Exclusive: The Butcher Brothers Talk Broken Families, Future Projects and More for The Thompsons
This week The Butcher Brothers' latest project, The Thompsons, arrived on Blu-Ray and DVD everywhere, and to mark the occasion, Dread Central caught up with the filmmaking duo, Mitchell Altieri and Phil Flores, to chat about the sequel to the 2006 modern vampire flick The Hamiltons.
The Thompsons still follows the Hamilton family, but this time things are a bit different as the clan of vamps are on the search for a potential cure, other people like them and getting a dangerous taste of freedom while traveling the world. Written by The Butcher Brothers and star Cory Knauf, The Thompsons also stars Samuel Child, Joseph McKelheer, Mackenzie Firgens, Elizabeth Henstridge and Ryan Hartwig.
Read on for our exclusive interview with The Butcher Brothers on The Thompsons, their future projects and much more!
Dread Central: So back when you were working on The Hamiltons in '06, did you have any idea of where this story would go if you guys were to make a sequel? Or did the story come along later on?
Mitchell Altieri: I think we always had some ideas in the back of our heads when we were working on The Hamiltons as to where these characters would go if we were lucky enough to get to come back. And then after we finished it and The Hamiltons really took off and did well, we started to have a few other ideas, too. The one thing for us, though, is that we wanted to make sure the sequel would be a unique and different story from the original. We really wanted to shift the first film and not tread in the same area.
Also, at first we really weren't that into the idea of a sequel; we weren't sure it was the right thing to do, but then we had the idea to shoot in England, and that opened up the story and showed where The Hamiltons came from, their lineage and their origin story and exploring those ideas really excited us as filmmakers. So then we started working with Cory, finding the answers for all these questions we now had, and that's when we really got excited about coming back.
Dread Central: Because vampires have been so popular the last 5 years or so, were you guys conscientious of not wanting to do the same old vampire story back on The Hamiltons, and was it a fun world to return to for The Thompsons considering how much has changed since you made the first film?
Mitchell Altieri: You know, back when we did The Hamiltons, it really was ahead of the curve of the vampire resurgence so all we were really trying to do at the time was make a movie that was scary to us. And I think that's why The Hamiltons did so well and the fans responded to it- we weren't trying to make the vampire movie you'd seen so many times before.
Phil Flores: We wanted to do a different spin on what vampires were and make it so our vampires had more human-like characteristics to them so we went back and looked at all the old stories, not the Hollywood versions of those stories. No garlic, no sunlight- that's all Hollywood stories. We stripped everything away and created our lore where vampires are born and bred, they aren’t really made; how do you deal with something like that? What do you do if suddenly you realize one day you're a vampire and there's nothing you can do about it?
And for Mitchell and I, it was always about what it's like for these characters who have this disease who are basically forced to kill in order to survive- how does that affect who you are? And in going back to the original, they are these outcasts and there's an interesting reflection in that story and where it goes in the second movie. The idea of monsters hiding within human beings and trying to fit in amongst the rest of society.
Dread Central: Cory is a guy you've worked with many times throughout your career, in front of the camera and as a writing partner; can you talk about what it is about his sensibilities that you guys enjoy working with?
Mitchell Altieri: When we first met him, he was just like the wisest teenager I'd ever seen- talent way beyond his years.
Phil Flores: And it's really interesting to watch Cory throughout the years because he's obviously very close to the character of Francis so he could really get in there and get really deep with him. Cory was able to bring out a lot more in The Thompsons, I think, and not just with his character- with the entire family even. They're not this young teenage family anymore; they're becoming adults, which is essentially Cory's story in reality, too. And that was great.
Dread Central: Is this a world you'd like to revisit then if you were asked to return for a third movie?
Phil Flores: Oh yeah, we'd definitely be interested in a third one. I'd love to discover more and more about the original family and go back to the original roots of where they all come from. We really enjoy making these movies.
Mitchell Altieri: I'd definitely come back for another; I think our movies really reflect who we are as storytellers and the kinds of films we like to see as fans, too. The Hamiltons, The Violent Kind and now The Thompsons are all examples of the kind of stories we enjoy- broken families and exploring what's going on underneath all of that. We like to push that idea as far as we can and in different ways each time.
Our next project is also kind of like that- Holy Ghost People, which I directed and Phil co-wrote. It's set in one of those snake-handling churches and involves wolves so we're stepping away from vampires for a bit now. But it's also about broken families in a way, too, so that definitely seems to be the underlying theme to most of the movies we make.
THE HAMILTONS are back. Under their new name the Thompsons, the cursed blood-drinkers are looking for another vampire clan who can help them survive. After causing a bloodbath in America that put them on the world’s ‘Most Wanted’ list, they end up in Great Britain; and their quest leads to a public house in the quaint village of Ludlow, where the Stuart family say they will help. But soon Francis Hamilton suspects the Stuarts may have a hidden agenda behind their kindness. An epic battle between the two clans is inevitable, but who is strong enough to emerge the victors?
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