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Tales of Halloween Interview Spotlight: Darren Lynn Bousman

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Tales of Halloween

Horror hits like V/H/S and The ABCs of Death have proven that the anthology film format has been revived, and so a new omnibus is afoot for 2015 – assembling the likes of Neil Marshall (The Descent), Darren Bousman (The Devil’s Carnival), and Lucky McKee (The Call) behind their collective cameras.

Epic Pictures Group financed and produced Tales of Halloween, which brings together ten segments from different directors into one unified series of stories, all set in an Anytown, USA, suburb terrorized by ghouls, ghosts, and slashers on one, er, epic Halloween night.

We had a chance to visit the set of Darren Lynn Bousman’s segment, which was shot in his own neighborhood. Here’s what he had to say between wrangling a gaggle of trick-or-treaters and directing Barry Bostwick as one of the candy-givers.

Dread Central: So I know this is a project that was put together by friends, but is it something that you really felt like you wanted to do? You’ve been a part of an anthology before, haven’t you?

Darren Lynn Bousman: No, I haven’t’ the closest thing is “Fear Itself,” which was a TV series from way back when.

DC: Oh, I remember that, the New Year’s Eve episode…

DLB: Yeah, here is the thing: Why I wanted to do it is filmmaking is fun for me. I don’t have fun making movies a lot of the time because it’s so intense, you know; it’s thousands of emails and anger and heartache and pain a lot of the time to get to the point of actually making the movie, and by the time you’re actually there, you’re so exhausted from all the process to actually get to that point that you don’t actually enjoy it. That’s why I do the movies like The Devil’s Carnival or Repo; those are fun for me because I’m working with friends, I’m working with people that I actually admire and respect as artists as opposed to the other kind of way where I don’t know the people. I walk in as kind of an outsider.  So any time I have a chance to actually work with people that I respect or admire, I want to jump on it because that reminds me that filmmaking is and can be fun.

DC: What’s it been like working with Mike Mendez and also Axelle Carolyn as producers? How hands-on are they?

DLB: They’re really supportive; they’ve been here both days… what I think is also good is that they come from filmmaking background so they understand the challenges that directors go into and writers go into so I think that’s also helpful because you’re not dealing with a guy who sits behind a desk or maybe has not gone through the directing process; figuring out shots and realizing what each one of those shots mean to you. So I think that it’s good to be able to work with other directors when doing it. It’s kind of weird though… because usually with producers there’s not an emotional relationship there. These are guys that I’ve known for years, and the horror communities are so small, so when you’re working with them, you don’t want to upset them, I don’t want to do something that’s half-ass. I don’t ever want to do that, but I really want to make sure that I give something that lives up to the movies that I’ve done because there’s a relationship that surpasses just business.

DC: Does it feel like sort of a microcosm of a feature film when you do something that only shoots over two days, or is it just a totally different approach where you do a storyboard and you just kind of …

DLB: You know, it’s kind of crazy; unlike most things, on this I actually did the opposite… So here’s the shot list right here. Normally when I do shot lists, they’re very generic. This one is so complicated and so specific of what I want to do with it, knowing that I only have two days to do it and there’s no coming back whatever so with this one I’m really specific on the shot list. I think it can also go with the fact that I don’t want to disappoint anyone on this knowing that I have such little time; I don’t have time to try and figure it out on the day so this one is extremely storyboarded and shot listed out.

DC: How did you assemble your cast?

DLB: Just called people…  when there’s not a lot of money, you have to rely on relationships, so that’s what we did; we relied on relationships and mainly I just tapped into The Devil’s Carnival team… it’s all Devil’s Carnival team. Joe White (DP) and hair and make-up, all are back.

DC: Tell me a little bit about what the story is. There are ten different stories so did you have to follow a certain formula?

DLB: No, it was written by a friend of mine, Clint Sears, who I’ve known for 20 years, 30 years. I am 35; I’ve known him since I was a kid. It’s basically a twist; there’s a twist in it, but basically the house ends up being owned by the devil and the devil comes out and says, “Oh you want to play pranks on me? Let me show you a prank!” And then a series of events transpire that night of them pranking other people in the neighborhood. It’s fun; it’s a fun thing, and that’s what it is. It would be R-rated, but it’s cute.

DC: So, what were you like as a kid on Halloween?

DLB: I loved it.

DC: Were you a trickster?

DLB: Well, I loved haunted houses, and I think when I was a kid, I always made really elaborate haunted houses out of our house and tried to invite family and friends over to walk through them. Even now, every Halloween that’s all I want to do – go to a haunted house. Ironically, that’s my next goal… I set these goals for myself every year.  I wanted to make a musical, and I did that; I wanted to make horror movies, I did that. My next thing is to open an immersive experience… like Delusion here, the immersive experiential theatre thing, which is what I’m setting my goal for in 2015 and 16. So, it’s not about movies now; it’s about doing something that is taking it to the next level…

DC: But that’s also running a business full-time, isn’t it?

DLB: It is; I’ve been working on it for 3-1/2 years, and we finally have real momentum to make it a reality this year, and I’m not talking about like a Goretorium or anything like that; this is much, much different.

DC: Didn’t Rob Zombie have something like that?

DLB: Well, kind of. What I’m talking about is more theatre-based. It’s a “Tony and Tina’s Wedding” for the horror crowd times 1000 so you are a participant when you walk in and it’s a four-hour experience. Things happen around you and it involves you in them, like David Fincher’s The Game. That is what it is; you are a participant in something you’ve signed up for, then it transcends and blurs the lines of what’s real and what’s not.

DC: Aside from that, what’s next up?

DLB: I have Abattoir, The Devil’s Carnival 2, this, and my first-born child all coming soon! So it’s going to be a busy time.

DC: That’s the understatement of the year!

Darren Bousman candid - Tales of Halloween Interview Spotlight: Darren Lynn Bousman

Tales of Halloween will showcase the following ten short stories:

  • “TRICK” Directed by Adam Gierasch
  • “BAD SEED” Directed by Neil Marshall
  • “GRIMM GRINNING GHOST” Directed by Axelle Carolyn
  • “THE WEAK AND THE WICKED” Directed by Paul Solet
  • “FRIDAY THE 31st” Directed by Mike Mendez
  • “THE RANSOM OF RUSTY REX” Directed by Ryan Schifrin
  • “THIS MEANS WAR” Directed by Andrew Kasch and John Skipp
  • “THE NIGHT BILLY RAISED HELL” Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman
  • “SWEET TOOTH” Directed by Dave Parker
  • “DING DONG” Directed by Lucky McKee

The film has an ensemble cast including Pat Healy, Barry Bostwick, Noah Segan, Booboo Stewart, Greg Grunberg, Clare Kramer, Alex Essoe, Lin Shaye, Dana Gould, James Duval, Elissa Dowling, Grace Phipps, Pollyana McIntosh, Marc Senter, Tiffany Shepis, John F. Beach, Trent Haaga, Casey Ruggieri, Kristina Klebe, Cerina Vincent, John Savage, Keir Gilchrist, Nick Principe, Amanda Moyer, Jennifer Wenger, Sam Witwer, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Ben Woolf, Caroline Williams, Robert Rusler, Cameron Easton, Austin Falk, Madison Iseman, Daniel Dimaggio, Natalie Castillo, Ben Stillwell, and Hunter Smit.

Cameos include Joe Dante, John Landis, Adam Green, Adam Pascal, Adrianne Curry, Mick Garris, Lombardo Boyer, Graham Skipper, Stuart Gordon, Greg Mclean, Spooky Dan Walker, and Adrienne Barbeau.

Axelle Carolyn created the concept and brought the filmmakers together for this unique production. Tales of Halloween is being produced by Patrick Ewald and Shaked Berenson of Epic Pictures Group along with Mike Mendez and Axelle Carolyn. Composers Frank Ilfman (Big Bad Wolves) and Joseph Bishara (The Conjuring) are both attached to the project.

Synopsis:
Ten stories are woven together by their shared theme of Halloween night in an American suburb, where ghouls, imps, aliens, and axe murderers appear for one night only to terrorize unsuspecting residents.

tales of halloween - Tales of Halloween Interview Spotlight: Darren Lynn Bousman

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