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Exclusive: Julien Maury Talks Leatherface

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Julien Maury makes up one-half of the French directing duo – along with Alexandre Bustillo – who brought us the shocking grand guignol horror film Inside a few years back. Now the filmmakers have returned with Leatherface (review), a prequel to 1974’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

In the story, a violent teen and three others kidnap a young nurse while escaping from a Texas mental institution. Pursued by a vengeful sheriff, the disturbed young man embarks on a murderous rampage that shapes him into a legendary killer known as Leatherface.

We caught up with Maury at a recent press junket where he spilled his guts on the making of the massacre movie.

Dread Central: Taking on such a legacy must have been daunting on some level, but also really cool. What was your experience in making Leatherface?

Julien Maury: Sounds like the typical promo speech but honestly it was a very good experience. Directing in English wasn’t so hard and of course we grew up watching American horror movies, so it was very special for us. It was really like a kid’s dream and especially for this character. This bogeyman movie is not just any bogeyman – it’s the ultimate monster. And so it was a lot of pressure on our shoulders but what hooked us is the fact that we could explore the story. Every other episode of the franchise is built with the same narrative structure. It’s always a bunch of kids getting lost on the land of the degenerate family. But here it was different. It was really much more like a road movie. That was something interesting for us because the main characters were young or a bit older than teenagers and that this was a moment in life that really interested us as directors and also the fact that they are all villains. It’s always a challenge for a director to be able to have the audience relate and identify to the bad guy. So yeah, we were quite excited.

DC: Fans aren’t very interested in the mystique anymore. Moviegoers and TV watchers want prequels and origin stories with everything explained. So, were you brought on when the project was still in development so you could guide the story, or was the script already finished?

JM: The script was finished but we asked for some rewrites and we did it. The script writer Seth Sherwood was really supportive and he was really nice because we wanted to change some stuff. Officially, we didn’t change the structure – the structure stayed the same. We changed some elements, especially about the death sequences. We wanted to bring the script into our universe and we’ve added some twists to moments and the death sequences, we changed almost every death sequence and especially in the end. In the end in the first draft it was like a blood bath and Leatherface was killing at least thirty people with a chainsaw. It was like Brain Dead. And so it was really over the top and even if we like blood and gore, we were like, no, that’s not the character, we cannot do that – so those were the kinds of adjustments we did.

DC: When you world-premiered Leatherface at FrightFest, it was the same weekend Tobe Hooper [the director of the 1974 Texas Chain Saw Massacre] passed away. Did he at least get to see your film at some point?

JM: No. We learnt that he passed away the day before the first screening of Leatherface. So it really was a shock for us and especially because we didn’t have the chance to meet him or even talk to him. His name is on the credits, but it is just contractual and because he created the characters with Kim Henkel. Honestly, it was very disappointing for us, because when we accepted this project, we hoped to meet him and to hear his take on the story and all the sequels and how he felt about that and maybe ask some advice from him. So we were really saddened and disappointed, yes. He’s someone that really changed our lives, as an audience and as a director later. We love his career. We even tried to propose a remake of Funhouse. I remember we had this conversation with an executive from Universal, just saying that we would love to do that movie, being a prequel of the movie and being inspired by the novel by Dean Koontz. I remember the executive at that time said ‘Ah fellows, interesting, I’ve never seen this one.’ And we were like ‘Okay you know it’s in your catalogue and you own the rights.’ He said, ‘Ah really!? Cool!’ (laughs) So it didn’t happen, whatever. But yeah, we were very, very saddened about Tobe’s passing.

DC: As you said, the characters in Leatherface are more than just teen meat for the chainsaw. Do you have a favorite character?

JM: They were all very interesting to bring to life. The character of Jed was very interesting. In the beginning we were having fun with the fact that everyone could be the bad guy – you know, even a girl. Like I said earlier, we always wanted to surprise the audience and to blur the lines. And so that was the first intention, to have all these characters psychopathic and being the ideal suspects. I would say that one of my favorite characters was Clarice. We had to cut some sequences… she was much more than just a pyromaniac. We had these sequences that we cut where she was talking about how her family disappeared and we could see her using fire for the first time since she was an inmate in Gorman Institution, and she was totally fascinated, like a drug, watching the flames dancing.

DC: Your features and shorts always have moment of shock that’s not necessarily a death. Like the tracheotomy scene in Inside. That one stayed with me.

JM: We are very balanced guys (laughs), we are not psychopaths. It’s complicated. The thing is that I am always thinking with Alexandre is how we could surprise the audience because we know the horror genre is a genre where the fan knows all the tricks and it’s very complicated to surprise them. They know all about the scares and how it works, so that’s our challenge for each film to actually try to have a moment where we are taking the audience by the hand and making them believe we are going this way and we are going the other. So that’s kind of the same for this idea of the tracheotomy – it’s the same idea. We are really searching for what is going to make the audience jump on their seats and say ‘what the fuck!’ (laughs).

DC: What’s coming up after Leatherface? Will you ever leave the horror genre?

JM: We’ve got a lot of projects right now, Alex and I. We are working on five different movies here in France. And we have greenlighted three of them – honestly, now is a bit too early to talk about it. If everything goes right, we should be shooting our next movie in spring. Of course. We are not going to do a romantic comedy (laughs).

Stephen Dorff, Lili Taylor, Sam Strike, Sam Coleman, Vanessa Grasse, Nicole Andrews, Julian Kostov, Jessica Madsen, and Lorina Kamburova star. Leatherface was written by up-and-coming genre scribe Seth M. Sherwood.

Millennium Films, which was behind the 2013 Texas Chainsaw 3D, is once again producing with Christa Campbell, Lati Grobman, and Carl Mazzacone for Lionsgate.

Synopsis:
In Texas, years before the events of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre in the early days of the infamous Sawyer family, the youngest child is sentenced to a mental hospital after a suspicious incident leaves the sheriff’s daughter dead. Ten years later, the Sawyer teen kidnaps a young nurse and escapes with three other inmates. Pursued by authorities including the deranged sheriff out to avenge his daughter’s death, Sawyer goes on a violent road trip from hell, molding him into the monster now known as Leatherface.

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Exclusive: Rocky Gray Talks Halloween Horror Anthology 10/31

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The last time we gave you guys word on the upcoming Halloween horror anthology 10/31 was to bring you the knock-out exclusive official poster, which you can peep to your left (click for a higher-res version).

The new horror anthology in the vein of V/H/S and Creepshow joins an ensemble cast together to spin twisted tales of the macabre. The film is executive produced by P.J. Starks, creator of the critically acclaimed Volumes of Blood.

The film’s stories are directed by the likes of Justin M. Seaman (The Barn), Zane Hershberger (Devilution), John William Holt (The Dooms Chapel Horror), Brett DeJager (Bonejangles) and Rocky Gray making his directing debut.

This past weekend we were able to catch up with producer-director Rocky Gray and ask him a few choice questions about the anticipated upcoming anthology film.

You can check out our quick interview below and then make sure to hit us up and let us know how excited you are to check out 10/31 in the comments below!

Dread Central: How is the film coming along?

Rocky Gray: The film is now completed and we are getting the perks out to our Indiegogo backers. The backers and Death By Festival got to see the first cut of the film in October and they loved it so we’re very excited to get the film out to everyone else very soon.

DC: What can expect from this anthology?

RG: Expect to have a lot of Halloween themed fun. Each segment has its own flavor so the pacing and the look change throughout the film. With masked killers, vampires, scarecrows, tricksters and old hags there’s something for everyone.

DC: Will there be a sequel?

RG: If there was a demand for it we would make it happen!

Sounds good to us. Thanks for chatting with us, Rocky!

You can become a fan of the film on Facebook HERE.

SYNOPSIS:
A Halloween treat bag of all the things that go bump in the night. From masked killers to scarecrows, witches, and tricksters. There’s a scare for everyone in this anthology of horror and the macabre from the creators of The Barn and Volumes of Blood.

Red Letter Entertainment, Inc. brings you the directorial debut from Rocky Gray (composer of The Barn, Killing Floor 2), two-time Grammy-winning musician and former drummer for Evanescence. A new horror anthology in the vein of V/H/S/ and Creepshow brings an ensemble cast together to spin twisted tales of the macabre. The film is Executive Produced by P.J. Starks, creator of the critically acclaimed Volumes of Blood.

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The Duffer Brothers Have Begun Working on Stranger Things 3

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I wasn’t the world’s biggest fan of the first season of Netflix and The Duffer Brothers’ “Stranger Things” to tell you the truth. That said, I absolutely loved the second season (read our reviews HERE).

It is with this in mind that we are all looking forward to “Stranger Things 3”.

Recently Deadline reported that at Vulture Festival LA the Duffer Brothers, producer Shawn Levy, Finn Wolfhard, Paul Reiser, and Linnea Berthelsen talked about season two and teased season three.

“We are [in] very early days on season three, and we’re still figuring it out,” Ross Duffer said, before taking a beat, then adding: “I probably wasn’t supposed to say that. That’s not official; that wasn’t an official announcement — we’re just working on it, just for our own amusement… for fun!”

Whatever.

We all know at this point that there is going to be a “Stranger Things 3” and that The Duffer Brothers will one day begin working on it. Don’t worry so much, Ross Duffer.

After all, your brother already let us know that season three will begin after a time jump:

“Even if we wanted to hop into the action faster, we couldn’t,” says Matt Duffer. “Our kids are aging. We can only write and produce the show so fast. They’re going to be almost a year older by the time we start shooting season three. It provides certain challenges. You can’t start right after season two ended. It forces you to do a time jump. It’s a long way of saying that yeah, we’re going to do a time jump.”

What did you think of “Stranger Things 2”? Did you dig it more (or less) than season one? Make sure to hit us up and let us know in the comments below or on social media!

“Stranger Things 2” is currently streaming on Netflix.

Synopsis:
It’s 1984, and the citizens of Hawkins, Indiana, are still reeling from the horrors of the Demogorgon and the secrets of Hawkins Lab. Will Byers has been rescued from the Upside Down, but a bigger, sinister entity still threatens those who survived.

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James Cameron’s Terminator Reboot/Sequel Hires Screenwriter

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The last word we brought you guys on producer James Cameron and Deadpool-director Tim Miller’s new Terminator film was when we let you know that Paramount had set the film’s release date for July 26, 2019.

Today we have news via The Wrap that the studio is bringing in screenwriter Billy Ray (Captain Phillips) to pen the movie’s script based on a story crafted by Cameron.

You may remember that Cameron and Miller created a writers room a while back to plan out an all-new trilogy of films, but while that writer’s room included David Goyer, Charles Eglee, and Josh Friedman, it seems like Ray will be the first film’s sole writer. For now.

Story details are, of course, being kept under wraps, but Cameron and Miller are treating the new movie as a direct sequel to Cameron’s T2: Judgment Day.

“This is a continuation of the story from ‘Terminator 1’ and ‘Terminator 2.’ And we’re pretending the other films were a bad dream,” Cameron told THR. “Or an alternate timeline, which is permissible in our multi-verse.”

We also know that Cameron plans to center the new film/trilogy around a new group of younger characters, who will eventually carry on the baton as it were.

“A lot of this is handing off the baton to a new generation of characters,” Cameron said. “We’re starting a search for an 18-something young woman to essentially be the new centerpiece of these stories. And then a number of other characters around her and characters from the future. We still fold time in the story in intriguing ways. But we have Arnold’s character and Linda’s character to anchor it.”

How excited are you for James Cameron’s new Terminator flick? Make sure to hit us up and let us know in the comments below or on social mdeia!

The new Terminator film is produced by James Cameron and will be directed by Tim Miller (Deadpool). The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton.

Terminator 2.5 is expected to hit July 26, 2019.

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