I am a big fan of William Friedkin's The Exorcist and I wanted to make a movie about exorcism...
I was thinking short movie story about a priest in the middle of the exorcism that has successfully gotten the demon out of the victim and the demon has entered the mind of the priest.
The movie would happen in a dark space and the priest and demon would have a dialog about the faith of the priest and whether would he survive this ordeal. Demon thinks he would win but the priest has already won because he only wanted to save the victim from this possession.
He was never trying to save himself. Only to destroy the demon and have some kind of redemption from the faith he has lost from doing this last good deed.
One day we were fooling around with ideas and then Teemu said that he wanted to do a film with the aesthetics of the old-school silent film Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages. That kind of film where the film stock is lighted with a candle when going through the projector. No dialog, only music, and dialog boxes.
Then we started to think that we would insert the exorcism and the old timeline of Häxan into a story of this priest warrior that is called to help possessed victims but this time he would face Satan himself. This story was used in the Occams Lasers music video Taking over.
We started the process by first finding the location and then we wrote the story to the location. It is a good way to keep the budget low when you have the location and then bring your story in there, not the other way around. We were working with a very low budget and we had to use every trick in the book to make this film happen.
We wanted to make a crazy fantasy-like world. We didn't have enough money to build anything from scratch so we thought that we would do it with color lighting and old fashion tricks just like in Coppola`s Bram Stoker`s Dracula.
We needed a man for this crazy task to help us get this film done. Teemu remembered that he hadn't worked with his school friend Gaffer/Photographer Eetu Keränen for a while. So Teemu contacted Eetu and asked if he would like to join us and make a film with no salary, no sleep, and 24h working hours for two weekends. Eetu answered straight away:
´´Sheet maan! I am all ready there!´´
And so started the beautiful collaboration with Eetu, who has been the core of Azh Boyzz productions ever since. In the practical effects, we turned our heads to CamIce Productions master-craftsman Karo von Rutenhjelm who has been making these practical effects for years. He is also one of the core members of the A&B productions. Taking care and creating all this crazy shit we ask for in our videos. In the acting department, we wanted our friend Ville Lähde from Trash Video to play Satan, because... he is Satan.
Karo also played the role of the possessed person. He designed the possession effects to his face and it was easier for the production that we had a minimum crew.
I played the role of priest, Touho for the very same reason. Teemu wanted Touho to have a hairstyle called "kranssi". Shaved head on the top and hair left to the sides. I was crazy enough for this and we thought that we would not find anybody to do this. For free anyway... So I did it for the sake of art. What wouldn't you do for your own art?
Teemu contacted Rautaportti for a collaboration on the clothes of the priest and Satan. They answered: 'Yes, we are in!'. We couldn't be happier, because just these clothes would have eaten all our budget if we had to buy them. The shoot was done on two weekends. Content for the Teaser video and all the outside shots were done in one evening. All the interior shots were made on another weekend. I did the production design and build the inside space and used all kinds of props where ever we could find them.
Teemu and Eetu designed the lighting and we were ready to shoot. We wanted to do these practical effects without CGI with real lights and shadows. Satan's shadow hand on the wall and light cross on the possessed man's face was done with old fashion techniques.
We had quite a few problems with the prosthetics but nothing serious and the interior shoot took 16 hours to get done. I can still remember those crazy moments and the excitement of our crew when we did that film, good memories.
Taking over was the first whole film we had done together and I can still watch it with pride and my head high, Satan whispering satanic rites into my ear...
"Mother fuckers with attitude man.. Big ass mother fuckers.."
Blog text by Ville Aittokumpu / Azh Boyzz.