Director and co-writer Katherine Chediak Putnam has finished shooting the horror short Inferno and is now developing the project as a feature with Shayne Armstrong as script mentor.
Screen Queensland funded the short, one of four proof-of-concept projects, as part of its remit to give opportunities to new works and new voices.
Co-written by Putnam and Dean Law and produced by Law and Brenton Pinsent, Inferno stars Sam Cotton (Diary of an Uber Driver, Rosehaven) as Ray Wyatt, who tears down the remains of his burned-out childhood home to try to bury his family’s tragic past – only to find he is tormented by something sinister uncovered in the demolition.
Kieran McGinlay (Harrow, The Bureau of Magical Things) plays 12-year-old Dylan, Ray’s son, who struggles with the distance between the two and wants to know more about his family history, which Ray tries to avoid at any cost.
Karen Bowen is Sylvia, Ray’s mother, with John McNeill as the foreman, an old family acquaintance hired to demolish the house, and Melinda Joan Reed as the monster.
The monster suit was designed and made by the prosthetics artist Steve Boyle (Daybreakers, Winchester, Tidelands, Harrow), who gave the creature a very feminine look.
“Our plan is to submit the short film to genre film festivals as we did with my earlier short Stray and to attend the American Film Market later in the year,” Putnam tells IF.
Armstrong, who mentored Putnam and Law when they were students at Griffith Film School, says: “When they pitched Inferno to me I knew it was something I’d love to help them with in any way I could.
“It reminded me of an A24 horror film – moody, offbeat and even bat shit crazy at points, but with a strong controlling idea at its heart. The mix of physical and psychological horror also brought to mind Italian horror films such as those of Dario Argento, which I adore.”