Interview with Brad Ellis the director of Daylight Fades

Daylight FadesDaylight Fades is a dramatic tale of romance and relationships with a bite. Elizabeth and Johnny are a couple torn apart when Johnny has a horrible accident but just as everything seems doomed to end a mysterious stranger steps in giving him the gift of life but a curse which could tear them apart as that stranger is a vampire and now so is Johnny.

We talked to Daylight Fades director Brad Ellis about his genre blending story of love and blood, making movies look good on a tight budget, being compared to Twilight and his favorite vampire films.

LoveHorror – How did you get into directing?

Brad Ellis – I grew up in the DVD world, when DVD was just starting to come out and I just really enjoyed all the behind the scenes featurettes and commentaries and things like that and it really kind of opened up the world of film making to me. I’ve always loved movies but that was like my film education and it grew from there.

LH – Have you always loved horror as a genre?

Daylight Fades

BE – My favorite film of all time is John Carpenters Halloween and back when I was in high school one of our first attempts at film making was a recreation of that as an experience because I knew that film, just to get some practice with my buddies so it was kind of our first stab at the whole genre.

LH – Would you have liked to have made the Halloween reboot?

BE – (Laughs) You know Rob Zombie is a very unique artist I don’t think he’s a good fit for that series, he kind of dropped the ball on that one.

LH – How did you get involved with Daylight Fades?

BE – Basically the team I work with now we where all friends in high school in film class and just from there even after we graduated high school; and went to different colleges all across America every couple of years we would get back together and make films together. So basically this was a project that people, started to invest in financially because they had seen our work growing up so it was kind of the first time we every actually had a whole small amount of money behind a project and that’s kind of how it just came about.

LH – The story transcends genre as its part romance, part drama and part horror was that always there in the script and was it always something you where interested in investigating?

BE – Absolutely, personally we look at it as a dramatic film with thriller and horror elements. The characters where number one most important to us if you strip out all the vampire stuff we still wanted to have a nice solid back story for all the characters and the relationships and so forth so the horror stuff was more a kind of icing on the cake for us.

LH – I read a quote from you saying you wanted “to tell a small-scale, intimate story but wanted it to seem larger than life or be presented that way visually”, can you expand on this and how did you go about achieving your vision?

BE – It’s a very stripped down drama at its core but we have never worked with for us at least a significant budget so I wanted to bring that to life visually, this is the first film we’ve ever shot in the widescreen format, I wanted to fit a lot of characters in the frame and stage the blocking in a way where we didn’t have to rely on too much editing. I really used the city of Memphis to bring the story to life visually, these where all my goals going in I guess directing.

Daylight Fades
Daylight Fades

LH – The film looks great for a low budget feature how did you go about making the most of your budget?

BE – Well we did not have a production designer we didn’t have the budget so I really had to rely on locations, I’d say 95% of the film was shot on location around the city center. We took locations that where really visually interesting and had a lot of history and character to them, I think in a sense that really brought the film visually to life. On top of that worked with a fabulous Director of Photography, he just really knows his stuff

LH – There are a lot of vampire films and TV shows around these days but I read that your script is actually a lot older than all those is that right?

BE – Yeah it was, when Allen Gardner the screenwriter first came to me with the script it was kind of around 2005, 2006 and this was before the Stephenie Meyer books blew up, and all these TV shows came out and vampires really where not in vogue at that time. So a lot of people think we where ridding the success of Twilight which is actually far from the truth it just so happens that we where going into production right at the same time as this stuff all hit big. Honestly at first it was a really frustrating moment for us because we didn’t want to be perceived that way, you know trying to take success from the genre when in fact we where all set to go a long time before that.

Let the Right one in
Let the Right One In

LH – Stylistically and thematically Daylight Fades follows Martin and Let the Right One In in its portrayal of vampires trying to live in a very real world, what was your thinking behind the vampires in the film and how they lived and how did they differ from more traditional blood suckers?

BE – That was very important to us, like I said if you take out the vampire element entirely we really wanted to have a nice human drama, I appreciate the comparison I take that as a compliment. We didn’t want to draw attention to the fact that they where vampires so we threw, I don’t want to say it but threw mythology out the window. We tried to keep them as humanly realistic as possible outside of the character of Raven who by the way the audiences, well the horror audiences tend to like Raven a lot because she brings a campy horror element back into the film. But aside from her character we look at these characters more as they are stuck with an affliction, something they are cursed with not that they enjoy.

LH – Vampirism has often times been used to represent addiction and the repression of human kinds deepest primal urges towards sex and violence and in many ways that’s true in Daylight Fades. Do you agree and what themes where you exploring in your film?

BE – Absolutely I kept look at the characters almost as you would look at an alcoholic, you can live without the substance but ultimately you can’t really help yourself.

LH – What’s your favorite vampire movie other than your own obviously?

BE – I would have to go with Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark. If I’m not mistaken I don’t think they use the term vampires in that film at all, I really liked that approach for sure. Also Let The Right One In is a great film and I really enjoyed the Fright Night remake which just came out with Colin Farrell.

Fright Night 2011 movie
Fright Night

LH – What’s next for you?

BE – Well Allen Gardner Has another script written this one is more horror based, well it’s a straight out horror and it deals with a group of kids who accidentally sell there souls to the devil so we’re now on pre-production on that we’re gonna start looking at getting a casting director and getting the finances together for that so a big project on the horizon and hopefully the success of Daylight Fades will help get us there a little faster.

LH – Good luck with that and thank you.

BE – Thank you good talking to you.

Daylight Fades is out March 5th check out our Review right Here and the official website as well as 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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