Exclusive: Marcus Dunstan Talks The Collection, God of War, Rise and More
This Tuesday, March 26, Marcus Dunstan's slick and savage sequel The Collection arrives on Blu-Ray and DVD everywhere courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment, and we got a chance to sit with him and talk gore and more!
Co-written by Dunstan and Patrick Melton, The Collection once again follows a twisted madman who "collects" humans, but this time we find ourselves locked inside his booby-trapped house of horrors. The sequel stars Josh Stewart, Emma Fitzpatrick, Lee Turgesen and Christopher McDonald.
Since we had spoken to Dunstan for The Collection's original theatrical release back in November, we thought for this interview we'd discuss some of the deleted scenes from the film, the excellent production design and much more. Be forewarned, however; if you haven't seen The Collection yet, the following interview might be a bit spoiler-y (if you haven't, feel free to check out our initial interview here).
Our advice would be to watch The Collection ASAP (it's wicked fun) and head back here to read more about the film and Dunstan's thoughts on tackling the upcoming God of War adaptation and his first sci-fi project, Rise, both of which were co-written with Melton.
Check out our exclusive interview with Dunstan below!
Dread Central: So it's been a while since we last spoke for The Collection; I'm guessing you've been keeping yourself pretty busy with a few things here and there, huh? (Laughs)
Marcus Dunstan: Maybe one or two, yeah (laughs). Let me just tell you something, Heather- the last six months has been nonstop hanging out in sweat pants and occasionally I throw in a robe too. But thankfully all that stuff has been turned in now so I'm just waiting to hear back.
Dread Central: Awesome to hear. So let's talk about The Collection- since we already chatted once, I thought we'd do something a little different and talk about all the good stuff in the flick, including the deleted scenes- particularly the 8mm segment which definitely extends the story a bit.
Marcus Dunstan: Oh, I am so glad you mentioned that because that was something we had mixed into the final credits originally, but at the very, very last minute the powers-that-be asked us to pull it out. But I love the attitude of it and I was so grateful it was able to be included on the Blu-ray.
In fact, that shoot is a testament to the fact that real friendships can be forged in production; all it took to get that together was one phone call; we just rounded everyone up and shot it all in a day. I drove over to Josh's and picked him up. The wife and child you see in it are actually Patrick's family, and we shot all the garage stuff at my pace. We even had John Gulager shoot everything so to have your crew for something like this to be nothing but friends was really cool to me.
And I really loved it because it was our wink and a smile ending. We also shot on 8 mm so it was nice to revisit the very first format I ever shot movies on. We were very lucky to shoot The Collection on 35 mm too, and I think it's going to be very hard from now on to get to shoot on film so we took all the opportunities we could on this one.
Dread Central: Going back and watching this for a second time really gave me a catch a lot of the stuff I missed the first time around, especially around The Collector's warehouse, which seemed to become a character itself in this. Can you talk a bit about the process behind designing it, particularly the grotesque sculptures of limbs and bones? Did you give Gary (Tunnicliffe) any notes on how you wanted those to look or discussed whether or not they had a particular meaning to the way they were constructed?
Marcus Dunstan: In regards to the look of the warehouse, that was all our production designer Graham 'Grace' Walker, who currently works on "The Walking Dead" and does an amazing job there too. He just took this abandoned boarding school that we found to an entirely new level, and trust me; when we got to this place, it was not exactly safe. In fact, we found a dead body the very first day of our scout; it's a rare occasion when a horror movie has to come into a location and clean it up to make it look like crap, but that's exactly what we had to do and Graham did an amazing job.
And with Gary, we had a lot of conversations about what was going on inside the mind of this madman and the meaning behind these really repugnant yet beautiful works of art. They were all arranged to represent various insects since that was another part of his "collector" nature. It was unfortunate that the MPAA saw the version of the poster we did with my favorite of the sculptures and pumped the brakes on it because I thought it looked so cool. I mean- I understand why; even though what you're seeing is in some ways very beautiful and haunting, it also depicts a certain cruelness, and the nudity mixed with the deformity was just a bit too much for them.
But everyone who saw these things up close all had the same reaction; they'd just stand there with their jaw agape in a sort of macabre wonderment. That's a testament to Gary's vision and added an entirely new level of creepy to production.
Dread Central: You mentioned earlier that you had just wrapped up some projects- was one of those by any chance the script for the God of War adaptation?
Marcus Dunstan: Why, of course (laughs).
Dread Central: Awesome; now I know you can't say anything so I won't even go there. What I do want to ask about though is that considering just how fantastic these games are and the rich mythology that's there for you and Patrick to try and manage for one movie, is focusing on what stories you want to tell for this movie the biggest challenge for you guys? Especially considering the fanbase out there?
Marcus Dunstan: Yeah, I am under a gag order so I can't really say anything except that I can't wait until we can share more with everyone because this process has been incredible. What I will say is that as a writer, every single story comes with its own challenges whether or not it's original or based on adapted material. So we definitely have to make sure that we be respectful of the rabid fanbase out there but also push the story in new ways that really make for a great cinematic experience. We've had a lot of freedom too to figure out what elements from this world will serve as an effective movie so that's been a great experience for us as writers and as fans of this world too.
Dread Central: Anything else coming up that you're allowed to share with us?
Marcus Dunstan: Well there's Rise; it's a robot uprising movie- and talk about different. Wow. It's an emotionally charged uprising story, and I can't wait for it to shake some heads. It's our first sci- fi project, and it pushed us further as writers than we've ever been pushed before; we also got to play with all those familiar sci-fi elements in new ways in this.
But Rise focuses on this moment in history where technology changes everything and in a very short time span; you'd be amazed at how quickly things can change when you're not paying attention.
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