We caught up with Steven R. Monroe to talk about The Exorcism of Molly Hartley, how it came together and even got his thoughts on exorcisms.
Steven R. Monroe is a film director and writer who has been working in the industry for over twenty years. Mr. Monroe is best known to horror fans for directing the brutal 2010 remake of I Spit on Your Grave His cannon includes many other horror films such as House of 9, It Waits, Left in Darkness, I Spit on Your Grave 2, Grave Halloween and more. Now, he returns with the sequel to The Haunting of Molly Hartley , which is appropriately titled The Exorcism of Molly Harley.
Wicked Horror: As a fan of The Haunting of Molly Hartley, I was very excited about The Exorcism of Molly Hartley! I always wondered about her life after high school. What inspired you to direct The Exorcism of Molly Hartley?
Steven R. Monroe: Pretty simple, The Exorcist is one of my all time favorite films and directing an exorcism film was on my bucket list, as was directing a film for 20th Century Fox.
WH: The actors all did an amazing job, especially Sarah Lind. What kind of coaching did you offer to help her get into character?
Steven R. Monroe: I am a firm believer in that casting is 50% of the director’s job. Then you just guide and suggest and keep the actors feeling secure and confident that they are in good hands. Sarah had a really hard job but she is incredibly self sufficient and talented. My main direction to her acting-wise was during the exorcism scenes to dive deeper into her dark side and be more evil, disgusting and perverted. The rest of what I did with the other cast was just always making sure that no matter the situation, no matter the scene, to keep it real and be believable. It may be the supernatural but it still needs to be real.
WH: The make-up in this film is completely sickening and looks realistic, we love it! How did you go about creating the look for Molly when she turns into a demon from the flaming pits of hell?
Steven R. Monroe: Doug Morrow did the SFX make up and he was great. We did some tests but we both worshiped Dick Smith so I just wanted this to get people to react to the scenes like the audience when I saw The Exorcist. Everyone I feel is getting a bit tired of CG and people dangling in odd positions from wires… Doug’s tests were all great and we just narrowed down a few things and landed with what you saw. Its all Doug and what Sarah brought to it physically which was great stuff.
WH: Was the script originally written as a sequel? It seems like it could have also worked quite well as a standalone effort.
Steven R. Monroe: It was written for a sequel but with the universal agreement that this film could and should stand alone.
WH: What do you think makes a great exorcism movie?
Steven R. Monroe: I would say for the director to not direct for the genre but for the film itself. Its what Friedkin did with The Exorcist and look at that… It’s what Richard Donner did with The Omen and look at that… Don’t undermine the audience and just do your best to make a good film and don’t think that you know what the fans want. Just do your f**king best and walk away knowing that you did so because that’s all you may get out of the film.
WH: And finally, what can we expect from you next?
Steven R. Monroe: Several potential genre projects that I am very excited about but are not discussable at the moment, unfortunately.