Last night (May 23rd) in Beverly Hills, the ultra-modern horror film L.A. Slasher made a splash on both the red carpet and the big screen. There were many horror fans in attendance as well as the cast and the dedicated filmmakers who saw this film through from its wobbly beginning to its strong finish.
The story is pure, biting satire: Disgusted with sensationalist culture, a killer abducts empty-headed reality TV stars and posts the captives being tortured live online, while the tabloid media and the bloodthirsty public debate whether or not society is better off without them. Filmed and edited in a lively, imaginative way, we get to see “tweets” pop up online, watch 7-second Vine-like videos play out, and hear the Slasher’s running commentary (given voice by Any Dick). No one is off-limits. In addition to reality stars, the city’s corrupt politicians (Eric Roberts plays the mayor) and drug-dealing dregs (Danny Trejo and Dave Bautista) are also taken to task.
Since L.A. Slasher is made by fans of the horror genre, there had to be a few Scream Queens thrown into the mix. One of them is played to perfection by Carlee Baker, who has known producer Sean Decker for years. “We were both deeply involved in the Bowling for Boobies cancer awareness event for years,” Baker said, “but really, he’s been my best friend for years. I was so happy to help out with this film.”
While [spoiler alert] Baker’s character is one of the lucky few who escape the L.A. Slasher’s machete of justice, she says her scene, which was shot on location in the Hollywood Hills on the grounds of a magnificent mansion, “was a lot of fun.”
There were no Dick encounters, though. “Andy wasn’t on set,” Baker explained. “He did his voiceover later,” while another actor did the actual stalking and stabbing.
One of the filmmakers, Abigail Wright, put on several hats as L.A. Slasher was in development. She plays the plum role of the investigative reporter who covers the crime spree, but she’s also a producer and one of the writers.
“Martin Owen is an incredible writer,” Wright says of the film’s director. “I just gave input on my character and wrote a few of the scenes. But it really was a group collaboration. Martin wrote the original screenplay, and I came in later on the project. The story was quite complex to begin with, so we [Owen, Decker, Elizabeth Morris, and herself] simplified it and changed some things around. A lot of that was done in the editing.”
Sean Decker was on hand to do… well, just about everything. Not only is he a producer, writer, and all-around cheerleader on this unique film, he also organized the red carpet event and, with his parents and son also in attendance, might as well have been spinning plates while walking barefoot on a tightrope. Luckily, we caught up with him for a few words!
Dread Central: How did you get involved with L.A. Slasher?
Sean Decker: Geno Tazioli called me one night in late 2010 and said, ‘There’s this British producer in town and he wants to shoot a sizzle reel for a slasher movie, and your name came up in conversation.’ For some reason, everybody thinks I know everything about slasher movies, which I don’t. But I do love that sub-genre. It’s my favorite. So, I went and met the producer the next morning. He had already assembled a thrown-together crew at that point and some actresses, and we were up and shooting at Linda Vista Hospital in a matter of hours. He didn’t really have much of a script there, more ‘moments’ really, but we shot it. And then the project grew out of that. That producer’s name was Tim Burke. Martin Owen, who is our director, then came on, and that’s how the film developed. It was a very challenging production, but our director, Martin, is just great. He made a very visual and stylish film.
DC: How much writing did you do on the screenplay?
SD: I kind of steered them in certain directions. As far as my actual writing, you’ll see it in any of the scenes that Barbara [Nedeljakova] or Carlee [Baker] or any of the cameo scream queens are involved in. A lot of the film actually was shot in sort of an improvisational way. Martin would often set up the beats of a scene and let the actors play and explore, and I think his approach really gives the film the kinetic energy it has.
DC: So, where does Andy Dick fit in? I know he’s the voice of the Slasher, but was that planned right from the start?
SD: No. The Slasher didn’t speak initially. As we moved forward into post production, though, imbuing the character with a narrative voice seemed appropriate. Given the tone of the project, and the fact that it lambasts the public’s fascination with pop culture, to have Andy do (the voiceover) seemed fitting.
DC: With “slasher” in the title, is it very gory?
SD: No. I don’t feel that it is. There are a couple of moments of gore, but we were really just trying to make a satire for all intents and purposes. We wanted to stay away from the torture-porn aspects. I would compare it to God Bless America meets Drive, to an extent. Within tone and in the visual sense, that’s kind of the approach. It’s got a crazy ‘80s soundtrack, too. We really went all out when we were putting that together. We have ABC’s “The Look of Love” in it, for instance, and “Scream Queens” and “American Horror Story’s” Mac Quayle delivered an amazing score.
DC: What’s the upshot?
SD: The film is intended to be fun, ultimately. It’s been kind of a hard thing to talk about before the release because people hear “L.A. Slasher,” and they immediately assume it’s going to be like Elijah Wood’s Maniac. I love that movie, but that is not our movie. L.A. Slasher itself is intended to be a satirical take on what many people I think feel is the cultural erosion of culture – reality TV.
L.A. Slasher premiered during the 2015 IFS (Independent Filmmakers Showcase) Film Festival at Laemmle’s Music Hall in Los Angeles. Check out our gallery of red carpet photos by Aaron Kai below.
L.A. Slasher‘s North American theatrical release starts June 12th in select AMC theaters. The film has a brand new website as well; be sure to visit LASlasherMovie.com.
With an all-star cast that includes Mischa Barton, Dave Bautista, Danny Trejo, Drake Bell, Eric Roberts, Brooke Hogan, Abigail Wright, Elizabeth Morris, Marisa Lauren, Tim Burke, and Andy Dick (in his comeback vehicle), L.A. Slasher is a social satire about reality TV and the glorification of people who are famous for simply being famous.
Exploring why it has become acceptable to become an influential star based on no merit or talent, the story follows the titular Slasher character as he systematically abducts these “stars,” much to the joy of the online public, who view his exploits via social media and who subsequently and enthusiastically support his mantra of “Death to Reality TV.”