Later this month, Florida filmmaker Robert J. Massetti’s latest short film Creepy Crawly which he co-directed alongside Jason Daly and co-wrote with both Daly and Jason Marsiglia will be celebrating its world premiere at the Freak Show Horror Film Festival in Orlando.
No stranger to the world of indie horror, Massetti has been working as a filmmaker for around two decades and has spent the last seven years cultivating Freak Show Film Festival into one of the premiere genre fests in the US.
Dread Central recently caught up with Massetti to hear more about Creepy Crawly, his future plans for the story of this blood-sucking Lovecraftian-esque creature and much more. We also were able to get our hands on the very first trailer for Creepy Crawly which we’re pleased to debut exclusively on DC as well. Read on for our interview with Massetti and make sure to check out the trailer for Creepy Crawly below!
Dread Central: For our readers who may not be familiar with your work, can you start off talking about your career and your journey as a filmmaker up until this point?
Robert J. Massetti: I’ve been working in the industry for about 20 years now; our company is called Fear Film Studios and we’ve been making shorts for about 10 years now. I did my first two which was part of the film festival in Fort Lauderdale and then I started talking with Tim Ritter about working with him on some projects. That’s how my relationship with Sub Rosa Studios began- I had a few shorts at the time that we put together with a few others and made an anthology movie called Phobias.
At the time, I really had no idea about how deals and stuff worked so we didn’t make any money on Phobias but still continued working on another series of shorts and that became Realms of Blood which was my first feature film.
I hadn’t really made too many other projects since 2004- there were a few shorts and some commercials as well as the Fear Girls videos so when Jason (Daly) suggested we make a new short film this year, I was excited to get behind the camera again and work with him on this project and use it as a proof of concept because we really want to make Creepy Crawly into a feature film in the future.
Dread Central: So what inspired the story of Creepy Crawly then? What can you tell us about this creature?
Robert J. Massetti: I’ve never made a creature feature before so this was a really fun challenge for me; there’s a huge backstory to the creature and its origins that’s not in the short film version just because of time- plus that’s not really the story we’re telling in the short either. But either way, this creature has lived in the Everglades for thousands of years and when Hurricane Wilma hits, that stirs things up in the Everglades and that’s when our creature is unleashed. It’s this kind of spider/bat thing with tentacles that likes to suck out its victim’s blood which was cool.
At the end of the day, we just wanted to make it a creature unlike anything you’ve seen before and I think we’ve done just that.
And the short film takes place on a cattle ranch where these farmers stumble upon this creature after they shoot it; when they go to box it up, they realize that what they have on their hands is unlike anything they’ve ever seen before so they decide to take it to a professional but of course, before they do that, things go wrong. Very, very wrong (laughs). Essentially, the short film is what we’re hoping will be the first ten minutes of the feature film.
Dread Central: Indie shoots- well, shooting in general really- are never easy; did you guys face any challenges while making Creepy Crawly?
Robert J. Massetti: I think the biggest challenge was that we shot two movies in a day actually; we made an English version of the short as well as a version in Spanish. It was pretty ambitious because we had two sets of actors and pretty much had to do everything twice. We also didn’t have a lot of space to shoot in so we had to get creative with the 5D cameras we shot on too.
But it actually worked out that my co-director on the film, Jason (Daly), works for a Spanish-language channel here in Florida and they were looking for something to run during Halloween so we were able to work something out with them so that we had access to all this equipment and they’re going to be running the Spanish-language version of the Creepy Crawly short on their network which is fantastic.
Dread Central: Because this is a story you guys want to develop into a feature, have you and Jason started working on the full story of Creepy Crawly yet?
Robert J. Massetti: We do already have a few ideas for the feature film so it all depends on the interest we get from the short film version; we’ve had some great responses so far just for the poster we released so it seems like there is an audience out there for this story. But I definitely want to see this become a feature film because I think fans are always looking for new and interesting creature features to discover and I think we’ve got the potential for a great one here.
Dread Central: I know you’re also busy preparing for the upcoming Freak Show Film Festival later this month- how is everything going with that?
Robert J. Massetti: Well, it’s the seventh year and I’m really excited by this year’s films; every year I’m excited but this year we have a great crop of films that we’re presenting. Discovering new and unique indie films is really the best part of Freak Show; it’s great to be able to give independent filmmakers a platform that they may not been able to have otherwise.
For more information on Creepy Crawly, check out their official Facebook page and for more on the 7th Annual Freak Show Film Festival (October 26-28), head on over to their site here for all the gory details!
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