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An Interview with Daniel Benedict, Director of The Bloody Man

by Mike Haberfelner

July 2022

Films directed by Daniel Benedict on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new movie The Bloody Man - in a few words, what is it about?

 

The Bloody Man is about a boy who has lost his mother and is trying to cope with that loss and everything else that’s been affected by it, his family relationships, school, etc. He’s also very into toys, cartoons, and comics, and while reading one of his comics he accidentally summons the Bloody Man who then tries to tear his family even further apart.

 

What were your sources of inspiration when writing The Bloody Man?

 

I actually first wrote stories about the Bloody Man when I was around 8 or 9.  Being only a kid, I didn’t have a lot of exposure to scary movies, but I did however get to check out scary books from my elementary school’s library. The ones I checked out repeatedly were the Crestwood House Monster series. I can remember sitting in my family’s dining room after school inside my Castle Grayskull tent pouring over the photos in all those. My reading and writing skills weren’t tremendous being in second and third grades, but I still enjoyed them nonetheless (plus my friend Amber read them to me). My all time favorite book to check out was simply called Ghosts by Seymour Simon and illustrations by Stephen Gammell of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark fame... which was also a book I checked out several times in elementary school. A few years later, as my parents started letting me watch a few horror movies on TV, I was exposed to Freddy from A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master and A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (4 being my fave), and when I “rewrote” my Bloody Man stories into a “script” around age 10/11, I envisioned the Bloody Man to be a mix of the ghost of a guy who had been bludgeoned to death, the devil and Freddy. Keep in mind, the writings of mine I’m referring to were super terrible in every way, haha.

 

You've written The Bloody Man together with your wife Casi - so what was that collaboration like?

 

It was so great to co-write this movie with Casi. We definitely sharpen each other when it comes to stuff like this. I would stay up late writing each night while she was asleep. The next day she would go over what I wrote, edit it, then pick up where I left off. Then again at night I would edit her portion and continue on… all under the care of the late great Dean Stefan who helped edit, gave us tons of ideas, and kept us in check.

 

The Bloody Man is filled pretty much to the brim with references to the 1980s, and especially genre cinema from that era - now what fascinates you about the 80s, and was the movie always intended as a hommage, or did that only creep in later on?

 

As a child of the 80s, I am 1000% obsessed with everything from that decade. I don’t think there’s been a better decade for movies, music, TV, toys, and pop culture in general. Casi and I first decided to make the movie in 2014 while we were finishing up some other projects. We had found an old shoebox in my parents’ house that had a bunch of horror stuff from my childhood, and in there were my old Bloody Man stories. We stayed up late that night and laughed hysterically at how ridiculous and terrible the writing and stories were, but thought it would be awesome to rewrite and flesh it out into a feature. This was pre-Stranger Things, so we thought we had a semi-unique idea at the time of releasing a new 80s movie, and thought we could have a good chance of getting it picked up. We started officially writing it in Jan 2016, and our hearts kind of sank a little shortly thereafter when Stranger Things season one was announced. I remember saying something like, “Dang it! They beat us to it!” But you can’t really compete or compare a low-budget $30,000 indie film and the 30-million-Dollar-an-episode studio show J

 

What can you tell us about The Bloody Man's approach to horror?

 

The main goal we had was to make this feel like you are alive in the 80s. We didn’t want to make a modern movie set in the 80s, and we tried not to hit anyone over the head too much with “Look, this is 80s!”  We wanted to create something that felt like it could have existed back then, something you’d see late night on TV or something you could rent from the video store.

 

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

 

I knew the story I wanted to tell and knew our limitations. I had Casi do a lot of the directing as far as the acting was concerned. I would tell her what I wanted, and she would make it happen. We had ideas about each character, but also let the actors play with their roles, offer ideas etc, which I think helped add more realism to those characters.

 

Do talk about The Bloody Man's key cast, and why exactly these people?

 

First and foremost our two Nightmare actors Tuesday Knight and Lisa Wilcox were a must from the get-go during casting. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master had always been my favorite and having the opportunity to cast them was something that couldn’t be passed up. For our main kids, we auditioned a couple hundred local and regional actors, and it was pretty hard choosing the right ones, but taking all things into consideration, I feel we made the right decisions. They have a realistic chemistry in my opinion. Casi has two older brothers, so it was easy to know that sort of family dynamic and what to look for.

 

What can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?

 

For Casi and myself, the shoot was pretty grueling when it came to the schedule and exhaustion. She, being pregnant with twins, the 9 weeks it took to shoot, filming all day for the day shots then all night long till sunrise for the night scenes, and using our one day off a week to prepare for the following days’ shoots, made for a pretty tough experience. All that aside, the atmosphere on set really was magical. There were so many people who volunteered their time, sweat, and money. Every single person on set was so kind and supportive and helpful and had this sense of excitement to be a part of something cool and to be transported back 3 decades. The kids would often spend their breaks playing the original NES on our giant 1980 model wood-enclosed TV set.

 

The $64-question of course, when and where will The Bloody Man be released onto the general public?

 

The Bloody Man will be available on digital starting July 12 on Amazon Prime, Vudu, Direct TV, Cox cable, Spectrum cable, Comcast cable, Google Play, Microsoft Movies, Youtube Movies, INdemand, and Xbox (that was the latest list I was given). It should also be available on DVD and Blu-ray toward the end of the year.

 

Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of The Bloody Man?

 

The reaction to the film has been great! The greatest compliment I’ve been getting is that it truly feels like you’re watching an 80s movie. People seem to love the setting, cast, and story. There have been some criticisms as it relates to the runtime, but hey, if I’m watching a movie that takes me back to my childhood, I wouldn’t want it to be over too quickly. I would want to feel immersed and let that feeling last a bit J

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

Right now we’re just focusing on work and family mostly. We do have tons of ideas and some hopes for sequels to some of our projects, but with 4 kids under 4 years old, who has time to breathe?

 

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

 

Ever since my aunt let me borrow her VHS camcorder in middle school, I’ve been pumping out home movies, short films, music videos, and extremely crappy features. As a career, I always wanted to make commercials for a living, and I am very blessed to be able to do just that. Filmmaking was always a hobby, like art and music throughout my teens and twenties, but after attending my first horror convention in 2010 and seeing all the actors, writers, directors, etc, I decided to pursue it more vehemently.

 

What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to The Bloody Man?

 

In the late 90s into the early 2000s I made several zero-budget horror features. I directed a few horror shorts in the late 2000s. Notable projects: 2013 saw the release of my first distributed film Bunni. It’s a typical slasher movie, but with a unique killer, backstory, and twist. It actually has a bit more heart and theme to it than you might get with just a casual first viewing. In 2015, we released a Masters of the Universe fan film, which was probably the coolest experience of my life. Being an obsessive He-Man fan, it was so surreal to work on something like that. It turned out pretty good I think for being a 98% green screen short film (I so wish I could go back and remake it from the ground up). But we got to premiere it at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, which was a dream come true!

 

How would you describe yourself as a director?

 

As a director, I feel like I am terrible just like everything else I do haha (seriously, that's not a humblebrag AT ALL!). I fake it much of the time. But when I have a project, I know what I am wanting the end result to look like, and I just try to surround myself with as many wonderful, talented and like-minded people as possible to attempt to accomplish our goals.

 

Filmmakers who inspire you?

 

David F. Sandberg is someone I admire. He started by making amazing shorts on Youtube, then getting to direct a studio feature of one of his videos, now he’s directing his Shazam! sequel for Warner Bros. Talk about inspiration! His story really makes you feel like modern dreams can come true!

 

Your favourite movies?

 

My favorite movie list is a million miles long. But the ones at the top would have to be The Burbs, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, Ghostbusters 2, Transformers (1986), Jason Goes to Hell, Lady in White, The Goonies, The Village, Monster Squad, Back to the Future, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Thor: Ragnarok, ... ok I better stop now.

 

... and of course, films you really deplore?

 

As far as hating movies, I can’t think of anything specific that comes to mind. I’m not a fan of plain drama for sure. I feel like so much entertainment these days has stopped being entertaining. Maybe it’s my age, or too many cooks at the studios, or the current climate of Hollywood, but so much of today’s stuff just turns me off and/or bores me to tears.

 

Your/your movie's website, social media, whatever else?

 

Feeling lucky ?
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Find Daniel Benedict
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USA  amazon.com

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Germany (East AND West)  amazon.de

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You can find out about The Bloody Man and all our other endeavors on our social pages:

https://www.facebook.com/redserialfilms

https://www.instagram.com/redserialfilms

... or our main website: https://redserialfilms.com/

 

Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?

 

Domino’s Pizza tasted better in the 80s.

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

© 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
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On the same day
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directed by
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written by
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starring
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