On March 13th the party is over for director Jacob Gentry – or rather the My Super Psycho Sweet 16 party is over with the release of Part 3 – the final installment in his modern send-up of the slasher genre series.
Dread Central recently caught up with Gentry to discuss ending the My Super Psycho Sweet 16 franchise, what fans can expect from Part Three and how he’s reuniting with some of his fellow The Signal alumni for future projects.
Dread Central: How does it feel looking back on where the My Super Psycho Sweet 16 story was in the first film and how everything has culminated up until Part Three?
Jacob Gentry: When I started working on the first one, I always envisioned that fans would see the My Super Psycho Sweet 16 movies kind of like John Hughes meets John Carpenter. Sure, they’re slasher movie send-ups, but at the core the story is about this girl named Skye (Lauren McKnight) and her journey through all of this.
When we meet her, she’s only 15 and trying to figure out everything amidst the chaos of this murder spree. Now she’s a woman who is trying to move on with her life and put her past behind her, but first she has some loose ends that need to be tied up- specifically with her sister, Alex (Kirsten Prout).
DC: I feel like you guys don’t get enough credit for just how cleverly you work in so many of the usual horror tropes but make it accessible for newer genre fans, too. You definitely cater to a younger audience, but there’s something in there for the ‘old’ fans out there, too- like me.
Jacob Gentry: I really don’t think anyone was expecting anything from us with the first movie so I love that we keep surprising people by making great and entertaining modern horror movies. I know that what we’re making are essentially teen horror movies, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be intelligent and fun, too. I always wanted to make sure that if you had to remove the horror aspects of these stories, there’d still be a compelling reason to watch; and I think we’ve succeeded. The fans seem to think so, which is great- that’s who we’re doing this for.
I know that with a title like My Super Psycho Sweet 16, there’s a certain ‘expectation’ about what kind of movies we make, but that’s why we put so much thought and effort into them- to blow those expectations right out of the water. Slasher movies are kind of like blues songs; there’s a million of them, and when you look at them at the core, they all have a similar DNA. We don’t claim to be bringing anything new to the table with the My Super Psycho Sweet 16 movies except our approach. We want to mesh the old with the new and celebrate some of the tried and true horror movie tropes along the way.
DC: Can you talk about working with Lauren and Kirsten and developing their characters throughout these movies?
Jacob Gentry: Lauren has really grown up over the last three and a half years while we’ve been making these movies. There’s a lot of her in the character of Skye, and I think that’s what has always made her such a relatable character; you really like this girl and you want to see her survive all this. There’s this one moment in Part Three where Skye hangs out of an open car window and you can see her just letting everything from her past go in that one moment of freedom. I loved that scene so much; it might be my favorite moment from the entire series.
Kirsten is just wonderful, too; she’s highly intelligent and has grown up making movies so she has this ‘presence’ about her whenever she’s on camera. I think watching Alex’s transformation from this naïve girl who had no idea about who her father was to who she is in Part Three is pretty great because you really get to see how much of a toll all of this has taken on Alex’s psyche. Skye has had time to deal with all of this; Alex has not, and there’s some conflict between these sisters because of that.
DC: Let’s talk about that conflict because you definitely tease it on the poster, and I know from talking with the ladies that there’s a pretty epic showdown between them in My Super Psycho Sweet 16: Part 3.
Jacob Gentry: It is epic. We’ve been building towards this huge climax between Alex and Skye for some time now, and fans will finally get to see it in Part Three. The first movie was definitely fun but a lot more ‘innocent’, and the second was a lot more of a dramatic story so the third one was kind of freeing in a way because we could really let go and do a lot of fun stuff with the story this time around. That includes the big fight between Alex and Skye, and I have to say it turned out really cool.
DC: So is this really the end of the My Super Psycho Sweet 16 movies then? It seems like there will be a lot of disappointed fans out there.
Jacob Gentry: You know, I like the idea that there’s a conclusion because I wouldn’t want to have a ‘Crystal Skull’ moment or anything. But it’s not so much that I’m done with the story really; it’s just more that there is a great satisfaction that comes as a director when you get to tell a complete story, and that’s what these three movies are- a complete story.
Besides, I think the imagination of our fans could come up with a million stories that would end up being better than anything we would do anyway.
DC: So what’s up next for you then?
Jacob Gentry: Right now I’m working with David Bruckner (one of Gentry’s fellow co-directors on The Signal) on a screenplay, and last year I shot a sci-fi/time travel movie called Synchronicity with some of the gang from The Signal – AJ Bowen and Scott Poythress – and a few other great people, too. We should have it ready to go in 2013, and I would say it’s kind of like Blade Runner meets Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It’s like a companion piece of sorts to The Signal and things are definitely going well with it. I’m really excited for it. It’s definitely something new for me, which is pretty cool.
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