Director Steven C. Miller burst onto the scene with 2006’s AUTOMATON TRANSFUSION, a film about a group of high school teenagers taking on an endless horde of zombies. Made for in between $30,000-$50,000, and heavy on practical fx, the film impressed horror crowds and eventually was picked up and released by Dimension Extreme. Since then Miller has went on to direct a film for the After Dark series co-produced by SyFy (2011’s SCREAM OF THE BANSHEE), 2012’s “HOME ALONE on meth” action film THE AGGRESSION SCALE, and both the upcoming UNDER THE BED, as well as Anchor Bay’s SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT remake (now shortened to SILENT NIGHT). To say that Miller doesn’t like to slow down would be an understatement, the guy seems to have one of the craziest work ethics around.
Steven was nice enough to answer some questions for ICONS OF FRIGHT regarding his past, current and future projects.
ICONS: You recently had a test screening for SILENT NIGHT, how did that go?
STEVEN C. MILLER: It went really well! The audience seemed to dig the film. Gotta love when people are cheering for Santa to kill someone.
It’s your first film that is getting a wider release, which is well deserved, are you excited about that?
Thanks! Yes, I’m excited the film will be seen by a much larger audience. I feel its a very commercial movie with some extremely fun and gory moments.
How did the project come to be, was it a film that you’ve been interested in doing and giving your personal spin on for a while?
I was a huge fan of the original. Since I got to Hollywood its one of the projects I had my eyes on. The rights were always an issue and for a few years it fell into obscurity. Then out of the blue Producer Richard Sapperstein, called me up and asked if I was still interested in tackling the project. I read the script, pitched my take, and everyone was on board.
As a filmmaker, were you concerned with how fans might react to a remake of SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT (wow shortened to SILENT NIGHT) and did that affect how you approached it?
I felt fans would react the same way I did– it needed to be updated. I knew that I wanted to have moments in the movie that paid homage to the original and I think those are some of the most memorable moments in the film. I approached it with a love for 80’s slasher films and I think fans will appreciate that.
Did you approach SILENT NIGHT with certain actors in mind, or did you leave that to the normal casting process?
Jaime King, Malcolm Mcdowell, and Donal Logue were names we had all taked about during the script phase. We knew these 3 would really elevate the project and give us some colorful elements that would make Silent Night more interesting. I was a fan of getting strong genre actors because they would understand the tone of the film. I also need actors I didn’t have to do too many takes with. We shot the film in 17 days which means no time to mess around. Everyone did a fantastic job!
You directed THE AGGRESSION SCALE, which was a departure for you, an action movie as opposed to a horror film. What made you want to make that film? It definitely works, it was an instant favorite of mine.
I love action films. In fact action is really the world I want to be in. I’ve always felt its my strongest attribute as a Director and it was about finding the right project to spread my wings on. Aggression Scale gave me the chance to explore that world. I always modeled my directing career after Sam Raimi’s– EVIL DEAD to SPIDER-MAN. It might take me some time, but that is where I want to be.
One of the many great things about THE AGGRESSION SCALE that made it so enjoyable were the casting choices you made, like Jacob Reynolds and Dana Ashbrook. People might not have seen them in a lot in a while, and it was great to see them again, were they people you had in mind already or again, was it just the normal casting process?
Producer Travis Stevens and I had them in mind from pretty early on. We wanted to get some actors that might not be expected in this genre. It was a fun cast and they obviously helped make the film a much bigger success.
Have you gotten a release date/distribution for Under The Bed yet, and if so, when can people expect to be seeing it?
The film has some offers from Distributors, but we are holding out for just a moment. The film is having its US Premiere on Oct 16th at the LA Screamfest and we are really excited about that!
Are you still attached to direct a remake of MOTEL HELL?
As far as I know yes. It’s really all in the hands of MGM.
With THE AGGRESSION SCALE, UNDER THE BED and SILENT NIGHT all being worked on almost back to back it seems, are you taking some time off now, or do you have more projects that you’re jumping into?
I’m not much a “take a break” guy. I love making movies. I’m definitely jumping into a few things. Cant wait to reveal what my next projects are!
Thanks for your time, Steven, definitely appreciated.
Of course! Great chat.
I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve really enjoyed the films Miller has directed, especially THE AGGRESSION SCALE. I’m also really looking forward to both UNDER THE BED and SILENT NIGHT. Thoughts?