Your movie Blood Rush
- in a few words what is it about?
Evan: Itís an 80s-throw-back zom-com.
Kerry: Eighties style
comedy horror where once the virus gets into your blood there is no
Basic question: Why a
zombie movie, a genre at all dear to you? And what do you think makes Blood
Rush stand out from the crowd?
Evan: Well, the world is oversaturated with undead films. We never
Rush to compete in the niche occupied by 28 Days Later or
Walking Dead. It doesnít really have the horror or serious gore to
define it as such. Instead, weíre playing around with the genre in the
same way Peter Jackson did in Dead Alive. I wouldnít say itís a comedy
per se either, it just floats along doing its thing, and to me that lack
of shape makes it unique. I'd say the afflicted people aren't even what
makes it a horror film, it's the disgusting townspeople we encounter.
Those are some truly horrible people.
Kerry: Who doesnít
love running through the woods being chased by zombies that still have
speed and some intelligence. I love horror that not only scares you, but
gets under your skin and in your mind. Comedy horror is fun to make and
you donít have to take yourself too seriously. Blood
Rush follows not
only the virus and those running from it but the people who spread hatred
like the virus which I think makes it stand out from the rest.
Kerry, what were
your main inspirations when writing the movie? And have you written your
character with yourself in mind from the get-go? And what did you draw
upon to bring her to life?
Kerry: It started as a trailer for an idea for a feature film that I
can use as a vehicle for me to be the lead in. We really liked where it
was going and decided to expand it to a full feature right away.
Iíve always liked how creepy twins can be and wanted to see if I
could pull off playing both the role of Emma and Kara. It was like having
a split personality at times. This allowed me to play both the monster and
the heroine. I love the movie Bad Taste and felt we could throw in some of
those gruesome moments.
I actually wrote the script as we went. Iíd write 10-20 pages and
weíd shoot one weekend and then another 10 pages and so forth. So the
film kind of created itself as we went.
Evan, how would you describe
your directorial approach to your story at hand?
Evan: This was my first feature film, though Iíd made shorts back in
high school. But this had far more moving parts, inherent to any feature.
Plus, other than Kerry and a friend Chris helping out, we don't use crews.
We also didn't prep for Blood
Rush, we just dived in and made it, sink or
swim. Given all these factors,
naturally, chaos reigned supreme on set. I wasnít directing so much as
trying to survive, to stay afloat. Hell, I didnít even read the entire
script during production, something that irked Kerry. When youíre
handling audio, camera and actors, on your first feature, itís probably
inaccurate to say youíre directing the movie. You're just trying not to
die. Now, subsequently, I've gotten the upper hand during production so
there's never chaos. I sort of miss it sometimes. Not really.
If you want to read all the bloody details, I just wrote an ebook
chronicling the production of both our features, and it's free on Smashwords:
Rush sure does have its occasional gory bits - so how did you go
about those, and was there ever a line you refused to cross?
Evan: Kerry is there to keep me from crossing certain lines. Smacking a
fetus with a shovel is something, I assure you, that wasnít in the
script. Kerry canít be blamed for that one. As for gore, we used a lot
of fake blood and body parts from the local Halloween store. Dapper
Cadaver is a shop near us that sells lots of cool things, and we bought or
rented stuff there. They do a mail order business, so check em out online.
For blood sprays, say with a zombie bite or angry fetus, I blew the blood
out of a long tube. I assembled the effects in my editing software. I
didn't have anything fancy like After Effects, so I made it up as I went
along. In the end, our goal was for the gore to have a cartoonish quality,
not to be taken seriously.
Kerry: We wanted to go a little more minimalist with the zombie-esque
make-up, making the people seem sicklier and blood-hungry than walking
We used everyday items
along with SPFX props to make some of the meat. There were kidney beans
mashed in with the fake guts at the start. At the end my character is
eating taffy covered in edible blood.
can you tell us about your key cast, and why exactly these people?
Kerry: I have a core group of actor friends who I trust and enjoy
working with. So naturally I wrote the principle roles with them in mind.
Helen Soraya who played Kate had a prior commitment during the shoot, but
since we were writing the script as we went, we were able to kill off her
character towards the start of the film.
The town council was
sourced via Actors Access and we were amazed at the number of responses we
got for the film. It seemed everybody wanted to be in a zombie film no
matter how big or small of a role.
talk about the shoot as such for a bit, and the on-set atmosphere?
Evan: Everyone was having a great time on set, except me. Like I said,
I had the weight of the world on my shoulders and needed to keep things
moving along, so my nose was to the grindstone. If I had laid back and had
fun, we wouldn't have finished the movie. The experience was satisfying in
other ways, though. Everyone else seemed to be enjoying the process. This
is typical for all our films. I generally go into a zone where Iím
basically carrying out the film in my head, super focused, and making sure
all the technical aspects are attended to. Meanwhile all the cast members
are singing and dancing and eating nachos.
Kerry: As I was pretty much running with my producer, writer, SPFX and
set hats on along with the acting I donít think I sat down once during
shoot days. It definitely kept me on my toes.
The best part was shooting at Linda Vista Hospital which is creepy
before you even dress it. Everyone was excited to film there and take the
tour of the old morgue. It definitely added the fear factor to the zombie
The cast were actually
great to work with. Everyone was patient, took the long days in stride and
seemed to be having fun getting drenched in blood.
the film only about to be released - anything you can tell us about
audience and critical reception so far?
Evan: We actually finished the film in 2011 and sent it to a couple
critics and festivals for reviews, so weíve had the process of feedback
rolling for a couple years now. Generally I find the film to be
polarizing. People love it or hate it. Those who come to it expecting a
straightforward horror film - which I think the new poster from Brain
Damage Films sort of promises - those people may be disappointed or
annoyed. Or those who want to define it as comedy or melodrama, or
whatever, they wonít be satisfied. It defies categorization, which
doesnít sit well with some. Thatís okay with me, as long as itís
provoking some sort of response, weíve done our job. And then there are
those who get it and love it and want fetus key chains made up.
Kerry: Most people
accept it for what it is and see the work we put in and the fun we had
making it. We never really take ourselves too seriously and they can see
that we were trying a new approach to the genre.
Another of your
movies, Horror House,
got released only recently. So what's that one about?
Evan: We finished Blood
Rush, had its cast and crew screening, and then
within a week were in production on Horror House. To me itís technically
superior, since I learned so much during the first feature. It is an
anthology of five short films taking place in one house. Joe the Realtor
tries selling the house to the audience.
Kerry: After filming Blood
Rush we knew we wanted to limit ourselves on
locations as we knew with a small crew again we wanted to keep this one
contained. Where better to set a film than in our house.
We broke it down into five short films that were all linked by not only
the house but items or people.
There are tales of monsters, a living doll, a man cursed because of his
vanity, a scorned woman bent on revenge and a set of twins who drive their
did the movie come into being in the first place?
Kerry: After watching Creepshow and the Tales from the
Crypt series as a girl I wanted to capture some of that flair for the
unreal and have lots of mini movies in one big movie. Right after the Blood
Rush premiere in Hollywood, we took a vacation for a few days and
thought about the direction of the next film, and Horror Housee was born.
you're partners professionally as well as privately, what's your
collaboration during the making of a film usually like? And how did you
first hook up to begin with?
Kerry and Evan
Evan: We actually met on a dating site. The collaboration has remained
the same since day one, at its core. We toss ideas back and forth, with
Kerry bringing her more sophisticated sensibilities, and me trying to
offend as many people as possible. The two forces balance out. Whatís
changed is the level of planning. As I said I never read Blood
the shoot, and she hadnít even finished writing the script til we were
well into production. Now we write together, and rewrite, and hammer
things out. We work hard on the preproduction side of things, nailing down
the look we want, the tone of the piece, and so on, with Kerry building
sets and designing costumes. If you look at our latest short film,
youíll probably appreciate the amount of preparation we now commit to a
project. Hereís our parody of Philomena, called Pheelaweena, shot for a
budget of $250:
How would you describe Horror
House's approach to horror?
Evan: To me the film skates around the edges of horror. We have a noir
segment, a psychological drama about abuse, a comedy. Yet there are
elements of horror throughout, depending on how you define it.
Kerry: It is more in
the family-friendly horror region (if there is a family section for
horror). There is no swearing, no nudity and limited blood, but it still
gives you a collection of chilling tales.
Kerry and Evan with Lloyd Kaufman
House stars legendary and ubiquitous Troma-head
Lloyd Kaufman - so what was it to work with him, and was his character
actually written with him in mind?
Evan: Yes, it was written for him, and he is an incredibly positive,
energetic, hard-working guy. He's so anti-establishment and his films rub
doodoo in your face, that you'd expect him to be bitter or angry, but
quite the opposite. Every indie filmmaker should really try to work with
him if at all possible. Plus, what heís accomplished with Troma
the system is so inspirational.
Kerry: We also knew that we needed some sort of a name within the
horror world to be the host of the film and who better than Lloyd Kaufman
who we had met the previous year at Comic-Con.
He is a great guy and very funny in person. He says the most
inappropriate things but thatís why you have to love him.
What can you tell us
about the rest of your key cast?
Kerry: We used a few familiar faces from the Blood
Rush cast and again
had many casting sessions for the rest. As there were a lot of roles for
children as young as 8, we had to make sure that they could handle the
dialogue and had great acting chops.
We had worked with Alyssa and Katelyn Hunter previously and even though
there is a few years age gap between the sisters, we felt that they could
pull off playing the eerie twins in Never Let Go.
For Lifelike we needed to find three girls of similar appearance but
different ages to play the role of Helen as she grew up. We were lucky in
finding Lauren Lakis, who had previously worked in Japan and thoroughly
got the essence of the doll-like character. As Lauren was playing the
older Helen, we then had to find an eight-year-old and twelve-year-old
version of her. It only took two casting sessions to find the perfect
Everyone just seemed
to click on set and we knew at the table read we had found the right
people for each segment.
A few words about the
Evan with Helen growing up
Evan: We had a lot of child stars, which proved quite a
challenge. Adults can lose their patience fast, but kids will turn on a
dime. So we had to keep them focused and motivated, which takes a lot of
energy. The shoot in general was far more organized and planned than Blood
Rushís. I storyboarded the crap out of the film, and really nothing was
left to chance. It was just as grueling, donít get me wrong. I didn't
eat, and my life for a year was nothing but Horror House. We had some help
initially, but by the end it was just me, Kerry and a film student named
Jamie as the crew. At the end of the usual shoot day we could only
collapse on the floor and let the dog lick us.
What can you tell us about audience and
critical reception of Horror
Evan: The response has been more positive, since Horror House
is a more
conventional film, technically slicker, benefitting from what we learned
Rush. There's a little something for everyone here, given the
diversity of genres we explore.
Kerry: It is
definitely one that appeals more to the masses as there is something for
everyone in this movie. Especially as we have Lloyd fronting the film,
people are naturally curious to watch it.
Any future projects you'd like to share?
Evan: We have a ton of projects big and small in the works, including
thrillers, horror, and comedy. We love horror. You can do so much as far
as theme and story. But we certainly want to expand beyond horror. One of
my pet projects is a creature feature script I wrote called Menagerie.
Since itís gonna be big budget, I adapted it into a novel, so perhaps if
that picks up speed itíll be easier to pitch the film. I believe as a
filmmaker you must keep knocking on different doors, and eventually one
Kerry: One of my
scripts, a straight-forward horror film called Trust, is currently being
looked at by investors. That may shoot at the end of this year.
got you into the filmworld to begin with, and what can you tell us about
your training on the subject?
Evan: I made short films in high school, and as a kid before that,
mostly stop-motion claymation. I gave it up to pursue a career in
medicine, but when I met Kerry I picked it back up. I have no formal
training, just watched a lot of films, read a lot of books and critical
reviews, and made a lot of films. I think that approach trumps film
school, frankly, though Kerry has done well having gone to one in the U.K.
Kerry: I started
theatre and dance school at the age of three, so this has pretty much been
my life. I appreciate everything I learnt there, but nothing can
really teach you how a film works until you go and make one for
Do talk about your
filmwork besides Blood Rush
and Horror House
for a bit!
Kerry: Over the years I have worked on various film, TV, theater and
music projects in every capacity from writer, actor to producer.
One short film called Gone Fishing I had the pleasure of working on was
short-listed for an Oscar back in 2009 and has since won over 40
Other films such as 31N 62E and Blue Ridge have seen theatrical
releases, and others straight to DVD/VOD.
I enjoy the festival
circuit and have been lucky to have had many films both full and short to
pick up accolades at various worldwide festivals.
How would you describe yourself as a
director, and as a writer and an actress, respectively?
Evan: I am hands-on in every aspect of filmmaking, from writing to
cinematography to sound to editing. The two things I have no desire to do
or talent at are acting and scoring, though those are my songs you hear in
the bar scene of Horror House. I used to write and produce music. But now
I leave scoring and acting to better artists. And some day should the
budget permit, Iíd delegate the other jobs to paid pros as well, and
just handle the directing aspect. Anyway, when your approach is that
holistic, it's important to know exactly what you want. You come to
realize that there arenít distinct stages: writing, shooting and
editing. That is, I write or revise a script in a way that will be
visually interesting (i.e. I write for the shoot). I shoot for the edit,
such that I get what I need to make my life easier in post. And I edit
based on the prep work, like the storyboarding and writing. My films
donít come to life during the edit. Iíve already watched them in my
head before I step foot on set. When you start breaking down the process
into three independent segments, which I assume is inevitable in bigger
films, you often lose that cohesiveness. Now, managing things yourself,
you run the risk of having blinders on, but thatís where having a
talented and insightful partner like Kerry has been critical.
Kerry: I enjoy being in front of and behind the camera. The writing
lets me get lost in fantasy and create a world that is full of interesting
people, but acting is my main passion and getting deep into a role and
creating a backstory for a character is fun and exciting.
Being able to trust Evan to create what I have written in a way I had
hoped, if not better, is a weight off of my mind. When the acting hat goes
on I like to block the other jobs from my mind so I can truly be the
I feel like I am diverse in how I write (Iíve written almost every
genre of film) and the acting has allowed me to expand on this as creating
characters is what actors do best.
writers, actors, whatever else who inspire you?
Evan: I would look to people like Joss Whedon, who can turn out films
that become critical darlings, but also rake in the money. Why make movies
nobody will see? And why make films that lack vision or artistic
integrity? Someone like Whedon has managed to pull off both. As for
horror, Iíll probably surprise you when I say one of my favorite
directors is Michael Haneke. His films are always horrific, and often they
absolutely punish the viewer. He doesnít wave blood and guts around. He
takes his time, gets under your skin, and makes you think, if you let him.
Naturally, Lloyd has been a source of inspiration.
Kerry: I have always loved watching old black and white movies and the
femme fatales from the Hitchcock movies. Even the old Bob Hope movies used
to make me want to jump into the TV screen and be a part of that world.
Iím a big fan of Rachel Weisz, who is very subtle in her performances
and very natural.
Evan: I canít say what my favorite films are, but the movies I
watched the most as a kid were Raiders of the Lost Ark, A Clockwork
Orange, Itís a Wonderful Life and The Graduate. Those films helped shape
who I am and my belief in the ability of cinema to move the world.
Kerry: Definitely a
mix from the Goonies, to Never Ending Story, Labyrinth,
Gremlins and Beetlejuice. I feel like Iím very much an 80ís/90ís
girl and these films still have me laughing or riveted even after watching
them a trillion times.
... and of course, films you really
Evan: The last film I saw that I really disliked intensely was Man of
Steel. I felt it demeaning to the viewer and overall a brutal experience.
No doubt, people will disagree with me.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Kerry: I try to take
something from everything film I watch, but I canít seem to sit through
war films or political movies. Anything over two hours usually puts me off
unless it has a great cast and a story that hooks me.
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever
Anything else you are dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
Kerry: Watch this space as we have a short film coming
out in the anthology World of Death later this year. Iím in the middle
of compiling a childrenís book (non-horror) and Evan is busy with his
novel Menagerie. Alongside that we are raising a beautiful little boy who
will no doubt follow in his parents footsteps one day.
Thanks for the interview!