Tuesday, 28 August 2012


Independent film-maker Jason Torrey kindly gave up some time out of a very busy schedule, to talk to me about his upcoming indie horror frightener Blood Was Everywhere and other stuff! Check out the films official Facebook and website, where you can find out more about the film AND pre-order yourself your very own copy! Also look out for a review of the movie coming SOON! Please read on for Jason's great answers......

Hacked in the Head: Hi Jason! Thank you for taking the time to talk to me. I understand that your upcoming horror film Blood Was Everywhere is your second feature film. Firstly can you tell us a bit about the film and why you decided to venture into the genre.

Jason Torrey: BLOOD WAS EVERYWHERE is technically the 3rd feature film I have made, the first two movies were just practice really, I did everything from lighting to sound to filming to directing to editing (and it showed! Haha...). I am proud of my 2nd feature GOD IS ALONE, it was a labor of love that took over 3 years to complete, but it's so personal that I'm not really comfortable screening it. And I can't sell it because I used music from Opeth, My Dying Bride and Morbid Angel without permission so I gave away about 100 copies and that's all that was ever distributed. Professionally I consider BLOOD WAS EVERYWHERE to be my FIRST feature, it was the first time I ever had a full crew taking my direction and we had some legit actors like Larry Holden of BATMAN BEGINS and MOMENTO, and Paul Kratka from FRIDAY THE 13th PART 3. So to get to your question, I have always wanted to make my own slasher film. Some of my all time favorite movies are horror films, movies like THE SHINING, THE EXORCIST and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET for instance. My favorite slasher films are BLACK CHRISTMAS and FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2, and those two movies heavily influenced BLOOD WAS EVERYWHERE. My take on the slasher is fairly unique when compared to most of the films in this particular sub-genre. I knew going in that it is impossible to outdo what past films have done, meaning I was NOT out to make an iconic killer to "top" the legends like Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees. Can't be done. For whatever reason those characters became icons, I highly doubt the creators of those characters set out to make them icons, the fans did that, only fans can make an icon. But SO many slashers come out with tag lines like "Move over Freddy and Jason, there's a new icon in town" or something stupid like that. I fully embraced the idea that you can't outdo the icons, so I went in a totally different direction with our film's killer. Once I created my killer the rest of the movie was a blast to write. I wanted to make a character driven film with average people as the central focus. Since I was taking the killer off the beaten path I figured the rest of the movie will work best if I apply the same concept. In the end I feel I created a very realistic but fun and entertaining film. You get so wrapped up in what the characters are up to you almost forget there's a stalking killer who could strike at any time.

HitH: I think what intrigues me so much about the film are the influences you have cited and your intentions to actually scare viewers. I absolutely agree that films such as Black Christmas (1974) did just that. A faceless killer stalking people in the safety of their own home is truly the stuff of nightmares and I am glad you have taken this approach with Blood Was Everywhere. Are you able to elaborate on your intentions for the film?


Jason Torrey: I really want people to feel something for the characters when they get killed most of all. So few slasher films are populated with multidimensional people who are just like you, me and other people we might know. The "horror" comes from getting to know someone and then seeing them murdered when they least expected it. So many cliches were avoided, there is not a single scene where someone says "Hello, who's out there? Cut it out guys, this isn't funny", no one is taunted to investigate a strange sound outside only to be startled by a cat (and then subsequently killed), no one stumbles upon the lair of a crazed killer. Nope, my film is about average people going about their day. It's just that on this day there happens to be a psychopath on the prowl and he's not afraid to just walk into a house and kill whoever is home. BLACK CHRISTMAS is similar in that sense, but they had the killer making creepy phone calls to get them in the right mood to be scared for their lives. HALLOWEEN is another film that is similar, if you remove the Dr. Loomis character running around town telling everyone about Michael Myers. I took the genre and boiled it down to its core and wrote a film around that core that was intentionally different from other films in the same genre. Don't expect what's come before, that I can say for certain.


HitH: Sounds excellent to me! Are you also able to talk about the budget for the film and any particular challenges you may have faced while making it?

Jason Torrey: We spent about $60,000, but if we were to actually take into account all the actors and equipment and crew we got for free the budget would be close to a million. Larry Holden, for instance, at the time had a rate of $50,000 a day, multiply that by 7 days and he would have cost us $350,000, but he was gracious enough to do it for his agent's percentage (he did not take any pay by choice, he just wanted the chance to explore a really cool character and act with the foxy Vanessa Leigh). A lot of our cast and crew signed on with back end deals knowing they risk never making a cent, even our Emmy Award winning director of photography Thomas Lowe took only a small day rate and back ended the rest of his fee. The biggest challenge came in the form of property owners of locations we filmed at. Shooting at one particular house was a major pain in the ass. The owner insisted on being present the entire time we were there, I think he thought we were just some punk kids with a video camera, but once he saw the crew and gear he milked us for more and more money, threatened to shut us down, basically just caused a mountain of anxiety that we really could have done without. We will always call this location "The 7th Circle of Hell", haha! But in the end I think it all worked because we were shooting the final kills there, we were shooting the intense climax with all this added pressure. I think the anxiety and tense emotions ended up on screen. Did I mention he built a fence in our shot? Yeah, we shot there one day, came back the next weekend only to find someone building a fence right where we were gonna point the camera! We planned on an hour of establishing shots, but ended up shooting for 5 hours as we tried to work around this fence. In the end I am glad it all happened the way it did, we have the film that we have due to all the challenges and I LOVE this film, so no regrets.


HitH: How about the casting process. How did you go about this? Any memorable performances you want to share?

Jason Torrey: The casting process was a lot of fun. I had started casting the film long before we started shooting. It was important for me to get to know the actors well so I could get a sense of who they are, which character they could play, and then finally be able to tell if their performances sounded too much like scripted acting. I set up ads on Craigslist and NewEnglandFilm.com, my ad from Craigslist was actually poached by another site called ExploreTalent.com so I got responses for that ad, too. I had an open casting call in June of 2009, out of that bunch we casted a few actors but only John Westcott stayed on board long enough to be in the film. A month or so later we auditioned Ashley Arnold, she was great so we offered her the part right away. I took a break from pre-production for about 6 months when I met Sherrie Lemire (co-writer, producer), which turned out well considering we are now married and she produced Blood Was Everywhere! During that 6 months off Sherrie decided to take a crack at adding some dialogue to the script. Once she did that she was really interested in the casting process. She and I met with John and Ashley so Sherrie could meet the actors I was insisting on keeping (the others had either lost interest or could no longer make the film due to other things going on). We had reposted the ads on the same sites in April of 2010 and got really good responses. Ashley introduced us to Kim Simone who we brought on to play Ashley's character's best friend. Our ads online got the interest of Larry Holden, his assistant had contacted us and we arranged for he and Sherrie to have a conversation. After that conversation Larry agreed to be in the film without ever reading the script, he was sold on it based on his convo with Sherrie. Later he claimed to have only ever done that for the Christopher Nolan films he was in (Batman Begins, Momento and Insomnia). After that I met a young guy where I was working who had an interest in film making, he gave me his card and we chatted once about the film and that was that, then out of the blue he emailed me about an actress he had worked with on a music video shoot and she was interested in the film, that's how we met Vanessa Leigh. Several auditions later we had the entire film cast, all of them from either the ads placed online, mutual connections or they were personal friends or relatives. As for performances I think they all did a great job, Phil Ristaino had really good chemistry with everyone he shared the screen with, his scenes with Larry Holden and Adam Morey stand out especially. Kim and Ashley are great together, you really get a sense that they are best friends. My wife actually ended up taking a role when another actress stepped down, Sherrie was fantastic in her small but important role. John Westcott added so much to the role that was not in the script due to the fact that he is a well trained martial artist, we don't have him whipping out any crazy moves or anything, but he was able to perform stunts that we otherwise could not do, like pushing him face first down a flight of stairs!

HitH: I am glad John survived the filming haha! 

Would you like to share with fans details of upcoming screenings of the movie? I would love to make it out there to see it on the big screen!

Jason Torrey:  We are trying to work out a concert/screening with the band AGE OF END who have a song in the film. No details on that yet, but it will happen. We have submitted to select festivals but no word yet on that. We want to release the DVD by the end of September and have it on VOD, too. We want people to see this film in any way we can. Theatrical screenings are very expensive and very limited. The ones we have done in the past were fun and the cast and crew got to see it on the big screen with friends and family, but we lost money on all three screenings so we plan on taking advantage of the internet to screen in the future. "Liking" our Facebook page will keep you up to date on anything that's going on with the film.

 HitH: Are you a horror fan in general Jason? What are some of your all time favourites and why

Jason Torrey:  I am not a horror fan actually. I am a film buff. Just so happens a fair number of my favorite films are horror. My all time favorite movie is 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, so yeah, there's that. My all time favorite horror film is THE SHINING, see the trend? Kubrick is my favorite film maker, hands down. I also love David Lynch's films, my favorite being LOST HIGHWAY. PULP FICTION was a huge inspiration for my film. Another horror favorite is THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (1974). TCM is one of the best slasher films to date, I would dare say it's the undisputed best. What I love about it is its raw portrayal of murder and its almost documentary style of shooting. They also managed to make a shocking and extremely terrifying film with almost no blood! Very impressive.

HitH: Finally what's next for you following the release of Blood Was Everywhere? Any plans for another film or maybe a sequel.....

Jason Torrey:  We just wrapped our second feature in June. It's not a horror film, it's a character study about 3 people hanging out after a wedding where secrets get revealed and the evening spirals into the toilet as more and more truths come out. It was filmed in THREE days, it stars 3 of BWE's cast: Phil Ristaino, Kim Simone and Erin Lynch. I think people who see BLOOD WAS EVERYWHERE will want to see this even though it's not a horror film because the focus is on the same thing, good characters in a good story. It's called BROTHER SISTER LOVER and it's now in post production. As of right now there are no plans to do a sequel to BWE, the film leaves the door wide open for one, but that's kind of the point. I wrote it so it could go on because hey, life goes on whether you're dead or not, right? A sequel is not off the table, just consider it highly unlikely.

HitH: Thank you Jason! Cant wait to see Blood Was Everywhere!

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