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Philip Gelatt on The Bleeding House

The first-time director talks with Tribeca about his creepy, dark thriller, "set in the deep woods of Texas suburbia." Available on demand now, and in theaters Friday.

Bleeding House


Tribeca: Tell us a little about The Bleeding House.


Philip Gelatt: The Bleeding House is a dark thriller about a family suffering under the weight of some ambiguous past sin, their creepy daughter and the stranger who comes to visit them one night. Then things get bloody and uncomfortable…


Tribeca: What inspired you to tell this story as your writing/directing debut?


Philip Gelatt: I love genre movies and genre storytelling, and I knew my first effort had to be something very contained, and small. And when I put those things together in my head and started mulling them over, horror film ideas just started coming together. Lucky for me, I love horror films. The first thing I had in mind was the setting: an old house, in the middle of nowhere.   


Tribeca: Who or what (films) are some of your influences as a filmmaker?


Philip Gelatt: The big influence on the style of this film, though it might be hard to tell it, is a Japanese movie called Cure, by Kiyoshi Kurosawa. I think he makes a brilliant brand of horror movie, one that is worlds away from the standard version of the genre. Generally speaking though, I find anyone who makes films that actively seek to expand and explore their genre very inspiring.   


Bleeding House


Tribeca: Can you talk about how you assembled your cast? I understand some are established theatre actors?


Philip Gelatt: Yeah, many of them are very well established NY theater actors. Patrick Breen, who plays the central role in the film, is particularly well respected on the stage. We offered the role to him without him having to audition, as I knew his work and loved his look. He and I spent some time discussing the character and his take on it, and we went from there.


The rest of the roles were cast through auditions, and we were very fortunate to get the array of talent that we did.


Tribeca: What's the craziest thing (or "lightning strikes" moment) that happened during production? Any spooky stories?


Philip Gelatt: We didn’t have anything hugely crazy, more just eerie. I know that the guy we hired to watch our set during the days found a blackbird on the set, flapping around in the bedroom of the daughter. This is significant and eerie for reasons that are clear after you see the movie. I also found a live butterfly on the same set one day. It’s small stuff, but strange stuff.   


The Bleeding House


Tribeca: As a first-time filmmaker, what’s the biggest thing you learned while making The Bleeding House?


Philip Gelatt: The big big big thing I learned is that if you make a movie for this amount of money, you will not have enough time. You will be constantly running, constantly making decisions on the fly, and constantly holding your breath, hoping you’re getting it right.   


Tribeca: Any advice for aspiring filmmakers?


Philip Gelatt: My best advice is to watch and read as much as you can. It took me a long time to develop my own voice, and I couldn’t have done it without taking in as much as I possibly could.    


Tribeca: If you could have dinner with any filmmaker (alive or dead), who would it be?


Philip Gelatt: Pier Paolo Pasolini, because his biography is just as fascinating as his films. Poet, philosopher, radical Marxist, mythologist & filmmaker. I’ve been captivated by his work for a long, long time. And since he’s dead and would have to come back to eat with me, I’d get to ask him just who killed him and why. So I could mark that mystery off my list.   



Tribeca: What piece of art (book/film/music/tv show/what-have-you) are you currently recommending to your friends most often?


Philip Gelatt: M. John Harrison. I always recommend M. John Harrison these days. He’s a writer who does fantasy and science-fiction in a way that nobody else has ever done them. Specifically, his book Light. It has almost everything one would want in a piece of fiction, including but not limited to: faster than light space ships, serial killers, rifts in space time, alien technology, romance and loss.


Tribeca: What would your biopic be called?


Philip Gelatt: Nuts & Bolts: A Series of Random Events Masquerading as a Whole.


Tribeca: What makes The Bleeding House a Tribeca Film must-see?


Philip Gelatt: If you like your films sinister, atmospheric, layered in metaphor, and also quite, quite bloody… then this is definitely the film for you. Also, we tie a pretty girl to a table at one point; that is something always worth seeing.


The Bleeding House


The Bleeding House is available on demand now, and premieres in theaters in LA this Friday, May 13. (Appropriate, no?) Check your local listings with our Where to Watch ZIP Code finder.


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Check out the Official Website for The Bleeding House.



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