Horror director Nick Canning premiered his short film The Shade at iHorror’s 2019 iHorror Film Fest to a rave reception and reviews.
Side note: The 2020 iHorror Film Festival will be opening for submissions in February. Look for more information in the “Festival” tab at iHorror.com.
The young filmmaker began in New Jersey with interests that included comic books, pro wrestling, and monster movies. However, after making the move to Florida in 2012 he transitioned from fan to creator.
Growing a career in the film industry Canning showed skills both in front of as well as behind the camera, learning and collecting knowledge along the way.
Finally in 2018 Canning began his own production company, Unfold Entertainment.
iHorror’s Piper Minear: I first wanted to congratulate you on creating a successful short horror film without a single word of dialogue. In those four minutes of film time, I got the chills multiple times!
Director Nick Canning: Thank you so much for the kind words! I’m glad you enjoyed it.
iHorror: What has inspired you to make horror movies?
Canning: To be honest, I was scared of horror movies as a kid. But as I grew older and started pursuing my goals of film making, I began to learn about the “art behind the fear” and how much creativity and resourcefulness goes into properly scaring an audience.
iHorror: Which films did you draw upon as influences for The Shade?
Canning: Two short films, in particular, stood out for me. David F. Sandberg’s Lights Out and Andy Muschietti’s Mamá are both great examples of how to quickly drop the viewers into the nightmare.
It’s no surprise to me that they were turned into successful feature films. The initial concept for The Shade came, oddly, from Peter Pan and the part where the title character chases his shadow and tries to reattach it.
In addition, I’m a fan of the monsters you can’t run away from. In A Nightmare On Elm Street, people eventually need to sleep. In the Dr. Who episodes featuring The Weeping Angels, people eventually need to blink. Everyone has a shadow, so anyone could be preyed upon.
iHorror: Is there a larger story behind what we have seen in this mini horror film?Canning: In regards to developing a larger story, I’m constantly throwing ideas around. If I can find an interesting and fresh angle to build upon, I’d love to turn The Shade into a feature. In the meantime, I’m proud of what the short film has accomplished and how I can’t wait to reunite with my cast and crew for a future project.
iHorror: You have a great sense of building tension. Will you expand on this in your future work?
Canning: Absolutely. I enjoy taking the audience on a psychological roller coaster.
iHorror: What is your view on psychological scares vs gore used as a technique to scare audiences?
Canning: I’m a fan of both techniques and each can be effective in the right hands. Psychological terror allows you to toy with expectations and stretch the tension until it’s unbearable.
When it comes to gore, there is a fine line between disturbing violence and absurd
violence. For me at least, it’s the smaller gore (nails and teeth, for example) that makes
the viewers the most squeamish.
iHorror: What scares you?
Canning: I would say Isolation and Anxiety.
iHorror: What can we expect from you next? Do you think you’ll be finding a home in the horror industry?
Canning: My main priority at the moment is pitching around a few horror screenplays I have written. But expect another short film from Unfold Entertainment before the end of 2020.
The horror industry has been kind to me so far and I’ll happily keep telling stories within
a genre I love.
iHorror: Lastly, where can fans follow your upcoming news and work?
Canning: Those that are interested can subscribe to the Unfold Entertainment YouTube channel, like the company’s page on Facebook, as well as follow me on Instagram.
Read more about Nick Canning and “The Shade” on page 10 in the link below: