Film Jason Impey and Rob Ulitski discuss their creations for new horror anthology,...

Jason Impey and Rob Ulitski discuss their creations for new horror anthology, A Taste of Phobia – Derby Film Festival interview

The human mind is a tricky place, smashing our rationality with irrational thoughts. That is where phobias come into play, taking us on a journey of, often, irrational fear. New anthology horror A Taste of Phobia turns some of the more fringe phobias into very real and tangible bouts of visual horror.

14 directors take on a different phobia including misophobia (fear of bacteria), hemophobia (fear of blood), oneirophobia (fear of dreams) and gerascophobia (fear of aging) to create a series of terrifying shorts.

Ahead of the World Premiere at Derby Film Festival this Sunday, Bloop spoke to directors Jason Impey and Rob Ulitski about their creations. 

Where did the concept for Taste of Phobia come from?

Jason Impey: Tony Newton who was a producer for A Taste Of Phobia approached me to make a segment. I had done a few shorts at the time for other anthologies he had been producing and he thought I would be good to come on board for this one. He explained Domiziano Cristopharo (Director) had created this project and I was familiar with his previous work which I am a fan of, so it was a no brainer to get involved.

Rob Ulitski: Many people around the world suffer from phobias of some description, and this idea of universal fear made a great foundation for a horror anthology.

The Phobia’s selected are not obvious, common phobias – how were they selected?

JI: Tony sent me a link to literally every phobia imaginable and told me to select one and the ones that were already getting tackled. I hunted through the list to find something unusual, a bit unique that would also transfer and lend itself to make a dark and grim little horror film.

RU: Directors were given free reign to pick a phobia, the only rule was that there could be no duplicates. Many directors picked phobias that were personal to them.

How did you get involved with the project?

JI: As stated, I was approached to contribute by making a segment for the film. I have a bit of a reputation for controversial and strong content features & shorts I’ve made in the UK, and Domiziano and Tony were on the hunt for international directors who would not shy away from horrific content dealing with phobias. I seem to fit what they were looking for, they like my previous films and thought I could bring something different to the table.

RU: I got involved after working with producer Sam Mason Bell on the ‘Maniacal’ horror anthology, and was then introduced to Domiziano through social media.

Can you explain the phobia you worked with and how you approached bringing its horrors to the screen?

JI: I originally made Achluophobia – fear of the dark as my segment. I went down the route of focusing on the atmosphere and terror side of things. However, while it is a moody scary little short it’s not really graphic or controversial. Domiziano and Tony wanted the whole project to be darker and sicker in tone and decided I would be a good choice to raise the bar further and asked me to do another segment to replace my original entry and to make it disgusting. So I headed back to the list of phobias and pulled out Coprophobia as I thought that could make a truly nasty evil little film. I got in touch with Martin W. Payne as he is defiantly an actor not to shy away from strong contented films and loves dealing with taboo subject matters. I wrote a script set around Martin having to overcome this phobia and tried to delve as dark and gloomy as I could.

RU: I picked the fear of aging. With such a low budget, any kind of aging effects would have been unachievable, so it was important to write a script that could get the message across, without having to resort to special effects. I think everyone fears aging on a primal level, and the idea of recycling cloned bodies gave the idea an edge.

Does the fact that the horror here is drawn from real-life human trauma make it more scary as subject matter?

JI: I do think the fact that people out there have to deal with these issues on a daily occurrence is certainly true-life horror, and probably much more scary than any film could be as they are living a real life horror film.

RU: I think definitely. Although different people experience phobias and traumas in different ways, we as a species have been taught to be wary of bad situations and experiences. The fact that this film goes straight for the primal fear is bold and hopefully the audience will understand and react to that.

What inspiration did you draw on when creating your segment?

JI: I’m a big fan of Giallo films, especially the lighting which inspired the feel and look of my segment. I also love the in your face horror, I particularly have a soft spot for the late 70 and early 80s video nasties that did not hold back on throwing gore and violence everywhere, so naturally there are elements of inspiration from this golden era of film.

RU: I drew inspiration from high fashion editorial photography, old 90s films and the TV series Humans.

Did you speak to anyone who suffers from the phobia before starting production?

JI: I researched what people go through and how they suffer both internally and externally. The symptoms they show etc, so I was able to implement all of this into my screenplay.

RU: Not another person, but it’s a phobia that I have experienced, so I had some first-hand knowledge to draw from.

What do you want the audience to feel when viewing your work in Taste of Phobia?

JI: Grossed out, but darkly entertained as well. To leave a fun impact to getting them talking about the crazy world of phobias, and maybe bring to light just what kind of phobias are actually out there.

RU: I want people to think. The ending of my segment is quite dark and poignant, and I want people to consider the real-life effects of striving for perfection.

Is there anything else being shown at Derby Film Festival that you would recommend?

JI: Song of Solomon has a screening. I am a big fan of the original Guinea Pig films and love what Stephen Biro has done in relaunching this crazy franchise of films. Great old school film-making with practical effects!


A Taste of Phobia receives its World Premiere at Derby Film Festival on Sunday 6th May at  16:40pm

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James Thornhill
Editor of Bloop magazine


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