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An Interview with Chynna Rae Shurts, Segment Director and Star of Beware the Boogeyman

by Mike Haberfelner

March 2024

Chynna Rae Shurts on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new movie Beware the Boogeyman - in a few words, what is it about?

 

Imagine your worst childhood fears of what lurks in the dark were realÖ and just like when you were a child, no one believes you.

 

How did you get involved with the project in the first place?

 

Iíve been a long-standing member of the 7th Street Productions core team since 2021 when we filmed A Haunting in Ravenwood. Since then, Iíve been a part of every one of their films whether on screen or behind the scenes.

 

What were your sources of inspiration when writing your segment of Beware the Boogeyman?

 

I give Calvin McCarthy [Calvin Morie McCarthy interview - click here] full credit for the sectionís concept and for building the character Shawn. My job at that point was having the pure pleasure of building all of the ridiculous farcical situations around the character with the prompt: Boogeyman. I knew I wanted to play heavily into the unreliable narrator aspect (a common film trope though I relate the interest more to my days studying theatre): Little hints if youíre looking for them, time on all the clocks for example. But in all honesty, I wanted this piece to feel like a real life, horror-filled Tom & Jerry-cartoon meets Tales from the Crypt.

 

Do talk about your segment's approach to horror!

 


I knew early on that my segment would be last which meant I knew Iíd have the disadvantage of the audience already having sat through almost an entire movieís worth of seeing the Boogeyman. That said, it, and choosing to heavily lean into a comedic almost self-parody tone, gave me lots of freedom to fully utilize the creature in this cat-and-mouse game. Instead, I focused the tension on ďWhatís Shawn going to do now?Ē and kept the Ďscaresí purely as part of the rollercoaster both you and the character go on together.

 

A few words about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?

 

My biggest focus was balance. Within trying to make this fast-paced cartoon-like farce in a real-world environment, I wanted to combat those limitations with fun and fast camera work in my shot list or the ridiculous set dec in the drug den, etc., but at the same time ground the piece with real life consequences and challenge my lead actor, Calvin, to find the reality within the insanity.

 

What can you tell us about your segment's cast, and why exactly these people?

 

Calvin always had to play Shawn, I wouldnít want it any other way nor do I think I could trust any other actor to fully let go and commit to the ridiculousness that is this segment. All the actors I had worked with before on previous films and knew I, in my endeavor to take the reins for the first time, could trust them to trust me. Theyíre all people I knew I could rely on to be great at their craft, know their script, and endure the late nights all while having fun in the collaboration.

 

with Calvin Morie McCarthy

Do talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere!

 

In my time as an actor and crewmember, there is nothing Iíve seen like the team at 7th Street Productions. Weíre a well-oiled machine full of multi-faceted people. As a crew we can almost read each otherís minds, which makes filming together so incredible. But maybe most importantly weíre a family. We all have fun, bunk together on set, and truly believe in what we are trying to do. The blood and sweat we put into these films is always surrounded with a good laugh and hard work.

 

According to my information, Beware the Boogeyman is your first movie as writer and director - so what prompted your move behind the camera, and could you ever be persuaded to direct another movie?

 

Iíve worked so closely with Calvin in previous films from the initial concept all the way through post-production as an assistant director or producer that making the switch into the director seat was pretty natural. Itís a position I enjoy and plan on continuing in future endeavors.

 

You also play the lead in Beware the Boogeyman's first segment - so what did you draw upon to bring your character to life, and how much Chynna Rae Shurts can we find in Cathy?

 

Iím not sure if I should spoil anything so Iíll say this: Iíd argue both Cathy and I are great at turning our Ďpersonal monstersí into something productive.

 

Do talk about your segment's director Calvin Morie McCarthy, incidently also the lead in the segment you directed, and what was your collaboration like?

 

All my favorite directors to work with are actors themselves. Especially working with Calvin, who really lets me loose to craft a character. Having worked together so much both on screen and director to actor we can practically read each otherís minds at this point. Thereís also an incredible trust. I know no matter how strange, what he says will work. And there is nothing more freeing than trusting your director and having a director trust you.

 

Iím grateful to have had the great opportunity to direct him. Heís a rare actor that you donít need to push. Heís unafraid to go big and make something so insane completely real to a character. Getting to play with that and guide him in one direction or letting him riff and improv with the also amazing Tim Coyle was a joy.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

We are about to jump onto filming our next film Conjuring The Cult (originally titled Demonia Death Cult) which you can expect released before the year is out by Breaking Glass Pictures, with more on the horizon. But otherwise, our long library of films are all available to watch on most major VOD platforms!

 

What got you into acting in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?

 

Long story short, I went to college to study Forensic Chemistry and left with a BFA in Acting.

 

What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Beware the Boogeyman?

 

Iíve been acting professionally for almost three years now, and youíll very quickly note horror films are my bread and butter, youíll find my IMDb is chock full of them, and I couldnít be more pleased as a horror fan myself. An upcoming Scream Queen in the making.

 

How would you describe yourself as an actress, and some of your techniques to bring your characters to life?

 

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I could ramble on trying to explain the method to the madness, but to be brief: I take my craft seriously. I rely on a lot of Meisner techniques, building a character thoroughly in preparation and then letting it all go, allowing what comes naturally and truthfully in the moment. Making it true and real.

 

Your favourite movies?

 

Howling Village (2019, Takashi Shimizu), Night of The Comet (1984, Thom Eberhardt), Candyman (1992, Bernard Rose), The Thing (1982, John Carpenter), Day of the Dead (1985, George Romero), Suspiria (1977, Dario Argento). Also the TV series Ju-On: Origins (2020).

 

Your website, social media, whatever else?

 

7streetfilms.com

Instagram: @not.made.in.chynna

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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Thanks for watching !!!



 

 

In times of uncertainty of a possible zombie outbreak, a woman has to decide between two men - only one of them's one of the undead.

 

There's No Such Thing as Zombies
starring
Luana Ribeira, Rudy Barrow and Rami Hilmi
special appearances by
Debra Lamb and Lynn Lowry

 

directed by
Eddie Bammeke

written by
Michael Haberfelner

produced by
Michael Haberfelner, Luana Ribeira and Eddie Bammeke

 

now streaming at

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Robots and rats,
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