Interview with Francois Larosa, director of Aghora

Interview with Francois Larosa

by Jessica Gomez on October 25th, 2018 | |

Francois Larosa

Writer and director François Larosa sat down for an interview with All Horror to talk about his upcoming scifi thriller Aghora: The Deadliest Blackmagic. Larosa gave some interesting insights into horror filmmaking – as well as some intriguing information about an upcoming Texas Chainsaw Massacre documentary, and some scoop on Lorraine Warren’s haunted museum.

AH: What were your inspirations while writing and directing Aghora: The Deadliest Blackmagic?

FL: The studio had a draft of the original script, and before investing in a project I read the script two to three times. When I received this one it was first called, “A Missed Call from the Graveyard.”

I thought it was an odd title, like an old Ed Wood movie title, but it needed a little bit more as for a name. After reading the script the third time, I thought the name “Aghora” would capture the story’s essence. I researched the true background of the religion of “Aghori,” which in itself is demonic. It is a true religion in India. And that’s all I will say about that. The LA Studio, Vega American Studios, decided to add “The Deadliest Blackmagic” to the title.

AH: You’ve worked in several different roles on movies and shorts. What made you decide to get into film?

FL: My background was theater at the University of Houston – Victoria College Campus, as well as Community Theater. It was actually just needed credits to graduate. But, I got some lead roles and some speaking parts and thought it was fun. My colleagues around me were talking about going to New York and LA to become professional actors, and they asked me what I was going to do. I remember saying, “Well it won’t be this!”

After traveling around, I finally ended up in Lubbock, Texas at Texas Tech University. I didn’t do any acting but when I moved back to Austin in 93, I had a friend in the Texas Film Commission, and he asked me if I wanted to do some acting for this project that was coming up.  The first time I passed, but the second time I decided to do it, and it was the remake of The Alamo. Hanging out with Dennis Quaid and Billy Bob Thornton, well – I got the bug.

AH: You have some acting experience, including a small role in Red White & Blue. How does that experience assist you as a director?

FL: I was acting from 2000 to 2008 in some feature roles, some extras, but the interesting thing about it is that I started studying what every member of the crew did, and that was my classroom. It definitely showed me that I could take my storytelling to the next level, because I was told before I could tell some stories (laughing).

I would have to say the best experience was being on the set with English Director Simon Rumley, who is well known for Horror in England. Red, White & Blue was a great script, and took horror and gore to the next level, but in a very stylish way. We chatted over filmmaking, and after the Red Carpet Screening over beers.

I just enjoyed more of the creation side of weaving a tapestry of a film and telling the story. The production side is more satisfying for me than anything else.

Learning on the sets as an actor helps shape me as a filmmaker. I helped intern for studio production films as well as short films for other filmmakers. This particular route helped me deal with actors better to get the results that I needed. And because of that I’ve been called “An Actor’s Director.”

AH: What’s the difference in mood on set while filming a horror movie as opposed to other genres?

Agora: The Deadliest Dark MagicFL: Great question. Researching, writing or rewriting a script puts me in a darker place if it’s Horror, than if I was doing a Documentary or a Drama.

In 2012-2013, I did my first Reality Cable TV Series that was picked up for two seasons for CBS/Telemundo called “El Otro Lado” or “The Other Side.” It was the first Ghost Hunters, Dead Files, Ghost Hunters International for any Spanish cable TV network of its kind. I traveled around Texas to places that were haunted, had paranormal activity, and so-called urban legends, and I did that for a year. After researching all these places I would develop a script, and give it to the host. It was a big hit.

I actually saw the producers last year and they asked me if I’d be interested in doing the third season. I said “No.” I investigated these places by myself, and some of the things that I experienced – well, one day I’ll share.

AH: What would you say is the “key” is to writing or directing a horror film?

FL: The key for directing or writing a Horror film is researching. Is it true or not true? Usually, some of my projects are based on real facts. Then from there I expand. I have friends that have actually investigated true events that go beyond what we can perceive as things being logical.

Not a lot of people know this but friends of mine are Lorraine Warren and Tony Spera. I’ve been to Lorraine’s house in Monroe, Connecticut and she shared some stories that aren’t even in the book or hasn’t been put out in theaters that absolutely will put shivers down one’s spine. The day I was there with her and Tony was the opening of the first Annabelle in theaters. The museum is in a compound behind her house which is considered the most demonic place on Earth. The day I went in I had to wait for the priest to escort me to go in.

The real key is researching the subject matter, and creating an atmosphere of suspense, with a hook at the end.

AH: You’ve got The Possession 2 coming up, which you also wrote and directed. What can you tell us about it?

FL: I developed the trailer based off of Sam Raimi‘s The Possession. Jason Haxton Ross, the writer of the book The Dibbuk Box and a friend of Sam Raimi’s, has already seen the trailer. I’m still developing the script. Jason has really enjoyed what I’ve done with the trailer and taking it to the next level based more on the book and Sam Raimi’s film. In my script, the box is more the character.

I actually am ready to sell and option out the Stephen King remake of The Graveyard Shift. I’ve had someone from the WB interested in it, but it’s actually a script for a movie. The trailer’s done.

I’ve also done the second part of the Johnny Depp film From Hell, which is a true story about Albert Cross leaving Whitechapel, England and coming to Galveston, Texas. I called this one “The Ripper.” The trailer should be finished by this December, but I’m currently working on that script as well.

Recently, in the beginning of this year, I started my own distribution company called Buffalo Productions. So far out of my five films in the distribution company, two have won awards. I have been excited about this venture.

Film Crew for Aghora

AH: What’s your favorite scary movie?

FL: I think when I was 14 years old I saw the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and that really just scared the shit out of me. But the interesting part is that I’m developing a small documentary of their last remaining four actors and writer Kim Hinkle, for next year – which will be the 45th anniversary. I was filming the documentary last week with Allen Danziger, who played Jerry in the film.

I find M. Night Shyamalan to be very original, and anybody that can shoot an entire film almost in an elevator (Devil) just freaking rocks. I kind of got into Hereditary because it’s something that hasn’t been seen in awhile. And of course The Shining; Stanley Kubrick‘s film still leaves me hypnotized every time I put that on. James Wan is somebody to watch and learn from when it comes to Horror, and suspense.

Along with his many upcoming film projects, Larosa plans to release the book AngelBeast in March 2019, based on illustrations from the 1800s to now about angels, demons and his writing on the spiritual world. Aghora: The Deadliest Blackmagic will be released in select theaters beginning October 26th.

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