Written by: Thomas Nyholm.

13 DOLLS IN DARKNESS is an old-dark-house, silent horror film in the style of such genre classics of the era as THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI, NOSFERATU, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and THE CAT AND THE CANARY... but with a SHOCK and HORROR quota to rival that of the gut-wrenching gore sequences witnessed during the infamous Paris theatre productions of the Grand Guignol, popular with blood-thirsty audiences since the 1890's.

"Young, sweet Marjorie returns home to her dying mother's crumbling hillside mansion after 13 years and discovers murder and swift death lurking in the dark!"

That is the introduction to the old school horror loving Australian director and owner of the production company Medallion Films Zeda Müller’s first feature film 13 DOLLS IN DARKNESS. With this talented piece of independent film making we had to set up an interview with Zeda to know more.

Hi Zeda! Can you give us some brief background on yourself? 

- G'day from Australia! Well, I've always wanted to make movies, horror movies, since I was a small child. I was obsessed with Egypt and mummies, and was allowed to watch old Hammer horror films of the 50's and 60's, so it wasn't long before I was completely smitten with the genre. I made VHS and Super 8 shorts with my friends in high school. Strangely enough, I put the whole film making stuff aside in my early 20's and decided to focus my attention on being a wannabe, unsuccessful folk singer. Stage fright is not a good trait to have when you need to perform your art in front of live audiences.

What led you into making movies?

- When my father sadly passed away, I found it to hard to keep singing. In fact, I never picked up the guitar again for many years. I instead invested my pain into finally making that feature length horror film I had always dreamed of making. So with a handful of dedicated friends, a small consumer grade camcorder and a gallon of home made fake blood, making movies began.

We all know being an independent film maker involves tremendous amounts of hard work and dedication. What keeps you going? 

- The love of creating art. The challenge of it. When I'm on the set, I'm in a completely different world to my everyday life. I am completely and totally focused on making the film and nothing else. I physically tremble like on a drug. It's extremely intense but gets the job done. I also love the challenges of working on an extremely low budget. Our first film cost me $250 Australian
dollars, not a lot of money at all. But the dedication was there. The creativity of how to make something out of nothing.

Before this interview I got to see your film ”13 DOLLS IN DARKNESS” which was quite impressive! A really authentic looking tribute to the heyday of silent movies. I have seen quite a lot of silent movies throughout the years in various genres so I can tell that you knew what you were doing. What can you tell us about this film of yours and what was your motivation to go from idea to a finished full length feature? 

- Why, thank you so much for your feedback. Very much appreciated. The film is designed as a lost, silent horror movie that was only recently discovered. It's an old dark house gothic slasher film. The motivation was simply my passion for the genre and wanting to get the film completed.

Have you gotten any response to ”13 DOLLS IN DARKNESS” yet? 

- The film was handed out to a small handful of horror fans from all over the globe to review. So far, all responses have been extremely positive, which is always a joy to a hear.

How do you plan to distribute it? Are you trying to get into film festivals? 

- The plan was originally for the international horror film circuit and see how we went, however I would like to get an independent release up and running by May this year. I am also looking into online streaming options and a limited independent VHS release also, for the old school horror
collectors amongst us.

What can you tell us about Medallion Films? 

- Medallion Films Australia is my little production company. It is basically myself and my friend, Daniel Brooks, who appears in a small part in 13 DOLLS. Apart from producing 13 DOLLS IN DARKNESS, the company has since produced a second, full length feature, A BLACK CANDLE FOR ANGELA, which is set for release next year, with Daniel in the lead role.

Have you done any previous work prior ”13 DOLLS IN DARKNESS”? 

- As with every film maker working below the poverty line, you try many different things. I have countless folders of unfinished films or just stand alone scenes, but this is my first feature film to date.

How is the movie making climate in Australia? 

- Australia has always had a film making industry. A lot of them are partially financed by various government grants. We also see a lot of Hollywood productions shot here. But when you are completely independent, its very hard to get your stuff out there for the public to see.

What is the best and worst thing about being independent?

- The best thing for me is the freedom. You are free to make the film you want, the way you want. Lack of money is always a problem when you don't have any, but half the fun is coming up with other options and making them work best for your situation.

Could you name your biggest inspirations making movies? Be it directors, movies or anything.

- I am a huge Italian horror fan of the 1960's and 70's... Argento, Fulci, Bava... Just beautiful, visionary film makers. They are no doubt the inspirations behind my film work.

If you could decide your own future. How would it look like? 

- Ideally, I'd love to still be making my own little movies, even on the independent level. I'd also like to try a hand at writing some horror novels one day also, but that is further down the track.

You and I actually go way back as friends and I am very happy to see your work finally seeing the light of day. Do you want to add any final words to our readers? 

- I would like to say a big THANK YOU for supporting independent films and allowing us the opportunity to talk about our little film. I hope you all enjoy it and look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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