Out now in select theaters and On Demand from our old friends at IFC Midnight, Feral stars Scout Taylor-Compton (Halloween) as she fights to survive a ravenous outbreak that threatens to transform her and her fellow campers into flesh-thirsty cannibal zombies. There’s also a little bit of a werewolf mythos found in the early setup of Mark H. Young’s assorted storyline and the director, in the below interview, admits that he really wanted to combine his favorite elements in horror to hopefully come up with a fresh take on the creature feature.
Scout Taylor-Compton also joins in on the fun and talks about how much she loved wielding a shotgun in Feral and how making a Hallmark movie is much harder than making a horror movie. She also reminded me that she grew up in a mortuary and, as a result, was born to kick ass in a backwoods, blood and guts horror thriller.
“Your best friend has just been infected with a horrifying virus that will soon turn her into a rabid, rampaging cannibal-zombie. Do you: a) try to save her? or b) kill her before she kills you? That’s the nightmarish scenario six students find themselves facing when their celebratory camping trip goes terrifyingly wrong. One by one, each falls victim to the “feral” disease, until only Alice (Scout Taylor-Compton, Rob Zombie’s Halloween) and Jules (Olivia Luccardi, It Follows)—two girlfriends testing the waters of their new relationship—are left standing, armed with a shotgun and holed up in a remote cabin. They’ve got a hell of a fight before them if they hope to survive… The Walking Dead’s Lew Temple costars in this grisly blend of survival thriller and contagion shocker.”
Feral came to select theaters and VOD on May 25.
Dread Central: Would you call Feral a werewolf movie and was the idea for the film ever going in more of that direction early on?
Mark H. Young: Honestly, it was kind of a blend of my favorite horror mythologies. I kind of see a little bit of zombies, vampires, and werewolves. I just wanted to do something new.
DC: Scout, your character Alice gets to wreck a lot of havoc. Is this one of the most physical roles you’ve had and the most gunplay you’ve been required to do?
Scout Taylor-Compton: You know, ever since the first Halloween, that one was pretty brutal and the second one was pretty intense. I’ve just progressed through my years of physicality and every role that I have chosen, I look for that. I’m a huge fan of Resident Evil and Alien and just like a badass chick. In my earlier years, I kind of took on a character that was very vulnerable and as I’ve gotten older I guess I take on much stronger women that can fight and take care of themselves and don’t need any help. The kind of character that’s in charge.
DC: This is the first time you’ve been in a film with Lew Temple since Halloween but you both seem really comfortable with each other onscreen. Have you guys become better friends on the convention circuit because I think this is the first time you’ve actually been onscreen together, right?
STC: Yeah, me and Lew…it is, it is the convention circuit. It’s the Rob Zombie family. Even if we haven’t worked together in any of our movies, we’re just always so connected as family. Getting to work with Lew, I absolutely freakin’ love Lew! He’s like one of my favorite human beings and he’s just so talented. And I always forget that, especially as an actor. You know him as a person so then when you get to see their acting it’s like ‘Holy fuck, dude you’re so talented!’ Especially in this, he just blew me away and I’m so honored that I actually got to work with him.
DC: Yeah, it’s good to see him in a meatier role. He is good in the film and I think horror fans are going to get a kick out of seeing you two together.
STC: Yeah, I hope it’s not the last. I would love to work with Lew again. We always say whatever project we can find that we can work together on, we’d do it. You say that with a few actors that you get along with and Lew’s one of them.
DC: It looks like you came aboard Feral early on. Mark, did you guys work together to develop the story and round out the casting a little bit? Was Scout the first person that came aboard?
MHY: Ironically, Lew was the first person that came on board and probably had something to do with influencing Scout to come on board. She was the one that really got the budget going. She’s the glue that holds the entire cast together. We needed somebody like Scout with chops to be able to pull that off. It was a brutal role because you had to be secretly vulnerable and outwardly strong and still kick major ass.
STC: (laughs) Yes. Dude, I felt so powerful holding the shotgun. Knowing that it’s not real and I’m not using it in a real setting, I don’t know, there’s just something about it where I feel strong.
DC: Mark, can you talk about the Feral makeup and the physicality of the actors once they turned rabid? Some of the stunt work is pretty impressive.
MHY: Obviously, it was a very small budget film, so we actually used stuntmen for the feral characters which served us well. The unfortunate part is that they ended up spending an awful lot of time in a chair. It took quite a while to put the feral makeup on, I think it was like three hours minimum. But we had a an amazing guy, Jerry Constantine, who’s kind of like a bastion in the horror world. He just does some really great stuff.
DC: A lot of that stunt work took place inside of the cabin. Scout, that cabin was a soundstage that you’ve worked on before, right? How strange was it to film a horror movie there when the last time you filmed there it was for a Hallmark movie?
MHY: Oh my god, is that true?
STC: (laughs) Yes, you noticed! That makes my heart so happy. Dude, honestly, it brought back a lot of memories. I was like sixteen when I did that Hallmark movie but I remember that cabin. As soon as we came back, I was just like, there’s no way. This is my second home. So, it was cool so I knew my bearings but it was interesting doing it in these two different worlds. I did catch myself when I was doing Feral, like, wait a minute I’m not doing a Hallmark movie. This is a horror movie. It was funny to go back.
MHY: Wait, you didn’t cave heads in with a baseball bat in the Hallmark show?
STC: No, I fell in love and I made soup and I wanted to be a doctor! In like corsets and big old skirts. That’s crazy, that’s harder than doing Feral. Doing something like that is so out of my comfort zone.
DC: So, how does Feral compare to the other horror films you’ve worked on? Do you still get a little freaked out watching yourself in something like this or are you a more hardened horror fan by now?
STC: Well, I am, I am. Growing up in a mortuary with my mortician father definitely sparked something in me at a young age. I’ve always been interested in these type of movies but I’ve always been interested more in how they’re done. I’ve never been afraid in any horror movie. I’m the girl that can just point out everything and it all looks very fake to me. I think that’s why I like being on horror sets, I just like how they’re made. I get giddy when I’m on a horror set. I grew up with my Dad showing me The Exorcist when I was ten and, being downstairs, there were dead bodies everywhere. It just kind of stuck.