In honor of its upcoming release, I conducted the following interview with the director of the film Twelve Pole (2018), Sam Hodge. Please read it below.
Me: Hello, and thank you for taking the time for doing this. What can you tell us about the film and its storyline?
Sam Hodge: Without spoiling anything, Five friends are looking for a new way to make money and decide renovating houses may be the ticket. They buy a house in a tiny rural town with the intention of flipping it to make money. However, unaware of the turbulent history of the house, they fall into a trap of possession and brutal death. Set in modern times and shot in the style of 70s and 80s horror, Twelve Pole is dead set on delivering classic, grisly, and brutal horror.
I understand that is incredibly vague but it prevents too much from being spoiled. Rest assured, the five friends decide one of them should look after the house until they can all get there to begin working. The friend elected to go is named Will (Joshua Adkins) and he brings his girlfriend, Claire (Hannah Boyles). They were originally supposed to go camping so you know that she is going to be entering this house with frustration in her heart. Right away, they encounter a presence that does intend to menace and harm them. By the time the rest of the friends arrive, we already have a very tense situation set up to create a great amount of murder and terror.
Me: Okay, we’ll talk about how you came to be involved in the project. Being one of the co-writers, were you always attached to direct the film or did you come on board during production?
SH: I have been involved with the film since its beginning. Travis Robinson (Executive Producer) and I were discussing some horror films we really enjoy one day. We were talking about how to accomplish certain practical kill effects. After a while, we kind of figured out that we had a really good setup to actually try to make something real. Travis is one of the owners of the house involved in the film and it is being turned into a haunted attraction. Having the house available added to the fact that we know some incredibly talented people with respect to make-up effects and carpentry. So, from there, Travis and I figured out the story and I wrote the screenplay. We finished all 90 pages in less than a month, minus additions and edits.
Me: Were you aware of the actual location of Twelvepole Creek in West Virginia beforehand? Was this a source of inspiration to get the film going?
SH: Twelvepole Creek runs through much of Wayne County and we work together in an area where you can’t go more than a mile without seeing the creek. Because of the creek’s prevalence in the area, the haunted attraction that is being built is actually called Twelvepole Manor. So, to shorten that and be immediately identifiable in the region, we went with Twelve Pole for the movie.
Me: Being a first-time director, did you find any unexpected challenges during the early stages of production for the film?
SH: The challenges that came along were expected. Perhaps the most difficult and frustrating challenges had to do with reshoots. Sometimes you get home to look at the footage and it just wasn’t executed well or wasn’t lit right. Because of this, we got the hang of things pretty quick and reshoots were kept to a minimum after the first few scheduled shoots. Otherwise, obvious challenges were finances and continuity. We didn’t set ourselves up for a budget problem because we wrote the script with budget in mind.
Me: Where did the desire to go for full-on practical effects come from? Was it important to go on that route in ‘Twelve Pole?’
SH: As a horror reviewer (The Horror Appraisal) and rabid fan of horror, I naturally gravitate toward horror films of the 70s and 80s. Even at times when you can obviously tell something is fake, I still prefer it because it’s there in real life and actors could touch it and feel it. Even though it has taken longer to go with completely practical effects, it has forced us to get our hands dirty, to get covered in homemade blood, to be miserable at times. This realism has helped minimally experienced actors be genuine.
Me: The film was filmed in a real haunted house. How did you come across that location?
SH: Three people in the film own the house because it is being turned into a haunted attraction. The issue of being “haunted” wasn’t necessarily obvious when they purchased the house. After spending hours and hours in the house, it has been quite prevalent at times.
Me: What was it like to be there during filming? How did the cast and crew handle being on set during these events?
SH: There were definitely times when that house made us feel different. A few occasions left us feeling ill and we had to quit filming until the next possible day. The activity has calmed a bit since more construction has opened the place up but before that, there was a lot of hesitation to be alone in certain rooms.
Me: Did that add an extra burden on top of being a first-time director on a film set?
SH: The house being haunted wasn’t necessarily an extra burden but there was fear in the back of my mind. At times, it was a bonus. Other times, it was difficult.
Me: Were you able to take any experiences away from this shoot to carry on in the future?
SH: This shoot was trial by fire. Working with limited schedules, extreme weather elements, no power for half the shoot – these are all things that forced us to learn how to be more efficient. We learned how to light a scene to show darkness through trial and error. We perfected our blood recipe, which is good because we made gallons and gallons of it. We learned that some equipment fails in extremely cold temperatures. Ultimately, this film forced us all to think outside of the box and to be creative. It’s easy to sit back and speculate how certain effects or stunts are accomplished when you’re watching a movie with your buddy. But doing it and putting it on film is another story. We added a ton of tools and tricks to our bag.
Me: Now that several trailers have been released, when can we expect the film to be released?
SH: The film is expected to be released online in the spring of 2018. We will be pursuing the film festival circuit as soon as we get through post-production in the fall.
Me: Do you have any other upcoming projects you’d like to share with us at this time?
SH: I am currently working in post-production for a film called The Small Woman in Grey. This movie was directed by Andrew Eltham-Byers and was shot in the U.K. I am providing extra sound production and an original music score for the film. On top of that, I’ve become such great friends with the cast and crew of Twelve Pole. After we catch a breath, I can’t wait to work with them again.
Me: Thank you again for taking the time to doing this.
SH: Thank you!
Here’s the IMDB link –
Much appreciation for your time 🙂