Cheyi “AxlPif” Okoaye: Nigerian Film-maker Evokes The Vision Of An Eldritch Horror
An Eldritch Horror short film (Sequel) crawls in with the Innis Brother song Saint or Sinner. The correlation of the opening scene spawns into the song like a fly in a spider’s web; tangled in a haunting mood of distress. The set snatches you in with the blood tone of illumination flickering in the mystery of uncertainty. As Saint or Sinner intensifies, tormented words are uttered from the hollow heart of a serial killer.
As his ceremony of inner demons ensues, he comes to head with his personal hell wearing a veil of deception. Just when the vulnerability in his voice takes your mind away from his malice, a stench of internal chaos invites you to an uncanny awakening.
Nigerian film-maker, Cheyi “AxlPif” Okoaye, created a brilliant life force of art that he will reveal more about through our interview.
Samantha Hollins: You are over-brewing with talent. When did film-making call you? When was the first time you fell in love with the horror genre?
Cheyi “AxlPif” Okoaye: A while back, I think it was in 2012/13, I wrote a series of horror stories and I knew they were all so good. I fantasized about turning them into movies but at the time they all looked like an expensive dream. Fast forward to 2018, my ex at the time (who happens to be a good friend) suggested turning one of my stories into a movie (she’s studied film in school) and it seemed like an interesting idea. So I started learning how to shoot movies with an iPhone and it took me 6 months to prepare.
Cheyi “AxlPif” Okoaye: First time I fell in love with horrors in 1993. A year after that…Rock music.
Samantha Hollins: That Blues-Rock music walked hand and hand with the opening of An Eldritch Horror| A Short Horror Movie Sequel. What drew you to that song? How did the lyric intertwine with your storyline?
Cheyi “AxlPif” Okoaye: So, when I cut the movie up the intro seemed like a hassle. I was done but I hated it. But I was already a long way into the movie and I didn’t want to cut/edit the intro again. Then came a dm from a band here in Nigeria called Ignis Brothers. I knew one of the members well, Ruka, but I got the dm from the other band member, Dwin. He far out told me “we have a song and it should be in your movie.” I was in. But I hadn’t heard the song yet. When I did I heard it 7 times. I went back to the movie and knew exactly where I wanted the song to be. When I did it I showed it to my ex and she lost it. Show it to a couple of people and they lost it. I knew I had something then.
Samantha Hollins: Did you have An Eldritch Horror| A Short Horror Movie Sequel in mind when you created Red Room released in 2019?
Cheyi “AxlPif” Okoaye: I absolutely did not. Red Room was a story I wrote when I was in a pretty dark place and it wasn’t meant to even be a movie. But after I turned it to a script, shot it and saw the reception it got. I figured I could make more. Truth is, Red Room is a part of a massive universe I created in my old stories. An Eldritch Horror happened out of some form of necessity. It wasn’t supposed to happen…but I’m glad I made it.
Samantha Hollins: Something about the red lighting that navigates it’s own story. What does it represent?
Cheyi “AxlPif” Okoaye: While being in a pretty dark place (when I wrote the short story Red Room) I tried to illustrate the an idea of what a serial killer’s mind must seem like: red. Not signifying blood but chaos. The red tint in the first movie, Red Room, was mainly to signify the chaotic mind of an unhinged killer traumatized by his actions. For An Eldritch Horror, it was more of an aesthetic choice.
Samantha Hollins: Culturally speaking are there any metaphors in your films that are connected to your personal beliefs?
Cheyi “AxlPif” Okoaye: In a way. Yes. I’ve always believed there’s something much bigger out there than us. I’m not talking supernatural or religious. What it is hasn’t been clearly defined in my head even; living or not. But I deeply feel there’s something out there bigger than everything we hold dear or close. I find that, humbling. The entity in An Eldritch Horror represents that. The mannequin head represents the man’s connection to that a indescribable “bigger thing” out there.
Samantha Hollins: With real life horrors taking place in Nigeria right now, in which way does your art imitate life?
Cheyi “AxlPif” Okoaye: Nigeria is an interesting country. I don’t say that in a gratifying way. The people here constantly face varying levels of uncertainty. Not truly knowing what’s coming next. Over the run time of An Eldritch Horror, there was always an aura of uncertainty with the man…’til it finally hit him. I believe we as a people here are like that. Our moment of clarity is getting closer.
Samantha Hollins: I am on the edge of my curiosity wondering ‘WHAT’S NEXT”!? Are there any new films in the making?
Cheyi “AxlPif” Okoaye: Yes…but before that I’ll be working on a Surreal/Dark humor web series. I’m done with the scripts, got some actors already and I’ll be making it again with the help of my iPhone and some other cameras too.
BUT, I will say yes, there is a follow up to An Eldritch Horror. This will also be a short movie and it’s a lot more ambitious. The title of this will be,’A Friendly Conversation’. It’s a story I wrote around the same time I wrote Red Room. You MIGHT be able to find the story online some place. I think anyone curious about what I’ve done won’t have a hard time finding it. It’ll blow minds, I think.
Samantha Hollins: Thank you Cheyi “AxlPif” Okoaye for your phenomenal offering to the Horror Film world!
An Eldritch Horror Premiered Sep 1, 2020. Check it out here:
Writer, Director, Cinematographer, Editor and Director: Cheyi Okoaye
Man – Cheyi Okoaye
Wife (VO) – Bukky Richards
Yig-Shogg – Cheyi Okoaye
Music: Saint or Sinner by Ignis Brothers. Stream and download their album from this link here – https://fanlink.to/TCOOL
Synopsis: A serial killer completes a long-lost ritual to summon a cosmic entity as he was ‘instructed.’ Face to face with the entity, things take a turn for the worse when he realizes things from beyond operate on different terms.
An Eldritch Horror is a sequel to the movie, Red Room – https://youtu.be/SD_bjdHFiDw
Social Media –
@AxlPif (Twitter and Instagram)
@adankhouse (Twitter and Instagram)
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