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Exclusive: J.T. Petty Talks Burrowers!

J.T. Petty talks The Burrowers!So recently you may recall we showed you the first piece of teaser art from J.T. (Soft for Digging, Mimic: Sentinel) Petty’s upcoming monster movie, The Burrowers (see it here), a movie that’s been in one form of pre-production or another for years now, but we’ve never lost track of.

Now things are finally coming together for the film, so we took a few minutes out of J.T.’s hectic schedule to pick his brain about The Burrowers. The first thing we wanted answers on was where the idea, about a rescue party in the early days of America who run afoul of underground creatures, had its roots; “A lot of the movie came about just from my love of westerns, looking at movies like The Missouri Breaks, Bad Company, or any of the John Fords or Budd Boettichers. The badlands in the 1870’s seemed like the perfect place to set a horror story.”

Indeed it does, but of course the obvious question when a film about underground monsters is discussed is how much of an influence Tremors had on the story. Thankfully, Petty’s a bit more old school. “Everybody asks about Tremors, why doesn’t anybody ask about Valley of the Gwangi?” he lamented. “Or The Boogens for god’s sake? I’m a big Kevin Bacon fan. Not to mention Michael Gross. But generally, no, not a big Tremors influence. There’s nothing campy about Burrowers.” That, in and of itself, is good news indeed. “Burrowers is gonna be a serious movie, I want to make as authentic a portrayal of the Old West as possible (until, of course, the creatures show up,” he continued. “I’m hoping parts of it will be funny, but it’ll be the kind of funny you see in Fargo or Funny Games. No singing cowboys, no beans around the campfire jokes.”

And how will said creatures be realized? The plan for now is to use as many practical effects as possible, including the monsters, which will come courtesy of Rob Hall’s Almost Human. “Rob and his team have been working on the project for more than two years, so we’ve been able to design everything from the bones out,” Petty assured us. “He’s a brilliant guy and his work in Burrowers is really going to fuck people up.” I know that’s what I want from any good monster movie!

Getting back to my previous comment about how long the film’s been in the works, what has been keeping it down for so long? “God bless Lionsgate for funding a period horror western!” J.T. exclaimed. “It’s a hard movie to put side-by-side with another and say ‘It’s just like that one, it’s going to make a ton of money.’ I’d be willing to bet the success and great reception of The Descent helped.”

Shooting on The Burrowers begins sometime next month, so expect to be hearing more from its creators very soon!

Johnny Butane

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