Director Danny Perez Talks Antibirth

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The directorial debut of Danny Perez, Antibirth follows a glassy-eyed ex-Marine turned stoner-slacker named Lou who wakes up after a wild night of partying with symptoms of a strange illness and bizarre, horrifying visions. She struggles to get a grip on reality while stories of conspiracy spread… and so does her midsection: Lou’s pregnant and doesn’t know who the daddy is.

Dread Central: Antibirth is a real throwback to the “body horror” of a bygone era, when David Cronenberg was king of the genre and creepy pregnancy movies (Rosemary’s Baby, It’s Alive, I Don’t Want to be Born) were all the rage – were those thoughts in your mind when you, er, conceived Antibirth, or was the story inspired by something else?

Danny Perez: I’m definitely a fan of the genre. I would say that was one element combined with my love of conspiracy theories, YouTube abductee videos, and other genres of film: slacker comedy, art films, and other horror films.

DC: Your cast is killer! Natasha Lyonne, Chloë Sevigny, and Meg Tilly… a dream, right? Since this is your first big feature film, how’d you attract them to come on board, and what’s your directorial background?

DP: I was really lucky for sure to get such a wonderful cast. It took a lot of pressure off the edit as far as not having to stitch together more inconsistent performances from inexperienced actors. I had made a bunch of music videos over the years (Animal Collective, Hot Chip, Panda Bear, Kurt Vile, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and more) and had also made more abstract video content that would be mixed and projected at concerts in a variety of venues for a group called Black Dice. So my background and visual sensibility is a little different and less traditional than most directors. I think this accounts for all the style and reckless abandon you see in Antibirth.

DC: Tell us about Natasha as a producer and an actor – is it good having both-in-one on set? Any fun anecdotes about her?

DP: It can be tricky for an actor who is also producing I think, but Natasha did a really great job and had my back when I needed her to. Since I made the very green mistake of not making myself a producer, she was able to stand up for me when I didn’t see the writing on the wall at times. But then other times you need them to take off the producer’s hat and trust you as a director and your vision.

DC: Your characters are more well-rounded and have more backstory than most in “midnight movie” horror films; tell us why and how you chose disenfranchised war vets to be your focus.

DP: I guess I like outcasts and underdogs and damaged people. So the whole movie kind of deals with people that have been chewed up by a system they can’t keep up with and choose to indulge a dark side that leads them further down a destructive past. In that regard, ex-soldiers that have been neglected and abused is an interesting duality and seemed to me to provide an interesting avenue to explore.

DC: What’s your career goal – gonna stick with horror? – and where do you see yourself five years from now?

DP: Well, it took five years to get this movie made, so I’m hoping the next one will come much quicker. I’m mostly interested in exploring strange human behavior and the grotesque limits it reaches in various forms. Sometimes it’s grisly and sometimes absurd. So I feel I will always like to use humor to explore some of the more out-there ideas. But a little bit of blood and violence can be good to heighten the mood too.

Debuting in limited theaters and on VOD September 2nd, Danny Perez’s Antibirth looks to be 2016’s trippiest film. Natasha Lyonne, Chloë Sevigny, Meg Tilly, Emmanuel Kabongo, and Mark Webber star. It was produced by Cole Payne, Roger M. Mayer, David Anselmo, Justin Kelly, and Lyonne.

Synopsis:
Hard-drinking, pill-popping, bong-ripping Lou (Lyonne) and her best friend, Sadie (Sevigny), spend their days adrift in a druggy haze. But one wild night out becomes a bad trip that never ends when Lou wakes up with symptoms of an unexplained, highly abnormal pregnancy. Who—or what—is growing inside her? As her due date approaches with alarming swiftness, the fear, paranoia, and conspiracy theories begin to pile up.

Spiked with blasts of hallucinatory color, surreal shocks, and subversive comedy, the audacious feature debut from Danny Perez is a no-holds-barred descent into delirium.

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