Last week, I posted the trailer for an upcoming Elm Street fan film called Son of a Hundred Maniacs, which looks like it's got a whole lot of potential to be pretty damn awesome. Since I didn't have all that much information to share about the movie, I promised I'd chat with the writer/director to learn more, which is exactly what I did last night.
So here's everything you need to know about Son of a Hundred Maniacs, courtesy of last night's interview. This is information you won't find anywhere else on the net!!
- So, what exactly is Son of a Hundred Maniacs? It looks to be a prequel to the Elm Street films?
Yes, it is a short film set in the events prior to Freddy's lynch mob murder. I've always thought Freddy's back story was so rich with texture and possibilities. The idea of the Springwood Slasher is an entire story in itself and that was only briefly explored in the series. So over the last few years I've had this idea creeping around my brain. I was re-imagining Freddy and where he came from but where I really needed to look was the parents. It was ultimately their story. So that's what this film takes it's first step toward. Because it's a fan film with a tight budget, we shot this intentionally to be an introduction to the bigger story I want to tell.
- Let's say New Line sees the short, and is so impressed by it that they want to hand over the reigns of the franchise to you. If you were to turn the short into a full length Elm Street reboot, what would that be like? Are you at all interested in the burnt up dream demon aspect of Freddy, or would you prefer to stick completely to an origin story?
That would be a dream come true. But it's a tricky situation because first and foremost, I'm a fan and I know the fan base has lost their faith in the franchise. They won't trust another studio installment, especially after the 2010 remake, so I think thats why they have responded so well to what I'm doing. They need a raw, dirty, nasty Freddy who isn't treated like a dollar sign.
I'm very interested in exploring the dead, burned dream killer and if I'm lucky enough to continue this project you'll see him. My crew and I get very excited about the direction I want to take him so I know it has to happen one way or another!
But if a feature was in my future I'd treat it the same way I'm treating this. You'd get a big, in your face reminder that Freddy is a terrifying force. And John Watkins as Freddy is non-negotiable.
- I suspected that you probably weren't a fan of the remake, as most of us weren't. In your eyes, where did they drop the ball with that movie?
They dropped the whole movie. It's sad because a lot of people blame Jackie Earl Haley but I personally think he was an interesting choice. He was a good actor in a bad film. The same goes for Rooney Mara. You need to look deeper than that- the script was bad. It was laughably bad. They were so careless and made creative decisions that were not right for Freddy which in the end just fell into the Platinum Dunes cookie cutter horror category. It was aimed at the 13 year old audience instead of die hard fans. The new Nancy was boring and dull. The director made poor choices all around creatively, but especially with Freddy's make-up. Why did Freddy look like a healed burn victim? The biggest problem in the film was that you expect me to believe these girls were molested by a man with a scary fucking glove of knives and they just forgot it happened?
- I'm totally with ya man. It was a monumental waste of potential, on every level. But like you said, Jackie Earle Haley was solid in the role, there was just no way he could've overcome the makeup or the overall movie itself. You mentioned John Watkins a minute ago, who you cast as Freddy in Son of a Hundred Maniacs. How did he come into the project?
John is a very interesting story. I held auditions for the role in New York but I intentionally didn't acknowledge the film as a Nightmare project because I didn't want any actors coming in with preconceived ideas of what Robert Englund did. So all I gave was a description of this no name character. As the day went on, I got increasingly nervous having yet to meet a suitable actor. So I stepped outside our casting room to take a breather and in the main waiting area I saw an actor rehearsing his lines for a completely different audition. He was exactly what I was looking for, so I asked him to please audition. He got a brief character outline and he asked for a moment to scan his memory for an appropriate monologue. And when he finally read, I swear, I was all smiles. I was so uncomfortable watching him. He made our skin crawl. I looked to my Director of Photography, Ernesto Lorenzo, and said "This is him." John was real excited when he found out what the role really was and he dove in. Seeing him on set, as Freddy Krueger, right there in the flesh, it was a surreal moment. I couldn't believe it. I'm very happy with all the casting choices in this film. Melanie Sirois, Rainni Moran and Kahari Mays. All such talented people that worked very hard for me.
- Can we expect any familiar characters in the short, or is this pretty much an entirely new world you've created for Freddy?
There's a little surprise at the end I hope the fans pick up on. It will certainly become a major plot point in the future.
- Well, I think I've got a pretty good idea of what to expect from the film, and it's all music to my ears. Is there anything else you'd like us to know about it?
I want to acknowledge my crew. Because they tend to get lost in the exposure and they worked hard for me. My DP and producers were behind me every step. WIthout them none of this was possible. And especially to all the fans we've gained, I can't thank you all enough for the support and exposure. I never imagined it getting to this point. My team and I only hope this short gets you excited to see our bigger vision... because Freddy is coming back...
- Any idea when and how we'll be able to see the film?
Due to the newfound exposure, my team and I are going over our original release plans and making sure we hand out an amazing product. We will be releasing that info shortly after Christmas.
- Awesome. In closing, what's your favorite film from the Elm Street franchise, and why?
Without a doubt the original film. It is one of the first movies I have vivid memories of watching. It scared the shit out of me yet inspired me at such a young age. The dreams were blended so cleverly with reality. Freddy's abilities were shown in a shocking, scary way, but so simple. Like his arms stretching across the ally. So simple- yet a perfect nightmare formula. Later, they became so ridiculous that you knew what was coming. Most silver screen killers at the time were scary antagonists chasing people through woods. But Wes Craven created something bigger than any other horror film because everyone knows once we fall asleep we are at the mercy of dreams. And no one can save you there.
Don't want to miss any further information about the short, and its release? Then head over to Facebook and LIKE the Son of a Hundred Maniacs fan page, so you don't miss a beat!
I don't know about you, but I am personally incredibly excited about this film, and of Andrew's grander vision. Freddy could certainly use a reboot, after the piss poor attempt at doing so back in 2010, and Andrew's idea of an in depth origin story is precisely what we need, if you're askin' me. As he said, we've never really gotten too much in that department in the Elm Street films, and I'd personally love to see a dark and realistic take on the subject matter. I'm thinking Batman Begins, for the Elm Street universe.
Bring it on, Mr. Daniels!