Interview With ‘House of Purgatory’ Director & Writer Tyler Christensen

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House of Purgatory is one of this Halloween Season’s scariest films! First-time writer/director Tyler Christensen brings to life a terrifying urban legend he used to hear as a child while living in Green Bay, Wisconsin. House of Purgatory story does a superb job of manipulating its characters by taking advantage of their private secrets, their fears, and exploit that to use against everyone. House of Purgatory is a fun watch, and with using Purgatory in the film’s title, it is realized early on that we are going to enter a realm of characters paying for sins, forced to relive traumas, and have to deal with dark, horrific consequences. Each character faces their personal purgatory; some are creepier and violent than others. The chemistry between the characters was quite apparent, and with this diverse cast in place, House of Purgatory will leave audiences wanting to share the film with friends and fans of the genre! I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. I honestly did not know what to expect even from the trailer and the pacing of the film was perfect, each scene feeling almost separate from one another, it had an anthology feel even though it was one story. House of Purgatory will not disappoint, and this has created some excitement as to what is next for Writer and Director Tyler Christensen.



The film revolves around four mid-western teenagers (Leighton, Coover, Galvin, and Brad Fry) who search for a fabled haunted house, on Halloween night. Once finding it, they slowly realize that the house is much more than a run-of-the-mill Halloween attraction – somehow the house knows each of their deepest secrets. One-by-one the house uses these secrets against the terrified teens. Soon they find themselves in a battle to save their lives… and their souls. No one escapes purgatory.

House of Purgatory stars Anne Leighton (NBC’s Grimm, ABC’s Nashville and CBS’ Criminal Minds), Laura Coover (ABC’s How To Get Away With Murder and Castle), Aaron Galvin, and Brian Krause (best known for his eight-season portrayal of “Leo Wyatt” on cult hit series Charmed). The film was an Official Selection at the “Fear Fete Horror Film Festival” and star Anne Leighton was nominated for Best Actress in a Feature Film. It also screened at LA’s Shriekfest, recently. House of Purgatory will debut in the U.S. on October 21st, 2016 on iTunes, Xbox, Amazon Instant, Google Play, Vudu, PlayStation, YouTube, and Vimeo On Demand. The film is also set to be released on Amazon Prime, 24-Hour Movie Channel on Roku, DVD and Cable VOD at a later date.House of Purgatory is produced by Watching Eye Productions and is distributed by genre distributor, Terror Films.







Interview With Writer & Director Tyler Christensen


iHorror: Is House of Purgatory your first film and did you also write it?

Tyler Christensen: Correct.

iH: You have a lot of background in television. How did that help prepare you do write and direct a film?

TC: The biggest thing was I came to LA thinking let’s make a scary movie it is going to be easy. I learned very quickly the hard way “that you’re an idiot” {laughs}

In an ideal world we have this: actors, a perfect script to show, perfect locations, tons of money, but we have a reality show, we have a reality budget, and we have reality quote on quote actors, these real people and you kind of just have to manage your expectations and find people’s strengths and weaknesses. With Independent Films you really do need to manage your expectations, “let’s be realistic here, sure I would love to have a million dollars to make this movie.” You really need to write it knowing what you have at your disposal.

iH: I agree, I always hear everyone say to look at what you have around you and see what you can use for cheap.

TC: Exactly.

iH: Did you film in Wisconsin?

TC: Yeah, so I was working in development for this production company in LA, and it just started getting into the corporate feel for the first time. I was like “Oh this is what corporate Hollywood feels like, very ugly and very gross.” I had realized that I had come out here to be creative and to make movies and now I was part of this back stabbing culture; it was so not me. So quit the job, and I said to myself, “If your gonna do this, do it now!” So I quit, and I wrote House of Purgatory, took the script flew back to Wisconsin, my parents still lived there, and I told them “Hey I am going to live with you for a couple of months and try to make a movie.” I was very lucky it not being LA because people will work for free and everyone is excited that you are making a movie and they are not looking “what’s in it for me.” So I got a lot of favors from people, and a lot of friends helped out. Even locations. The high school was the high school that I went to back home. We had that setup free of charge; I knew a teacher that was still there. And the haunted house, that was another one. They just think that it is cool, “You’re making a horror movie? We dig that! Sure you can use our haunted house.” Trying to shoot that out here [Los Angeles] would be terribly cost prohibitive.

iH: Yeah, that would be horrible. I am glad that you brought up the school piece because I was wondering if that had been a set or an actual school.

TC: No, that was my alma madder. That was even a quick montage scene; we had went to one of their football games on a Friday night and shot the football team playing.

iH: That is awesome!

TC: Very lucky!

iH: Yeah you would have never known!

TC: That’s great! Well, there a couple of moments where there are obviously stipulations with using the school. We don’t want to put the school in a bad light, and we do not want to have anything at the school that is incredibly offensive to someone. So I had a conversation with the video production guy, he was like the first one that ever got me into video, back in the time it was tape to tape editing. He was the teacher there, my contact and I show him the script “here is a scene that is upsetting and it happens in a gymnasium. But it is also a manifestation of the kids worst case scenario, these characters aren’t actually doing this to him, this is happening in his mind,” if that makes any kind of sense?

iH: Yeah it does. Obviously, they were okay with it?

TC: Yeah, they were on board, and they trusted me. This is my high school; I do not want to put it in a bad light, at all. That scene where all of the kids that were standing around him in a half-circle screaming at him, those are all kids that were in video production classes that wanted to come out in the middle of the night, just to kind of see a movie being made. So we used them, “just stand right here and scream.”

iH: that is so awesome, I bet they were digging that!

TC: Yeah, and there were a few of them that thought it was so cool and wanted to help out in any way, shape, or form. The younger brother in the opening scene is a kid from the high school; they thought it was so cool.

iH: That is so awesome, what was casting like for the main characters of the film?

TC: The producer Travis Moody who was in Madison, Wisconsin and a couple casting directors out of Chicago. He had worked with Anne [Leighton] before he had worked with Brian [Krause] before so he kind of opened up the doors for us to get to some of these people. Even the casting process was very quick.

iH: The exterior of the haunted house was that designed for the film or did already exist?

TC: We had built a façade I think maybe a week before we were going to shoot. Two days before we were going to shoot that scene, of course, a wind storm came through and tore it apart. We drove out the morning before we were going to shoot there and I said, “we are so screwed.” How great it was being in Wisconsin was that one of my very good friends and producer on the film, Nick, my buddy Ben, his cousin and Nick’s dad and they just got together drove out there like at 5 in the morning the day we were going to shoot this thing. They completely rebuilt it. I thought to myself, Holy Smoke this thing looks better than it did before.

iH: That is awesome! Is this film going to receive a Blu-Ray release?

TC: Yes. Terror [Films] does their releases in stages; this is stage one. I owe a lot of people copies [laughs outloud]

iH: I think that digital is great, and all but I still prefer that tangible item.

TC: I don’t know if it is just me, but for these independent horror films I just like having the DVD. I still buy Blu-Rays all of the time, I have not went to the all digital stuff.

iH: I am the same way.

TC: Nothing is better than that bargain bin at Wal-Mart.

iH: Yeah, for sure! What is next in the pipeline for you? Are you going to continue with the horror genre?

TC: Yes, I couldn’t see myself doing anything other than horror. I love it so much. There are a couple of other projects that I have stewing that is not specifically horror, but they will certainly be a thriller that will kind of get under your skin kind of way. But I got a couple of scripts together right now that I am trying to put the pieces together. It takes a long time and a lot of people to get a film together.

iH: I see that you have published and illustrated a children’s book Bryan The Scarecrow Who’s Scared Of Everything, can you tell us about that?

TC: Yeah, what do you want to do? Kill teenagers or entertain little children? Because I can do both apparently. I can remember a time when my nephews were scared. I can remember my little nephew being scared; he was crying, and I thought he was scared of a Halloween decoration. I moved the decoration, and he cried more. He told me that it was not that I was scared it was that I was embarrassed that I was scared. That stuck with me. I think that kids sometimes get embarrassed when things frighten them, they think, “well if I am scared I’m not brave.” It is the exact opposite you need to be scared to be brave. I think that designates with not just kids but adults too. It is just a simple little parable. One day I drew this little character out of nowhere, and I thought, “I am going to put that little parable with that little dude, let’s make a little book.”

iH: When did you publish?

TC: I think like four months ago.

iH: We will keep our eyes peeled for that! Thank you so much! It was great speaking to you about your film House of Purgatory. Genre fans are sure to enjoy this movie, and it will be a movie added to everyone’s October watch list!

To purchase House of Purgatory on Amazon click here.

To purchase Bryan The Scarecrow Who’s Scared Of Everything click here.

Check Out These Clips Below:

The Trailer








Ryan T. Cusick is a writer for and very much enjoys conversation and writing about anything within the horror genre. Horror first sparked his interest after watching the original, The Amityville Horror when he was the tender age of three. Ryan lives in California with his wife and Eleven-year-old daughter, who is also expressing interest in the horror genre. Ryan recently received his Master’s Degree in Psychology and has aspirations to write a novel. Ryan can be followed on Twitter @Nytmare112




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