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UFF 6 Interview: Patricio Valladares On ‘Invoking Yell’ and The Black Metal Scene

UFF 6 Interview: Patricio Valladares On ‘Invoking Yell’ and The Black Metal Scene

Invoking Yell was a hit at the sixth annual Unnamed Footage Festival this year in San Francisco, and is currently making the festival rounds. Director Patricio Valladares was kind enough to sit down with us to answer some questions about the film and discuss his love of metal, as well as other projects he’s been working on. So put on your corpse paint, grab your headphones, and listen to some of Patricio’s musical recommendations.

Patrick: Invoking Yell feels like a love letter to black metal. The references, jokes, and scene commentary all point to someone who has spent time in or around the community. Can you talk about your introduction to metal and in particular black metal? What have you been listening to recently?

Patricio: Oh man, I guess I would have been around 14 years old. My first (favorite) band was Metallica after Slayer, and each time it was more and more underground. A lot of grindcore like Napalm death, Anal Cunt, Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, etc. but the real black metal introduction happened more less when I was sixteen. It was so fun, I remember a guy at a heavy metal concert wearing a t-shirt of the band called Cradle of Filth, it was an awesome illustration. So this was the way. I’m not really a metalhead “TRVE” (no long hair, no tattoos), so my look is normal but I’m very much a fan of the metal stuff. About what I have been listening to lately, well Alcest is very good in my opinion, and older black metal bands like Dissection, Nargaroth, Ulver, etc.

Patrick: During the film, Andrea and Tania talk about the lack of black metal in Chile. Were you speaking from experience with that line? Are there any Chilean bands you would encourage people to check out?

Patricio: Well, in the 90s, the Chilean black metal scene was so small, because the “mainstream” (in underground of course) was the thrash and death metal. Chile has a lot of very good metal bands like Pentagram, Undercroft, Death Yell, Dorso, Atomic Aggressor, Sadism, etc. but there are so many black metal bands we didn’t have in Chile. I remember that when I wrote the script, I spent several hours doing research with friends and looking for older fanzines about local metal. A Chilean band called “Black Moon” was like one of the few black metal bands of the 90s.

Patrick: I personally thought it was an interesting choice to make the band a “depressive suicidal black metal” (DSBM) band. When you were coming up with the idea were they always a DSBM band? It’s a subgenre within black metal that outsiders may not be aware of. Did it just fit the tone of the story better than being a traditional black metal band or was there another reason for this choice?

Patricio: Because all of this stuff is so creepy, very weird with a lot of agony. I remember finding a crazy band called Silencer with an insane vocal guy called Nattramn; it was so creepy. So doing a movie about black metal and the DSBM was a very good choice for me. I also think it was the best way to play with the theme of psychophonies.

Patrick: In the trailer it says “inspired by true events” — was there actually an accident where the bus load of children died? On a similar note, I enjoyed how the story seemed to take cues from infamous black metal moments (Euronymous/Dead/Varg-murder/suicides, Stalaggh’s “Projekt Misanthropia”, etc.) but you turned them into your own story. And maybe that’s what you were going for with the “inspired by true events” line?

Patricio: Well, I remember on social media a lot of metalheads saying “hey, this is like Lords of Chaos, like  Varg and Euronymous!!!” It’s so funny because they also called me a “poser” — LOL — but I picked up another very underground band. So it’s because the general idea is from two metal bands. One is the all female band called Aghast, it was so creepy! I studied about them and it was a boon! I thought, hey, that’s a good idea: three metal girls going to the forest to do a demo. I picked up another story about a band called Absurd, which was a NSBM (National Socialist Black Metal) band that committed homicide back in the 90s.  So these were the real “inspired by true events”.

Patrick: What drew you to make this an in-world camera film? The crowd at the Unnamed Footage Festival seemed to really enjoy the movie. Do you have any favorite found footage films?

Patricio: When I did a movie last year called Hidden In The Woods 2, a very “gorefest” movie for Germany, Alan Jones, director of FrightFest (love him) told me that maybe it’d be good for me to approach a movie different; to take my time with the gore and extreme violence. So I’d been thinking about that, but I have no idea. I did shoot Hidden In The Woods 2 back in February 2023, I remember I sent the movie to a German producer in April and said to myself “well, right now I need to do that movie.” I’m working on a comic book too, I remember drawing a comic while listening to Spotify at night, and after a lot of tracks the app sent me a new track. I remember it was very strange and creepy; it was the band I mentioned before called Aghast, and (after reading about their recording process) the idea grew from there.

I’m also a big fan of The Blair Witch Project (1999) and the V/H/S series, and since traditional cinematography can be expensive I set it as a found footage film.  I remember that was like one week I did a script, more or less 25-30 pages, and I called a friend/producer and he was the investor. It took one weekend to shoot the film.

Patrick: At one point we see Ruth break out the Super 8 camera. Did you use a real Super 8 to film that sequence? There’s an analog and retro feel to the film, which made me curious if you shot analog or did that digitally after filming.

Patricio: Yes, always I wished to shoot a short film or something in the cinema, and I had a small budget for props to help my movie look set in the 90s. So I’m going to the market, searching for a small Super 8 camera, and I buy one for less than sixty dollars. The problem was the 8mm roller-picture. So I called a friend who is a film director too, and he has some 8mm, so he sent me one like a gift. So we shot like a video clip/documentary. It was fun!

Patrick: In a hypothetical world where Invoking Yell is a real band and they complete their cursed demo, how do you believe it would have been received? Would the cursed demo give the band the “cred” and following that Andrea wanted? 

Patricio: Hahaha, well, Invoking Yell was a Chilean band so maybe, just maybe, the demo was released in some local distro, a little cover in fanzines, and Andrea maybe now is working in a normal job like all of us… or maybe she will kill herself in a live concert so crazily like our friend Nattramn!

Patrick: You are also a comic book writer and I saw on your Instagram one of your works titled Murders and Monsters. Did you also do the artwork or it? What’s your process determining whether an idea is destined for film or comic? Are you influenced by any other comic book writers?

Patricio: Yes, I did it all. In Monsters and Killers it was a brand new and terrifying graphic novel that I did in 2020. The book follows the tale of an aging hitman living out his days in the Chilean country that is tormented each night by horrifying creatures of the night. The dialogue was in Spanish but is more of a visual treat than a literary one. I did a limited edition of just 300 copies with a hard cover. Well, in regard to the process about (determining whether) this story is for cinema or for a comic book: it’s more or less the budget. Monster and Killers (Asesinos y Monstruos) have a lot creatures called “Tue-Tue” (“The Demon Bird”) so if I wanted to shoot this, it would be so expensive. About my influences, right now it’s Mark Millar, and always Frank Miller and Todd McFarlane

We would like to thank Patricio for taking the time to conduct this interview and the amazing folks at Unnamed Footage Festival for facilitating it, as well as for putting on an amazing event as always. Also, if you missed Unnamed Footage Festival this year and are attending Panic Fest in April, be sure to check out Invoking Yell, available in-person and virtually.