Nicholas Alexander Evokes the Strangeness of The Twilight Zone in His Body Horror Short ‘Mud Pie’

Nicholas Alexander’s Mud Pie is certainly a short film for those who enjoy the stranger side of 80s horror, and it’s certainly not for those who are squeamish. It tracks the character of Bill as he arrives home to encounter a delicious-looking mud pie on his table, as Bill begins to tuck into his pudding he quickly realises that this isn’t a normal cake. Alexander’s film capture the weird and wonderful essence of movies like Tetsuo: The Iron Man & John Carpenter’s The Thing with its nostalgia-soaked blend of sci-fi body horror. Twelve Cabins spoke with Alexander about the inspiration behind his short, and the challenges of working with live worms.

This film is totally disgusting in the best way! How did you come up with the idea for it?

The idea for Mud Pie came from anthology stories like Twilight Zone and SCP type monsters. The original idea of Mud Pie was about a guy addicted to cigarettes and trying to quit, but everywhere he went, everything he ate, and everything he drank he always saw cigarettes; however, I changed it to make it more like a 70s/80s psychological body horror movie, especially, with adding the idea of the worms becoming what they kill similar to how the Thing in The Thing and the T-1000 from Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

I never thought I’d be asking anyone this but could you walk us through the process of handling all the worms? How did you obtain them and what challenges did they create for you when shooting?

My Producers and I obtained the worms by doing research on different types to find the look and feel for the film. The worms came a few after days after I ordered them on Amazon, I then got compost and cared for the worms throughout shooting through research. The challenges faced when shooting the worms, especially the many worms like at the end, was that they would move in different directions and not wiggle in place like I was hoping; so, we would adjust and adapt ourselves to how the worms would move and react to get the shots we needed with them.

How did Landon find working with them? 

I’m pretty sure he wasn’t a big fan of them when he took them out of his mouth or when they were on his face and body, but Landon was a champ working with the worms, especially more than me, because he likes to fish and is comfortable with worms. Also, he understood how we would shoot he worm sequences, as well as, quickly adapted to change when the worms wouldn’t stay situated during certain shots. 

What inspired your decision to shoot the film 4:3?

The decision to shoot in 4:3 was inspired by older horror films, especially from the 70s and 80s. Also, the 4:3 gave it a claustrophobic feel that made Landon’s character seem more trapped and unable to escape his fate.

You mentioned 70s and 80s body horror as influence, I was definitely getting some Tetsuo: The Iron Man vibes from Mud Pie. I think it was that mix of obscene body horror and the enclosed 4:3 frame, were there any particular body horror films that you visuallydrew influence from?

There were many influences for Mud Pie from Directors such as Carpenter, Cronenberg, and Kubrick; however, the horror movie that influenced Mud Pie the most was John Carpenter’s The Thing, as well as, The Twilight Zone original TV show.

What attracts you to making horror films like Mud Pie?

What attracts me to making horror films are the amount of stories one can tell, each with different themes and ideas, where each one can scare, disgust, and horrify you in different ways that keep you at the edge of your seat.

What’re you working on now?

Currently, I’m working on an Alien Sci-Fi Psychological Horror Short Film called Beyond The Skies. This will be my most exciting and challenging short film yet to make, and I can’t wait for people to see it!

Mud Pie was programmed by the Twelve Cabins team after being sent through our submissions route on FilmFreeway. If you’d like to see your film on our pages, submit here.

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