Archive | September, 2010

A Rash Exclusive: Interview with Drew Daywalt!

15 Sep

Seldom do I find new horror any exciting, any good, or really all that horrific.  “Re-imaginings” are becoming the genre’s go-to when they start running out of fresh ideas.  Films today feature the same old jump-cuts, little girls’ creepy ramblings  and the “lala lala laaaaala” that is found in the opening credits of almost every new horror.

How lucky for me, then, to have found a new horror director that has done so much studying of the genre, that he is able to break free of those stereotypes and deliver grade A, 100% horror.

I introduce to you, Drew Daywalt.

Luckily for your stop-and-start, scatter-brained writer, Drew took time from his horrendously busy schedule scaring the hell out of people by writing and directing his own films as well as writing for FearNet to answer a few questions.

What’s your favourite scary movie?

That’s tough. The first one that terrified me was the Exorcist. I saw just the trailer for it on TV when I was little and it completely scarred me for life. I literally almost pissed my pants when they showed the clip of her crabwalking… To this day, it’s the most frightened I’ve ever been while watching a movie. I’m not a fan of a lot of the big stupid spectacle of the mainstream hollywood horror that they’re cranking out nowadays. I like subtle, thoughtful horror that deals with character. Some of my favorites in that category are THE CHANGELING (1980), THE SHINING, The first HALLOWEEN, ENTITY, BLACK SUNDAY, THE HAUNTING, THE INNOCENTS…

What inspires you in your work?

I am a big fan of strong visuals, but not to the point of them overtaking the story. I like new worlds and worldbuilding. I think that Guillermo Del Toro and Peter Jackson are the current masters of that genre. I like how the visuals are only there to support the characters and the world they’re in.

Which of your films is your personal favourite and why?

I really like Dinner Date a lot. It has exactly the strange sexual energy that I’d hoped it would have, and to see people’s reaction to how that one ends is really entertaining for me. Like a chef who wants you to enjoy a meal, I really enjoy watching people ENJOY my work. It’s fun to watch people jump or startle or grimace or throw their hands to their mouths in dread…

When did you decide that scaring the pants off of people was what you wanted to do?

I have no clue! I think I enjoyed late night scary movies and my older brother’s horror comic books from such an early age that I knew I was drawn to the dreadful early on. In my teens I was hooked on Tolkien, Lovecraft, and Clive Barker and I was constantly playing D&D and watching Star Wars. I loved those worlds and I loved playing in them, living in them. And somewhere along the way I knew I wanted to create worlds like that for other people to live in and enjoy. I love sci fi and fantasy too, but I seem to have a knack for horror and it’s always been my true love.

Who is your favourite horror director?

This one changes as often as my favorite horror film. I have to say Kubrick. something about even when he wasn’t doing a horror film, he was still doing really creepy material. I think he had a grip on real dread. So did Jacques Tourneur. They were masters of anticipatory dread and that’s the hardest kind of horror to do. I want to be them when I grow up.

You just wrote a children’s book, can you tell us a little bit about it?

Sure. It”s for kindergarten through like second graders and I wrote it for Philomel books, which is an imprint of Penguin. The book’s called THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT and it’s a fantasy story about crayons who are fed up with their workload so they quit and leave notes explaining why, to the little boy who owns them.

Aside from traumatizing mankind (which I for one thank you for!) what do you like to do in your spare time?

Well when I’m not plotting little adrenaline rushes for you guys I’m spending as much time as I can with my wife and two children. They’re the joy of my life and the fuel of my creativity.

Can you tell us a little about Camera Obscura?

Camera Obscura is a horror webseries about a woman who discovers a camera that can capture demons in a scrapbook, but the demons know she’s got the camera and she has to get them before they get her.

Do you have any terrifying plans for the future?

I’m working on getting a feature film up and running in the next 6 months with Fangoria. They want to relaunch their film brand and have asked me to lead the charge, so here we go!

Do you have any tips or pointers for people who are just starting out in horror film?

Write. Constantly. Write and watch and read. Don’t stop, don’t put it off, don’t wait til later or til someone else gives you a chance. Make it happen yourself and become a motivator and get your film made yourself. I treat my career the same way that Olympic Athletes treat their training. Dedicate yourself to your craft wholly and completely.

Will you ever be filming in Canada?  And possibly need an attractive 20-something female to star in your film?

Yes! 😉

I want to thank you so much for your time Drew!  Before we wrap it up, any last words?

I’ve loved horror since I grew up in a haunted house in Ohio. The thought that there might be supernatural out there is a hopeful thought. And supernatural horror, at it’s roots, is a strange bedfellow to optimism, but a bedfellow nonetheless.

You can check Drew’s work out at his YouTube page here and I’ll be sure to be keeping tabs on whats coming out of the Daywalt Fear Factory (as well as holding Drew to that offer for when he’s filming in Canada).

Thanks again Drew!!!

The Changeling (1980)

13 Sep

A few days ago, my roommate and I were bored and as per usual, I was jonesing for a horror flick.  But in this day and age, good horror is very hard to come by.

After flip flopping back and forth between two films we’d already seen, I suggested we take my mom up on a suggestion made a few years ago about the greatest scary movie she had ever seen.

Oh good heavens...

The Changeling (1980)

The Changeling, directed by Peter Medak, focuses on a man named John Russell who, grieving his deceased wife and daughter, moves into a historical mansion to work on his music.  He soon realizes however that he is not alone, and that whatever is in there with him has something to say.

This movie has all of the ingredients to make a wonderful horror film.  Sketchy music boxes, creepy attics, inanimate objects moving all by themselves and things that go BANG, BANG, BANG in the night all come together with the help of perfectly timed suspense and chilling music.

All in all, after watching this movie, I have a greater appreciation for the genre I love so dearly.  If you are in the mood for a cheap thrill, jump-scare packed, special effect force-feeding movie, do NOT see The Changeling.

Starring George C. Scott as John and holding 9 Genie awards over its head, The Changeling has definitely made a name for itself and I thank my mom for recommending such an awesome film.