brought along a friend of mine who’s an actor who’s never done genre films and said “Oh my God, I’ve never sat with an audience like this in my life.” It’s great to then get the chance to go and discuss it with people like that, and because people went in really wanting to like the film and that says it all about genre fans; they are behind movies, they have high expectations, and high hopes, and they feel part of things. So it’s lovely from that perspective, and reminds me how lucky I am to work in the genre.

Does knowing that push you when you take on a role?

How it’s going to be received? Inherently, when you take on a role, you’re doing it to the best of your ability and that’s not  for anyone but the audience. So you think about people but in a way that’s not necessarily conscious. Luckily I don’t really feel that pressure in a conscious way, but I certainly demand it of myself; I don’t think about how well the film is going to do or anything like that, you can’t control that, but I do think about making sure I’m as prepared as I can be, so my part is the best I can make it.

So which was your favourite Tales Of Halloween segment?

I really enjoyed all of them together; I thought they flowed really well together; but one of my favourites was ‘Sweettooth’. Oh! and ‘The Night Billy Raised Hell’, that was so fun – I really like that version of The Devil now. It was inventive and fun and a perfect little twist for a short. So I really liked that one, and I really loved the pumpkin one…

[‘Bad Seed’] where the pumpkin comes alive and starts eating the guy?

Yes! because I thought Kristina Klebe was so great; the dynamic between her and her partner; and it was just so silly, such great straight-faced work. Axelle [Carolyn]’s was the biggest scare for me; I was genuinely thinking “oh shit”; the jump never came when you expected it to and when it did it really paid off. Sorry, I’m giving you all of them! But lastly, Mike Mendez’s one [‘Friday the 31st’] I thought was a great twist on the slasher role, and made me genuinely laugh out loud – because of that little alien guy – it was very unexpected. I like the unexpected.

And there’s plenty of the unexpected with this film!

[Laughs] Yes! There certainly is.

Lastly, I understand you’re involved with the upcoming TV series Hap and Leonard…

Yes! I’m really excited about getting to see that. It was an amazing cast, with phenomenal writing and filmmakers who were involved in writing it; Jim Mickle and Nick Damici adapted with Joe R. Lansdale from his book series, just one of the books making the first six episodes. We all went down to New Orleans, and lived in the South for six weeks, and hopefully we’ve made something really great.

They’re honestly some of the best scripts I have ever read. I so happy to be a part of it, and I got to play Angel; an ’80s kind-of, vicious… well… me and Jimmi Simpson got to be the Bonnie and Clyde of the story, and there’s quite a collision which happens between our characters and everybody else. It all comes down to LOTS of killing.

Sound good! Any idea when it will get to air?

Well, I’m hoping it will be premiered at Sundance – but that doesn’t mean it’s going to. I have no idea to be honest. I do know it’s coming out sometime early next year, but that could mean as late as May. I just really hope we get  to go to Sundance to show it, because that’s a great way to bring everybody together, but the Sundance channel don’t always premiere things at the festival, so we’ll see.

They’re slowly starting to release images from the show. Next month they’re releasing images of me and Jimmi; our character Angel and Soldier. So I’m just getting tidbits like everybody else, but I’m really excited.

Tales Of Halloween is available to download now.

Matt Wheeldon@TheMattWheeldon.