Exclusive Interview: Director Chad Archibald Talks New Horror Film Bite And More

The visceral body horror shocker BITE will arrive on Blu-ray and DVD Tuesday, August 2nd from Scream Factory and IFC Midnight (review HERE) and in my honest opinion the movie is an instant classic. Fans of The Fly will truly get a kick out of this impressively grosstastic indie feature that packs a heavy punch. I’ve had the opportunity over the past few years to watch and review a number of movies from director Chad Archibald who took a time out from his busy schedule to let me ask him some questions.

chad archibald bite

Alien Bee – First of all, I’ve really enjoyed the movies you’ve directed so far that have ranged from slasher to science fiction. What made you decide to tackle body horror with Bite?

Chad Archibald – It came pretty organically. I wasn’t never trying to come up with a body horror concept but after thinking of the basic idea that a girl gets bit by a bug and starts turning into a bug, I got excited to explore a body horror genre. We’re currently doing a slate of 8 horror films in 2 years so it’s important for us to keep our concepts unique and different from each other. I really loved working on a body horror film. It’s just so much fun to work with all of these practical effects.

Alien Bee – The movie reminded me some of The Fly (1986) but Bite definitely takes everything to the next level as far as the gross stuff goes. What were your inspirations?

Chad Archibald – After I wrote the first treatment for the film, there was an obvious connection between BITE and The Fly as they both have characters taking on insect characteristics but they are very different films. I love the milky liquid that Brundlefly excretes from his mouth, so we made sure Casey had to deal with a little bit of that milky goodness. Although very different, the apartment and Casey’s bug look was inspired by the Alien films. The creatures we’re always dripping gooey and were always wet and organic.

Alien Bee – This is an indie film, was there anything (SFX) you wanted to do but budget restraints wouldn’t allow it or maybe something too gross to shoot?

Chad Archibald – It’s funny because we never originally set out to make such a disgusting film. We knew it would be gross but it wasn’t until we started playing with the eggs onscreen that we started to really ramp up the gross out factor. After that it was just so much fun. We had a very small budget on this film so it was designed around what we could pull off realistically. I’m sure if I had more funds and resources, I would have became egg obsessed and brought dump trucks in. The guys would have had to stop me haha.

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Alien Bee – Did anybody ever get grossed out or sick on set?

Chad Archibald – The first day that we were shooting with the eggs was the Baby Shower dream sequence and and we definitely had some people on set feeling a little ill. Slowly as the set evolved, people got more into it. Everyone started to get excited when we were doing a gross out scene. They would all gather around the monitor to see if we could make it even more disgusting than the last.

Alien Bee – The apartment plays an important part in the movie. It kind of becomes a character itself. How long did it take to make it look the way it did? .

Chad Archibald – We built the entire apartment set in an old auto garage in Guelph. It was designed with a subtle cockroach colour template as a base. It’s basically different shades of oranges, browns, blacks and whites. This was what we started with then slowly as Casey’s infection evolves, the room slowly turns into a hive. Everyday that cast and crew would come in to find that the art teams had made the apartment even worse. We wanted it to feel alive. Like it was growing in parallel with Casey’s transformation. On top of that, before any shot with eggs in it, we would all run in and pile them up then let go right when we called action so they were always, moving and falling. I wanted it to fee like these eggs were slowly growing and pushing each other off ledges.

Alien Bee – Everything about Bite is just really dark and cool. From the small cast to the special effects. What all goes into making an indie movie like this look so impressive?

Chad Archibald – There was so many great people on this cast/crew. I worked closely with Vince Moskowec (Production Designer), Cam Nash (Art Director), and of course Jeff Maher (Cinematographer) to design the look of this set as it evolved. Jeff would come in every day and shape the lighting around where the eggs were placed. It’s almost like the eggs and all the goo became little lights when you lit them from the right angle. Also our SFX team headed by Jason DeRushie, who had massive buckets of goo that he would just keep healing in. In the end though every person on our crew helped make this film look the way it did. No one was clean on this shoot.

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Alien Bee – How was your overall experience filming Bite?

Chad Archibald – I loved it. I’ve never had so much fun on a set. There were some long days but I loved shooting everything practically and seeing exactly what the film would look like on the monitor. We didn’t want to rely on VFX so it was a blast working with the team to achieve these gags for real.

Alien Bee – Is there any chance we’ll get a sequel?

Chad Archibald – I’m not sure. I’d love to make another one but it’s all about demand. We’ve had such a great response from this film so who knows. Maybe I’ll revisit the concept a little later. I would love to shoot BITE 2 so we’ll see.

Alien Bee – What kind of advice can you pass along to aspiring filmmakers?

Chad Archibald – Make sure you’re script is ready. Everyone gets so excited to film a movie at the indie level, that they don’t put the focus on the script that they should (Hell it happens at the studio level too). Every time I do a film I look back and think, “man I wish I just changed that in the script before we shot.”. Also trim it down before you shoot so you’re not wasting money and time shooting scenes that you will need to cut out for time.

Overall though, make sure you love what you’re doing. Passion is sometimes of more value than money when making an indie film.

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