I recently got the chance to talk with award-winning writer-director Peter Hurd whose debut film The Control Group will be arriving on DVD May 9, 2017 from Wild Eye Releasing.
Starring Brad Dourif of the Child’s Play franchise, Ross Destiche, Jenna Enemy, Justen Jones, Emily Soto, Shane Philip, Monique Candelaria, Jerry G. Angelo, Kodi Saint Angelo, Larry Laverty, Meisha Johnson, Taso N. Stavrakis, and Luce Rain, the film centers on five college students wake up in an abandoned, locked-down insane asylum – with no idea how they got there and no means of escape. They discover that they are the subjects of secret experiments, but these tests have awakened something that cannot be explained by science. The group must now fight to escape both the human and supernatural threats if they are to survive and break out of their prison.
Horror Fuel: “What is your story? Where are you from?”
Hurd: “I’m from Minnesota, grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis and St. Paul. I went to school in Morris which is in western Minnesota. I shot the film in Fergus Falls which is also in western Minnesota. I currently live in Minneapolis.”
Horror Fuel: “What inspired you to become a filmmaker?”
Hurd: “I always liked movies, particularly horror movies. Growing up it was the main thing I was interested in. That was what I understood the best and liked the most. I think that it was inevitable that that’s what I would be working in.”
Horror Fuel: “With making your directorial debut and with The Control Group’s DVD release coming up, how are you feeling?”
Hurd: “I’m very excited. I was nervous about releasing the film for a long time, but it has been out on digital for a few weeks now. It’s out there and I’m beyond excited for fans to be able to see it.”
Horror Fuel: “If you will, tell us a little about The Control Group.”
Hurd: “The story is, five college students wake-up in an insane asylum. They find out they are part of a government mind control experiment, and find out that the asylum is haunted by the ghost a former inmate and it is killing off the scientists and the college students. They have reluctantly team up to escape. It takes tropes and cliches from a lot of different subgenres and mashes them together in a way that horror fans haven’t seen before.”
Here’s a clip.
Horror Fuel: “Do you have a favorite moment from filming?”
Hurd: “It’s not about a particular moment, just the whole experience of working with the cast and crew. It was a very tough shoot. It really brought everyone together. It was a cool experience just to bond with all these people. We became like a family and it helped that we were away from home, being at the same hotel, driving back and forth together, so we had a lot of time spent together. That was probably my favorite part of the experience.”
Horror Fuel: “What made it such a tough shoot?”
Hurd: “Mostly just our location which was a huge insane asylum. It was 600,000 square feet. It was tough just to move around and to get everyone where they should be. You had to worry about people getting lost if they got off the track they were supposed to be on. The building kind of all looks the same. It was built like a maze. Parts of it is covered in black mold and some of the basements are flooded, so there was a lot of challenges on location.”
Horror Fuel: “What was it like working with Brad Dourif on set?”
Hurd: “It was great. I expected him to be a little condescending or a little aloof , just because he’s a big star on a small production, my first film. But really he couldn’t be nicer, couldn’t have been more committed to the film. He absolutely loved the script and he came to set and knew the whole script forwards and backwards which I don’t know if I did. He had a lot of ideas of how to improve dialogue and improving scenes. There were a lot of ideas he threw out the we ended up using. It was very cool of him.”
Horror Fuel: “Do you already have your next project in mind?”
Hurd: “Yeah, I have a couple of things I’m lining up, both a feature script and a TV pilot that I have written that I’m pitching to producers. I’m also staying busy with writing fiction. I am writing the first draft of a novel right now and I’ve written a few short stories. One of them will be published on TriggerWarningShortFiction.com next month.”
Horror Fuel: “Do you plan to continue in the horror genre?”
Hurd: “Yeah, everything that I have written and am writing is all horror.”
Horror Fuel: “Let me ask you this, if you were going to sit down and watch a horror film, what subgenre would it most likely be in?”
Hurd: “Good question. I’m a big fan of the older grindhouse type movies from the 70’s and 80’s. Especially the Italian horror movies like Argento. But I love all the subgenres, slasher movies, ghost movies, all of them.”
Horror Fuel: “What was your first horror movie?”
Hurd: The first film that I have a very distinct memory of watching that really affected me was probably Alien. I remember renting it from Blockbuster which was an experience in itself. I remember it really blew my mind. It was creepy, but I liked that is was creepy. It was something that I was instantly drawn to.”
Horror Fuel: “How old were you, do you remember?”
Hurd: “No idea, probably seven or eight, too young to be watching Alien. But when you watch horror that early it leaves an impression on you.”
Horror Fuel: What’s you favorite horror movie?”
Hurd: “I think Suspiria would probably be my number one. I love the style of it, the look of the film. It’s so unique and so much of the story and the emotion is expressed through the lightening. That’s really unique and I really like that about Suspiria.”
Horror Fuel: “How do you feel about it being remade?”
Hurd: “That will be interesting. I’m not a big fan of horror remakes in general, this one in particular. I don’t know much about the director, but the casting is pretty good. I’m not too excited about it, but I’ll probably give it a watch out of curiosity.”
Peter Hurd is one up-and-coming filmmaker and writer that you need to keep an eye on. I expect that we will be seeing a lot more of him in the near future.
Be sure to rent or buy your copy of The Control Group on VOD and Digital HD now or pick up the DVD in stores May 9, 2017. Visit the film’s official page on Facebook for more details. Follow director Peter Hurd on Twitter for more on his upcoming films and projects.