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Scream If You Wanna Go Faster: An Interview with Cary Hill

Interview with Hacked In the Head Reviews

Hacked in the Head: Hi Cary ! Thank you for taking the time to talk tome. Now your upcoming slasher flick, Scream Park, looks set to take audiences back to the gory, fun 80s horror films that we all love.Could you tell us a bit more about the movie and its conception?

Cary Hill: When I decided to do a feature, I had to chose something that could be feasible on a small budget. I decided, in a very cliche way, to go with a horror film; audiences are very accepting for low budget production quality and, well, a lot of other things when watching a low-budget horror film. But it worked out for me because of my love of the genre as well. I've always been a horror fan nd grew up on a diet of 80s horror and science fiction. It felt like a good fit to do something in that vein.

I chose the sub-genre of slasher film because horror has become glutted with either haunted house ghost stories or 'torture-porn' stuff like Saw or Hostel. I missed the old style set up of teens doing things they shouldn't be and a man in a mask 'correcting' the situation. I hit upon the root of Scream Park at a Great America Amusement Park in October, while it was done up for Halloween. A friend of mine who was with me remarked that a real killer could totally slip in with a mask and be running around with these actors. And it stuck! I realized I couldn't think of a movie like that from everything I had every seen -- and it sounded like an 80s premise! A little more research yielded that there had never been a slasher film in an amusement park and I knew I had to do it.

HitH: I have to comment on the killers mask from the official Scream Park trailer. Its really creepy and reminds me, if you don't mind me saying, of the expression pulled by Alec Baldwin when he morphs his
face in attempt to scare his unwanted 'house guests' Beetle Juice. I love it. How did the idea for the mask come about?

CH: Ha! It does! It's actually a medieval plague doctor mask. From the script, I knew both killers would be (initially) masked. The tricky part was what kind of mask. Some types of masks have become iconic and I wanted to stay away from them. There was a long process with Liz Rishel, our wardrobe person to find something. I hit upon the idea for the cloth mask for one killer after looking through Ossian Brown's "Haunted Air." It's a book that collects photos from the 1920s and 30s of people's home-made Halloween
costumes. And there is one photo of a man with a simple cloth mask with two eye holes and crooked mouth cut out of it. It was so simple but terrifying!...

READ THE FULL INTERVIEW

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Director Cary Hill Talks About Scream Park at Monster Popcorn

Read the latest Scream Park interview, featuring Monster Popcorn and Director Cary Hill at Monster Popcorn

Monster Popcorn: Scream Park is an homage to 80s slasher films, are there any specific movies that you would deem influential to your film?

Cary Hill: Chopping Mall comes to mind.  No, our film isn’t about robots, but it captures that same sort of cheesy 80s sentiment.  Right about where the whole slasher thing started to go overboard in the late 1980s.  Titles were usually parodies or plays on words.  The situations in which young teens were getting trapped with some unstoppable killer were getting more and more elaborate.   By then, the typical slasher characters were defined: the jock, the slut, the nerd, etc.  All of these things you’ll find in Scream Park.

MP: With your intention of creating your own 80s-style slasher film, how do you plan on injecting the 80s era into your film?

CH: It will certainly feel like the 80s.  More importantly, the fans of 80s slashers will certainly pick up on the nuances.  I had considered just setting the film in the 80s, but I really wanted to tackle the whole “cell phone issue” you find in horror films.  It felt like a cop out to just say “oh, well I’ll just set it in the 1980s so there aren’t any.”  So it’s set today — and the cell phone issue is dealt with quickly.  We also use props and a lot of visual cues to give that retro feel.  The biggest part is the park itself.  It’s very old and almost in disrepair — but it has so much nostalgic charm!

MP: Being a big horror/sci-fi movie buff yourself, what are some of your favorite genre films?  Are there any directors you would view as being influential to you?

CH: This is a question I get a lot.  I grew up on a steady diet of horror films, classic sci-fi, and The Twilight Zone.  I had recorded Aliens off TV when I was nine and re-watched it until the VCR finally ate the tape.  Thanks to having older brothers, I had a lot of exposure to stuff that a kid normally doesn’t get to see.  John Carpenter was the first director I really latched on to, and I needed to see all of his movies.  I remember seeing They Live on Joe Bob Briggs’ MonsterVision and was just floored.  I couldn’t believe this movie existed.  The Thing was also a game changer for me.

This has become cliche around film circles, but Stanley Kubrick remains the biggest influence on me in terms of filmmaking and film watching.  Even more than just the films he made was how he did it.  He up and left Hollywood, moved overseas out of their oversight, and continued to make his movies his way. The situation is quite enviable.   On top of that, I think his films have influenced entire generations and he remains one of the most copied filmmakers to date.   In mentioning him, of course, brings us around to The Shining…also influential.

Read more at Monster Popcorn!