Australian filmmaker Sean Byrne and Director of ‘The Loved Ones’ is back in town with his new heavy metal horror hit ‘The Devil’s Candy.’ Set in a haunted house in Texas, the film is infused with some of the greatest hits of Metallica, Slayer and other metal icons. Premiering tonight at Dendy Newtown, Sean sat down to talk “The Devil’s Candy.”


Full audio above, highlights below


On the film

“It’s a supernatural horror film – it follows a pretty traditional haunted house path about a young family that move into a house with a dark past and after moving in that dark past comes back to haunt them. It sounds like a lot of other haunted house films but like ‘The Loved Ones’ which was my previous film I’ve tried to take something quite conventional in terms of genre and then try to spin it on its head and put loops on different places in the rollercoaster so it starts off in familiar territory but then you’re not really sure where it’s going.

I was really inspired by the supernatural horror films of the 70s and 80s when horror really had class and horror films were being nominated for Academy Awards. You had William Friedkin making ‘The Exorcist’ and Roman Polanski with ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ and Stanley Kubrick with ‘The Shining and what interested me with films of that era was that there was a kind of a religious element to them… as much as I love zombies and ghosts and vampires they’ve kind of been done to death… I wanted to create a kind of chess game between heaven and hell that takes place on earth. As much as I was inspired by the classicism of those earlier horror films I wanted to give it a really modern aesthetic and a really muscular, attacking heavy metal soundtrack and make it a blend of the old and the new.”


On the film’s use of Metal

“I’m still in a state of shock about the line-up that we’ve got, I’ve been talking about it like it’s a gig – we’ve got an incredible soundtrack. The budget range was reasonably similar to ‘The Loved Ones’ so the thought of getting Metallica was just a virtual impossibility but the film in a way is kind of a love letter to Kirk Hammett and we contacted Metallica asking whether there was any chance we could use a couple of their songs thinking there was just no way and their manager got back in contact with us and said Metallica want to see the film first and they saw the film and liked it and they gave us two of their songs and one of them is ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ which is their second most played song ever at concerts and once we had Metallica then all of a sudden all these other huge bands – you couldn’t ask for any more than the Beatles of metal, we’ve got Queens of the Stone Age, Pantera, Slayer, Cavalera Conspiracy and there’s even Australian legends Spiderbait in there. We’ve been labelling the film a doom opera, it’s played really really loud and hopefully you feel like you’re at a concert as much as you are a film.”


On the Australian premiere

 “I’m incredibly excited – I made ‘The Loved Ones’ in Australia and then went to Texas to make ‘The Devil’s Candy’ so people haven’t seen it in Australia. If you liked ‘The Loved Ones’ I think you’re going to like ‘The Devil’s Candy.’ The whole reason that I make films is to share it with an audience and one thing I can guarantee is that you won’t be bored.”


The Devil’s Candy is screening as part of the Sydney Film Festival on Wednesday 15 June and Saturday 18 June – for tickets head to the Festival website

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