Writer/director Scott Leberecht first got the idea for his new horror drama “Midnight Son” while living in San Francisco.
“I used to pass an abandoned house on the way home every day that had the windows boarded up from the inside,” Leberecht said during a recent interview with pingroof.com. “Whoever boarded the windows up actually took the time to paint paintings on the boards. I started to imagine someone trapped in the house who could not come out for some reason but desperately wanted to connect with the outside world. That is when the idea hit me that maybe this was a vampire.”
“Midnight Son,” which became available earlier this week on DVD at retail stores and rental outlets throughout the Valley, is the story of a young man (Zak Kilberg) confined to a life of isolation due to a very rare skin disorder. His world changes when he meets a local bartender (Maya Parish) and falls in love. Forced by the disease to drink human blood for sustenance, law enforcement narrow their focus on him as a suspect in a series of grisly murders.
“I wanted to make a melancholy vampire that has weaknesses and true vulnerabilities as opposed to the classic Hollywood version that is more powerful and sexy,” Leberecht explained. “I immediately did away with any of the more spectacular aspects of the vampire myth and focused more on the personal ones. I ended up narrowing his afflictions down to sun aversion and blood drinking. I figured that those two things would be enough to mess somebody up pretty bad both socially and personally.”
Moreover, Leberecht did not want “Midnight Son’s” viewers to question why the character would have such a problem with being a vampire. Therefore, he essentially stripped the character of the things that some would consider cool about being a vampire. Leberecht acknowledges that this may sound like an unusual path to take for a filmmaker who previously worked in the art and visual effects arenas.
“Coming from an art and visual effects background, the challenge was more spacial,” Leberecht explains. “It was more about solving the mystery of how to make something look real. When I left that world for a little while to go to film school, I learned about storytelling and creating entertainment. I was now in the world of temporal art, which is about building to a crescendo and carrying an audience along with the drama and conflict.”
Having said that, Leberecht said that his artistic background was helpful in that he can put his vision on paper in a very visual way. He explained that the ability to draw facilitates faster communication and makes it so that people have a clear understanding of the message or image that he is trying to relay. However, his greatest insight from his experience working on “Midnight Son” is that making movies takes much more than just talent.
“It really takes a personality that can convince people to go on a journey that is very risky – risky financially, risky for your body as an actor and risky time-wise for any crew member,” Leberecht said. “I realized through this you cannot just be a good storyteller. You also have to be a good cheerleader and a good salesman. When you want to make films on a bigger scale, you have to have these other skills in your toolbox.
“Before I made ‘Midnight Son,’ I always felt like the proof was in the pudding and that if you build it they will come. But I now know that it is so much more than that. There are too many people in Hollywood trying to make movies. That is to say that there is too much talent in Hollywood and not enough money to make those movies. The ones who are going to end up making movies are those who are not only talented but are also good leaders.”
“Midnight Son” (NR – 100 minutes) became available earlier this week on DVD at retail stores and rental outlets throughout the Valley.