Dread Central sat down with The Collector co-scribe Patrick Melton last Thursday to discuss The Killing Street, the new script he co-authored with long-time collaborator Marcus Dunstan (the duo behind the Feast franchise, as well as Saw IV thru VI). Then working on the sound mix and color timing for The Collector (Dunstan’s directorial debut, which releases wide through Freestyle Releasing on July 31 and stars Josh Stewart), Melton clued us in to his hopes for that film, as well as the pair’s plans for The Killing Street.
“It’s a script that Marcus and I have been honing for about six months now,” says the scribe of the latter. “The intention was always for Marcus to direct it, but with The Collector not quite finished yet, we haven’t been able to show it to buyers (since people want to see Marcus’s first film before signing off on him for the second film). In our original work, we like to put twists on certain sub-genres. For example, The Collector is a home invasion movie, but we add an X factor with our lead character unknowingly entering the home while the invasion is going on and he’s now forced to leave or try to save the people.
With The Killing Street, we attempt to widen our scope and make, perhaps, a more mature film than we’re known for. Marcus’ main inspirations are Dario Argento and Michael Mann, so his mind often wanders into thriller-esque territories. I don’t want to give away the whole concept for The Killing Street, but the idea was to twist the serial killer sub-genre and tell something new. Generally, like in Seven or The Silence of the Lambs, the two main characters are the killer and the detective (or FBI profiler).
So, instead of doing another version of what those films did so well, we set out to play in the same world, but tell a completely different type of story. The contrast between the characters is very often clear cut, and there’s never a doubt about who’s good and who’s bad. However, what if that contrast were severely blurred? And what it our good guy has his morals greatly compromised in order to achieve his goals? Where does that lead our characters?
That type of mental strain is what interests us. We’re naturally drawn to the anti-hero – the morally flawed character at a crossroads in their life. Like in The Collector, our hero has more reason to run than to save the trapped family, and his eventual intentions in saving them are never completely clear cut. So, in The Killing Street, we begin with two characters that are deeply flawed, and these people are pushed deeper and deeper into madness as the story progresses. While it might seem like a strange film to reference, Taxi Driver was a major influence. As a character-driven story about a person losing their mind, it doesn’t get much better than the Martin Scorsese masterpiece, and it was our intention to go that deep.
We’d like to let people see The Collector first and then discuss making The Killing Street. We had three million to make Marcus’s directorial debut, and it was a struggle every step of the way. But the end product is badass, and in terms of intensity and scares, The Collector provides more of a punch to the gut than any hundred million dollar movie the studios will be trotting out this summer. The Killing Street plays out on a bigger scale, but it also has the potential to appeal to a bigger audience and twist a well worn subgenre. When people see what we can do with three million, hopefully they’ll want to dig deeper into their pockets for our most ambitious story to date. We’ll see come July 31st.”
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