Alexander T. Hwang brings us a new take on a classic myth in his new anthology horror film, Lilith.
The film follows the demon Lilith who punishes men for their indiscretions against women. Lilith is a figure in Jewish mythology, developed earliest in the Babylonian Talmud (3rd to 5th centuries). Lilith is a dangerous demon of the night seeking her revenge. As she follows 4 men who have sinned against women, a detective is trying to stop her before she executes each victim and claims their souls.
Alexander directed the film and also was one of the writers alongside Richard Aguirre, Paul McFall and Anthony Werley. Lilith stars Vernon Wells (Death House), Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp), Devanny Pinn (Crossbreed), Jennifer Nangle (Malvolia: The Queen of Screams), Michael Wainwright (Altar), Charles Chudabala (Escape from Ensenada), Hunter Johnson (2 Jennifer), Lara Jean Mummert (Anomaly), Brialynn Massie (Serena Waits), Noel Jason Scott (Hellevator), Colton Wheeler (Ugly Sweater Party), Thomas Haley (Thirteen) and Mark Schaeffer (Prey, In Cold Blood).
How did this project come together?
Alexander: Basically we wrote a short film, which is one of the segments on Lilith, which is the lust segment, and we shot that. And we were going to integrate the short film into a film festival, and we were talking to a couple of producers and other story writers, and they thought ‘hey, maybe we could add a few more segments into it and make it into a feature.’ So that’s what we did. We took the character, Lilith, and gave her different stories, different segments, and we turned it into a feature. That’s how we went about it, first it was a short, and we thought it was pretty good as it was. Then we decided to turn that into a feature by adding more segments into it.
Did you (the writers) all collaborate on each part of the film or did you write to do your own section?
Alexander: There’s a serial killer at the end, revenge, the high school young love, so we had, I would come up with a certain idea, then I’d reach out to the writers and say, ‘hey, I have this idea. What do you think? Do you want to write it with me or can you write it?’ So, basically, I’ll come up with the scene or the outline for that segment. Then I will reach out to the writers and see if they were interested in writing that segment and see where they could take it. Then we’ll work together to edit it down to make the script shootable.
How did you get to be the one to direct the whole movie?
Alexander: I know that with anthologies, you usually have different directors for the different segments. I did the first one. And when we decided to go into a full feature, I always assumed that I would direct them because I was producing at the same time and I was coming up with the story ideas to give it to the writers. So, I just assumed that I’ll be directing the whole feature… And there was no opposition to it, everybody thought that was a good idea.
Alexander: The segment that we shot first was Lilith. A little history about Lilith, she is supposedly the very first wife of Adam, Adam and Eve, but she did bad things and she was banned from the Garden of Eden and she turned evil. I liked the idea of a female villain, who actually got to punish bad men or bad people. So, instead of creating a new character. We went with Lilith as the villain.
There’s quite a bit of media around Lilith, what would you say sets your film apart from others?
Alexander: Well, if you look at my film, I think it’s different. I see a lot of companies or movies that explain who Lilith is. My movie already established who she is. Also, Lilith is not played by just one actress, she is played by different actresses. So, it is different in that she is played by different actresses. Also, Lilith could jump in and out of a different body and transform herself into a different body. The evil people in my movie see her as someone who’s desirable yet, she’s really there to, of a better word, take care of them. I think that’s the biggest difference. So anybody, every woman could be Lilith or could be that person who could punish men for doing bad things.
It is really cool, where did that idea come from?
Alexander: In the beginning, we thought that maybe we could use the same actress or same person as Lilith’s character and have them repeat in every segment. But, I thought that was kind of boring and not interesting, because as soon as that happens, the audience will know that, ‘hey, that’s the same character who’s gonna punish the bad person.’ So, if we used a different actress then the audience won’t know who Lilith is in that segment. For example, Devanny Pinn, in the last segment with the serial killer. A lot of audiences thought, ‘Oh, she’s in trouble now,’ not thinking that she is Lilith who’s here to punish him. I thought that it would be interesting to see each segment have the same character Lilith, yet she’s in a different form, a different female.
Toward the end, Lilith says that she’s a ‘better judge, jury and executioner.’ Are you saying that Lilith is a good guy?
Alexander: Well, in this movie, not real life, but in this movie she is. In our society, you’ve got judges, you’ve got the police, you’ve got the juries, they all have to be synchronized to take someone to jail. But as Lilith, they don’t have to think about that. They know who the bad guy is. She’s going to be the jury. In her mind, that person is guilty and now she’s gonna give out the verdict, which is death. So that’s where that line came from. So, is she a bad person? Yes, because she is killing people. Does she have a good in her? I guess it depends how you see it, you know, which point of view. In her mind she’s doing a good thing, but in other people’s eyes, she is a killer.
What did you mean by ‘we are all Lilith?’
Alexander: All women are Lilith in some way. Every woman, I guess men too, but especially in this movie, where she says that all women can be Lilith if they’re pushed hard enough. So that’s where that line came from.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about Lilith?
Alexander: Everybody can see it right now. It is available on TV, Amazon, On Demand, it’s on all the VOD platforms right now. I hope everybody enjoys the movie. I mean, it’s not the bloody, gorey kind of movie that a lot of people think of as horror movies, but I think this is more psychologically interesting. I hope our audience enjoys that because, you know, just because it is an independent film, don’t poo poo it, but watch it and have fun. That’s what I like to tell people who will look at the poster and say, ‘should I watch it or should I not?’ I say give it a try.