Friday, April 15, 2011

Beat My Shorts! My Interview with Drew Daywalt

H.....H.......Hang on, let me just get my head together..... Howdy Horrorphiles! Rattus Von Ratt here again, this time to bring you something very special, the first official interview on A Safer Injection - and I could not be happier with how this has happened, and with whom.

If you say you are a horror buff and do not know the name Drew Daywalt, you need to hop on youtube right now and search the following titles: Camera Obscura, Mockingbird, Cursed, Creep, Bedfellows, Conviction, The Tale Of Haunted Mike, Stark Raving Mad. Actually, even if you know them, go on and watch them again. I'll wait. *tickticktick*

Now that you're back, (with new trousers I see! you should have worn brown ones, sometimes these things repeat on you), you'll have seen that Drew Daywalt can do in less than 5 minutes what most modern writers and directors of horror cannot achieve given an entire feature length, a massive budget and endless shoot time. Give us a genuine scare, send the willies and the creeps straight to the top of our spines to have a hootenanny with the heebie-jeebies, and restore our faith in the genre, and indeed ourselves, for those who might have thought they were well and truly jaded before watching these mini-masterpieces. 

If you think about big-budget action comedies, Drew's name pops up more often than a malfunctioning mole in a carnival game. He has worked on many big Hollywood productions, but following the Hollywood writers' strike in recent years, decided to move into horror. With shorts. On the Internet. For free. I liken this to Ronald McDonald hanging up his clown suit to sell organic corn by the roadside with a cheery smile! 

After reading a certain piece of news and the below interview he did today with Drew Grant, I was very pleased to get a facebook note from Drew in response to a discussion about him as a film maker.

You know what they say, if you don't ask, you don't get! I asked Drew for a bit of his time, and he was very kind to agree to this interview. Read on, and get excited, for the new force to be reckoned with is here to prove a point: that horror is not dead. In fact it's undead!

Rat: Firstly, I'd just like to say thanks very much for finding me on facebook and agreeing to this little interview!

Drew: Of course! I really liked your blog on madcap comedies - and when I watched your link of Jonathan Winters tearing up that gas station in it's a Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad World (were there enough "Mad's" in that? I'm not sure) - but anyway when I saw it, it brought me to tears of laughter just like the first time I saw it. After seeing that, I knew we were on the same wave length.

Rat: Haha! One Mad too many, I forgive you. Your attitude toward tackling the horror genre is quite simply inspirational, you've stepped away from working with some of the big boys of the action comedy scene, and delivered the finest horror shorts the Internet has ever seen. How did you feel when the responses first started rolling in, and how does it feel now to be a true pioneer?

Drew: Ya know, at first I didn't even think of it as pioneering. My goal at the beginning was just to direct some short films to prove to horror producers that I had the chops to scare people. And when Bedfellows went viral on me, I realized I'd struck a nerve, maybe filled a gap. My formula was childishly simple in premise - "try to do horror in the same manner as sketch comedy - in short, contained bursts." And instead of one good laugh per skit, it was one good scare. Then I became addicted to making the shorts because I really feel that, artistically I've found my voice. My favorite horror literature is short form - Poe, Lovecraft, Bierce, all those old Creepy and Eerie comics... it was all short form and very effective. People told me I was crazy to try and do short form horror, and THAT'S when I knew I was on to something. 

Rat: As a fellow "worst case scenario" type, I allowed all kinds of things to scare me as a kid. My first experience with a horror film was sneaking out of my room late one night and watching The Blob with Steve McQueen on television. What is your earliest memory of a horror film?

Drew: Oh god... For me it was stumbling into the room when my brothers were watching THE EXORCIST... F*cked me up for life. I had Reagan MacNeil and Captain Howdy nightmares well into my 20's from that. I also remember nearly shitting my pants to the opening credits of Rod Serling's Night Gallery. I remember being frozen with fear on that one. My parents were only one room away, but I couldn't move my legs to get to them. I was transfixed on the horrible faces on the TV screen.

Rat: I can't help but be a bit offended at some people's e-attitude about George Romero directing this project - "He's lost it", "Once great", "I'm excited about Daywalt writing this feature, but Romero?" blah blah fucking blah - have you anything to retort to these negative nay-sayers?

Drew: I think when someone is a master, they're always a master. Every film they do may not be pure 100% amazing, but we're talking about guys who defined and invented new genres of film. Maybe expecting everything that comes from someone to be a masterpiece is too high of an expectation. I mean, how many masterpieces can we, as a culture, expect an artist to create. How many of us would be thrilled to create even one? It's crazy how much pressure we put on our idols, isn't it?

Rat: Though I am not a huge vampire fan, and I AM a massive zombo-phile, Martin is my favourite Romero film because it is pure visionary reinvention of a hackneyed concept, something you share with George one hundred percent. Which of his films would you take with you into your nuclear fallout shelter if you could only choose one (and why)?

Drew: Ha! I'd take Martin and Day of the Dead. Day of the Dead scared the bejeezus out of me as a kid. Saw it at a friend's house, then had to go home after dark through a forest trail - I ran the whole way home through the woods and when I got home I saw I'd gotten a bloody lip from a tree branch smacking me in the face -- and I was so scared that I hadn't noticed it until I was safe at home.

Rat: You have mentioned that horror is suffering from too many remakes and re imaginings. Now you have been handed a remake to pen yourself. I am convinced that really good remakes are as much a part of the solution as bad new trends are part of the problem in horror. Can you give me one sentence on what we may expect from Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things?

Drew: To me, it depends very much on who's directing the remake. For instance, with THE CROW, I'm not very excited, but if you told me Alex Proyas was coming back... then maybe... I think it has a lot to do with the elements. And as far as what to expect? Zombies. A LOT of zombies... 

Rat: Once again, I thank you SO much for your time, I am already on the edge of my seat, as I'm sure many movie-goers will be when this one is in the can. Cheers!

Drew: Thanks for talking to me. I'm grateful that my work is starting to resonate with people, and that there is a hunger for horror as a legitimate art form, as literature... That was always my goal. To tell dramatic (and sometimes comedic) stories, but have all of them be literate, well constructed, and at their heart, truly horrifying.

So there you have it folks, the enigmatic and inspirational Drew Daywalt! 

Till next time



  1. good interview.

  2. AWESOME MAN!! I am ashamed to admit that I was not familiar with his work until this article. But I am going to be following him now FO SHO! It is SUCH a fresh breath of 'dark and clammy' air to FINALLY find a film maker that knows the value of 'creepy' and knows how to portray true HORROR on film! And EVEN BETTER in short form! I'M HOOKED! GREAT INTERVIEW!