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  • Rev Horror

Kevin Schultz Interview (Director, Girl Gone Bad)

The Horror Revolution: First off, what’s your favorite horror movie? What movie scared you the most?

Kevin Schultz: So when I was about 7 years old, my Stepdad at the time rented The Shining for me. If we’re talking real, proper horror, that was my introduction, and probably to this day one of my favorites, along with The Thing, Scream, The Haunting (Robert Wise version), The Exorcist, It Follows, NOPE, Poltergeist, Sinister, and The Conjuring 2. But my earliest introduction would honestly be Scooby Doo. The one that scared me the most, well… that definitely changes with age. When I was much younger, jump scares were obviously more effective. Scream and Friday the 13th were basically the scariest to me back then. Now a days, the last time I think I was really scared in anything or felt that tension and suspense, was honestly in this last season of Barry.

THR: I absolutely loved Girl Gone Bad. I’m a huge slasher fan, I love home invasion movies, and your film was a fantastic amalgamation of both genres with an incredibly unique twist. What inspired you to make the film?

KS: First off, thank you kindly for the nice words (that’s the Canadian coming out in me) and secondly, the primary inspiration behind Girl Gone Bad isn’t easy to boil down to one point. I didn’t endure the easiest time in high school, and was able to think back to how I was thinking back then. A very self-righteous tone, very adamant against authority. It’s what drew me to writing Samantha as a character. When we dive deeper into her, that was an inspection on the reactions certain people take in certain situations. I have this tendency to believe (and be somewhat frequently confirmed) that most human beings seem to immediately jump to a barbaric mindset the moment given the opportunity.

There was a girl in my hometown who was bullied, and it was caught on video. Posted online. Awful thing to happen, as I used to be bullied in my youth myself, but the hostility of adults with no relation once it went viral was disgusting. Suddenly, you had middle age, grown ass adults saying that this 14/15 year old girl should be tarred and feathered. These people all live in what they think are glass houses! But I digress. In my case, I wanted to see that sort of savage primal response, mixed with a dose of coming-of-age (a personal genre love of mine.) The home invasion concept came as an opportunity to explore it.

THR: I actually really loved the writing in the film too. Did you start the project knowing exactly what it was going to be or did it evolve once you started the process?

KS: So, it’s funny. I had this conversation with our producer Giovanna (who, by the way, has a fantastic documentary she directed of Amazon Prime, called A Perfect 14) after we had our premiere at the Portland Film Festival. I explained that in my writing process, I’m very situational. I like to explore and meet the characters as I go, because that’s personally how I feel is how we communicate. We learn by listening, and experiencing. I learn about my characters through the actions they end up taking. I know that sounds kind of artsy-fartsy, but it’s honestly the truth. I believe it was Frank Miller who had a comment about Sin City. He wanted to stop, but “Merv wouldn’t let him” (btw, thank you to my big brother Kenny for getting me onto that series, and pointing out that quote.) These characters take shape by how we see them handle their difficulties. That, to me, is the basis of my writing.

THR: What inspired you to want to become a filmmaker? Were there any particular experiences (or any particular films) that made you know that’s what you wanted to do with your life?

KS: The year was 2002. It was May the 3rd, and the internet hadn’t run the “May the 4th be with you” joke into the ground yet. A 10 year old me was going to see Spider-Man with my older brother. I have to say, I was already fascinated by movies and TV, but seeing my favorite superhero from the TV (1990s Spiderman for the win, really hoping Charisopher Barnes makes his way into Beyond the Spiderverse) swinging from back to forth in live action, and seeing what I perceived as storytelling and directing for the first time was astounding to me. Suddenly, I was this 10 year old kid preaching the gospel of Willem Dafoe, and Sam Raimi. Not to mention Tobie MacGuire, still my Spidey. Something about that movie, be it Raimi’s directing style and camera work, or the cast’s incredible performances and chemistry, or the oh-so-classic cinematic moment of that kiss… something sparked a long going interest in movies to grow into the need to learn how to use my Mom’s Hi8 camera that day. So while many movies have influenced me, it was honestly Spiderman that made me think “make movies.”

THR: Is horror your preferred genre? Would you be interested in working in other genres in the future?

KS: I love horror with all my heart, but I’m working on a few things right now. One script is definitely horror, but the others are crime/mystery (think Seven), the other is an action/thriller.The truth is, I love movies in all shapes and forms. While there may be films I’m not particularly a fan of, they are still to be respectful. I truly believe it’s all art, just different categories. From 80s Dolph Lundgren flicks, to the most divisive films of Jean-luc Goddard. It’s all art.

THR: You’ve done a little bit of everything in film production, but as someone who fancies myself a writer but would also love to make a horror movie one day, I really feel like writing a screenplay would be the most fun part for me. Do you have a favorite role on the film set?

KS: I love Directing. I love Writing. I love my union position as Playback Operator. Everything I have been able to do in my career has given me the opportunity to learn something new and useful, and that is something no one can take away from you.

THR: Directing an indie horror film, from everyone I’ve talked to, is an incredibly challenging experience because of all of the hats you have to wear during the film process. Were there any notable difficulties that you faced when filming Girl Gone Bad?

KS: Oh man, we went through 5 first aid people, and just kept getting lucky over and over that we had people available for each shoot day. Each one got a random different gig, or quit out of nowhere, except our last one who was wonderful. Other than that one dept, we have a top-notch crew, and everyone brought their a-game… so I understand I got lucky. Truthfully, the biggest difficult for us was shooting in August… 2020. BC had just reopened to groups to 50, so we had a window of opportunity to make our movie as we originally planned, but now with a horde of bored/extremely skilled workers. The hardest part of it all was planning out a COVID action plan before productions had even started working on protocols. Giovanna and I were up until 2 or 3am each night sending each other revisions of the plan for the actors union to approve us.

THR: If you could work with anyone in the industry, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

KS: One of my favorite actors of all time is the late, great Jimmy Stewart, so absolutely him. And well, if it’s alive OR dead, then other than that there is a huge list. Here’s an living-selection. And a filtered selection at that, for the purpose of not taking up 4 pages of this interview… Charlize Theron, Jimmy Simpson, Robin Lord Taylor, Jenna Ortega, Jeffrey Combs, Samuel L Jackson, William Jackson Harper, Julianne Moore, Tim Meadows, Kurt Russell, Bill Hader, Brie Larson, Thandie Newton, Lea Sedoux, Barbara Crampton, Neve Campbell, Stephanie Beatriz, Heather Langenkamp, Marion Coitillard, and Audrey Titou.

THR: How do you feel about horror remakes? Are there any particular films of the past that you feel need to be remade, and would you be the one to do it? What would you do differently?

KS: I think that while there are very many remakes that are not of particularly high quality, I don’t feel there is an issue with their remakes. Look, I was in high school 2005-2009, and in that time, the horror landscape was absolutely bombarded with remakes and SAW movies (hey, not that I was complaining). There was certainly a few horror remakes I quite enjoyed, and The Omen choosing to release their (in my opinion) pretty solid remake on 06/06/06 was just great marketing for that time. I think horror remakes absolutely have their place. Anyone who disagrees, I urge you to look towards David Cronenburgs ‘The Fly’ with Jeff Goldblum, ALex Aja’s ‘The Hills Have Eyes’ (and you know what, f*ck it, also Aja’s Piranha 3D) and a personal favorite… John Carpenter’s The Thing. A remake of ‘The Thing from Another Planet.” Something I think we can all agree was a positive contribution to cinema.

THR: What’s next for you? Are there any exciting projects that you’re planning to work on next?

KS: I wish I could say more, but there are some things I’m working on. I have an Exorcism Horror-Comedy that is being shopped around, and currently have a podcast called Martini Window, on Spotify and other podcast services. Every episode, a guest comes in with a movie they love, and we go into that flick for an hour. It’s been a fun time.

THR: Finally, how many toddlers do you think you could fight? I’m talking, like, fight to the death. If they were capable of understanding that they had to kill you and attacked you all at once, how many do you think you could survive without using weapons? Oh, and also with weapons, and what weapons would you use?

KS: Without weapons? I could maybe fight 9 trained toddlers. Each weighs about 32 pounds, and I know what I weight without putting it in writing. All at once, mathematically 9 would be the most amount. As far as with weapons goes? A TV and some minecraft Let’s Plays. They’ll be hooked, and I’ll make an exit. Boom. Solved *mic drop*.

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