I know we have talked about this before [click here
and here], but do bring us up
to speed: Your new film Save
Yourself, what is it about?
is five women on a road trip who cross paths with a
deranged scientist hellbent on using them for his twisted experiments.
Now for most people,
from the synopsis alone Save
Yourself might sound like pure torture porn, yet your approach is
very different ... care to elaborate?
Sure. The fact that it sounds like it should be pure torture porn is the
perfect reason why not to make it a pure torture porn. Growing up
watching horror and being a lifelong horror fan where every day is
Halloween in my home, the first thing I want to see in a new horror film
is something different. So rule number one is it shouldn't be
I love watching all sub genres of horror and there are some great
torture porns out there. The Collector was one of those
films that when I first saw it, I was on the edge of my seat and when it
was done, all I could think was, "damn, I wish I made that."
All that being said though, torture porn isn't really my preferred
style. To me, mood and atmosphere is scarier than shock value. And when
it comes to blood and gore, there is always going to be another film
that comes out that is bloodier, or gorier or has a higher body count,
so my focus is usually on a more cerebral approach. Leave a lasting
impression instead of just a one night stand.
So with Save
Yourself I wanted to make sure it was sophisticated and
more about a creepy macabre story than about the typically expected
Yourself featuring one of horror's oldest mainstays, a mad
scientist, you just have to talk about your take on that genre cliché for
a bit, and how much fun was it to play with the character and create your
own version? And given that there are mad scientist movies a dime a dozen,
what makes yours stand out?
I grew up on and have always loved the old school mad scientist films.
Dr. Phibes, Dr. Caligari, or even with The
Fly, it was great to watch
that descent into madness and how obsession overcomes a person. There is
not as many mad scientist films these days, sure there is The Human
Centipede, but Save
Yourself is more of a classic style of villain, and
I always wanted to bring that sophistication I grew up on back.
The most important thing about having a mad scientist kind of character
is I didn't want him (played by Ry Barrett) to be too much like another
mad scientist out there. I didn't want him to be like Vincent Price as Phibes
or Jeff Goldblum in Cronenberg's The
Fly. I wanted Ry Barrett to
be his own deranged scientist. I had Barrett doing research for over a
year on the role before going to camera, and while he and his wife
(played by Elma Begovic from Chad Archibald's film Bite) play their
characters with a certain calmness and sophistication, there is
definitely a layer of twisted evil to them as well. One minute they're
calm and borderline American Gothic-like and they have this neat and
tidy home and then with the snap of the finger, they're suddenly so
menacing and so violent, it's shocking.
The film being about
filmmakers on a roadtrip, I guess the whole thing's very close to home
(apart from the mad scientist bit I hope) - so how much of this was based
on real experiences and anecdotes, and were any of the characters (and
this includes the mad scientist and associates) based on actual persons?
The story was created by myself and Chris Cull while we were traveling
through the USA to a film festival, but luckily none of it was based on
real experiences. While Mitch Lackie and I worked on re-write
after re-write of the script, there were small anecdotes that worked
their way into the screenplay from our lives in film and knowing so many
filmmakers, but we really were all just focused on coming up with the
Tristan Risk, Caleigh Le Grand
None of the five women or the mad scientist are fully based on actual
persons. Pieces of them may be inspired by people I know or events that
have taken place, but their specific characters are fictional. For
example, Caleigh Le Grand, who is such a solid actor with perfect timing
and delivery, plays the writer in the group. She's not based on any
specific writer but we play up the stereotypes of that kind of person.
Someone who's a loner, who's awkward, maybe a little neurotic. And we
also play that up with a stereotypical woman in a horror film character.
So there are so many influences for every character.
Specifically for the villains, my first inspiration for a mad scientist
and his wife came from a video game I used to play in the mid 80's on
the Commodore 64. You had to break into the house of a mad scientist to
save your girlfriend. I obviously expanded on Ry Barrett's character
giving him a full back story and specific details for his experiments,
so I've taken a lot of inspiration from many different things to create
the ultimate final girl and the ultimate villains.
of course have to talk about your great location for a bit, and what were
the advantages and maybe also challenges filming there?
We had four locations in the film and I was beyond thrilled with all of
them. And on top of great locations, our production designer Ashley
Hrivnak did a phenomenal job with them. There are so many little
details in all the scenes. She is amazing.
Producers Allen Ormerod, Pino Halili and Chris Cull and myself worked
together on getting the locations. The rest stop was the hardest to
find, because I wanted something that looked very specific and Chris,
Allen and myself would drive around for hours at night, looking to see
if we could find something. We were still looking a couple weeks out
from shooting, but luckily we found the perfect place and I just told
Chris and Allen make this happen. We've got the perfect house and the
perfect theatre to shoot in, we need this place. And we got it.
Pino Halili got us the house. It was located about just under an hour
outside of Toronto in the small town of Port Perry, which I was already
familiar with. What I loved about the house and the whole property out
there was how beautiful it was. Something that I did on purpose in the
script was while it starts at night, all the horror that takes place at
the house happens during the day. So all the horror wasn't taking place
in shadows and in the dark, it was in the beautiful summer sunlight, so
I really needed to capture a certain look for it. And the location was
perfect for that. My cinematographer Michael Davidson and I created a
specific colour pallet for the film and with it shot with anamorphic
lenses I'm really happy with how it turned out.
The only real challenges were the same challenges you get anywhere. Like
dealing with weather and things like that. And we had some issues, I
think most indie films do, but more importantly we overcame every issue
as a team, and got the entire film in the can on time. And we only had
12 days to shoot the film too. And I'm not talking twelve 18 to 20 hour
days, I'm talking twelve 12 hour days. I personally want everyone on set to
always be rested and at their best, so we would shoot 12 on, 12 off. I
think maybe once we went over time by an hour and so the next day we
pushed call time by an hour. I've done sets where you do 18 hour days
and that's fine because I do believe in "by any means necessary",
but I think people work their best when it's a more regulated schedule.
about the shoot as such you haven't told us yet, any on-set anecdotes that
just need telling?
You'll have to wait for the special
features on the DVD for that :)
The $64-question of course, when and
where will your movie be released onto the general public?
Well we begin with our world premiere on Friday The 13th of November in
New York City. It's part of the New York City Horror Film Festival,
which is taking place at Times Scare in Times Square. It will be great
premiering on Friday The 13th and the creator of Friday The 13th Sean
Cunningham is receiving a lifetime achievement award from the festival
immediately after my film.
Tianna Nori, Bobbie Phillips, Jessica Cameron
We are then going to be playing Toronto for our Canadian premiere at the
Blood In The Snow Canadian Film Festival. Our screening sold out so an
encore screening was added the next day.
As far as a DVD release of the film, that won't be happening until after
we play the festival circuit, so if you wanna see it, let your local
film festivals know about it and maybe we can play there too.
you can tell us about audience and critical reception of your movie so
I am really humbled by the reception we've received so
far. Since we haven't even premiered yet, it's not like we've gone to get
dozens of reviews yet, but all the reviews we have gotten so far have been
really positive. It's been some of the best feedback I've ever gotten for
any film. So I'm really excited. I know the film isn't for everyone, but
we worked really hard on creating a very atmospheric and creepy film that
looks and feels like a 70's horror but takes place in present day, so for
everyone who worked on the cast and crew, I am thrilled to share the
reviews we've gotten so far with them.
Any future projects you'd like to share?
I have a film called Desolation [Ryan's
Desolation interview - click here] that was shot last year as part of
Jessica Cameron's [Jessica
Cameron interview - click here] road trip/filmmaking experience called Kill The PA. I
got the chance to work with some great new actors I had never worked
with before. Especially Carlo Mendez and Ali Ferda, who are both just
unbelievably talented. They each have such a unique look and the camera
loves them both. But just as great as they look, they also have the
chops to back it up. I really hope to work with them both again.
I took time off during post production on Save
to be able to
fit the shooting for Desolation into my schedule, so after it wrapped my
focus needed to be on Save
before getting to Desolation. And at
the same time, Jessica Cameron (who produced and stared in the film) was
focused on the other film shot on the road trip, Mania, which she
directed. So now that Mania and Save
are finished and heading
out to festivals, I would like to get Desolation ready for festivals
soon too. Cinematographer Josh Chiara did an amazing job capturing the
film and the actors nailed it. Ryan Kiser, Teresa Parker, they were all
wonderful to work with. There is still a lot that needs to be done and I
would like to do it right. So I don't care how long something takes,
once it's out there it's out there, so I hate rushing anything. I just
want to make sure it gets the attention it deserves because the cast and
crew worked so hard on it.
The film is about a hitchhiker (played beautifully by Tristan Risk
[Tristan Risk interview -
click here]) who wreaks havoc along the famous Route 66, but it's not just a
typical straight forward horror. It's far more cerebral, like a David
I have some new scripts ready to go to camera and I have a couple things
in the works that I'm really excited about, but my main focus at this
point is premiering Save
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
... and I'm on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DirectorRyanMAndrews
you're dying to tell us and I've merely forgotten to ask?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
I spend any chance I get pushing how great the Canadian indie horror scene
is. And why wouldn't I? With Luchagore, the Soskas [Soska
Twins interview - click here] and Karen Lam [Karen
Lam interview - click here] out on
the west coast and with Black Fawn
Films, Tricia Lee [Tricia
Lee interview - click here] and Foresight
Features in Ontario, there is some of the best and most original horror
stories coming out of this country. But you know what, it's not just
Canada, indie horror all over is kicking ass. Todd Nunes has a film called
All Through The House that I am really excited about. It stars
Ashley Mary Nunes and it looks like an instant Christmas horror classic,
like the original Black
Christmas. Ellie Church and Tristan Risk also star
in a new film coming out soon called Frankenstein Created
Bikers, which looks like such a fun grindhouse kind of film. So you
know what, if you're tired of all the remakes and sequels that mainstream
horror turns out, stop complaining because you can find some great horror
stories in the indie world. And it's always been that way. Horror is
like punk rock music. The indie world brings you passionate raw and
original stuff like Dead Kennedys and Black Flag while mainstream is poppy
pre-packaged post Green Day crap.
for the interview!