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Screamfest L.A. 2014: Filmmakers Talk the World Premiere of Parlor

With co-writer and director Kenny Gage and Devon Downs’ “tourists in peril” feature Parlor set for its World Premiere this coming Tuesday, October 14th, at 7:30 pm in Hollywood, CA, at the venerated Screamfest Film Festival, read on for our exclusive interview with the filmmakers and have a look at some stills from the flick.

Produced by Andrew Pagana, Bill Ceresia, Todd Slater, Thomas Mahoney, and Brett Donowho, Parlor follows the plight of six young college hopefuls vacationing and partying in Eastern Europe who get more than they bargained for when they unwittingly get caught up in a maniacal tattoo artist’s fiendish side business. Actors Jordan James Smith, Tiffany Demarco, Sara Fabel, Ben Whalen, Claire Garvey, Anthony Del Negro, Beth Humphreys, and Joey Fisher star with Robert Lasardo (“Nip/Tuck”, Death Race, The Human Centipede III) appearing as the nefarious artist.

Shot in Vilnius, Lithuania, over the course of twenty days on the Red Epic camera, co-writer and director Gage stated of the project’s inception, “We were throwing around ideas focusing on real life horror and the possibilities of shooting in Eastern Europe, and Devon mentioned there’s a longstanding tradition in tattoo culture (in which) people get tattoos while on vacation, which sparked the concept.”

With tourists running afoul of bad elements in Eastern Europe having been previously assayed by Eli Roth in his 2005 film Hostel, we asked the writer/director duo what sets Parlor apart.

Responded Downs, “It’s amazing to draw a comparison to Hostel as we are fans of that film; however, aside from having tourists and being set in Eastern Europe, the two films aren’t similar. Without giving away too much, our story revolves around Robert Lasardo’s character of “The Artist,” who runs a tattoo parlor, and his apprentice, Uta, played by real life tattoo artist Sara Fabel.”

As for the casting of Lasardo, “He’s one of the most underrated actors of his generation, and that’s not an exaggeration,” stated Downs. “We’ve been friends with Robert for a few years, and we specifically wrote this film with him in mind.”

Added Gage, “Robert is a true professional and is a pleasure to work with. He’s extremely smart and philosophical, which translated well with the role of ‘The Artist,’ and the three of us were very in sync the entire production. What we can tell you about his character is that ‘The Artist’ is multi-faceted and a bit of a nomad, and he is part of a long bloodline of artists with a very unique talent never before seen (on film).”

Hearing the waft of a potential intended cinematic horror villain, we queried as to whether or not the character was intended as a franchise villain, to which both filmmakers replied unanimously, “Yes, we already have outlines for sequels two and three.”

This being a horror film, the topic of onscreen gore and cinematic mayhem was broached.

“We were shooting for as much practical gore as possible,” allowed Downs. “We flew out the crazy talented Christina Kortum (of NBC’s “Grimm”), and she was simply amazing. With very little time she calmly pulled off awesome life casts and prosthetics. We also called our good friend Mario Torres, Jr. (One Missed Call, Hellboy II), to consult on the gore, and for additional blood and gore VFX we were fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with (the lab) Stargate (“The Walking Dead”), who pulled off some amazing visuals. The combo makes for some disturbing and uncomfortable moments!”

Regarding the programming of Parlor for the opening night gala of Screamfest, Down effused, “Being selected is an honor. With fourteen years of history, Screamfest is a great outlet for independent horror, and we couldn’t ask for a better venue to premiere our film.”

For tickets to the premiere (with a Q&A following with moderator and director of 2013’s Evil Dead Fede Alvarez) and to the Opening Night Party, which will be held at Madame Tussauds’ Hollywood Wax Museum, you can visit Screamfest here, and for more info on Parlor you can visit the film’s official site here.

Screamfest runs from October 14th to the 21st.

The Parlor

Sean Decker