Movies & TV / Columns

Director Ezra Tsegaye Discusses His New Horror Comedy Skin Creepers

August 26, 2019 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Skin Creepers

The 411 Interview: Ezra Tsegaye


Ezra Tsegaye is a comic book artist, storyboard artist, motion designer, and movie director from Germany who has made seven short films and now a full length feature, Skin Creepers, a horror comedy about two guys trying to make a big deal adult film and instead having to deal with a truly wicked supernatural force (check out my review of the movie here). In this interview, Tsegaye talks with this writer about making Skin Creepers, the German horror movie audience, and more.



Bryan Kristopowitz: How did you decide that you wanted Skin Creepers to be your first feature film as a director?

Ezra Tsegaye: Horror films have always been my passion. Also, many great directors have started with horror films. Before Skin Creepers became my first feature film, my friend and producer Sebastian Wolf and I tested ourselves by making a few horror shorts such as Casting of Death and House of Fear, which were very well received within the horror community in Germany.

BK: Where was Skin Creepers made?

ET: Skin Creepers was made on location in the heart of the city of Berlin. Additionally, we built the entire hotel interior room in an old, abandon supermarket.


BK: How did you cast Skin Creepers?

ET: The majority of the cast were actors which I have known for years. Many of them, I consider my personal friends.
However, the female leads were traditionally cast and it took us quite a while to find the right choice to play Sasha Blue. I´m very happy that we found actress Barbara Prakopenka, who was a perfect fit for this character.

When I wrote the script, I always had Dieter Landuris in my mind for the part of the Preacher. Dieter is a very famous character actor in Germany and I was very humbled that he accepted the part. It was like a dream come true to have somebody of that caliber in my first feature film. With Thomas Schmuckert, who played the pimp “Lederkralle”, I worked previously with him on a horror short, and the part of Lederkralle was written with him in mind.

BK: How long did it take to actually get Skin Creepers made, from finishing the script to completing post-production?

ET: The first version of the script was written in 2015. Afterwards, my friend Sebastian Kühne came on board as a co-writer, and we completed the screenplay at the beginning of 2016. Shortly after, producer Sebastian Wolf joined the project and in October 2016 we finally started shooting. It took us over a year to complete the post-production, because the VFX team consisted of only 2 people (the amazing VFX Artist Mikko Ruostila and myself). It took a lot of time, because we produced the movie and the effects entirely in 4K. We worked on it for months, often 24/7 and I remember many sleepless nights.


BK: Skin Creepers is filled with plenty of great looking practical and CGI special effects. How did you decide what needed to be done practically and what needed to be done with the computer? What are the advantages and disadvantages of both effects disciplines?

ET: Mikko was responsible for the CGI effects. He is really a genius and a true master of his profession. Mikko and I worked on the effects for months until dawn. Claus Grüßner and Seher Yavas, the people behind the special effects powerhouse Shapeshifters FX, were responsible for the awesome and out of this world practical special effects as well as for all special make-up effects. I am very happy and thankful that we found these two outstanding artists. It was important to me to use practical effects in my movie, because I grew up watching all those practical effects in the horror classics of the 80s, which had a huge influence on me.

BK: What was the hardest part of making Skin Creepers? What was the easiest?

ET: To cope with the tight schedule. We booked many actors only for a short time. There was a lot of improvisation needed. In addition, the gore and splatter scenes took a lot of time to prepare. And for all the scenes with exploding heads we had only one take to get it right, because once the heads exploded the entire set was covered in blood and could not be used a second time.

BK: Is it right to call Skin Creepers a horror-comedy? How difficult is to find the right balance between the scary stuff and the funny stuff?

ET: A good question. I think the movie is more like a horror movie with funny elements, partially inspired by the kind of humor from films like An American Werewolf in London or Evil Dead, to name just a few.

BK: How was Skin Creepers received in Germany? What is the state of horror cinema in Germany?

ET: The German horror fans liked Skin Creepers a lot and the film was very well received within this community. And the German press praised the high quality of the special- and visual effects. However, I personally believe that the film will reach an even wider audience, due to the bigger size of the horror community in the US, Canada, Australia, UK and Ireland. Also, because German horror cinema is still a niche genre in Germany, it was personally important to me to realize the film in the German language to give the independent horror community in our home country a fresh boost. Additionally, I wanted to mention that it was the goal of my producer Sebastian Wolf to put German horror cinema back on the global map.

BK: Who are your moviemaking heroes?

ET: The horror movie heroes of my childhood are John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper and Roger Corman. And presently it is James Wan, Jordan Peele and Alexandre Aja.

BK: Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

ET: I am currently writing a screenplay for a creature feature set deep beneath the city of Berlin. Sebastian Wolf is planning a kickboxing movie based on his idea. We already have many commitments from world champions from all over the world.

BK: What do you hope audiences get out of Skin Creepers?

ET: I hope the audience will enjoy the movie as much as I enjoyed making it. And I hope that it will give them a few scares as well as giving them a fun time watching it.

BK: Will there be a Skin Creepers 2?

ET: The screenplay for Skin Creepers 2 was already written by the time the filming of the first one was done. But the implementation of the sequel depends on the success of the first one. My co-writer Sebastian Kühne and I have a professional background in comic books, so we have even considered doing Skin Creepers 2 as a comic book first.

BK: Have you ever personally experienced anything that could be construed as supernatural?

ET: Yes, the completion of Skin Creepers itself was supernatural, considering the difficult production circumstances, due to the lack of time and budget. But all fun aside, I am spiritual, but I can´t think of a supernatural experience which I can remember.



A very special thanks to Ezra Tsegaye for agreeing to participate in this interview and to david j. moore for setting it up.

Watch Skin Creepers at the following links:

Amazon Prime Video

Tubi TV in the United States, Canada, and Australia (this is free with advertising breaks)

Amazon Prime Video in the UK and Ireland

Vimeo On Demand in the United States, Canada, Australia, the UK, and Ireland

Check out the Skin Creepers Facebook page here.

All images courtesy of Ezra Tsegaye.