Last March, Synapse Films released Path of Blood, a wonderful samurai film set in 1614 Japan. It has everything you want in a samurai film — sword fights, blood sprays, a samurai on a mission, etc. What sets this film apart from other samurai films is that fact that it was made via cut-paper stop motion animation.
If you’re unfamiliar with what that is just think early South Park and you’ll know what I mean. Now picture early South Park as a bloody samurai movie. Pretty wild, right?
Path of Blood is the brainchild of writer/director/animator Eric Power and he’s bring his paper animated creations to the world of horror because as he tells me, “It’s my firm belief that there needs to be more animated horror in the world.”
Power’s latest creation is Attack of the Demons, which is set to make its world premiere this Sunday, June 16th, at Cinepocalypse in Chicago. The film takes place in 1994 in a small Colorado town, where three friends must use every skill their minds can fathom to stave off a legion of mutating demons that is overtaking their community. This apocalyptic event has been planned for centuries by a cult, which seeks nothing less than the destruction of all humankind.
Ahead of the film’s debut, Power took some time to chat with me.
“The medium has already proven itself capable of delivering mature stories, and in some cases, some of the most frightening images presented on screen (Kaoris demise in Akira straight up hurts!),” Power says. “I wanted to make a horror film in my chosen style of animation that attempts to feel like a legit monster film, the kind that made me fall in love with the genre in the first place. My hope is that like minded people will feel the vibe as well so I can justify diving even further down this path.”
With one animated feature already under his belt, Power was able to create what he believes to be a better film — a mighty feat given how good Path of Blood turned out.
“I could never had made this film without the vast amount of lessons learned from the previous effort,” says Power. “I feel like I stepped it up quite a bit and was able to push myself in ways that would have previously terrified me. It’s a better film as a result and I’m quite proud of what we were able to do.”
In his first feature Power did all the heavy lifting. He wrote the script while also taking care of all the animation and direction. For his followup, he brought in some reinforcements.
“The game changing element this go around was partnering up with Andreas Petersen who wrote the screenplay. His script made the process incredibly smooth for me and we seemed to share the same vision. Working outside the vacuum I was in on Path of Blood was refreshing. I could bounce ideas off someone and also get the much needed feedback as we went through the editing process.”
While Attack of the Demons takes place in the ’90s, Power was influenced by a number of great ’80s horror classics. Films like Re-Animator and Demoni helped to pave the way.
“Fans will certainly feel the presence of the past in our film. While we opted to play around in almost an alternate reality timeline, I was able to touch upon a ‘feel’ that some of my favorite films had for me,” Power says. “It was more important to simply get the atmosphere right than try and work in any direct reference. I couldn’t avoid some punk rock demons though!”
Knowing the setting and location was such an important factor in Path of Blood, I was curious why Colorado was the chosen location for AOTD. Given the format, Power could have chosen anywhere in the world. So why Colorado?
“Colorado felt like the right location geographically to tell the story the way we had imagined. Plus I lived there for a year and thought the isolation of a small mountain town sounded particularly unsettling. It’s dark in them there woods!
I also find the natural beauty of Colorado inspiring. People that have seen Path of Blood will know I’m a sucker for nature scenes.”
Attack of the Demons will have its world premiere this Sunday, June 16th, as part of Cinepocalypse 2019 at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago, IL.