Andrew de Burgh

10 Questions With Andrew de Burgh

We recently reviewed The Seductress from Hell ahead of it going out on the festival circuit, and its writer/director Andrew de Burgh was kind enough to answer a few questions for us about the film and his career in filmmaking.

1. Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I’m originally from England but am currently a Los Angeles based filmmaker and have been grateful to have been making films professionally for nine years. I started out in the industry as an actor in 2012 then transitioned to writing, producing and directing when I made my first professional short film, the psychological thriller “Just One Drink” in 2015. I’m a huge cinephile and spend a lot of my free time watching movies and playing cinematic video games. I’m also passionate about film history and collect Blu-Ray films. Some of my favorite non-horror films include “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “The Full Monty”, “The Dark Knight” trilogy, “Drive” and the “Star Wars” prequel trilogy. My favorite horror films include the likes of “Halloween”, “Hellraiser”, “A Nightmare on Elm Street”, “Child’s Play” and “Maniac Cop”. 

2. How did you get interested in film, and filmmaking?

I’ve been interested in movies as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, I watched “Home Alone” dozens and dozens of times. Some of my early other favorites were “Toy Story”, “Small Soldiers” and “Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace”. Since then, I’ve continued to watch films throughout my life and have also gone through different phases of what I like. For example, I had a phase where I watched every Studio Ghibli film, a phase where I watched a lot of Korean horror / thriller films etc. In general, I love movies and am always looking for good new ones to watch. I also like to rewatch my favourites every now and then. In terms of how I got into filmmaking, I studied film at Pepperdine University and produced and directed a lot of short student films on campus. I wanted to be a part of the entertainment industry so when professionally entering the Hollywood film industry, I knew that if I had an agent, went to auditions etc. I could try and get acting roles, so that was my initial focus. When I was making “Just One Drink”, I decided to direct the film myself as I had a concrete vision for it so after enjoying that experience so much (and the film scoring a 100% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes as well as getting a distribution deal) I decided to quit acting and focus full-time on filmmaking.

3. You’ve directed several shorts and one previous feature, The Bestowal. Do you have a preference between the two formats?

I’m always very grateful to direct any film, whether it be a short or a feature, but I’d have to say I prefer doing features. Not only do they feel more epic, but when I’m able to direct a feature, I feel like I’m living the directing dream more in the sense that I’m following in the footsteps of my favourite films and filmmakers. I like features in the sense that I feel like a longer running time is a better vehicle for telling a more emotional story because you can spend longer developing the characters, show what happens to them etc. 

The Bestowal 1

4. And how does filming them differ? Is one just a longer shoot than the other, or are there other considerations?

I feel like they both have their unique challenges. Short films are usually much shorter shoots than features, but they’re harder in one sense, in that you have a shorter amount of time within the film’s running time to tell a story than you do in a feature. In terms of the day-to-day filming, I usually film a similar amount of setups and scenes per day whether I shoot a short film or feature film. Feature films are also made for much bigger budgets than short films, which makes them much harder to raise money for. They usually involve longer periods of pre-production and post-production and involve more people.

5. You’ve worked as an actor, including parts in a couple of films our readers may be familiar with, L.A. Slasher and M.F.A. Did you use any of your experiences trying to land roles in the script?

As producer and director of “The Seductress from Hell”, I could have put myself in the film as an actor, but I no longer have an interest in acting. I was grateful to have parts in “L.A. Slasher” and “M.F.A.” as at the time I filmed them, I was interested in acting. Those on-set experiences as an actor were helpful in seeing how people work on set, what to do, what not to do etc. 

6. Following up on that, where did the idea for The Seductress from Hell come from?

This may sound cynical, but I feel like there’s a lot of fake people in Los Angeles that are very nice to you on the surface but will speak ill of you behind your back. The idea for “The Seductress from Hell” came from fake people who basically have two sides to them. In the film, the main character Zara is a seemingly normal actress that has a very dark side to her (as people find out as the film continues to unravel). When writing the script, I took the idea of this fake woman and was also inspired by my favourite horror films to tell an engaging origin story of a new villain.

The Seductress From Hell 4

7. The film has a lot of social issues wrapped into its plot, domestic violence, economic pressures. Were you worried it might come off as preachy?

I did worry but when writing the script I didn’t intentionally write social messages but rather those social issues were how the film’s plot unfolded. Zara’s husband Robert (played by legendary Red Power Ranger Jason Faunt) is a monster, partly because of how broke he is. He takes out his frustration on his wife, which in turn turns her into the villain she becomes. 

I didn’t mean for the film to be preachy, but that being said, the two critics that gave it negative reviews did mention the social messages as being some of the reasons they didn’t like the film. 

8. The film has an odd feel too it, as though it may all, or at least partially, be in happening in Zara’s mind. Was that intentional, or just the way it turned out?

It’s interesting you picked up on that, as another critic mentioned something along the lines of the film possibly feeling like a dream that Zara is having. To answer your questions, though, I’d say yes to both. I try to make films that are open to interpretation so even though I didn’t make the film to be specifically happening in Zara’s mind, when I directed it and even oversaw post-production, I do feel like we made it such an unsettling film that it almost could be taking place in her mind. The way the film turned out (for one reason or another) does sometimes feel like this. A good example of this is the scene where Andy Lauer has a surreal portrayal of an LAPD officer. 

The Seductress From Hell 2

9. Speaking of Zara, Rocio Scotto gives a standout performance in the role. Was it written for her, or did you discover her during the audition process?

I’m glad you like her performance, but it wasn’t written for her and initially our goal was to cast a well known actress in the role as they would potentially be leading a series. For one reason or another, that didn’t work out, so we looked through reels and headshots of 2,000 up-and-coming actresses for the part of Zara. After auditions and callbacks, we actually signed another talented actress who left the project for creative reasons. Rocio Scotto, who we saw during callbacks and was close to booking the role the first time around, went through another set of callbacks before she was offered the part. 

10. I know you’ve said you have plans for a sequel to The Seductress from Hell, are there any other projects you have in the works?

Raj Jawa (of Garaj Pictures) and I would love to do a sequel to “The Seductress from Hell” but I also have two other screenplays I’m hoping to get funding for in the near future. One is a horror feature called “The Tormentor” about a psychopathic CEO that invites some of his employees over for a dinner party, during which a series of unexpected events takes place. Another is a psychological thriller called “Just One Drink” which is a feature length screenplay based on my short film “Just One Drink” (which starred Barbara Nedeljakova from “Hostel”). In something very different, I’m currently writing, producing and directing a Claymation short film called “The Magic of Santa Claus” which is about the legendary figure and takes place during one Christmas Eve. Last year, I wrote and directed ten episodes of a psychological thriller series called “The Twisted Doll” for Cpics, a South Asian focused streaming platform that recently got acquired by ZEE5 which is a huge streaming service, so hopefully that will be out soon as well. 

Thank you, Andrew, for taking the time to answer our questions, and good luck with the release of The Seductress from Hell. You can follow the film’s progress via its social media accounts:

X: https://twitter.com/seductressfhell

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theseductressfromhellmovie

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theseductressfromhellmovie/

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