Craig Singer interview
The acclaimed After Dark series has highlighted some of the very best new talent in horror for three years running, and the latest horrific onslaught is slated to hit retail shelves in a few short months. In the meantime, gifted director Craig Singer, who helmed last year's winning Dark Ride entry, has generously taken time to fill the Pit in on his latest effort for the enterprise.
Perkins' 14 is a disturbing look at one man's loss and the compromise he's willing to make to correct it--with unimaginably terrifying results. We thank Craig for his time and effort in this interview conducted by Petch Lucas.
For the sake of first-time readers, please tell us the general premise of Perkins' 14 and give us an overview of the main characters and their obstacles.
Perkins' 14 takes place in the quiet resort town of Stone Cove where fourteen children were abducted many years ago. Dwayne Hopper, a local law enforcement officer, is dealing with the loss of his only son Kyle, who was the last of the abducted. He deals with his loss and how it not only effects his life but also the loves of those around him. In addition we examine the terrible consequences when Dwayne tries to right the wrongs of the past. It's a complex story, the subtext is very emotional--it deals with the nature of loss, and I think represents the real meat of the story. It is much darker than Dark Ride and does not have that film's camp or humor. That was challenging to me as a filmmaker. I would argue that Perkins is also the most dramatic film I have ever made.
The preproduction phase of Perkins' 14 was part of an innovative "fan participation" exercise, specifically as a Massify/After Dark enterprise. How was this conducted?
My long time partner Chris Williams and I had been working on a “Fan Crafted” feature film for many years. We co-founded a company, My2Centences, many years ago in New York City and produced many people powered entertainment type events as well as traditional features. I directed and Chris produced Dark Ride for After Dark as part of Year One Horrorfest. The film was one of the more successful and I was asked to direct a second feature by After Dark's CEO Courtney Solomon. At the time Chris and I had partnered with a NY based company Massify to launch our “Fan Crafted” horror film so when Courtney asked me to direct another After Dark film. The timing seemed right to work as a team and ultimately make Perkins happen between us.
Jeremy Donaldson, a mere fan with a fantastic idea for a movie, became a producer for this film. What brought him to the project?
Massify put out a contest to Horror Fans looking for ideas and Jeremy was one of hundreds of Horror Fans to throw his hat into the ring. The finalists then submitted video “pitches” and then the winner (Jeremy) was chosen.
Why was Bucharest, Romania chosen for the shoot, and how was working in that setting, especially in acquiring local talent?
I fought like hell to shoot in Philly! Courtney asked me to be open minded and scout Romania and then offered me a two-picture deal if I would film in Romania. He made me an offer I couldn't refuse! One could get into a long conversation about where we should have shot the film--the decision was made. I worked very hard to get my team in place. Once in Romania I needed to put a team together with local crew and a few folks I brought from America. I approached the production in a logical way. We didn't have the time or money to fuck around--at times sheer Terror was my co pilot! The production limitations were also the most exciting aspects of Perkins' 14. We had to solve issues creativlely. My long time DP and collaborator, John Sosenko, flew in from LA – we cast much of the film in London and then flew the Massify winners (four of the actors were horror fans who submitted auditions to Massify and ultimately competed in a screen-test contest in LA) to Romania for principal photography.
Actor Richard Brake plays Perkins. He has recently been seen in such films as Hannibal Rising and Batman Begins. How did you land him?
I was not familiar with the tremendous “cult” status of our Mr. Brake. I met him in London and just fell in love with him. He's an extremely talented actor and a genuinely nice individual. What I was looking for was someone who had both the charm and depth to keep the audience off balance. Richard was the best man for the job.
Michale Graves (The Misfits) appears in the film! We were recently entertained by his fantastic acoustic set at Wizard World/Fear Fest in Dallas a few months back. What brought him to this project, and how was he to work with?
Michale was in The Misfits when I directed my first feature film Animal Room. The band was in only a few scenes but I always remembered Michale. Many years later I was at a Horror convention and saw Michale at a table signing autographs. He said, “Hey Craig! I remember everything about that day working with you – I had the best time! I'd do anything to work with you again….” He was just gushing with enthusiasm and I just kind of tucked it away. When the role of Eric came up I thought that Michale might be someone to consider. I asked him to audition and he landed the role. He is a very natural and talented actor and someone I will work with again.
Although Perkins' 14 has made its big-screen cycle, when can we hope to see it on video?
The video release is set for the end of March in every major retailer you can humanly imagine. Enjoy!
DISCUSS ON GUTS AND GORY
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