EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with the Directors from ‘Tales of Halloween’

By October 16, 2015

Raise your hand if you are excited for Halloween! Okay, one person… two…. three– pretty much the whole internet. With Halloween comes my favorite way to celebrate – watching horror movies. As a long time lover – a junkie as it were – of the genre, 31 days of October is not enough time to experience all the spooky season has to offer.

That is why I am excited to share with you one movie not to be missed this season; made by some of the most recognizable names in the horror industry – both in front of and behind the camera — Tales of Halloween

Just as the title indicates, the movie tells ten short ‘tales’ that revolve around “ghosts, ghouls, monsters, the devil, aliens and ax murderers, terrorizing a suburb on Halloween night.”

As the crew gears up for today’s October 16th release, there’s also a fun cast and crew screening with Q & A. For LA based readers, head on over to Friday Night Frights for ticketing information.

We here at GeekNation were lucky enough to gather all ten of the directors from Tales of Halloween to talk about the movie, their special story along with a chat about some of their favorite horror movies they like to see when celebrating Halloween.

Enjoy our interview below:

GeeNation: Thanks for doing this everyone. We have to start, what is your favorite horror movie that influences your work? Do you also have a favorite horror movie all time?

Neil Marshall (Director Bad Seed) That such a difficult one…..  Probably THE FOG for the first part, and ALIEN for the second.  THE FOG has such an amazing atmosphere of dread about it, and ALIEN is matchless in it’s ability to immerse you in its world.

Lucky McKee (Director Ding DongCAPE FEAR. All time? TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE.

Mike Mendez (Director Friday the 31stEVIL DEAD 2 is probably the most influential film for me.  As far as my favorite horror film, I have a hard time trying to think of anything better than THE EXORCIST.

Andrew Kasch & John Skipp (Directors This Means War

SKIPP: If you put Romero’s DAWN OF THE DEAD, De Palma’s PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE, Jodorowski’s SANTA SANGRE, and the entirety of TWIN PEAKS together, that would pretty much sum it up for me.

KASCH: I generally wasn’t allowed to watch horror movies as a kid, but Godzilla and King Kong sparked my love of monsters early on. Then my whole world changed when I saw ALIEN. As far as influences, I think Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson played heavily into my love of goofball splatstick horror comedy.

Paul Solet (Director The Weak and the WickedThis question is so hard for me. I have to break it into subgenres because I’m just too much of a geek to manage a single title. For sci-fi horror, it’s ALIEN with THE THING as a close second. Body horror, I go with THE FLY and VIDEODROME. Slasher, I go NEW YORK RIPPER. Creature, it’s all about JAWS and THE DESCENT.

Axelle Carolyn (Director Grimm Grinning GhostThere’s a whole bunch of movies I could mention, but the ones that influence me most are probably films that mix horror elements with other genres. I wish I’d made DONNIE DARKO, ED WOOD (both set on Halloween!), THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE, BLACK SWAN… I also often mention Cronenberg’s THE FLY; it’s the first horror movie I remember totally falling in love with.

Ryan Schifrin (Director The Ransom of Rusty Rex) RE-ANIMATOR because of the age I was when I saw it, and it got me to start making my own horror movies with my friends on weekends. All time has to be Carpenter’s THE THING but damn that’s not an easy one to answer!

Dave Parker (Director Sweet ToothFor me what influences my works always changes with the type of project that I’m doing.  I have so many influences from CREEPSHOW, the films of John Carpenter, Wes Craven, slashers, the great movies that Val Lewton made, Polanski’s movies, to even modern films like INSIDIOUS, so it’s hard to pinpoint just one that influences what I’m attempting to do, because I want to and try to do so many different kinds of horror.  As far as my favorite horror film of all time, the one that never dilutes, always disturbs, and still makes me feel the horror and dread ever time I watch it is Tobe Hooper’s THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE.

GeekNation: How did you come up with your idea? Did any Halloween traditions influence your idea?

Neil Marshall: I was chopping vegetables, and suddenly saw it from the vegetables point of view. And clearly the tradition of cutting up pumpkins influenced the idea. Put the two together and…. viola,  Killer pumpkin!

Lucky McKee: I wanted to tell a story about a man who fears having children. I threw that in a pot with my love of the WIZARD OF OZ and Grimm’s fairy tales and presto! And with trick or treaters ringing the doorbell over and over.  And the emotional effect that that would have on a childless couple.

Mike Mendez: My segment stemmed from a script I wrote 17 plus years ago with Dave Parker called “Dead Stuff”. This was the opening scene that I adapted to have more a Halloween theme. It’s just something I’ve always wanted to see done. So with this movie I finally got to bring it to life, at least the opening scene.

Andrew Kasch & John Skipp 

SKIPP: Our whole piece is about home haunts and festive Halloween décor. How you decorate reflects your esthetic, your personality, your tastes. And some people take that shit verrrrry seriously. That’s the battlefield on which horror culture wars – classicists vs. gorehounds, for example – go down. That’s why we’ve got Boris and Dante (Dana Gould and James Duval, respectively).

KASCH: We really wanted to do something haunted attraction based. I ADORE that world and it’s the first thing I think of when I think about Halloween. Our first pitch was set in a Christian fundamentalist Hell House (those haunts that churches put on to try and convert sinners) but that made some people nervous. So our minds instantly went to home haunters and this idea quickly formed.

Paul Solet: The idea for THE WEAK AND THE WICKED came from the freedom we were given. When Axelle and Mike told me we could do anything we wanted as long as it had something to do with Halloweeen I realized it was a chance to really dig into my own cinematic fetishes, and spaghetti westerns and mid-apocalyptic outlaw movies like THE WARRIORS are very high on that list. Combine that with some black magic and a BMX bike chase I’ve always wanted to shoot and you’ve got THE WEAK AND THE WICKED!

Axelle Carolyn: When everyone started sending me their scripts (I was in charge of collecting them into a cohesive feature and making sure they belonged to a share universe), I saw that many slanted more towards comedy, so I thought I should make something scary. It seemed like a great technical challenge. I researched some Halloween urban legends and found one about the fact that on Halloween night, if you walk alone and hear footsteps behind you, whatever you do you should not turn around. I developed it into a story of bullying and ominous laughing ghosts…

Ryan Schifrin: I wanted to do something with two criminals as the lead characters, and the thought of them accidentally kidnapping a monster and basing it on the classic short story “The Ransom of Red Chief” felt like a really fun approach.  I’ve always loved going out Trick or Treating for candy, so that seemed like the perfect opportunity for two kidnappers to strike. 

Dave Parker: SWEET TOOTH came about when I remembered as a kid how after trick or treating I would dump out all my candy on the floor and gorge on it until I got sick. I thought how cool would it be if parents or old siblings had a story to tell a kid that would make them NOT do that.  So I guess it was sort of my own Halloween tradition of doing that, which I think was pretty relatable to many trick or treaters past and present that influence my idea. Also, I just love trying to create new horror characters.

GeekNation: Did you collaborate with any of the other filmmakers in prepping your tale? Are there any loose connections to other stories or does your story stand on its own?

Neil Marshall: We all worked together to prep our tales, it was an very collaborative process. My segment features several characters and story threads that connect it to the others – a Mom and Son (he’s dressed as a pirate as referenced in TRICK) who both appear in THIS MEANS WAR, a missing child notice in the Police station for one of the children in TRICK, and in particular the two uniform cops (played by Graham Skipper and Adam Green) who appear in two other segments, THE NIGHT BILLY RAISED HELL and THIS MEANS WAR, and through mine are also linked back to the first story SWEET TOOTH.

Lucky McKee : Robert Krzykowski was my story editor. And my wife Vanessa, who consults on everything I do. And the same trick or treaters from other segments show up in mine!

Mike Mendez: Mine does stand a little bit more alone because it takes place in the woods outside of town. My Dorothy character does appear  in the segment THIS MEANS WAR. So we can just assume she’s having a really terrible night.  All the other filmmakers read my story and gave notes. 

Andrew Kasch & John Skipp:  

SKIPP: Positioned at the movie’s halfway point, THIS MEANS WAR is kind of like Grand Central Station. We’ve got characters from almost everybody’s else’s shorts in our crowd scene, either coming from or heading towards their big moments onscreen. The more you watch it, the more of them you’ll see!

KASCH: We all hashed out our shorts together so there would be connectivity and no repeat ideas. I think that’s why the film is largely a success.

Paul Solet: I collaborated with a young filmmaker named Billy Jackson on story and a Doberman pinscher named Molly Millions who spoke from the beyond. My story is connected to Neil’s by the evil pumpkin spray-painted on the wall at the beginning. And if you look and listen closely you may find some other links as well!

Axelle Carolyn: My story stands on its own. The only crossover I can think of is the two partygoers in the background, that the main character turns to look at – they’re also briefly in Neil’s episode BAD SEED.

Ryan Schifrin: I got lots of notes and suggestions from the other filmmakers that really helped me hone my idea and simplify it to what it ultimately became. You can see the UFO from Friday the 31st in the opening shot of my segment! 

Dave Parker: The great thing is that we all as filmmakers collaborated together. We shared our ideas and opinions to make each story the strongest and most effective as it could be. Being able to get suggestions, notes, and ideas from this amazing group of filmmakers that constantly inspire me was just one of the many gifts that being apart of this movie gave me.  That being said, my story is only loosely connected to two other stories – Lucky’s story DING DONG – Mikey, the main kid in my story, shows up trick or treating in his, and in Neil Marshall’s BAD SEED where there is a moment where cops, played by Adam Green and Graham Skipper, are shown after they have been to the house from SWEET TOOTH.

GeekNation: How did you all come to this project? 

Neil Marshall: I’m married to its creator, Axelle Carolyn.

Lucky McKee: The wonderful Axelle Carolyn called me up and asked me to join in the fun. 

Mike Mendez: Axelle told me about her idea, I then helped put it all together with her and Epic pictures from that point out.

Andrew Kasch & John Skipp: 

KASCH: It started because Axelle, Adam Geirasch and I had a party conversation about doing an anthology together. We met at Jumpcut Cafe (RIP) the next morning to jam ideas and from there it kind of snowballed.

SKIPP: I hitched a ride with Andrew, who was one of the original conspirators on TALES. We’re a team! And have the best time working together.

Paul Solet: Mike and Axelle told me about the idea of all of our friends doing a project together and I was in without a question. Just so much fun to have a movie made for and by your own community. We’re all huge fans of horror movies and each other’s films so it was just such a great time to get to share the whole experience with each other!

Axelle Carolyn: The idea of making an anthology came to me a couple of years ago, but it took the extra thought of making it about Halloween, all stories that took place on the same night in the same town, to have something strong enough to pitch the others. They were immediately excited about it, so off we went!

Ryan Schifrin: Axelle, Mike and Neil were kind enough to invite me to participate.  We met at a Starbucks and Eddie Murphy was there in line next to us.  Felt like being on an episode of Entourage.

Dave Parker: I was and am just lucky to be good friends with Axelle and Mike, and they reached out and asked me if I was interested in being a part of this project when they were putting it all together. It was an early Halloween gift from them last year.  The best Halloween treat I’ve ever gotten.

GeekNation: So what’s next for everyone? 

Neil Marshall: Hopefully a new horror movie early next year!!

Lucky McKee: Jack Ketchum and I have a new full length novel called HEELER coming out early next year. It’s my favorite story yet. Very much looking forward to making a film out of it.

Mike Mendez: I am doing a very dark bank robbery movie called “The Last Heist” with Henry Rollins.

Andrew Kasch & John Skipp:

SKIPP: My new book, THE ART OF HORRIBLE PEOPLE, just came out. And I’m publishing four jaw-dropping new ones through my indie imprint, Fungasm Press. Meanwhile, Andrew and I are shopping a deranged TV series and a handful of feature projects. Always lots to do!

KASCH: I’m hard at work on LEGENDS OF TOMORROW, a new DC superhero series. And Skipp and I have about a dozen projects we’re trying to get made.

Paul Solet: I’m casting a passion project of mine and prepping a documentary, but I can’t say much more just yet!

Axelle Carolyn: I’m developing a couple of scripts right now: one is a Mexican day of the dead epic, and the other a strange, scary, contained story I can’t say much about. Hopefully one of them will take off soon; I can’t wait to get back behind a camera!

Ryan Schifrin: I’ve got a short story I wrote called “The Paris Excursion” coming out on the Amazon Kindle store in a couple weeks, and a graphic novel series called “The Adventures of Basil & Moebius” that I’m developing to do as live-action.

Dave Parker: Working on new scripts, and projects with several talented writers.

GeekNation: And in the spirit of Halloween and horror movies… Bonus question: Freddy or Jason?

Neil Marshall: Freddy I guess. I think Jason has never fulfilled his true potential.

Lucky McKee: Freddy. All the way.

Mike Mendez: Well, if you saw my segment, I’d think you know, Jason!

Andrew Kasch & John Skipp:

SKIPP: Despite the fact that NIGHTMARE ON ELM ST. 5 is a godawful film with my name on it, Freddy gave me my friendship with Andrew Kasch, which is the biggest favor any monster ever did me. F**king Jason can go sit on a tack.

KASCH: One look at my resume and you’ll have your answer.

Paul Solet: Victor Crowley! 

Axelle Carolyn: Freddy! No contest there.

Ryan Schifrin: Freddy! I like his sense of humor.

Dave Parker: I love both, but always been a Jason fan. He’s unstoppable; I guess I relate to that because in the film business that helps!

To hear more about Tales of Halloween, listen to our KILLER POV podcast that covered it all by clicking HERE.

 Tales of Halloween opens today, October 16th, 2015 in select theatres and on VOD.

We hope you enjoyed our chat with these wonderful, talented directors! As big fans of each and every one of them and their past projects, it’s been a real treat!

Make sure you check back for more updates — right here on GeekNation.

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Mark Reilly
Born a geek a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away - Tustin, CA - Reilly is a seasoned writer and producer with over twenty years experience in the film industry. He is the co-host of 'Far, Far Away' here on GeekNation as well as 'Meet the Movie Press' on the Popcorn Talk Network; which airs live every Friday morning at 9am pst. Tweet him at @Reillyaround
  • David Johnson

    The Original “Night of the Living Dead” as a child, all the broadcasts were from the area surrounding My hometown, then as a Young Adult “Alien”. Current favorite would probably be Colm McCarthy’s “Outcast” the Cinematography was amazing (waiting on his “Girl With All The Gifts” vision!).

  • David Johnson

    That was one Huge Gathering of Talent between the Directors, Actors, & all the Cameos!!!!