This weekend indie monster movie Creature hit 1,500 theaters nationwide, which, for better or for worse, is a pretty magnificent feat regardless. Starring Mehcad Brooks, Serinda Swan, Amanda Fuller, Dillon Casey, Lauren Schneider, Aaron Hill, Daniel Bernhardt, and Sid Haig, Creature (review here) is centered around a group of friends on a road trip in New Orleans who have the misfortune of meeting “Lockjaw,” a fabled half-man/half-alligator during their travels.
Dread Central had the opportunity to chat with Creature writer Tracy Morse over the flick’s opening weekend to discuss with him how his story has evolved since its creation some ten years ago, his thoughts on the final film, as well as what he’s working on these days.
Dread Central: Let’s start with how the idea for Creature came about since I know this is a movie that has been a long time coming for both you and director Fred Andrews.
Tracy Morse: “I came up with the idea for Lockjaw about ten years ago and wrote it as a monster movie just like the kinds of movies I grew up loving. I sold the original script to Fred in 2002 for $1 but over the years, his career had kept him incredibly busy as production designer on a lot of amazing projects in both film and television. Finally, about four years ago we revisited the script and started working on the story again, making tweaks to the story.”
“The original story was set in the Vietnam War era and the killer wasn’t an alligator/human hybrid either. He was a burn victim from Vietnam who had actual alligator teeth in his mouth, which I thought would be kind of cool. But when we revisited the story, we changed up some mythology, scrapped the Vietnam stuff and added more of a Southern Gothic feel to the story, which was due a lot to Fred and his adoration of Lovecraftian stories.”
DC: So, are you pleased then with how the final product came out? Were you surprised by the distributor’s plans to release Creature in 1,500 theaters this weekend?
Morse: “You know, even though it seems like there are a mixed bag of opinions out there regarding the movie, I think it’s pretty cool that they were able to get the movie into theaters. I’m really happy for Fred because I still have no idea how to do it.
“But the truth is, the movie they made really isn’t my story up there on the big screen so I sort of distanced myself from the project because the movie is really Fred’s story now. I will say, though, that I think both the cinematography and the casting were both great, and I think visually the movie works. It’s definitely different than what I originally had envisioned Lockjaw to be, but I’m proud of Fred’s efforts on Creature either way.”
DC: I noticed that in addition to writing, you’ve also worked as an actor and director on several projects. Which role is the role you prefer to take on new projects?
Morse: “You know, I think I prefer writing to both acting or directing. Honestly, the extent of my acting career really has been me being dead bodies in several different projects so I wouldn’t really call that ‘acting’ per se, but I think overall writing is what I love the most. There’s just something about finding characters, exploring different concepts and stories and seeing how it all comes together that I really love.”
DC: Now that Creature is out in theaters, what’s next for you? Are you planning on continuing your writing career within the horror world, or are you looking for opportunities outside the genre?
Morse: “I grew up loving horror and consider myself a huge fan so I really love writing within the genre so I think that’s where I’ll stay for now. And I’ve got a lot of genre projects in the pipeline right now with my writing partner, Matthew Currie Holmes. The first one is a script called Self Storage, which has a Vamp and the original Fright Night throwback sort of feel. Those were always two of my favorite movies, and I wanted to bring the fun back to the vampire genre. Vampires aren’t fun anymore- they’re either brooding or way too serious, and I just want to bring back vampires who enjoy killing again, but in a darkly comedic fashion.”
“I’m also working on another project called P5Ych, which I admit is pretty insane. It takes place in 1983 in a secret psych ward that helps ‘real-life’ survivors of Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, Leatherface, Michael Myers and the Sleepaway Camp massacre deal with their trauma through a series of experimental treatments designed to help them overcome their post-traumatic stress disorders.”
Creature is currently in theaters nationwide. Special thanks to Tracy Morse for taking the time to talk with Dread Central over the weekend!
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