Black Moon is a new horror short written and directed by Ryan Graff with a screenplay by Daniel Shafer.
Black Moon tells the story of rare occasions when there are two new moons in the same month, the second is known as a black moon. These irregular events cause supernatural occurrences that are hidden in plain sight. In this case, a pedestrian tunnel lures a young mother inside with the whimpering of a young girl. Once inside, she is unable to leave again, and to make matters worse, there is something else in the tunnel with her.
Trailer + Q&A with Black Moon’s Director Ryan Graff below.
Rabbit: First off, amazing work on Black Moon! The cinematography, characters, score, and storyline all work in unison to form an original short film that will leave viewers engaged from start to finish. How’d you come up with the concept?
Ryan Graff: Thank you! It was really such a great collaboration with each department that made it what it is. The idea first came from the location itself, which is not far from where I live. When I first moved in 2011, I would pass it at night and keep thinking about it. The other elements, which I won’t spoil, came from nightmares, video games, and just a bit of problem-solving to make things come together in a believable way. The overarching mythos of Black Moon actually came last when the DP and I were meeting to chat about a different project and it happened to be a black moon which he pointed out and I had never heard of. I started looking into it and it just seemed like the perfect solution to creating a bigger world for this horror short story to inhabit.
Rabbit: Are you a big fan of the supernatural horror subgenre? Any films that you were inspired by when making Black Moon?
RG: I’m not one who is married to any genre, either as a creator or as a member of the audience. Though I’m sure there will be more from me in this area. I drew inspiration from Alien to help get across an atmosphere and realism. I pulled musical inspiration heavily from Pan’s Labyrinth. Although I couldn’t point to an element or specific episode, I also drew in many ways from the original Twilight Zone.
Rabbit: The setting of the film, particularly the pedestrian tunnel had a claustrophobic feel to it, making me as a viewer feel as trapped as the characters in the film. You mentioned the location but where exactly was it shot and why were you drawn to it?
RG: As I mentioned the location was the original inspiration for the story, but in a way, you could almost say it chose me. I wasn’t out looking for it, it just called to me. The tunnel is under the 101 freeway in Tarzana, CA not far from my home. It is nestled into this corner and just looks both unassuming and eerie at the same time, like a funnel spider’s web waiting for a victim. One day I peeked inside and knew I had to shoot there.
Rabbit: You did a fantastic job creating an ominous tone throughout. What was the filming process like? Favourite scene to shoot? Biggest challenge?
RG: It’s all such a blur when you are in it. Plus, we were doing an incredible number of setups, granted we were using available light with just the one actor 90% of the time so we moved pretty fast but because the film never stops moving, and actually had additional moments that were cut out, we were doing something like 20-30 setups a night.
I really enjoyed filming the entering of the tunnel scene. There was so much going on with the character and little moments of hesitation and anxiety, that the rest of the film would be pretty meaningless without it. We shot more footage than what ended up in the film and there were little things like getting her from the entrance to the center without it being slow and uninteresting but also not she’s here and suddenly there.
The biggest challenge were the visual effects. Most, you don’t know are there, and others, which we intended to create as a spectacle, were ultimately cut from the film and it was the right decision. The main reason being prep. We didn’t have a big budget and I was doing basic tests myself for a long time before shooting. But to create that realism I was going for you can’t really settle for just anything otherwise the whole illusion will fall apart. I didn’t get to see what things would look like or how they would work until the last minute. So what worked stayed, what didn’t got cut.
Rabbit: What’s next for you? Any other films in the works?
RG: Oh, there will definitely be more coming! I did a few weekend type projects since and realized I needed to slow down and give my next projects the same level of care and scrutiny I gave Black Moon. So working on scripts and concepts and hopefully more to follow up in the world of Black Moon.
Sponsored Feature: Black Moon Film