The Horror Revolution: What’s your favorite horror movie? What movie scared you the most?
Chad Ferrin: Pupi Avati’s Zeder is at the top of the heap, it has a little bit of everything for me. Exorcist III, when the nurse gets it in the hallway knocked me out. I still remember
leaving the theatre on opening day, rain falling, cold as I walked through the parking lot
to my 1970 Mustang Mach 1, looking over my shoulder the whole time. 32 years later it’s
still creeping me out, and that’s freaking cool.
THR: I got a chance to watch Pig Killer, which is debuting on the film fest circuit like, right now! With all of the current attention paid to true crime, was it difficult to make a film that was about a real life serial killer without feeling like you were overstepping?
CF: Not really, in this day and age you’re going to offend just about everybody in one way or another. And when doing a film about someone as fucked up as Pickton it’s impossible not to overstep, so I embraced it. Because in the end, I must stay true to what I want to see and going extreme in every sense achieved that.
THR: The movie is brutal and funny at times, the kind of dark humor and gore that I’ve seen from most of your films. Is there anything in particular that you feel makes this brand of horror work so well in your films?
CF: I view it as the ups and downs of a rollercoaster with the comedic moments helping the audience catch their breath as the car clicks up to the peak before screaming down to another shocking moment.
THR: I review a ton of indie horror films, and there are a lot of them that feel more like carbon copies of other, more successful movies than they are their own thing. Absolutely no one can accuse your films of coming across this way, because it seems like every time you make a movie there’s at least a little bit of batshit insanity involved. Where do you get the ideas for the movies you make?
CF: Wow, you made my day. Being a little batshit crazy myself probably helps. Once an idea hits, I start jotting down notes to see where the idea goes, then a dream or a nightmare usually hits me and I know that I’m on the right track. Once I have the opening scene and the ending, I can get a script cranked out in 2 weeks or so. My hero Sam Fuller once said, "If a story doesn't give you a hard-on in the first couple of scenes, throw it in the goddamned garbage."
THR: You’re a writer/director, and most of the most popular films you’ve directed are also ones that you’ve written. If you could choose to either write or direct, which would you choose and why?
CF: Direct! I find it the most rewarding, coming up with stuff on set that improves what’s on the page, shaping a scene with the actors and crew is tops. Hell, I have a mountain of un-produced scripts that I’ve written and completely forgotten about, but I remember every moment of directing.
THR: There are certain directors out there that you can almost immediately tell, within minutes of starting a film, that it belongs to that director. I would argue that a lot of your films feel this way. What do you think makes a film feel like it’s a Chad Ferrin movie?
CF: Cinematic and life influences play a part, I’m sure, but I’d have to say that my independent spirt, complete control of my films is what gives them the feel that they have. I enjoy not having a studio tell me who to cast or that I need to change a scene because it might offend someone. I’m my own boss, and I enjoy making films first and foremost for myself, which gives them a singular vision.
THR: Do you have a favorite film that you’ve made, or is it always the most recent one?
CF: The most recent is usually at the top, though Parasites being my nod to one of my favs, The Naked Prey is darn close.
THR: If you could work with anyone in the industry, alive or dead, who would it be and why? Dead would be Charles Bronson because he’s fuckin’ Charles Bronson. Alive would be Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman because Midnight Cowboy is one of the greatest films ever made.
THR: Have you always wanted to work in horror, or are there other genres that draw your interest as well?
CF: Yeah, watching Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone on a little B&W television way past my bedtime as a child sealed the deal. Though film noir, western and sci-fi make my pulse race as well.
THR: I’ve asked this question of a lot of people that I’ve interviewed, but I’m always fascinated to read what people think because the topic itself is incredibly divisive in the horror community: Do you like horror remakes? If so, is there an older horror movie that you feel desperately needs to be remade, and would you be the one to make it?
CF: Hit or miss. Carpenter’s The Thing, The Blob, Scarface, Savini’s NOTLD, Sorcerer are some phenomenal hits. I’ve forgotten the countless misses. I would do a remake of Tod Browning’s Freaks starring the kids in those Shriner hospital commercials. Should I pitch it to Netflix or Disney?
THR: Pig Killer is getting ready to debut in festivals, and I personally think it’s going to kill it. Is there anything you’d like fans of the movie to know about the production?
CF: It was lean, mean with everyone’s sweat and blood on the screen. Shooting a 130-page script in 12 days was a pure adrenaline BLAST. Cast and crew were at the top of their game and that shines through.
THR: What’s next for you? Anything fun coming down the line for your fans?
CF: My first sequel! We’re doing Scalper: Night Caller II in November with Susan Priver, Jake Busey, Bai. Ling, Robert Miano, Kelli Maroney and Steve Railsback on board so far, as well as most of the crew from Pig Killer.
THR: Finally, who is your favorite Spice Girl?
CF: The chubby blonde one.