Five FrightFest Facts From Michael Mongillo director of Diane

1. Tell us about your film?
Michael Mongillo: “Diane” is a supernatural mystery. I’ve been describing it in literary terms for a while now, as Stephen King meets Elmore Leonard. King’s “The Green Mile” meets “Dolores Claiborne” territory. Stylistically, and more from the necessities of making a low-budget picture, it’s a throwback to both American filmmaking from the early ’70s and the Danish movement, Dogme 95. So, a lot of fast shooting with available light in real locations. As far as cinematic comparisons, I couldn’t place it until about a month ago, an unintentional influence first discovered in a “dark cinema” college course: Val Lewton. I recently had reason to re-watch a few of his RKO “horror” movies from the ’40s (Lewton’s creepy, existential melodramas aren’t what today’s audiences would consider horror) and, apparently, his work had a greater influence on me than I’d realized. A lot more since, if my comparison has any validity, it was completely unconscious. Maybe the timing is just coincidental and I’m applying a comparison that isn’t really there but, end of the day, I have to admit, “Diane” is definitely more genre-as-backdrop than a straight-up horror movie.

2. How did you get into making horror movies?
Michael Mongillo: My friends and I started shooting horror and comedy videos in high school, just making stuff up as we shot it. Since it was all VHS-to-VHS editing or in-camera sequential storytelling, it was never all that complex or scary. It was intentionally goofy horror with the occasional clever shot, forced-perspective or something like that, and a well-timed scare or two to get a reaction from our classmates. I guess they were pretty entertaining because we got to enjoy a short-lived taste of celebrity after we screened a compilation of these videos for our final film studies project.

3. What film would you love to see screened at FrightFest and why?
Michael Mongillo: “Meanest Man in the World,” the next film I’d like to direct, of course. It’s a terror film about a serial killer, another genre-bender, but it will definitely satisfy any hardcore horror fan. Why? Because it will be one of the most brutally shocking movies ever made if I can find the [rest of the] financing to make the movie in my head.

4. If you could create your own award to give at the FrightFest, what would it be and why?
Michael Mongillo: The Practical Effects Award. Not just for special effects makeup but for all effects. So much can be done in-camera, it usually looks better than digital FX, and too few film and television-makers are doing it anymore.

5. If your life was made into a horror film, what would it be called and who would play the starring role?
Michael Mongillo: “Out of Oblivion and Into Obscurity” starring a well-trained Siamese cat.

The World Premiere of DIANE takes place at FrightFest 2017 THURSDAY 24TH AUGUST with an additional screening SATURDAY 26TH AUGUST. Get your tickets HERE and watch the trailer below:


Alex Humphrey

Alex studied film at the University of Kent and went on to work for Universal Pictures in their Post Room gaining an inside look at the movie industry from the very bottom. Constantly writing reviews in everything from local magazines to Hip Hop sites Alex honed his critical skills even spending a brief period as a restaurant critic. Read more

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