Icons of Fright chats with TALES OF HALLOWEEN director Darren Lynn Bousman

tales-of-halloweenAdding to our TALES OF HALLOWEEN (out now in limited theaters/VOD)coverage this week, we spoke to director Darren Lynn Bousman, whose “The Night Billy Raised Hell” segment shows the more mischievous side of Halloween. Having previously helmed SAW 24, MOTHER’S DAY, THE BARRENS and other films, Bousman went for more of a comedic route with his segment and he & the rest of The October Society made one hell of an anthology, with Darren’s segment being an absolute blast from start to finish.

When we spoke to Mike (Mendez), he mentioned how the film itself came together, but I’m curious how your involvement specifically happened. Can you speak on joining the project?

It’s funny. It started with Andrew Kasch and at Jumpcut Cafe (RIP), which was pretty much the horror hangout. He asked me “Hey man, would you want to do an anthology?”, but I didn’t hold much credence to it, with so many people talking shit in Hollywood about stuff that never happens. I love Andrew though, and I yeah “Yeah sure, call me”. So then I GOT a phone call from Mike and Axelle (Carolyn)  and they were actually going to do it (laughs). They said, “We’re going to do this thing, and we’d love for you to do one. There will be no restrictions, so you can do whatever you want to do, you’d have two days to do it”. It just had to be about Halloween. So I talked to them and we discussed the project, and my only reluctance to doing it at first, was that I had shot two movies that year, ABATTOIR and ALLELUIA: THE DEVIL’S CARNIVAL recently and my wife was pregnant. So I was nervous about doing it. Luckily, she gave birth two days AFTER filming, so that was great.

When you decided to do the film, was “The Night Billy Raised Hell” a story you already had in your head, or was it something that you and Clint Sears (writer) came up with later on?

No, it was something Clint did. It’s really funny, because I started off in filmmaking because of Clint. He and I were best friends in middle school, and leading into high school and eventually college. So he and I always were kind of inspired to be Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, not in the acting way, but two boys from Kansas trying to make it in Hollywood. Our paths kind of drifted when I went to film school and he took a different job, but we always stayed in touch. Around two years ago, we co-wrote a script together that we were able to sell, and it’s probably the biggest script that I’ve ever sold, I just love his writing style. So when TALES OF HALLOWEEN came about, I contacted Clint and asked him to write four separate ideas to choose from, and one of those was the idea of “The Night Billy Raised Hell“.

I loved seeing Barry Bostwick in your segment, it was a lot of fun having him play such an evil character. Do you have him in mind from the beginning?

Originally, the person I thought of for that role was Dayton Callie (Sons of Anarchy, HALLOWEEN 2).  He’s so serious in his acting though, and we needed a more over the top kind of performance, so we went to Barry. Barry is such a good comedic actor, and we had just worked together twice actually, once on Spooky Dan (Walker)’s SLAY BELLS, which I helped produce and also on ALLELUIA: THE DEVIL’S CARNIVAL. He’s great, so I called him up and thankfully, he graced us with his presence. What’s great about Barry is how hammy he can be, he just jumped into the role and wanted to take it as far as he could.

Having directed quite a few feature films at this point, was it interesting or fun to step back into the short film world with TALES OF HALLOWEEN?

Yeah, definitely. When you do a film like ABATTOIR or THE DEVIL’S CARNIVAL, that tends to take years and years, from making it to getting it released, so there’s that huge amount of pressure. Doing something like this, it felt like the pressure was taken off and you could just go out and have fun.

Speaking on the actual filming process, were the other filmmakers around to see how your segment was going?

Oh yeah. The first night of shooting, Axelle was there, Mike Mendez, Dave Parker, Adam Gierasch, they all showed up. Then people like Neil Marshall and James Wan and a bunch of others would show up, and it was just a bunch of friends. It felt like a very collaborative effort. Unlike a lot of other anthologies, where there are just a bunch of shorts thrown together, this one was all about being there with your friends and everybody helping out, giving suggestions, being there if you had a question. It’s a family, the whole horror community is a big family, and we’re genuinely all friends.

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