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Interview: ‘Founders Day’ Bloomquist Brothers on their New Social Slasher



Founders Day

Founders Day is a pitch-perfect 90s-slasher-era inspired political horror comedy. That may seem like a weird and wild concept, but let me tell you, it works (you can read my full review here).

I had the opportunity to sit down with Founders Day director and co-writers, Erik and Carson Bloomquist, to discuss their socio-political slasher, community thrillers, and creating an iconic killer look.

Kelly McNeely: So with Founders Day, what was the conception of the concept for this film? 

Carson Bloomquist: Eric and I say we have this very formative love of slasher films that we saw at a young age that really were our gateway into watching all different types of horror, I think, and we wanted it to sort of honor that. We’ve also always had this fascination and love of the idea of a community mystery thriller that feels high stakes in a small town. So it’s something that we’ve worked with and wanted to develop for a long time. 

Erik Bloomquist: I think it being a love letter to autumn is a big thing, just in terms of the aesthetic, but also the kind of mischief that you feel. And obviously, I mean, Carson alluded to such films like Scream, which is very formative for us. Oviously, people pick up on connective tissue, or pieces of shared DNA, but we didn’t want to make something that was about movies, or meta referential, or where the killer had a voice necessarily, but we wanted to have that kind of mischief that we felt that when we were watching the first Scream when we were slightly too young for it. So that’s kind of what we wanted to do. The first draft was like over 10 years ago and it was like, those feelings put to paper, and over time it evolved into what it is now.

KM: I can definitely sense the love of the 90s teen horror cycle in Founders Day, and how that’s kind of a big influence. Were there – other than Scream – other inspirations or ideas? Especially in terms of the killer design and the costume with this Sock and Buskin mask, I think it’s very cool. 

CM: I’d love to talk about the design, but I’ll mention quickly, another influence that I like to say is Jaws, actually; the first act, like will they or will or will they not open the beaches? What should they do, and the effect that has on Amity as a whole is really interesting. So kind of transferring that into a slasher framework was fun and central to this movie. 

Regarding the mask and that whole design, when we were first conceiving this, I don’t think it was anything near what it ended up becoming. There wasn’t initially this political component to the movie, it was more about this town festival. But when it became that, a few things clicked into place. We wanted it to have this sort of aged leather feel; it’s a tragedy mask, so it’s half smiling, half frowning,

EB: But for a long time, we didn’t know what it was. I mean, I think that was also a relatively recent development. Originally in the script, it was dressed in a judge’s robe with simple tactical accessories, but it evolved. I think the mask and the gavel kind of came at the same moment, we were just like, how do we sharpen this, and how do we make it more specific?

CB: Specific, fun, and clearly, like, of what this movie is getting at.

EB: And I really liked that mask because there’s this idea of duality and two sides, and the theatricality of it, if you want to play like the political theater of it all and making statements and things like that. 

CB: We wanted to use red as a central color for this, with how striking it is. It’s also political in a way, it gives that sort of edge, so once we kind of landed on the red, we kind of felt like it really became something. It was just very intentional but not gimmicky, something kind of unique to it, and the wig was the final touch. And it also aided in that almost historical undertone through the movie.

EB: I was so happy it worked, because it worked in my head, and then we were putting it together, doing wardrobe fittings for the first time. I was like, oh my god, is this going to work? And then we styled the wig and we teased it out, and we’re like, okay, cool. It gives a nice shape. But there are some funny takes of the wig falling off in certain key moments. 

CB: They’re on my phone.

EB: They’ll never see the light of day.

KM: I love – along with the mask to design – the use of the gavel and the different weaponization of those materials. Did that come at the same time as the mask, the planning of those kind of all-terrain fold-out weapons? 

EB: It was probably like, five or six months before we shot… we were doing one more pass at it. How do we sharpen what he’s doing? And it just felt very interesting to me, because there were some knife kills and some other kills, but we just wanted it to be something that was specific, but again, not gimmicky. You know what I mean? Like we didn’t want just like a bat with nails in it… but that’s not a knock at Negan.

CB: Listen, there are some really cool weapons out there; I think it’s a fine line to walk between something that feels very scary and iconic in some way, versus something that might feel like it’s from a haunted trail. 

EB: It has multiple components; there is the surprise of it all, if people don’t know when they watch the movie – which, you know, many probably will from trailers – that the knife exists, but it allows you to bludgeon first and then you have this other piece of it. And there’s just something about the duality of both –

CB: The unexpected nature of it.

EB: The striking image, and the way that that can travel. I it just felt really correct to us. It’s so cool, I wish we had it with us. But it’s so fun to play with, I think we had one hero and two stunt on set, and I had one hero made since. And they’re just like… it works! It’s really, really cool. I mean, the knife is not sharp –

CB: It’s pretty heavy, too. It would do some damage, for sure.

KM: I appreciate the duality again, it’s the bludgeoning as well as the stabbing, and the comedy as well as the tragedy. You touched on that as well, the theater of politics and the theater of horror. I think that those do go hand in hand, it’s like how comedy and horror are kind of two sides of the same coin. There’s a lot of horror films that have a deeper meaning, that go into socio-political context, and there’s definitely a loaded context in this film. Could you speak on that? 

EB: We want this to function as something like that a 12 year old could watch – even though it’s rated R or whatever –

KM: That’s never stopped us before!

EB: That’s when that’s when I watched Scream, you know? See it before you should see it, it’ll be super fun. Thematically – and there are pieces of this that probably, to an extent, if we go too deep might peel back too many layers – but I think ultimately, we just wanted to demonstrate the kind of arbitrariness to some of what happens and how personal politics can can go into this tug of war and kind of infect other people and then how leadership positions can be tainted by that.

CB: We have this political framework, but a lot of it’s used to just explore certain social tendencies. It’s a social thriller, I think, predominantly, with how we’re trying to explore people through that political framework. We don’t want to dive too deeply, but we also want it to be sort of attainable and understandable, and something that someone who’s young could comprehend and kind of see what we’re saying. But then someone who’s seen this kind of stuff before can really have a certain appreciation of.

EB: I’ve seen a couple of things where people are saying that the film never actually takes a side, one candidate or the other, or expands on what their platform is. But I disagree, I think that’s exactly the statement; that there are a lot of empty platitudes and a lot of posturing and buzzwords, and that’s kind of the statement we’re making is that these two people are kind of one of the same for us, because they are. They’re both guilty of what they’re accusing the other of doing, and I think that that’s very fun to play with. That’s why I like their rivalry so much.

KM: That’s kind of a perfect segue into talking about the casting of those two roles, with Amy Hargreaves and Jayce Bartok, they’re fantastic in those roles. How did the casting come together? Did they read together? Or how did that all work?

CB: They didn’t actually, we had Amy attached before – she had done our prior movie with us, not genre related – and we knew in the process of doing that she was going to be just right for this. 

EB: Very different part, but we were like, she’s got it. 

CB: Yeah, a very, very strong connection to that, and we saw it. And then Jayce was a later addition. We saw a tape of his, and Amy sang his praises.

EB: Amy had worked with him, like years and years ago, and they were friends. And we were looking at this and we talked to her about it. And so they had an existing rapport, and he brought up a little bit more… sniveling comedy to it –

CB: A hateability. 

EB: Like, just a weaseliness to it. Which, if he hears that, I hope he knows that I mean that with all the love in the world. It’s so great. And we were like, okay, that’s gonna be a really fun foil, and the fact that they knew each other, and we’re shooting so quickly, and they had this existing trust and rapport, I think just made a lot of sense for us. So that’s, that’s how that landed. And I’m glad it did! They’re a very striking pair.

KM: It’s great that they already had that connection, because it really does read that they’ve been that rivalry for years. What’s the co-writing process like, working with two writers coming together? Did you trade off on the scenes? Did you sit down and do everything completely collaboratively? How was that process for you guys?

CB: It’s both, I think, we’ll waver between sort of, like, oh, I want this scene, let me just take a whack at it. And Erik will want one another. And there’s some we both have to be looking at at the same time. Or I’ll text him an idea, he’ll text me an idea, and we’ll go from there. 

Eb: If we’re in the same room, it’s often like a pass-the-laptop back and forth situation. It’s like, you go, yeah I don’t know, what do you think of that? 

CB: And then we’ll go from there. But we haven’t really hit an impasse with like, oh no, it has to be this or I am done! We’re not working together! It’s been pretty fortunate that we have that sort of hive mind. But sometimes one of us might have a little bit more conviction about something that the other doesn’t quite see. And then there’s that faith that we can kind of trust each other on those points.

EB: Even little things like there being a scene in the beginning that is somewhat expository, but like necessary and good for some of these characters. You know, Carson will be like, okay, let’s attach some action to this. And it’s like, okay, how do we do that? There’s a bar scene toward the beginning, originally it was like me, Deputy Miller, and Mr. Jackson meeting at the bar. And we just needed to keep the energy up. I love that scene, I love our conversation, but I think that [Carson] wanted a bar fight just to show that unrest in town, and then I was like, okay, if there’s gonna be a bar fight to start that, let’s make it the council people from the meeting earlier on. So we established a community in that way, and then we just kind of built out from there. It was layers of that.

CB: And that has other fanatic relevancy later. Interweaving those other characters in town – and in other pockets – I think allows you to feel the grander tapestry of Fairwood.

EB: It was important to both of us that – even if people didn’t have extended scene work with each other – that it felt like everybody either knew or knew of each other in town, and had an opinion about each other. So even if somebody’s walking through a scene, you’ve seen them before, if they have one line. These people that were in the town meeting earlier, now they’re in the bar for a line, and you see them in the background of Founders Day, so that there’s just this real community feel to the whole thing. So we tried to structure that with the number of characters that we had. The town itself is a character in the whole thing.

CB: This extends into editing too, where there are certain scenes that we have written out somewhere and then looking at it, we’re like, oh, maybe we can rewrite this a little bit, or maybe we can truncate it. And that’s in the editing, because you know in that process you need to make adjustments to make it all click into place a little bit more. So it’s all part of the process, and it’s good that I think we wear both hats, because we try to write anticipating the next steps with production and editing, and then we try to produce it with editing in mind. 

EB: The editing is like the last draft of the script. I think we either reorder or cut up certain scenes, or intercut scenes that weren’t originally intercut. It’s cool, but you can only do that in the edit.

KM: The role that [Erik] plays in the film, Oliver, was that always intended? Was that written with you in mind? Or were you just like, you know what, I want to do this one? 

EB: I’ll often be in stuff that I direct. Acting is my roots and background, but it only if it serves the story, and the infrastructure allows. Sometimes I feel like I can direct from within the scene just by setting a tone or doing things a certain way that sets a baseline that people can react to. So this one was kind of in tandem with the police deputy role, played by Adam Weppler – he’s in a lot of our stuff – and so we kind of liked the idea of having a bridge between the the high school ensemble and the full adult ensemble, that were like the the young adults in the town that are tying those two together, and what it is to stay in a community after that and be in that period of transition between high school and adulthood in a small town. And just being able to represent a more neutral workhorse kind of thing, like me at the town hall and [Adam] at the police station, just to have another –

CB: And just sort of keeping the wheels of the town going. There’s something interesting about that that I think makes sense. 

KM: You mentioned that you usually act as well as direct – and write – do you sometimes wish you could take a further step back as a director, or do you find it makes it a lot easier to direct from within?

EB: I largely really like it. From the acting perspective, it can be really freeing to get into it. I’ll watch playback, but Carson’s right there. We’re working very closely, and Carson is watching me for my little isms that he knows I don’t want in my coverage, and just keeping an eye on the shape of the scene. So I have trust there. And I can kind of just – I guess from experience – balance it out performance wise and give notes afterwards, I can kind of wear both hats at the same time. So often it works. When there are questions, or it’s highly technical, I’ll step out and review, but I really do trust the people around me. Carson and cinematographer, and everybody in their departments to really get it. And a lot of that is just from having clarity of vision from the jump.

KM: With Founders Day, I really love the themes of that small town, that community; feeling trapped within it, but also trying to make changes to it. I feel like that, again, is kind of a loaded context on a bigger scale as well. Can you talk a little bit about building that community in the film, and the not-so-subtle layers of the onion underneath?

CB: I like to sort of articulate it as a microcosm of things happening on a wider scale that we want to explore. I think doing the small town local politics level thing allows us to examine things in an intimate way that maybe allows us to see things in a grander way. And that’s what we like to do.

EB: Magnify.

CB: Magnified, yeah. Generally, we have witnessed sort of these isms – politically – in all different pockets and sizes of government, and we see the lawn signs all the time, and the repetition of it. But we also have this strange fondness of that time of year. It’s almost like a blanket where you’re like, here it comes again, it’s October-November season, let’s gear up for it. We mix that sort of thematic exploration with that formative cup of autumn comfort in a way that feels right to us. And we grew up in a small town, we use things from that and we use things from other people we know in their experiences too, to try to create a unique – but familiar – kind of space and town that you might feel like you know, even if it’s just like all these strange characters. Everybody maybe is hiding a little bit more than you might imagine would happen in real life, but I think that allows you to kind of see things for what they are in some way, and also just have fun with it at the same time.

EB: It’s satire.

CB: It’s a satire, right, and it’s fun to crank up the notch a little bit. It gives you this ride to go on and kind of magnifies these tendencies that you realize, but maybe don’t articulate all the time.

KM: With horror as a genre, I feel like there’s a lot in particular sub genres – particular themes – that we explore in horror that act as a reflection of what’s going on socially. And I’m kind of curious what you guys think about what the next big themes in horror are gonna be. There’s comments about how vampire movies are big at certain times, and zombie movies are big at certain times. And it’s kind of curious what you think is next.

EB: There seems to be a slasher wave right now. So I’m glad that we’re where we are. 

CB: And it feels timely, I think, talking about this movie. I like to say the Founder – and what we’re doing – he’s a disrupter to the situation as it is right now, which is very interesting to perceive it that way. But I think that’s what the slasher has the power to do in regards to like, where this might go…

EB: I think there’ll be more legacy sequels. I think there will be more genre mashups like there have been –

CB: Hybrids from this movie, but it’s this! 

EB: Which I think is cool. I’m really excited for They Follow

CB: It feels almost a little bit vague, right? Because I think we’re in this place where a lot of things have been tried. It’s almost like the legacy sequel/requel thing; a sequel or a remake or whatever that will honor the first film, but make a direct sequel to it. And we’ve seen so many of those too, though, to the point where I wonder like, what new thing could get announced where you’d get like, “holy, they’re doing one of those!?”. I don’t know how much is left where you could have that impact.

EB: Elm Street with Robert England? 

CB: Maybe that. But it’s limited now. I think it’s sort of like the pendulum swinging into in some ways original, really interesting high concept things. But I also like to think that fun won’t be lost as part of this. And that’s important to us. We’re harkening back in many ways to an era of slasher movies and fun, from a couple of decades ago that is completely valid and deserves a place to be seen. I think it’s funny, where you have these waves, what’s the word? Elevated horror?

EB: We’re not going to use that.

CB: Right, but it is a term that’s used. I think it’s better to embrace horror itself, I don’t think you necessarily need that term for all the fun that it can have. So I think, fun and current.

EB: More Creepy Pasta stuff.

CB: Yeah, there might be more internet based stuff.

EB: Or even something that takes tech into account. AI is a thing, there’ll probably be some TikTok horror movies.   

KM: I think it’s interesting how like in the 2000s, we had that resurgence of remakes, and then the 2010s they kind of kept doing that into sequels, and now we’re into the requel thing. So what’s coming after that. 

EB: Do you remember the era of like, the Platinum Dunes remakes? Like I thought those were fun. I don’t know, there was something about them, they’re just like… Michael Bay horror movies.

KM: Yeah, like the 2009 Friday the 13th and the 2013 Texas Chainsaw Massacre, those are great.

EB: I agree with you. We have the box set for Friday the 13th and we watched all of them for the first time. The remake’s really good!

CB: If you didn’t call it a remake, and it was just one of the sequels in there, it’d be one of the favorite sequels. But I think there’s this idea that it’s a remake. 

KM: It’s more fun than it has any right to be. 

EB: I will say, for anyone reading this, just the general plug; I think indie film is getting harder and harder just in terms of the viewing habits of people and desire to engage early with content

CB: How fleeting attention spans are with content…

EB: If you have interest in seeing this, or something like it, I think early and vocal support is very meaningful and monumental for stuff like this, because that is what things rely on. I think it takes a lot more to get somebody to decide to press play on something now. So for whatever it’s worth, I think if you’re drawn to something, give it a go early and tell your friends if you like it.

Founders Day played as part of the Toronto After Dark Film Festival. Click here to read the full review.

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Actress Jane Widdop on Xmas Slasher ‘It’s A Wonderful Knife’ [Interview]



It's a Wonderful Knife

It’s A Wonderful Knife is a fun, albeit twisted, take on Frank Capra’s 1947 holiday classic, It’s a Wonderful Life. We all know the story. Good ol’ George Bailey’s problems start adding up, and he wonders if the town would have been better off without him. As he considers jumping from a bridge, an angel appears, showing him what things would be like if he hadn’t been around to do all his good deeds, and ultimately leaving him with a new lease on life. It’s a sincerely touching story. A true cinematic gem that will live on for generations to come. 

‘It’s A Wonderful Knife’ is not that kind of film. It won’t cause you to think deeply about your life, or bring you some moral epiphany in any way, shape, or form. It’s a bloody slasher film with a clever twist, that’s here to do one thing, and one thing only. Entertain horror fans for the holidays. You can read the synopsis below:

“Winnie’s life is less than wonderful one year after saving her town from a psychotic killer on Christmas Eve. When she wishes she was never born, she finds herself magically transported to a nightmarish parallel universe. With the murderous maniac now back, she must team up with a misfit to identify the culprit and get back to her own reality.”

It's A Wonderful Knife
It’s A Wonderful Knife Movie Poster

Written by Michael Kennedy and directed by Tyler MacIntyre, ‘It’s A Wonderful Knife’ stars Jane Widdop (Yellowjackets), Joel McHale (Deliver Us from Evil), and genre stalwart Justin Long (Barbarian). Recently, we had the opportunity to chat with Jane about their leading role, and the film in general! 

Actress Jane Widdop

iHorror: Hi, Jane. How are you doing?

I’m good, how are you, Joshua?

I’m good! Pleasure to speak with you. So, you have a movie coming out, IT’S A WONDERFUL KNIFE!

I do, I do. A lovely play on words!

What can you tell us about it? Without spoiling too much. 

Winnie is a teenage girl, and you would think everything is great in her life. She loves photography, she wants to go to NYU. She’s at a Christmas party with all of her best friends and the whole school, and it ends up that her best friend is attacked by this crazy serial killer dressed up in an angel costume. I end up running after her because I want to save her, and the angel comes after me. My brother and I chase it and fight it off, and I kill him. 

Fast forward a year later, Winnie is super depressed, PTSD, but it seems like everybody else has just moved on, and are just living their lives and I’m still stuck in the past where I was a year ago. Things really go downhill for Winnie, she makes a wish, and surprise, surprise- she ends up in an alternate reality, and has to defeat the killer, yet again.

The film also stars Justin Long, and Joel McHale. What was it like working with them?

It was so good. Both of these actors are so crazy funny, and crazy good, and are both veterans in their field. It was just amazing to watch. Everything is a bit with Joel. He could be drinking water, and it could be a bit. It’s just how he is. So, it was really cool to see what bits he used for this character, and he was so dad mode. That’s just Joel. He has so many good zingers. 

Justin is just so good. He’s so immersive in every character that  he plays. He uses the costumes, the veneers, the wig, everything, to influence the character. Being able to watch that was so, so cool. This man can go off for days, just on a random topic while in character. It was so cool to be able to watch.  Also, Catherine Isabelle is an amazing horror icon. She was incredible to work with. 

What was the vibe like on set, did you all get along?

Oh, for sure. I feel like we were all a little family. It was the most team-like set that I’ve ever been on. We really all worked together, and wanted everything to be at its best. We gave 110% every single day, and that was really cool to be a part of, to feel like this little unit. 

It’s funny, Joel and Justin never met before. With all their circles you would think they might have met. As soon as they met they were like instant best friends. 

When the whole cast and the director vibe, and everybody gets along, it gives another dimension to the film. 

It does. We were having our producers and director and wonderful writer in the greenroom with us between takes, eating food with us, or telling a story, or going over the script again. It was cool that they were so hands on. It allowed for us to be like, what if I do it this way, or put in this line? They were always so receptive.

The film is a nice little play on the classic , It’s a Wonderful Life. Did you watch that before filming to brush up on it?

Oh, yeah. I’ve seen it. It was one of those (films) my family always put on during the holidays, but I watched it probably five, or six times for this. Also, just because I loved it so much, it was nice to have an excuse to be able to watch it so many times. It’s one of my girlfriend’s favorite films, so it was nice that we cozy up in the middle of March and watch a Christmas film. 

Okay, so if you had to sell us the movie in one sentence, what would you say?

You should watch it because it has a heartwarming gooey center, which not a lot of films have. Also, it’s really queer, which not a lot of films have. 

Awesome! I do have one more question for you, Jane. A lot of people know you as Laura Lee  from Yellowjackets. What was that experience like?

That was so good! It’s crazy. When I first read the pilot, that was fall 2019, and I was seventeen years old at the time, the same age as Laura Lee. That was really cool, to feel like I was in those shoes, at that time. Obviously, it wasn’t in the ’90s. (Laughing.) Once we got picked up and we were in Canada, that was the first time I ever lived away from home for that long. All of them really took me under their wing. All of the other Yellowjackets. The one who’s the next oldest up from me is Sophie Thatcher, and she’s, like, 23. 

So, there was a bit of a jump, and I felt so loved and appreciated, even though I was the baby. I was expecting to be shunned, but I wasn’t. I was taken in, and felt like I was at home. I loved the script, ever since I read the pilot I was on board. I loved the mystery of it. I loved that Laura Lee was able to have this really strong, brave moment in season one, because I was supposed to die in the plane crash. 

I was really just grateful for every day that I was able to be on set. I loved how they were able to do flashbacks so well. I think that’s really hard to do and they nailed it. The soundtrack is amazing. Everything about the show is amazing, and being able to do it when I was young, and just being able to have that experience – I’ll remember it for the rest of my life. I’m so grateful for that. 

We really appreciate your time, Jane! Thank you so much!

You can catch Jane in IT’S A WONDERFUL KNIFE, streaming December 1st on Shudder, AMC+, and VOD, courtesy of RLJE Films!

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[Interview] Tom Holland On ‘Oh Mother, What Have You Done?’



Psycho II, released in 1983, is a sequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic 1960 film Psycho. While the original Psycho is widely regarded as a classic and one of the greatest horror films ever, Psycho II has developed its own following and has proven to be a fan favorite of the series over the years!

Psycho II benefits from a compelling storyline that picks up over two decades after the original film’s events. Norman Bates, played again by Anthony Perkins, is released from a mental institution and attempts to reintegrate into society. The film explores themes of rehabilitation, forgiveness, and the consequences of Norman’s actions. The narrative is crafted with enough twists and turns to keep audiences engaged, and it offers a fresh perspective on the character of Norman Bates, which was a fantastic attribute to the film’s success, in my opinion.

Psycho II (1983) – Official Trailer

Ultimately, the strong following of Psycho II can be attributed to a combination of a well-crafted storyline, Anthony Perkins’ captivating performance, and the film’s ability to pay homage to the classic original while taking the narrative in a new and intriguing direction. While not achieving the same acclaim as Hitchcock’s masterpiece, Psycho II has earned its place as a respected sequel within the horror genre.

Filmmaker Tom Holland released an all-new 176-page book, Oh Mother, What Have You Done? The book is now available from Holland House Entertainment. The book, authored by Tom Holland, contains unpublished memoirs by the late Psycho II director Richard Franklin and conversations with the film’s editor, Andrew London. This book will offer fans a unique glimpse into the continuation of the beloved Psycho film franchise.

I was offered the chance to speak to Tom Holland about his new book, and I leaped at the opportunity to interact with the man responsible for creating some heavily memorable films in cinematic history. Despite Tom’s evident talent, he remains remarkably humble, and it was a pleasure speaking with him. During our conversation, we spoke about his new book and much more! We hope that you enjoy it.

Interview – Tom Holland On His New Book ‘Oh Mother, What Have You Done?’

Oh Mother, What Have You Done? is available now in both hardback and paperback through Amazon and at Terror Time. (for copies autographed by Tom Holland).

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The True Horror Behind ‘PIG KILLER’: An Exclusive Interview with Writer-Director Chad Ferrin



PIG KILLER‘, a film both written and directed by Chad Ferrin, delves into the terrifying story of real-life Canadian serial killer, Robert “Willy” Pickton. Charged in 2002 with 26 counts of murder, and then convicted of 6 counts in 2007, his vicious crimes are speculated to have spanned from 1983 to 2002.  While incarcerated, he supposedly confessed to the murder of a staggering 49 women in total to an undercover agent from the Office of the Inspector General, who was posing as his cellmate at the time.  

The film stars Kate Patel (Proof Sheet), Jake Busey (Starship Troopers), Bai Ling (The Crow, Crank), and Lew Temple (Rob Zombie’s Halloween). We recently had the chance to chat with Chad about PIG KILLER, how the movie came to be, and the process of bringing some of the killer’s most heinous acts to film.

‘Pig Killer’ Writer-Director Chad Ferrin

iHorror: Hi, Chad!  How are you?

Chad Ferrin: I’m good. Just prepping for the next film I’m doing. 

So, staying busy?  Nice!  We wanted to chat with you a bit about your latest film, PIG KILLER. 


Now, the film is based on serial killer Robert “Willy” Pickton.  Where did the idea to do this film come from?

It started with Kate Patel, who plays “Wendy” in the film. She was introduced to me through my friend Jeff Olan, who produced the film. He said he knew a young lady who was an actress who wanted to make a film based on this Canadian serial killer.  Of course, I wanted to hear more about it. 

We met for lunch, and she pitched me the whole story. She grew up in Vancouver, and was very familiar with him, and the whole trial.  She always wanted to make this film, and she pitched it out. I started writing and gave them the script about two weeks later, and she loved it. After a few small tweaks, a month later, we were shooting. 

So, the whole thing was Kate Patel’s idea?

Yeah. Her concept was basically doing (the film about) the killer. The direction of Boogie Nights sort of meets Portrait of a Serial Killer, was more of what I wanted to do. Instead of something depressing.  I wanted to have light hearted elements, and pop music from the period juxtaposed against the violence. I wanted to make something you’ll watch again. 

I wanted to see if you could verify a story I heard for us, tell us if it’s true. 


I understand that Kate Patel wanted to play the characters of Wendy Eastman, and “Willy” Pickton, originally? 

(Laughing.) Yes! I’m like, look – if you have a million dollars, maybe it can be done. The time constraints of making a low budget movie on a twelve day shooting schedule and a 120 page script, it would be impossible to get her into the make up for two hours, with a convincing enough job for her to pass as this guy. It would just be crazy! 

She was adamant, though, and even auditioned on tape for it, and it was good! But I had to stress to her how difficult it would be, turning a 10 hour day into a 15 hour day with all of the makeup. Eventually she agreed to just stick to playing Wendy. 

We talked to a couple guys to play Willy. The first was Fred Durst, who was interested in playing him, but he had wanted so many changes done to the script that I said just forget it. It came down to a point where it was like, am I making my movie, or Fred Durst’s movie? He wanted to tone it down, I wanted it to be more extreme, and we ended up walking away. 

That’s when Jeff Olan recommended Jake Busey, and I thought it was a great idea. We got the script to him, he loved it, and we had a meeting. He was excited to do it, and it was a pleasant experience working with him. 

He reminds me so much of his dad!

(Laughing.) Totally! Gary Busey’s great, and always had that magnetism. Well, Jake has it, too. It’s hard to find. The camera loves them, and their likable. 

Michael Paré is also in the film! 

Yeah, and he was great as well! Nice guy, and he really knows his stuff. He’s one of those veterans who comes in and just hits his lines. 

Now, you wrote and directed the movie. Does that help you keep more control over the project?

Yeah. When I do these as a writer/director I demand full control. I edit the films, I produce and prep the entire thing, it’s hands on all the way through. The people I’ve worked with on the previous couple films have been amazing. They know the routine.

I read up on “Willy” Pickton, and he was uh – well, he was a pretty evil guy. How far does the movie go? Is it an accurate depiction of what we know about his crimes? 

Yeah, I would say it’s about 90% stuff that actually happened. There’s a few things that I put in there, like the pig mask is a nod to Motel Hell. Injecting his victims with windshield washer fluid and antifreeze, that was a factual thing. The pistol with a dildo silencer, also a factual thing. 

His friend Pat with the tracheotomy was factual, and how he helped kind of dispose of the bodies, yet was never convicted. That all happened. The brother was never convicted, either, but he had to know. How could he not? The parties, and the music was all factual. The Wendy character is a combination of the one victim of his that got away, and one that was murdered. 

So, you went for realism? 

Completely, yeah. It’s a rollercoaster of dark humor, and horror, though. I’m from the midwest, and I grew up on a farm. There were so many similarities between Willy and I , that it was easy to dive into. I  grew up around white trash. I went to school with people who were like Willy, and probably smelled like Willy. When you’ve been around that element, it’s easy to translate it, and make it as close to reality as possible. Another big key was the music, and getting Gerard McMahon to do the score, and allowing me to use his music, giving it a lighter feel. It’s different from what you’ll be expecting. 

If you could tell people one thing about the film, what would it be?

It’s a true story, and you might love it or hate it, but it won’t leave you in between. 

Awesome! I know you said you were prepping another movie you’re working on. Anything you want to tell us about?

Yeah, we’re prepping H.P. Lovecraft’s Beyond the Wall of Sleep. Which will start shooting in December with Edward Furlong, Jake Busey, Bai Ling, and more. It’s kind of getting the band back together, from PIG KILLER.

That sounds interesting! We’ll definitely be keeping an ear out for more info on that! We really appreciate your time, Chad! Thanks for chatting with us!

Thank you!

You can catch PIG KILLER  in select theaters now, or on VOD, courtesy of Breaking Glass Pictures! 

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