In The Shelter, directed by John Fallon, homeless vagrant Thomas Jacob (Michael Paré) seeks shelter for the night when he discovers an abandoned two-story home. With an open door and lights on, it seemed like the perfect place to stay for the night, and sneak out undetected. Once inside, his past comes to haunt him and he soon realizes that he is not alone. There’s a supernatural force in the house and it won’t let him leave. Destiny has brought Thomas to this place but will he survive the ordeal? During the screening of The Shelter in Beverly Hills earlier this week, I had the opportunity of chatting with actor Michael Pare and director John Fallon about the film, which is currently out on video on demand and screening in select theaters.
Michael Pare is a New York City native who initially started off as a chef at the Culinary Institute of America when an agent encouraged him to go into acting. He studied with famed acting instructor Uta Hagen in the 1980’s. His Paré’s first starring role was as Tony Villcana on the television series The Greatest American Hero. He continued to land roles, including “Eddie and the Cruisers” which further catapulted his acting career. Other films included “The Virgin Suicides”, “Streets of Fire”, “The Philadelphia Experiment”, “Village Of The Damned”, “Hope Floats”, The Greatest American Hero (1981)He landed roles in numerous roles, including “Eddie and the Cruisers” which catapulted his acting career. Other films include “The Virgin Suicides”. This award winning actor added another award by winning the Career achievement award at the Night of Horror International Film Festival for The Shelter.
John Fallon studied filmmaking at Montmorency College and put those skills to use when he directed a music video for the hit song “Gasoline”. He then jumped to films where he wrote, produced and directed a short film called “The Red Hours” which won the Indie Spirit Award at the Australian Film Festival A Night of Horror. He then directed his first feature film “The Shelter” which garnered a Career Achievement Award at the Night of Horror International Film Festival for lead actor Michael Pare. He is also an actor who has acted in numerous films, including Saw II and American Muscle to name a few. In addition, he runs one of the most successful horror movie web sites “Arrow In The Head” since 2000.
I had the opportunity to interview Michael Pare and director John Fallon right after the screening of the film. During the Q & A, I learned that the film was centered around Roman Catholic values as noted by the director who is Catholic. John also recalled having a plumber stop by his place when there were water issues. The plumber inspired him to pursue turning his screenplay for The Shelter into a movie. To this day, he doesn’t know who the plumber is as the apartment complex never sent somebody to his apartment. Michael also recalled being excited to work with John after acting alongside him in another film. See these exciting interviews below as I got to chat one-on-one with the talented actor and director.
Hi Michael! How are you doing?
Michael Pare: I’m doing good. It’s the first time I’m seeing the movie with sound.
It’s a great movie! Tell us a little about the film and your character.
Pare: It’s not your typical horror film. It’s a psychological horror. Most of our demons are self manufactured. Coming to terms and dealing with those are kind of the journey I go through in this movie.
You carry the film very well. Most of the film is actually you.
Pare: When you think about it, a lot of movies are like that. There’s a lead. There’s an antagonist and a lot of supporting characters. A lot of these supporting characters are manufactured in my imagination.
When you were offered the role, what was the thing that really drew you to the part?
Pare: I knew John, and I knew he had studied film for a long time. You can get really lucky with first time directors because they throw caution to the wind. When he gave me the script, it was a very artsy idea. It was an artsy endeavor. I figured I couldn’t lose because we knew each other pretty well. I knew he would let me roll. He would trust that I understood. When you’ve worked a lot, sometimes people what to do too much to you, and I knew John was just going to let me roll with it. He tweaked certain moments. He reminded me about my foot and basic stuff like that. I just had a feeling it was going to be a lot of fun to do.
And it almost seems to cross genres between faith based and horror. Would you see it leans more to one side than the other?
Pare: It is like a cross over. Most of the demons are of my own making.
If you did a shoutout to Eclipse Magazine about the film, what would it be?
Pare: Don’t be selfish, because it will burn you.
It will literally burn you… Watch the film! Thank you so much Michael!
Michael: (laughing) Thank you!
Hi John! How are you doing?
John Fallon: Doing pretty good! Yourself?
Doing pretty good! This was an amazing film.
Fallon: Thank you!
How did you come up with the concept for this film?
Fallon: I was coming from a hockey game and I saw a homeless man on the street digging for change, so I gave him some money. When I was walking away, I thought, “Who’s that man, why is he here, where is he going to after this.” When I got home, I wrote down all these questions. I spent time thinking about it, and it became the seed for The Shelter.
They say signs can lead people to do things. Do you think signs led you to creating The Shelter?
Fallon: Yes. And all the signs to stop me from making The Shelter.
Fallon: In post production, a bunch of files corrupted themselves. My editor finally realized that every shot that had a crucifix in it was corrupted. Another time my editor was editing the movie and 666 appeared on the screen where it was impossible to appear. There was a weird energy around the film. Or the plumber story…
There’s a lot of Catholic symbolism in there. Was it created through the statues, the lights, the sounds?
Fallon: Well, it was on the page. It was always meant to be based on the Christian based iconography. Once I got on set with the house we rented to shoot the film in, it was filled with religious statues. I’ve never seen a house filled with so many statues.
That wasn’t pre-planned?
Fallon: That was not pre-planned. So I had everything emptied out except for a bust of Jesus Christ which we see in the film with a couple push ins of it and a couple of statues in the background. That came from the location as opposed to the screenwriter.
Oh my gosh!
Fallon: Yeah, there was a lot of that going around.
You have a little movie behind the camera!
Would you say the genre is a fusion of faith based and horror?
Fallon: I say it is a drama. It is character driven. It has horror elements and obviously has faith based elements as well. It’s The Shelter. It is what it is.
If we want to catch your film, is it in theaters now? Online?
Fallon: Right now you can watch it on VOD. It is on Time Warner. It is on iTunes. It is on Amazon instant and a bunch of other ones. I don’t know. It’s also playing in limited theaters this week here in Los Angeles and some places in Canada.
The fans of Eclipse Magazine are going to love it too. If you did a shout out to them about the film, what would it be?
Fallon: Go in with an open mind. Don’t expect a straight horror movie. Expect a slow burn. And know it came from the heart.
There you go. It came from the heart and it definitely shows. Thanks a lot!
Fallon: Thank you.
It only took a trailer to make me automatically want to see this film. As I watched, it had the initial feel of a horror thriller movie with scary visual and audio effects. Between the sound effects (which are actually real Catholic prayers used in exorcisms) and the shadows and odd angles suggesting “something” was watching Thomas, I was kept at the edge of my seat. Part way through the film as we see images of religious statues and dream sequences, almost suggestive of a faith based film. But the film did not fit in just one category. Rather, it was a fusion of genres that looked at a man’s struggle with guilt, and how religion was only a small portion of the pie. It is primarily the inner demons that was his undoing. The shelter had actually given him opportunities to escape from his guilt. Was it a good ghost trying to encourage him to leave when the door would initially not close and change his life, or an evil spirit that enticed him to be another victim, just as other hapless victims before him. He had a chance. Instead, he chose to wallow in sadness with a beer.
Michael Pare did an excellent job as the lead of the film. With his ease in conjuring up emotions, he turned what could easily be an unsympathetic character into someone you root for until the very end. If this was John Fallon’s first film, you would never know because it was so well done. Overall, I really enjoyed the film (even if I had to sleep with my lights on!). If you want to be at the edge of your seat as well as think about the interplay of morality and religious values, then this is one film you’ll want to see!
It is currently out now on Video On Demand and in select theaters, including every day until Thursday, Nov. 10 at the Ahrya Fine Arts Cinema.
Ahrya Fine Arts Cinema
8556 Wilshire Blvd.
Can’t make it to the theatre and want to watch it from the comfort of your own home? Then here are links to catch the film:
YOUTUBE CANADA : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pudMlyQoLY
Twitter: @TheShelterfilm /#theshelterfilm
Michael Pare and John Fallon are on twitter!
Michael Pare: @mikekevinpare
John Fallon: @johnhfallon
Courtesy of Uncork’d Entertainment