Remember the glory days of PG horror with some edge? I’m talking about movies like Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Gate, Monster Squad, Beetlejuice, Hocus Pocus… you know the ones.
For many of us, those were the movies that introduced us to the genre, and even though they were never going to scar our minds, they didn’t try to cushion their scares either. They respected our intelligence and made us want to build tree forts. Kids just don’t have it as good these days, but with Halloween Spookies, Dave Parker and Dustin Mills have brought back the Halloween special and 80’s horror anthology for the whole family to enjoy.
Now that Halloween Spookies is upon us, Dread Central caught up with co-directors Mills and Parker to discuss the film and their love of the spooky season. Enjoy.
Dread Central: Halloween Spookies is a fun throwback to the family-friendly, holiday spirit horror movies of yesteryear. It comes across as a passion project and the type of film that’s few and far between in the modern era. Do you think movies like this are lacking these days?
Dave Parker: Thanks for the kinds words. I do think that films like this are lacking; there are plenty of films filled with homages, or love letters, to certain genres. There aren’t very many Halloween films or horror films that are approachable for children or harnessing this genre. For example, films aimed at children like Something Wicked This Way Comes or films not necessarily aimed at children like Ghoulies 2, but had qualities a kid could enjoy. They don’t really seem to exist.
Dustin Mills: Yes and no. Every once in a while we get something like Coraline, Paranorman, Monster House, or Goosebumps. I think kids’ horror has lost its edge a bit, though. Proper television Halloween specials are few and far between these days. That’s for certain. We’re trying to fill that void.
DC: What does Halloween mean to you guys?
DP: To me Halloween mostly means fun, but with a little bit of fear in it. Halloween also, to me, is certain memories or pictures, the cold breeze brushing against leaves in the middle of the night, while an orange street lamp illuminates them. It’s also the homemade haunted houses that covered the streets when I was growing up. It’s also that feeling of nostalgia that goes back to being a young child and having the excitement that this part of the year brought like it was all for me, or people who loved monsters.
DM: Candy, scary movies, rustling leaves, costumes, as well as that intangible warmth that the autumn season brings. Hard to describe, but unmistakable.
DC: Can you tell us about some of the movies that inspired you when you were developing the project?
DM: It was about capturing that specific Halloween atmosphere. Something between a Disney Channel special and Creepshow. I know that Dave especially wanted to retain a 1980’s edge. Kids are smart and they like to be scared a little. We wanted to make an old fashioned PG movie.
DP: The movies that inspired me for this particular feature are probably the usual suspects in the horror lite genre. Stuff like Something Wicked This Way Comes, Beetlejuice, Ghoulies 2, Hocus Pocus, Ernest Scared Stupid, Monster Squad. Movies I love to watch on Halloween, but also movies I grew up with.
DC: The world needs a Halloween event movie that pertains to the spirit of the holiday. Can we expect annual sequels?
DM: We loved making this so much that we are already talking about next year. Fingers crossed it will be a new annual tradition.
DP: Most definitely. We all had a wonderful time making it and have unlimited ideas bumping around in our skulls. We’d love to do this as long as we can.
DC: What other projects do you guys have in the pipeline you can tell us about?
DP: Thanks for asking. Next year I should have some films coming out I acted in. A couple of the films were directed by Dustin, the family approachable film Neon Doom and the comedy horror film Benny and Steve Almost Die. They both were a blast to make and they should be pretty entertaining. Besides the stuff with Dustin I have some more R-rated films coming out. I shot a small role for Adam Clevenger’s debut film, Severed Ties. I also had a small role in Fred Vogel’s new feature film, The Final Interview, and lastly, I had a tiny role in the new vampire film Descending, which Dustin also worked on.
DM: Her Name Was Torment II is being shipped finally. We have The Hornet’s Disciple, Neon Doom, Benny and Steve Almost Die, and more coming out next year. Not to mention Her Name Was Torment III. I’ve been very busy.
If you haven’t seen it yet, you can watch Halloween Spookies for FREE below.