Fright Exclusive Interview with ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE Directors Lucky McKee & Chris Silvertson!

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Lucky McKee and Chris Silvertson are known for the darker films that both have made individually. McKee turned genre heads with 2002’s MAY, as well as various other films, while Silvertson came onto the scene with his adaption of the Jack Ketchum novel, THE LOST in 2005 before taking on the Lindsay Lohan thriller, I KNOW WHO KILLED ME in 2007.  While both McKee and Silvertson have proven themselves as capable filmmakers individually, for this year’s horror comedy ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE, they decided to pair up and co-direct it together, having both collaborated on an earlier version of the film in 2001. McKee and Silvertson were nice enough to chat with us a bit about the film, as well as what inspired them to tackle the story again. Read on!

 

The genesis of ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE began with your guys’ original incarnation of the film over a decade ago, what inspired you two to revisit it?

Lucky: We felt that we had been making some really dark and heavy movies for about a decade, and felt that it was kind of time to shake ourselves up, creatively. We wanted to make something that was more light and poppy and fun. We kind of were on separate paths, but mutually came to that same place. We had the opportunity to make a new film with Modernciné, and thought that this would be the most interesting thing, creatively, to do, so that’s what we did.

Following your original version of you, like you said, you both went on to do darker kinds of films, developing your own cult followings. Lucky, you with MAY and Chris, you with THE LOST. Was revisiting ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE just like old times again, or was it a completely different experience this time around?

Chris: There’s some nostalgia to it, because that’s where we started, and we always had a fondness for that original movie and idea, and the experience of making it was just a blast. We learned so much from it, but at the same time, we didn’t want to make a retro movie. We wanted to make a movie that tapped into the excitement we had seeing movies when we were kids, when fantastical stuff was happening on the screen, and all of that magic. It was important to make a movie that again, wasn’t a retro movie, but one that maybe young people could relate to these days. We wanted to keep it fresh.

Lucky: Yeah. On the way, there were little moments of deja-vu, but for the most part, it felt like a totally new, fresh experience. We were shooting in a different way, cutting in a different way, and dealing with fantastical elements that we had a limited amount of experience with, we were teaching ourselves new techniques.

One thing that stood out to me about the film, was how effortlessly it was able to jump from one tone to another, in a good way. It felt at times like somewhat of a hybrid of films like HEATHERS, MEAN GIRLS and THE CRAFT at times. Were there any particular films or genres that inspired those different tones?

Chris: Me personally, I hadn’t seen HEATHERS until we were done with ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE. A lot of people have said they thought it had influenced a lot of what I’ve done in my career, and I realized I had never seen it (laughs). I can kind of see some of the connections there. For me, personally, one of the films I had in mine was something like PROMETHEUS, where you have a lot of fantastic stuff going on, but there’s not a lot of time spent explaining why things are happening or even how things are happening, they’re just happening. For me, that was a good influence on the film, and obviously we pulled from stuff as big and as broad as STAR WARS, and a lot of the ’80s stuff that we grew up with, with the optical animation…and obviously CARRIE, which is pretty much the best high school horror film that will ever be made…so there’s a healthy amount of influence there.

Lucky: He covered most of the stuff. For me, yeah, CARRIE and a lot of the Amblin-type movies had a big influence as well.

The music in the film was interesting as well, it felt less like a a soundtrack and more like a character in itself. Was that intentional, or did you guys just happen to luck out when finding songs to fit the film?

Lucky: From the beginning, we talked about not just the music, but even the movie itself having the feeling of a mixtape. That’s due to what you were hitting on, about the movie shifting gears with the tone and stuff. We wanted to take that mixtape attitude, where when you create one, you can have great juxtapositions from one song to the next, looking at it like a big piece of music that needs to change enough to keep people interested. It goes through different peaks and valleys, and we spent a lot of time, sifting through all kinds of music and ended up with a really cool mix. The soundtrack came out the same day as the VOD release, so we’re really excited about that as well, we spent a lot of time trying to put that mixtape vibe into the soundtrack. It’s a good companion piece to the movie.

Without giving too much away, the film kind of lends itself to a possible sequel, do you have one in mind, or are you just going to play it by ear with that?

Chris: Yeah, we definitely have an idea. This is the first part of a larger story, we mapped it out early on to where there’s a lot of unanswered questions and a lot of little clues that will lead on to a sequel, if the reception of the film warrants making one. With the resources that we need to make it bigger and badder, all of that groundwork is laid within the film, but you’re still left with questions after watching it. This is the first act to a larger story that we haven’t made yet.

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