Eva (Ali Chappell) isn't happy being stuck in Hell in Chris Alexander's new spiritual sequel Necropolis: Legion.

Witch Tits and Existential Dread: An Interview with Necropolis: Legion Director Chris Alexander

by Steven Wandling

Creepylovely: Diving right in, I watched the old one (Necropolis) recently, which I had maybe seen once, many many moons ago. I remembered as a kid seeing the six-breasted Eva (LeeAnne Baker) and being very taken aback by that. With (Necropolis) Legion I thought you took the bare bones structure and added some other really interesting albeit very different influences into the mix. I was wondering why did you want to re-imagine Necropolis? Why is that something that you wanted to do?

Chris Alexander: First of all, I like movies and my favorite horror/fantasy films have a kind of elemental nature to them. I don’t really care about plot. Sometimes I think too much dialogue kills things. In fact, all my other movies were basically silent except for maybe a word here or there. I feel like the best horror movies kinda speak to you on an emotional, visceral, or sensual level. So, those are the movies I kinda respond to. Sometimes I think a lot of great horror movies are kinda ruined. I remember watching Hellraiser II as a kid before I saw the first one, so I was doubly confused. I came out of it thinking like oh my god, Christopher Young’s music and the visuals and…

CL: It’s so bloated! (laughs)

CA: I know! It’s got all this dialogue that just torpedoed it. I thought man, imagine how amazing this movie would be if it were in an unintelligible language or just completely silent.

Chris Alexander and co-star Lynn Lowry (Zia) on the set of Alexander's new Full Moon feature Necropolis: Legion.

CL: I totally agree and felt the same way, more recently, about It: Chapter 2. I felt there was so much bloated narrative. What’s great about the first Hellraiser is that it’s a tight story that doesn’t drown itself in lore. So, in that regard, I would totally agree with you. I have always been drawn to films that make me feel a certain way or that are aesthetically pleasing as opposed to being drowned in narrative. I hate the phrase style over substance, but I do like Argento, Fulci…

CA: To me, the style is the substance. (Martin) Scorsese said this about Bava too, that, to watch a Mario Bava movie, it bypasses your conscious intellect and goes right for a visceral reaction; right to your guts. Then it goes back to your brain after you’ve interpreted it physically. And those, to me, are the best types of horror. It: Chapter 2? Don’t get me started. My kids wanted to see it, so I re-watched part of it.

First of all, it’s needlessly…I mean, I understand it’s chained to its source, but there’s a reason why the first miniseries worked a little bit better. It crushed it all up and jettisoned some of the needless cruelty because it should just be a weird fun-house of a horror movie, but there’s just so much flab in that thing. There’s so much repetition and it did not need to be three hours long. It would’ve been a healthy 90 minute movie if you could have just smashed it down a little bit.

CL: Absolutely agree. I’ve actually got Necropolis: Legion on in the background right now, and I don’t like pitting films against one another necessarily. You’re talking about this being a more visceral film (than the original Necropolis), there’s a lot less dialogue in this. I think Legion lines up a lot more with my own personal tastes. I mean I like the original, but this is something a lot more interesting.

The poster for the original Necropolis (1987) featuring LeeAnne Baker as Eva.

CA: Yeah, I like the original too. I remember when I was a kid and it came out the takeaway was always that scene with the boobs. I thought that was great. The fantasy nature of that was so in line with the best of the vampire pictures and the best of very European type stuff. All that stuff like that moment in Possession (1981) where Isabella Adjani has sex with the creature. There’s just those moments you see where you go ooooh great, but then the rest of it was just so pedestrian I thought. The plotting…it really showed its hands for the nickels and dimes it had to make the movies I felt like. One thing I can’t stand is when movies try to overreach what they can effectively deliver. I felt with that movie it did and it was, ya know, I like it as camp.

I like the central idea. It’s very much like a Black Sunday (1960) type thing, very elemental. There’s a witch coming back for revenge and trying to start her shit again. I love that kind of idea of her just kind of moving around and doing stuff. The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) and Under the Skin (2013), ya know, movies like that where you’re just following a character just moving around and trying to get into the psychology of what they’re doing as they just kind of just explore. Forget three act structure and all that nonsense. No, give me some great characters and have them move around. I always say it’s an unnatural element moving around the natural world. I love all that kinda stuff. Like Herzog does that in Nosferatu (1979)…

CL: Which I can watch that any time it’s on.

CA: Me too. It’s an environment right? So with Necropolis: Legion why did I choose that? I could have targeted any old movie that Charlie (Band) had the rights to revisit. All my movies are very similar and I don’t mean that in a bad way. I like femininity in movies, I like women pushed to extreme psychological states, and I like re-framing that using all the tools of the horror movie. I like to throw them in that world with all the cliches of all the horror movies that I love, but also exploring something more visceral when it comes to female minds melting. So, I thought I could do that by simply grabbing what I liked from Necropolis. I’ve seen a few fans go why the hell did they remake this when they could’ve done anything? Well, that’s exactly why I did it. It’s one that hasn’t been talked about or explored. It’s a pretty marginalized movie and doesn’t have any stakes attached to it.

Chris Alexander Ali Chappell (Eva) and crew work on the opening of Necropolis: Legion.

CL: Exactly. You could have done whatever you wanted with it.

CA: Totally. I thought we could maybe even reinvent the version of Eva here. I originally wanted to call it Necropolis: Deathwitch and then Charlie (Band)’s like I don’t like that. It sounds like Death Wish. I’m thinking well, that’s kinda the point. But he didn’t want that and Brockton and I both liked that. It was really direct and really rock’n’roll, but we ended up going for the more standard Legion thing. It’s still fine. It’s familiar. It’s ominous. I think people know it, so it’s fine.

CL: When I hear Legion I immediately think of (William Peter) Blatty.

CA: That’s exactly right. As a kid, I remember Legion: The Exorcist III or whatever, just the very nature of the title I was like oohhh what does that mean? Before I even knew there was this idea of this army of demons or whatever I just remember the word legion meant a great number of something.

CL: It sounds evil and ominous.

CA: Yeah, so I thought that would work well for this and just focus on the idea of reinventing the Eva character. She’s still a vampire. I mean, all my movies, even the werewolf one, she’s still a vampire. She’s (Eva) a parasitic thing that feeds off other things. I thought it’d be the same thing, she’s a vampire except she feeds through her breasts.

A good reverend is no match for the true powers of the vampiric witch in Eva in Necropolis: Legion.

CL: From that you get the shock value from people who aren’t totally desensitized from seeing that and it really is a fantastically made effect. There’s also that opening scene (featuring Eva) that is so beautifully shot. We’ve already talked about Bava as an influence. I see a lot of influences in Necropolis: Legion and I think a lot of us will put influences in it that maybe aren’t there, that are more from us. I saw some Hellraiser (1987) when Eva’s beating heart is coming back to life with all the blood underneath the house. There was some imagery that seemed heavily inspired by The Beyond (1981).

There’s a lot of great moments in that regard but they don’t distract. They don’t feel like fan service style easter eggs or pandering to the crowd. It felt like the singular vision that it is. That’s personally more of the type of stuff I need. I guess, auteur driven work. You have always worn a lot of hats. We’ve got musician, director, writer, producer, editor, journalist. You own Delirium magazine. Your history goes back so far and thinking about all those different hats that you wear…that’s just the type of work I miss coming from the major studios.

Jon Waters (Pink Flamingos, Desperate Measures), for instance, can’t really make films anymore because no one will fund them he says. You said earlier that a lot of your work looks or feels the same, but even someone like David Lynch (Eraserhead, Blue Velvet) for example, aren’t they just exploring the same thing over and over in different ways?

The moody gothic setting is just as much a character as any actor in Chris Alexander's Necropolis: Legion.

CA: I think when I was writing for Rue Morgue, I remember the publisher (Rodrigo Gudino)…that’s where I started writing. I was doing all that immediately. He goes you can’t do it all and I said what do you mean? He goes ya gotta pick one thing. You can’t write, do music etc. Well why not? He says ya can’t. He’s just laughing…and they were laughing, like come on you can’t do it all. Listen, to me it’s all music, it’s all expression. If you love something so passionately, whatever medium you can get at your fingertips, you use. I don’t think you have to be some sort of disciplined master of one. You can dabble in all and hone your language using all mediums.

That’s what I’ve always tried to do, use whatever things are at my disposal. If I couldn’t afford to make a movie, that’s how I started writing. Right out of film school, we didn’t have video we had 16mm. I just thought I’d make music, but it got cumbersome doing it live. So, I thought I’ll use writing to articulate myself, and whatever I could use. Then, when you start making a living doing it you start leaning towards the one that’s paying the bills a little more. You still try to explore the other ones though. So, all my stuff is linked. They are linked, there are motifs. I don’t think there’s one Jess Franco movie I can say that is my favorite. They’re all pieces of a profile that’s all pieces of a puzzle. You can call it auteur, you can call it whatever you want. It’s kind of just like a singular point of view that’s spread out over a wider canvass.

Co-lead Augie Duke on set of the entirely live-streamed six day shoot of Necropolis: Legion.

CL: Right. And you get to watch that grow and evolve over time because you as a person and artist, whatever word you want to throw out there, is someone that’s constantly also changing. Whether it was Polanski (Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown), Argento (Suspiria, Inferno), or Kubrick (The Shining, Eyes Wide Shut) I just wanted to soak up whatever they were doing like a sponge. I don’t see that connection currently with a lot of the bigger studio pictures being made in 2019. Even a little over a decade ago, a film like Half Nelson (2006) completely floored me and that duo’s latest film was Captain Marvel (2019). I thought that’s amazing for them, but seeing the film I didn’t really get a sense of them any where in that movie. It just saddens me when filmmakers I like fall prey to this new factory style of film-making.

CA: Yeah, but let’s look at the good that comes out of that sometimes when that happens. Whether it be an actor, writer, director when they get involved with that factory, they get a good paycheck where they can kinda step back now and actually take the chances to explore something more personal and still exist, still live, and be bankable. People will then take chances on them. That happens all the time. I remember when (Brian) De Palma directed Mission: Impossible (1996) or one of those pickup gigs or something like that. Then he’ll double back and do something more personal down the road. That’s OK. Whatever you need to do.

CL: Del Toro does that. He’ll do Pacific Rim (2013) then follow it with Crimson Peak (2015) and something more personal. Totally fine.

CA: Exactly.

CL: And, ya know, living out here in West Virginia we are the very last to get anything that isn’t a big tent-pole or the most mainstream films at the multiplex. There’s a small micro-cinema here (Charleston, WV) that does what they can. I think they’re playing The Lighthouse (2019) this month. So, thank god for smart tvs! (laughs)

Augie Duke on screen in a great performance in Chris Alexander's new psychosexual surrealist horror film, Necropolis: Legion.

CA: It’s a good era really. With the film industry, I don’t know what the future of it is. This Necropolis/Deadly Ten Productions experiment was an experiment. With shooting this movie in six days and live-streaming to incorporate and exploit the new streaming landscape, but nobody’s ever making the kind of money that the independents would make in the old days. The Cormans, the Bands, when they would release an independent movie and it would end up theatrical, at the drive-ins, and then home video. These guys were making tons of dough. You’re making pennies now per view.

It’s a different deal, but by the same token, it’s for the fans. The demand for content is huge. The fans can experience so much content at any given time at their fingertips so it’s a much…I look at some of the things when I was a kid. You mentioned The Beyond. Good luck! You’d never find a copy of The Beyond. If you were lucky, you’d find a VHS of The 7 Doors of Death, which is a hacked down version of it…the Aquarius release. You could never find the uncut Beyond. You’d just have to read about it. Now suddenly The Beyond is in…you can pick up a copy of it for like 5 bucks.

Director Chris Alexander from the set of the Deadly Ten/Full Moon live-streamed feature Necropolis: Legion.

CL: Or, if you have a smart tv, you can just type it in and stream it without going anywhere.

CA: Right. It’s on Shudder or something.

CL: It does seem like we’re in a wild west situation in terms of where the film industry is right now. I do remember 15 years ago when I started reading magazines like Rue Morgue, there were so many movies I would just read about that I would have the hardest time tracking down to actually see. I remember movies like Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986) living in my head for years before I could ever see it, until Anchor Bay or someone would release a nice DVD and save the day for me.

CA: Totally. That was great. When Anchor Bay started getting…it was like Bill Lustig and all those guys were acquiring the rights to all that European stuff. They were letterbox and uncut. They were available at your local record store. It was fucking unbelievable.

CL: I know. Seeing Cemetery Man (1994) at my local mall was a day I’ll never forget. That’s one that has actually gone back under the radar sadly. It is out of print physically and isn’t streaming anywhere.

CA: Yeah, I know it really does need re-released. In Europe they just released the soundtrack. Over there, it never went away. Over here, it hasn’t had a domestic release in a million years.

CL: Considering Rupert Everett went on to become a somewhat big name in Hollywood, you’d think it would’ve been. Going back to forgetting narrative three-act structure, I think that Cemetery Man definitely falls under the category. I always felt it had a kind of (Terry) Gilliam-like whimsy to it.

CA: Totally did. There was a sense of mirth about it and it’s just such a great movie.

Al the women in this film, the director has hinted, could all be part of the same fever dream...or are they?

CL: I agree, and bringing it back around to Necropolis with you. We talked about a lack of dialogue. I thought that Augie Duke (Lisa)…just her performance, a lot of her going through the house is great as Eva gets further into her head. Of course, Ali Chappell (Eva) absolutely kills in this movie. Literally, but ya know…I thought the scenes where Augie’s character is in the house succumbing more to these inexplicable psycho-sexual dreams Eva’s causing that don’t make sense to her were all really well done. These dreams don’t necessarily make sense but they’re almost instinctual to Augie’s character.

There’s a specific scene that’s really beautiful where she mimics the knife movement that Eva made centuries ago at the black mass in the opening. It’s so powerful and there isn’t a word. You hear people yell at Scorsese or Tarantino just this year for not giving Anna Paquin or Margot Robbie much dialogue in their new films. Personally, I don’t like the argument that someone doesn’t have a lot of dialogue therefore they aren’t acting.

CA: No, it’s stupid. Only idiots make that argument. I don’t mean to sound elitist, but idiots make that argument. I have very little patience for it anymore. Everything’s so conventional in the way they approach art in North America. In Europe it’s different, in Asia…different. Over here, they’re so raised on such convention. Maybe it’s television, but everything has to be very spoon fed. I don’t know how it happened.

They need that expository dialogue, even if it sucks. They need it to register that this is real and to me the greatest performance of all time in Falconetti in Carl Dreyer’s production of Joan of Arc. There’s no dialogue. I think there was supposed to be sound in that movie, but they dropped it. Maybe they couldn’t afford it or something, but thank god because it’s so amazing.

A collection of some behind the scenes shots of cast and Alexander on Necropolis: Legion.

CL: It’s perfect the way it is. I couldn’t imagine if it even had sound at this point.

CA: No, and her face, her eyes, the torment she’s going through and the single tears. Even Nicole Kidman in Johnathan Glazer’s Birth (2004) where there’s just her face in the opera house and the tear rolls down her face…

CL: Yes! I was just talking about how powerful that scene is this morning.

CA: When you’re walking through the world and you’re alone, you’re not sitting there narrating like you’re in a Mickey Spillane novel or something. You’re thinking, you’re responding to stuff, and a great performer knows how to do that. I think an okay filmmaker knows how to kinda capture that or let the performer, trust that the performer is going to do that. So, for Necropolis it’s like okay, you have to say if it was me making another one of my small $5,000 movies with a couple of actors I would probably have stripped it down way more than that and just had it mostly her.

Ali Chappell (seated) and Augie Duke (standing in back) on the set of Necropolis: Legion.

Well, we have to do a Full Moon movie to some degree so I thought we’re gonna do two things with this. We’re gonna pitch it to 11 in some scenes and then we’ll just dial it back down to two in the rest. We’re not gonna have any smooth transitions either. It’s literally gonna be back and forth, make you kinda go whaa?!

CL: Yeah, you’re taking that trip down the rabbit hole almost with her.

CA: Totally. To open it with the overblown gothic stuff and then kinda dial it back down to a simplicity, almost like a Sergio Leone (The Good, The Bad, and The ugly) thing where she’s just walking around with the wind in her hair. That’s the kind of stuff I really love, but I also love the other stuff too. So, to me, the dialogue in this thing has to be totally ripe like Lynn Lowry (Zia) chewing her way through the scenery going crazy or it has to be near non-existent. I think I’m happy by the way I made it. Here’s the thing about doing a six day movie where everybody’s watching and you’re live-streaming the whole thing. You’ve got to move. You’ve got to fucking move! I shot it all here inside of Toronto, but I was using American actors. We had to bring them in. So, you get Lynn Lowry for two days, you get Joe Lopez for one day. You have Augie (Duke) for the duration, but you’re only at this location for that many hours and so you’ve just gotta fucking run. We were literally running!

We went a certain way where if we would’ve had two more days we could’ve done this, but you just don’t have the time or money to go a little further. Or, we should’ve stripped it down even further. The original version of this script was that script, but it had even more stuff in it. I hacked it at the last minute. I said there’s no fucking way we can reasonably do this in six days. We had to focus the seventh day, which was an effects day. We had to focus that to melt the heart and do all that other shit. You kinda had to strip it all down, but I’m happy with kinda where we ended up. I think that its strengths are strong and I think there’s a nice progression of some things I was doing.

I think the women are all great. I think the performers are great. I just think we did a great job creating a really delirious phantasmagorical kinda dream-state horror movie with very little resources. It still has enough goo in it to please the general fan to some degree and maybe a little bit of a pinkie up to kinda please the more art-house crowd.

Alexander got most of what he wanted on screen while still delivering what audiences expect from a Full Moon Feature.

CL: That’s exactly right. It’s got a little bit of high brow and a little bit of low. Well, maybe I shouldn’t use that terminology.

CA: Well, my favorite kinda people either love it or hate it. I’ve seen a few reactions and there’s some really strong reactions. You seem to like it a lot.

CL: Oh, yeah. I loved it.

CA: And that’s great. Some people are like man this thing is just crazy. I love it, it’s beautiful, and it’s alive. And I’m like, okay. Great. Then some guys are just like oh, it’s stupid. Well duh! I mean, of course it’s stupid. It’s a very funny movie. No one’s laughing in the movie, there’s no humor in the characters. It’s some sort of witch who bleeds black blood and sucks other nipples. Of course we know it’s funny and stupid and ludicrous. But it’s great!

CL: I mean, it’s not a Ken Burns documentary.

CA: Exactly. No, we’re not explaining it. Everything doesn’t have to be explained.

The uncensored poster for Necropolis: Legion.

CL: And, at least to me, it’s better when it’s not explained. We’ve talked a lot about the lack of exposition. When you watch these types of films that don’t push that unnecessary exposition or nice bows on the audience and eschew the three act structure, which allows the film to open up for interpretation and conversation where this may have meant this to me, and you and I can have a conversation and I walk away hearing your completely different interpretation and learning something about the film I couldn’t have brought to it.

CA: Exactly, exactly. I hate audiences that sit there with their arms crossed and wait for everything just to play out like they’re deserved, like they’re owed something. No, you gotta work with me. This is something that we’re doing together.

CL: Oh, audiences are so spoiled now though.

CA: Totally. I mean, there’s no thrill of exploring anymore, and that’s what you do. That’s why you revisit movies is you want to go back in that universe underneath a few more rocks that you didn’t look under the first time. I hate it when movies are conventional. Blumhouse, god bless em, in many ways they kinda saved horror…in a way. They popularized it again and it’s commercial again, so a lot of smaller companies will bankroll smaller films. And that’s great. You also give birth to that new thing, I think they’re calling it elevated horror now? That’s what they’re calling it?

CL: Yeah, yeah, that’s right. It’s elevated now. (laughs)

Getting the cemetery ready for its cue behind the scenes on Necropolis: Legion.

CA: Right, but it’s the stuff, like the Robert Eggers (The Witch, The Lighthouse) stuff and all that shit like that out there getting screen-time, which is great! But, the Blumhouse stuff drives me fucking crazy because it’s so cookie-cutter and so conventional. When you’re done with it, you know what? You’re done with it. You don’t need to go back.

CL: You know, I was a champion of their Halloween when it came out (last year), but even with that I still felt like a lot of the Blumhosuse stuff I’m just done with it. I’ll have fun with it, but even down to the trailers they put out that are just pretty much the film condensed down to two minutes, it sucks. As a fan of the original (Black Christmas), I’m not trying to shit on anyone’s movie, I just don’t personally have any desire to see it. That being said, I don’t think it’s aimed or perhaps (made) for a 34 year old white dude either.

CA: Exactly. I think you nailed it there too. The Blumhouse thing, you can’t criticize it, it’s aiming at a certain mass market Friday night date-night crowd that will end up being like all the 80s crap that I used to watch. It’ll be a great gateway. If you like this stuff, you’ll find it and go now I want more. You’ll keep taking bigger risks with every film you see right?

CL: Right, exactly. Considering your background, and how I first was introduced to your work, in journalism, how do you feel about the current state of it (film journalism) in general? I get a lot of flack at creepylovely and my last job for not writing enough negative reviews. I always hear that I like everything, and that’s really not true on any level. Also, I’m not trying to just review any film that comes out because it’s a certain genre or whatever. I’m writing about the work I want to write about. Is that insane?

A collection of stills from Necropolis: Legion, highlighting the rich use of color in the film.

CA: No, and it’s worth noting that film criticism used to be an art. I mean, it’s always been opinion based but the person who really loves cinema and really understands that it’s…before I get into that, back it up. All my other movies I wrote, directed, did all the scores, did the sound designs. I did literally every single thing. I shot it, whatever. It’s a great freedom. If you like it, you can high five me. If you hate it, you can kick me in the nuts. I’ll take both because it’s 100% on me. But then when you start moving down the pike and start making things that are a bit bigger it’s much more collaborative. You’re working with many more moving parts and many more people are adding their DNA into the project. It becomes something a little bit different. At the end of the day, there’s many reasons why a film succeeds, not just the director or the writer. There’s many reasons why a film fails, not just the director, the writer, or the actor or whatever else.

The most important thing to note, and I always say this to my kids, what’s the most important art form in history? It’s movies because it’s everything. It’s words, it’s drama, it’s acting, it’s directing, it’s photography, it’s sculpture. It’s everything that you can imagine. It’s design. It’s all smashed together in one little 90 minute experience. So, the worst movie critics out there, and the Internet has created a whole legion of these fuckers, is that they don’t get that. They don’t understand that. They see a 90 minute movie. It’s gonna pass through their eyes once. Something that’s taken a group of people maybe two years to produce. They’re not going to look at it.

To me, it’s like every movie, I don’t care how lowly it is, you can pick something out from it, dissect it, and find something in it that’s of value. Maybe certain things don’t work, but maybe a scene or a strain of music, the way that the light hits. If you really love this art form, you can find things in it that are of value. You can see stuff. Even if you write a negative review, I think it’s your responsibility just to completely not dog pile on to something. It just shows your hand at what a rube you are, because you’re not actually looking deeper through the whole process of creating this work.

CL: I think a lot of this troll mentality has always kind of been there, just with social media now they have a louder platform. These people aren’t going away.

Full Moon's Deadly Ten Production is behind Chris Alexander's feature.

CA: I mean, I think it’s not too late for them. I think when it starts, if you look at some of my early Rue Morgue writing, I was always playing with language and humor. Chas. Balun was my favorite writer from Gorezone. He was like the Lester Bangs of horror (journalism). I’d always bounce words around because I always think words are music. I think if you understand music, you’ll probably end up being a good writer if you can use words like notes. Anyways, there’s a whole philosophy there. But, you can use movies as fodder to make jokes ya know?

There was a movie called Darkness Falls (2003). I savaged it in the pages of Rue Morgue. They all thought it was hilarious, so funny hahaha and I was like woah, everyone’s laughing. Ya know, getting off on that. As I progressed and did that a few more times I realized that now I’m just a fucking asshole. Because now I was just playing to the choir to get my giggles. At one point they called me the Caustic Critic on Rue Morgue Radio.

I was on AM 640 (in Toronto) and they kinda called me that because I was ripping on movies and then I ended up on that. Somewhere down that journey I realized I’m not getting any pleasure out of this. I’m actually doing it mechanically and I’m not really speaking my true thoughts on things and so I abandoned that in a way. I mean I don’t do that. You can still use humor obviously when you’re dissecting a movie. I always try to go a little bit deeper. If something really pisses me off…very rare you’ll see me jump on something.

It: Chapter 2 I think I publicly ripped the strip off that because it was just so…it made me angry. I’m watching it with my kids and I”m thinking ugh, this is not getting better and when the creature vomits on the guy’s face and “Angel in the Morning” comes up for like a quick second it’s just what the fuck is this?! I guess what they’re doing with the head popping off like the Thing it’s supposed to be a callback to the original It for the generational thing, so it’s Teenage Werewolf, but that was different the way they played it out in that. Everything about it was so smug and it was boring and cruel.

CL: It seems like we are in the middle of a horror renaissance of sorts right? It is good to see so many genre films being accepted and actually taking over the box office. Do you think it’s a true movement that we’re in or a quick fad that’s going to fade out, or do you have any ideas as to why it’s suddenly become so popular?

Augie spends a lot of time wondering through the graveyard and house that was once Eva's centuries ago, slowly succumbing to her powers.

CA: I think horror is always popular. That’s the thing. I think just the accessibility to it is what makes the renaissance now. I think that people always used to say what’s the future of horror Chris? Don’t ask me that. what’s the state of horror? I don’t know what you’re talking about. We live here in North America so here’s what’s happening this week. So, what are you talking about? What’s at the multiplex? What’s on direct-to-video? Are you talking about the hundreds of thousands of movies that have come before us that are out there waiting to be found? Or which country/culture are we talking about?

I always say, as long as people keep dying and dying violently because that’s what these movies reflect is our anxiety about our mortality. They’ve been here since day one. They’ve been here since before movies right? Ya know, writing sketches on cave walls and whatever the case, these stories are perpetual, and this kind of entertainment is perpetual, and it’s been there since literally the silents. What’s the first horror movie? The House of the Devil? 1896? It’s always been there with us. The renaissance comes from the fact that I think that this is the best time I can see in film history where everything is at our fingertips and we can get it all.

It’s so easy to find it all, but there’s still a sense of quest. That’s what I like too. When I was a kid, I’m older than you but not too much older, I used to collect all that stuff. I still have all my VHS. I’d run around the flea markets or tape trading and doing everything I could find. You were digging around. You were going into video stores and making deals in mom and pop video stores to buy their big boxed Tombs of the Blind Dead (1972) or Nightmare City (1980) when it was called City of the Living Dead. You were also finding different cuts of things and comparing different versions of it and box arts. I remember buying Daughters of Darkness (1971), but then buying Children of the Night which is a weird re-titling of Daughters of Darkness and it’s shorter. It’s the only one where you can find a fake Delphine Seyrig, it’s not really her, singing the title theme song. I think it’s the old American print that they titled Children of the Night but it’s really hard to find.

So there was this real sense that you were like the Indiana Jones of the down and dirty trash. I think in a way it’s not as, you don’t get off your fat ass anymore to go looking for this stuff, but your still searching ya know? I mean, I got Tubi right? If I was a little boy, Tubi would have been the best channel in the world. Just my fantasy. Fantasy! All the shit that they have on there, but there’s so much crap that you’re just sifting through it all.

You’re searching, and I know this from working with Full Moon because I do extensive work with Full Moon and our channel Full Moon Features, you’re acquiring the rights to all these movies and you see that Amazon already has this movie out there and they used this art or that title. So what did we do? We end up doing what Charlie (Band)’s been doing since the 80s with Wizard Video and everything else. You end up re-titling stuff and putting it new art on it. Just spitting it back out into the marketplace with a new ad campaign. So, a lot of people don’t know they’re paying to stream for the same thing twice. They get suckered, but they’re happy to be suckered. It’s like wow, it’s kinda deepening the myths around all these movies.

This is something else I’ve run into a lot in the streaming market too. Tubi’s got the Pete Walker movie The Comeback, I love Pete Walker, and it’s under the same art but it’s called Encore. I was like what the fuck? I streamed it, it’s a shitty battered tv print of The Comeback, but it’s called Encore. I never knew that it was under that title. Whatever the case, they found a different version of it and put it back out there and…

CL: And resell it.

CA: And then spit it back into the marketplace. To me, that’s maybe a little bit insidious on one level, but it’s fun for the adventure of it ya know?

Artwork for the Necropoli: Legion poster.

CL: Nostalgia seems to be the hottest ticket these days, especially coming from Hollywood. I get it as a horror fan, especially in the pre-Internet days to have fond memories of your local video store or whatever, but if I get pitched one more love letter to someone’s mom and pop or their local drive in…I mean, have we lost the appetite for anything new? Are we just stuck on a loop regurgitating the same pop culture gags over and over for all eternity?

CA: There’s a certain mindset, and that’s what nostalgia is. when life was simpler…and then it stops. And then you go back and it was through rose-colored glasses and you think those were the good days because things were simple, but it’s not true. The same thing with music, right? Sure Spotify is ripping off people left, right, and center. The artists aren’t getting the money they were getting, but every day you can go on something like Spotify and, forget new music, you can find music from decades ago that you did not know existed. And you can find it. And new music too. There’s so much of it out there. It’s just how hard are you willing to look beyond what’s being spoon fed to you outside of mainstream culture.

CL: Exactly. We couldn’t be luckier right now. It’s the easiest time to be a fan or collector of anything like film or music without question. I don’t want to go back to a time when I had to wait 12 years or something to see a film. You mentioned Possession earlier? You know I just saw that film a few weeks ago? It blew my fucking mind. I couldn’t find it anywhere and I finally found a pricey DVD on EBay. It’s an amazing film. I watched it two or three times since I got it. I couldn’t find it anywhere and it was one of the last of the films I really wanted to own that I couldn’t get at the snap of my fingers.

CA: It’s amazing. There ya go, the quest is still there. Speaking of (Possession), that scene in Necropolis: Legion when Augie is finally going the distance and she’s thrashing herself around the cabin? Now, in the original cut of this movie, she did that and it was a five minute scene. I left it entirely with no little spastic freak-outs and cuts and pictures of the heart coming in and everything else. It was one scene with no music and we did it in one take with no cuts. At the end of the take my DP was crying. I had to go into another room of the cabin because I couldn’t face it. It was too much. And everyone was quiet and we had to sit for like a half an hour afterwards.

Necropolis: Legion is a phantasmogoric surreal journey into Hell.

It was fucking crazy and I get it. We all looked at each other and I think my DP said man I think this is too good for Full Moon. He’s not being derogatory because it’s not that it’s too good for it, it’s just that we’ll never get away with it. I got away with like 90% of what I wanted to get away with in this, but that particular scene Charlie was like what the…?! We can’t…What am I gonna do with this?! I’m like trust me but he just goes people will fuckin’ hate this! I felt like so what? You can let it go so it’s like a bit of terrorism in the middle of the movie that it’s gonna make people either go holy shit or they’re just gonna walk away gonna this fucking sucks. Who cares? It’s gonna hit them. It’s going to assault them. I’m hoping on the blu-ray to have a different cut of this that’s a little longer and have that particular scene left in or at least I’m gonna leave the scene in as a special feature because it was just like holy shit.

CL: I would love that. That sounds like it would’ve floored me. I’m of the audience that would have definitely floored.

CA: Yeah, me too. So what happened was literally I had mentioned to her I’m not going to give you directions, I’ll just shout out some movies and a few performances to reference in the middle of the shoot. Augie’s maybe an up-and-coming actor, but she’s born into Hollywood. Her grandfather was the producer of Bela Lugosi Meets A Brooklyn Gorilla and everything else. She’s been acting since she was a kid. She’s done dozens and dozens and dozens of movies. Lots of side roles, but now she’s got a Netflix show coming out. She’s really getting there. My point is that she didn’t look at any of that shit.

So we’re sitting on the set and I’m like I want to shoot the freak-out now. Are you ready for this? She’s like yeah. I asked if she watched Possession and she just kind of goes no. So I’m like have you ever seen it and again, no. So, I’m just like sit the fuck down. Here’s the scene. I just showed her the scene where Adjani has the miscarriage in the subway tunnel. She just sat there and she’s like holy fuck! I asked her You got that? She’s like I got that. I just shouted ok ready guys? and she just went for it.

Ali Chappell (Eva) searches the graveyard late at night in search of a human host.

CL: I was so impressed with all the women in this film. It was very cool to see a film that’s about pushing women’s psychology to a breaking point. It’s really great. There’s so many young talented people out there that can get involved with projects like this that we may get to know as an audience before they’re potentially the next big thing or whatever.

CA: Yeah well that’s the point of the independent film experience is that everyone’s kind of learning. I learned a lot from this too. I’ve made only a handful of little movies and I don’t think I’m anywhere near where I want to be. I’ve learned so much, though and you’re constantly learning and changing. That goes for everybody involved with this movie. I think everybody, even though this was a small film, to a lot of people involved in it it might as well have been Ben Hur. Whether it be Ali learning about working with the prosthesis and getting body cast and all this other shit. Having to do her performance that, she’s an indie actress in Canada and she’s never done a movie like this where she’s playing basically Lady Sylvia Marsh in Lair of the White Worm (1988). She’s just this imperious ghoul.

All my movies, all the females in them, I always try to in my mind think that it’s all like the fever dream of one person. So I try to make all the women kind of interlinked. And all the characters. That’s really, if you want to get into if Necropolis means anything, it doesn’t mean anything necessarily. It’s not a criticism about global warming or society. There’s no satire in there or anything like that. I’m not interested in doing that. What it is, it’s kind of an internal film where I think all the characters are dreaming each other. It’s like well who’s dreaming who? That’s the way I look at all my films, and that’s the way this one is for sure. That’s why it ends in a perpetual time loop. We’re gonna suggest that this little loop of evil is gonna keep on spinning but each time it starts over it’s gonna be just a little bit different.

CL: I love the idea of shared dreams is a statement, maybe subconscious, about the film-making and film going experience itself. We’re all in a shared dream in essence. I think that’s brilliant.

Lynn Lowry attempts to warn Augie Duke before it's too late for her.

CA: And the idea this movie ends where it begins because that’s the creative process. You finish and you start over. You finish and you start over. And you repeat. Remember as a kid in art class, you’d paint a picture and the teacher says ok…now throw it away. You’re done with it now do it again. Each time you do it you do it a little bit better. Behind the mechanisms of all the booga booga horror shit in this movie, there’s kind of a statement that there isn’t anything but repetition in the creative process and you keep trying to refine it over and over by doing it again.

CL: I also think that cyclical nature goes back to a lot of the themes that we talked about too. You can’t really change a lot of forces in the world like evil. There are just certain things that are kind of inherent forces that are just there that can’t really be there. That to me, is also very Lynchian as well. That reminds me of a lot of the things he was trying to say in the last iteration to Twin Peaks. This kind of shared experience that we’re all having is really what it’s all about.

CA: Well that’s like Mulholland Drive (2001) too. There’s obviously the idea of the doppelganger too. Or in Lost Highway (1997) where Bill Pullman becomes Balthazar Getty. There’s that great moment when he’s spazzing out when you’re not sure which face he has. It’s amazing. That’s the kind of stuff I’m pulled toward, even in this movie too. To me Augie, Lynn Lowry, and Ali, if you look at them all have a similar kind of look in that they’re not traditionally what you’d consider beautiful. They have this kind of unusual look to them and when light hits them in a certain way they’re stunningly beautiful. Light can hit them in a different way and they almost have this kind of alien quality to them. I found that they also all share a physical nature in a sense as well. It’s funny, we could go on and on about this for a movie like Necropolis: Legion, but at the end of the day, 90% of the people just walk away calling it the movie with the witch tits. That’s fine too. Come for the witch tits and stay for all that other shit.

CL: You should put that on the poster or something or a physical release as a tagline: Come for the witch tits, stay for the existential dread. (laughs) or something like that.

Ali Chappell (Eva) and her "witch tits" will be the thing inevitably most people probably talk about in reference to Necropolis: Legion...and that's OK.

Thanks so much for reading. Chris Alexander’s new feature film, Necropolis: Legion is streaming now on Full Moon Features and Amazon Prime. Check it out and share this article with your horror loving friends! Follow creepylovely on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. If you would like to write for us just shoot us a private message or DM on social media. Stay lovely! Stay creepy!

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