Q: What is your background as a director? Why do a horror movie?
I started directing shorts in 2005 because I wanted to see the twisted stories I was writing on screen. The shorts kept getting longer until I directed a 17-minute piece called FETISH. Fetish was a really dark comedy about a young man and his fondness for masking tape. It had everything - comedy, tragedy and masking tape. Fetish saw some success with screenings and a film festival, and introduced me to the secret world of actors, crew and supporters who trusted me to turn a weird little story into a movie.
In 2006, I directed my first feature, The Faithful and the Foul. Thanks in large part to the talent who worked on it, and the ever-expanding support of independent film lovers, TFATF saw more screenings and festivals. Video stores started ordering it, and Egg Murders was able to make it available to large audiences via Amazon and Netflix.
I knew that I would make a horror movie from the time I was about 14 years old. The scripts I write always tend to be a little twisted. The villains with whom I share my air have been putting a bug in my ear for years - "why don't you stop messing around and just make a proper scary movie?"
It was just time at last.
Q: FLICKER is about a camping trip gone awry, complete with crazy people living in the woods. What would you say makes this different than let's say THE HILLS HAVE EYES or TEXAS CHAINSAW?
I grew up watching Craven, Hooper, Carpenter and Romero movies. I really enjoy the catharsis of watching people in isolation, in situations where they have to defend themselves. This carries over into my real life. When I am in the woods with friends, I never let people split up or make fun of the locals. I always say, "Don't you realize we're in a horror movie?"
Camping is scary. I think everyone thinks about what they will do when confronted with a machete - wielding maniac as they try to fall asleep in a tent.
Believe me, I would love it if people watched Flicker and thought - this is just like Hills, or this is just like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. But I think what makes Flicker different is that the characters in Flicker have seen those movies too. They don't separate intentionally or sit around saying, 'what kind of crazy, messed-up town is this?' They know what to do in a scary movie, and make some pretty intelligent choices.
Unfortunately for them, the bad guys in Flicker have also seen their share of horror movies.
Q: What does the title refer to?
The title comes from 'a flicker of hope.' It's that rush of adrenaline that helps guide us out of nasty situations. It's that tiny, nagging voice that makes a fallen boxer stand back up. It's that instinctive drive that makes us stand up and root for the underdog.
Q: How long did the movie take to complete, from when you finished the script to final post?
I'm laughing to myself as I think back on that process. As soon as I was happy with the script, I was organizing the table read, scouting, casting and working out the props. I would call Dave and say, "I need a giant saw blade big enough to cut a person down the middle. No, big enough to cut an elephant down the middle." He would never ask me why. He would just say things like, "Two weeks. $179.00."
That saw blade now hangs at the university.
We shot over four hot weeks, covered in blood, and living off of sandwiches.
Post took the longest time. We added a lot of blood and effects. I wanted the Woods Fairy to be bare, but I didn't want her to look like a child. I wanted to see the knife penetrate the body. We also took our time with color and grain.
From the time I wrote Fade Out until the time Flicker was in the can, I'd say we made a movie in 13 months.
Q: Was it difficult finding an actress who was willing to shave her head?
Katy Houska had a small part in The Faithful and the Foul and is a dream to work with. Back when I first thought about writing Flicker, I knew I wanted her to be the lead. Katy is not only a strong actor, but one of those people who is gorgeous to look at and she gets more gorgeous the more you look at her. Katy really trusts me and after surviving two independent movies together, we have a really strong bond.
I asked her before I started writing Flicker if she would be interested in the part. I warned her that it would be pretty tough physically. I told her I wanted her barefoot in the woods, and I wanted to cram her in a tiny box and saw her in half. I also warned her that I was going to take her gorgeous mug and cover her in makeup and blood. She said that it sounded like fun.
As I was writing the script, I would call her and ask her random questions. I would ask her how many tattoos she had, then if she could swim. Finally I told her that her character was going to have all of her hair cut off and eventually shaved bald.
Katy was totally psyched. The character of Pretty is really a strong woman. We get to see that strength once her head is shaved. So, in a weird way, I think she was looking forward to it.
It's growing back.
Q: What is one of your favorite scenes in the movie and why?
The head-shaving scene is my favorite thing I have ever shot ever. It's a bit obligatory to have a woman in a shower in a scary movie, but in Flicker, it's that moment when a victim becomes a warrior. When that bald chick picks up that shovel and swings it like Keith Richards swinging a guitar, I get pretty happy.
Q: What is happening with FLICKER, in terms of distribution?
Right now Egg Murders is focused on our opening weekend. Flicker will screen in no fewer than 12 US cities over the weekend of September 4, 2009. I will be in Albuquerque, Tucson and Portland that weekend, and Katy Houska will be in Brookline.
Following theater screenings, we are prepared to distribute the DVD in the US ourselves, but wouldn't turn down the right offer. It looks like the DVD will be in Europe, but I shouldn't say too much, because nothing is down in ink.
The soundtrack - Flicker Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - is up on Amazon, iTunes and many other stores.
Q: How can people contact you/get updates?
People can reach me and get information about Flicker and all things Egg Murders at www.eggmurders.com.
For any hate mail, rude comments or correspondence from the Catholic Church, please try to reach me at www.whitehouse.gov.