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An Interview with Jeremiah Kipp, Creator of The Nain Rouge Murders

by Mike Haberfelner

November 2020

Jeremiah Kipp on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie The Nain Rouge Murders - in a few words, what is it about?


Told in a documentary style, our film is about a series of murders in Detroit that are somehow connected to one of Detroit's most infamous urban legends, the Nain Rouge ("Red Dwarf").


Before we go any further, do talk about the Nain Rouge legend, and the annual parade that eventually sprang from it? And what drew you to the subject to begin with?


Our producer Ari Rossen has deep roots in the Michigan area, and he wanted to tell a story about this rich and disturbing folklore. Detroit has been through a hell of a lot, a city decimated by the ghosts of failed capitalism. There is a haunted and vibrant quality to this place, and a Midwestern can-do spirit among the people who live there. The Nain Rouge is a flexible metaphor for the evils that can be inflicted on a good place. I love Detroit, but the most significant moments in its history is a doom narrative. Will they recover?  Not without facing their demons.


Now how did the project fall together in the first place, and who came up with the idea?


We were working with a great screenwriter named Joe Fiorillo [Joe Fiorillo interview - click here] and are several drafts into a narrative horror feature. But during the pandemic I was watching quite a few true crime documentaries and pitched the idea of making one about the Nain Rouge murders. Joe quickly wrote something scary and rich in metaphor for our troubled times.


What can you tell us about the The Nain Rouge Murders's pseudo-documentary approach to its story at hand, and was this planned from the get-go or has it developed over time?


Once we knew it would be filmed during the pandemic, we knew it would be in a documentary format. All of the actors self-taoed at home, and our superb editor Katie Dillon weaved that material together with documentary footage Joe shot in Detroit and stock footage. The edit took a while because Katie created many layers of imagery, but we were able to finish in time for Halloween 2020.


Do talk about The Nain Rouge Murders's screenwriter Joe Fiorillo [Joe Fiorillo interview - click here], and what was your collaboration like?


Joe is great to collaborate with. He's complicated and superstitious, deeply intelligent and not afraid of extremely unsettling subject matter. I enjoy seeing where he goes with his writing; in this case we presented him with our idea and he worked hard to find a peak moment of terror that wasn't a transitional jump scare.


The phone call from Melinda to her mother feels personal and terrifying, and great actress Silvia Dionicio tapped into a palpable fear - the knowledge that you aren't going to survive and reaching out one last time to a loved one. On the page and in performance, it gave me chills.


The Nain Rouge Murders hasn't been the first time you've worked with Joe Fiorillo - so what can you tell us about your previous collaborations?


It's always weird and good. The Minions and Entanglement started out as work-for-hire opportunities that he honed into something unique with his singular voice. Joe liked writing about the complexities of human relationships, and doesn't shy away from issues of depravity and control. Our first collaboration, The Days God Slept, was all about transgression, violence and Catholic guilt. That usually finds its way into his writing, and indeed is there in The Nain Rouge Murders.


Now what were the challenges of bringing The Nain Rouge Murders to the screen from a producer's point of view, especially taking the Corona-restrictions into account?


I miss working with actors on set, and everybody made their scenes in isolation. The editing process was also done remotely. We had to have the best actors to pull this off, and we had a particularly gifted ensemble who understood the tone of grounded naturalism and fear.


Do talk about The Nain Rouge Murders' cast, and why exactly these people?


We brought on some of the best actors we know, like our producer Ari, Silvia Dionicio and Ashley Noel Jones. They're nuanced, emotionally available, not afraid to go into a deep dark place. Since Ari knew the legend so well and could be deeply articulate about it, we cast him as the historian, and he gives the exact right note of eerie foreboding at the climax.


We were lucky to get Jim True-Frost from The Wire as our city councilman. I'd worked with him before and he was open to playing with us again. Since he's the first actor we see, we knew Jim could set the tone of quiet dread. He's essentially playing the mayor from Jaws saying we need to keep the beaches open, but Jim plays it grounded and real.


He's a great actor, as is Suzette Gunn as the reporter. She's extremely picky about the roles she chooses, and The Nain Rouge Murders allowed her to speak to our current times of pain and grief. She's the strong center of our movie, and we're so lucky she said yes.


The $64-question of course, where can The Nain Rouge Murders be seen?


Anybody can watch our movie for free on Vimeo by following this link:


Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of The Nain Rouge Murders yet?


It has been deeply gratifying to see critics and audiences embracing the horror and social statement of our film. The reviews have been very positive and viewers have immediately gone to Google to see if this was an actual series of murders, asking how much of our story is documentary and how much is real.


Any future projects I'd like to share?


We are just wrapping up post production on the feature length version of our monster movie Slapface starring August Maturo from The Nun, Mike Manning from The Call, and legendary actor Dan Hedaya from Blood Simple. We are just starting post on a ghost story Draw Up and Stare starring great actors Michael O'Keefe, Linda Powell and Acadeny Award winner Melissa Leo.


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Thanks for the interview!


Thanks for everything, Michael.


© by Mike Haberfelner

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Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD