All of us here at Horror Survival are big fans of indie horror. Especially if we have a personal relationship with the cast, crew, or anyone else involved. Which brings us to the highly anticipated second film of writer/director Tory Jones “Angel”. Jones’ exploded on to the scene in 2017 with The Wicked One and he hasn’t slowed down a bit. Except he graciously took a few minutes for an exclusive interview for us.
Horror Survival – The film’s central villain is very interesting. How much of the backstory can you share?
Tory Jones – The film really centers around this abandoned town and the secrets that lead to that. Those same secrets led to the creation of our title character, Angel. As a kid, she was raised by someone who was ostracized and isolated by the town and rightfully so. When her mother meets her fate at the hands of the town’s religious leaders it sparks a chain of events that lead to this character’s creation.
H.S. – What were some of the major challenges you faced during the shooting this particular film?
Tory Jones – Every film production gives rise to its own unique set of challenges and hurdles to overcome. Ironically with this film there wasn’t anything really significant or major we had to face. We were really fortunate to have had such a smooth and excellent shoot. Best experience I’ve ever had making a film.
H.S. – What inspired you to make this film?
Tory Jones – The idea is something I have had for some time. A female antagonist that is more a victim of circumstance and becomes this maniacal animalistic character. I wanted to do something about a group of people who go somewhere looking for answers to a bygone tragedy and are forced into a fight for survival. We were fortunate in the locations that we secured to make it a story about an abandoned town and everything sort of fell into place from there. I love telling stories, and I love scaring people. I always have. With this film, it was a chance to do something very atmospheric and suspense driven. People have labeled this a slasher movie and it’s really not that. There are elements of that, sure… but this is more of a terror film. Angel is more comparable to a feral animal in many ways.
H.S. – How did you pull off all of the SFX contained within the film?
Tory Jones – One of the chief complaints I had making my first film Wicked One was the lack of special effects and that was all budget related. When it came time to do Angel, one of my producers PJ Starks (Volumes of Blood) suggested Cassandra Baker. Once Cassandra came on board she really made the special effects something I’m super proud of in this film. She deserves the credit for that. She did everything from life casts, to guts, to blood gags. And all of it is super effective in the film.
H.S. – What advice would you give aspiring filmmakers?
Tory Jones – My advice to aspiring filmmakers and never let someone tell you no or that you can’t. I’ve been told that constantly by people who either doubted I could pull something off or that a goal was unattainable. It’s very easy for someone to sit back and play the role of a critic, and say something is not achievable… most times because they’re unwilling to put in the work to accomplish it their self. I have one rule for every film I do and that’s do “whatever it takes”. Secondly, I’d say never be afraid to fail, because without the risk of failure you can’t be successful. So take risks, never settle for any less than your vision, and do whatever it takes to get it done.
H.S. – How did you go about casting this film?
Tory Jones – Casting this film was fairly easy. We held auditions where over 80 people came to try out for a role. From there it was just placing those who fit the roles best. I think the most difficulty we had was in finding the role of Piper, one of the leads. Cameryn Zupon who got the role auditioned 3 times for me but eventually, it was obvious she was the best fit for the role. Dale Miller is a frequent flier in my films. We’ve developed a super close relationship and I’ve watched him improve and grow as an actor. The same goes for so many I work with in my films.
H.S. – What were some of the films that inspired Angel?
Tory Jones – While there’s nothing specific that really inspired Angel per say you could make comparisons to films like Chernobyl Diaries, Silent Hill, And even Alien to an extent as strange as it sounds lol.
H.S. – What’s next?
Tory Jones – Up next will be “I See You” which I’m very excited about. I’ve been crafting the story with Nathan Thomas Milliner. So I’m currently in development on that and will hopefully shoot this fall. It’s going to be a crazy fun film and I’m super pumped for it.
H.S. – Are there plans for an Angel 2?
Tory Jones – I guess a sequel is dependent on how well the first one is received. I think our story for this is a complete story that really comes full circle for the protagonists but could Angel return? Never say never right? I know everyone involved with the project absolutely love the character and what Actress Jessica Bloom accomplished with the role.
H.S. – What’s your favorite scary movie?
Tory Jones – Anyone who knows me knows my favorite horror film is Halloween. That is the be all end all for me.
After his daughter goes missing, A wealthy contractor hires a group of investigative journalists to probe into an abandoned town with hopes of uncovering clues to her disappearance. While digging into the town’s jaded history, the group uncover a sinister secret and come face to face with the town’s dark past in the form of a figure known as Angel.