- "Let's make as many as we can right now! History will determine which ones live on, but I can't get enough low-budget horror films no matter what!"
- ―Trent on his love for his cult-status horror career
Throughout Trent's entire life, he has always been what he considers a "horror junkie".
Trent attended three different rural high schools during his childhood since his parents moved around a lot, later going on to attend Columbia College, where he learned "the nuts and bolts of filmmaking and theory and generally fucked about for four years", with the intent of getting a degree and then working a terrible job and not having anything to do with the industry.
Two years later, Trent was working for an internet company, and by chance happened to stumble upon Troma Entertainment's website, where they were looking for extras on their latest film, Terror Firmer, which he auditioned for, eventually recieved the role of "Jerry" after "about a billion callbacks". Afterwards, despite the excellent pay of his former work, he decided he felt no true allure to it, and left to join Troma, where he wrote, produced, and assistant directed the fourth film in the Toxic Avenger series, Citizen Toxie. Due to simultaneously playing the leader of the Diaper Mafia in the film, Haaga was forced to direct many of these scenes in a baby bonnet and an adult diaper.
Trent has currently acted in 19 independant movies (mostly horror spoofs and parodies such as Tales from the Crapper, 68 Kill, Gimme Skelter, The Devil's Muse and Knight of the Living Dead), and produced 5, including the TV series Damage Control.
Trent also contributed to the making of the book Make Your Own Damn Movie!.
Trent's independant films are usually shot in between eight to twelve days, whereas his Troma movies typically take a month, likely given that, in Trent's own words; "[I] don't have any money - not even enough for a crack habit!". Trent also believes that the closely-knit nature of the horror community fosters a sense of brotherhood, and they all hope that one among them does well so that they, by proxy feel the same happiness.
The Evil Within
Trent Haaga was a lead writer for The Evil Within, alongside Itaru Yokoyama. Although Trent's true passion was moreso films than games, never having been an avid player, Trent was able to bring unique insight to the project, tending to look at things more in a way relating to characters and dialogue, and where they are emotionally at that point.
Haaga views horror as a method of examining real life through a fantastic lens, which he believes is the perfect delivery system for such a game, fraught with cynical truths that we don't want to acknowledge.
The Evil Within 2
Trent reprises his role as screenwriter for the The Evil Within 2, alongside Syoji and Hajime Ishimine; setting writers.
Trent explains that given Sebastian's circumstances in the first game, he was lost and confused, trying to figure a way out, and that in the second game, given that he discovers his daugher was kidnapped, and he willingly re-enters STEM to save her, the emotional arc is much broader this time around. For instance, taking time to talk about an event that just happened, or conversing with other characters.
Trent was also tasked with individualizing each of the characters, and give them each a voice, and their own set of desires and missions, which was quite enjoyable for him with the large cast of new characters, as well as iconic old ones. Sebastian had changed from "depressed and monosyllabic", as Haaga described him, to "determined, and desperate for a last chance at happiness", which was a beautiful growth to him.
Haaga describes the pacing as intentionally different in the sequel, with lighting and environments where the player knows they are safe for the time being, even able to joke around and drink coffee, whereas the first game was non-stop carnage with hardly any sense of relief. Given the different circumstances of the world the game takes place in, another important key to Haaga was making things all suddenly shift as soon as both the player and Sebastian think they're beginning to understand what's happening, always keeping things unpredictable.
Much like John Johanas, Haaga took a liking to the character of Stefano, whom he describes as having a great patter. Seeing the character come to life from paper and words to voices and soon life was quite exciting for Trent.