INT: Dave Parker

THE HILLS RUN RED is a vicious little horror flick (which will be released tomorrow on DVD - get it here) that examines both the old school horror and the recent, more graphic nature of the genre. It introduces a creepy new character named Babyface, and it features everything that horror fans are looking for, gore, nudity and a bad ass killer. Add to that an amiable cast including the great William Sadler and you’ve got yourself a good old horror feature.

Director Dave Parker brings us something that is old fashioned, yet feels just as relevant as any other horror flick to come out over the past few years. And the best part, he is such a massive horror geek. It was a blast talking old slashers with him, including FINAL EXAM. This was one of those interview that could’ve lasted a lot longer if we hadn’t been cut off for going too long. Dave is a true horror fan and an all around helluva nice guy, and I can’t wait to see what is next for the man. THE HILLS RUN RED PART 2 anybody???


With THE HILLS RUN RED, I kept trying to think of a film that really terrified me that you cannot find anywhere, which lead me to watching FINAL EXAM (now available on DVD) on YouTube?

Oh thanks man. I mean, a lot of the intention was to make a movie that felt like those movies did. With, obviously, modern filmmaking technics and editing and that type of thing, and twist it. But a lot of it was trying to capture the flavor and the essence of the early Eighties slasher movie. Especially with the beginning part of the movie. Because I’ve seen all of them. The influences are sometimes subliminal but I’d be lying if I wasn’t like, well I’m in the woods and there is a masked killer, well it’s not just FRIDAY THE 13th, it’s MADMAN, it’s…


Yeah, Just Before Dawn. There are so many… THE PROWLER. You know, there’s all of these things that are just up in my twisted, damaged brain, probably as I’m doing these things. Sometimes I don’t even realize it and other people will go, ‘Oh that was very…’ and you’re like, ‘Oh yeah… okay. That’s where that came from I guess.’

[Laughing] Well one of the things I found interesting about THE HILL’S RUN RED, well because I know the script was changed, correct…?

From its original thing back…


Drastically. Yeah, drastically from the original script we got… yeah.

What did you guys keep from it?

Basically what we took from the original screenplay - and the reason why so much of it changed is when we brought David Schow in to write it and it was sort of this thing where, well guys, you have a writer of that caliber, you kind of just let him go and play. Really the concept of a lost film and people going to look for it and the character named “Babyface”. That was really all that we retained. That original script was much more self-reflective in a SCREAM sort of way where the characters were talking about other real movies that existed, and stuff like that. And I wanted to avoid that. I didn’t want to have people watching this and go, ‘Oh yeah, I like EVIL DEAD a lot!’ This isn’t Evil Dead. You don’t want to take them out of the story that you are trying to tell, at least I didn’t. And the other thing was, it was stuff that had already been done. So yeah, it changed quite a bit.

Well one of the most interesting things that you present in the film is this sort of battle between old school horror films and what we have today, such as “torture porn”.

Yeah, that was something we talked about that was something that Dave Schow wanted to put in. I think, the thing we talked about was when we were putting this together and making is… there have been some really good movies that have fallen under the banner of “torture porn”, some of them I don’t think deserve that label. But the thing we were missing out of horror movies, at least I was, where was the rollercoaster ride? The horror films of today, a lot of them, they’re very gruesome. They’ll definitely turn your stomach and make you look away and the effects are amazing, but I was missing sort of the fun in horror movies that I had when I was going to the theatre when I was a kid first discovering this stuff. And sort of, that thrill and that ride feel of it. And also a character that was like, wow, that is pretty cool looking that you would always dream you’d have an action figure of. So that was really where that sort of came around. And there have been so many films now where people getting tortured are just tied down, and of course we have elements of that, we had them so we could comment back on how this is not really what we’re into. But it’s a slippery slope too because we have it in the movie, so are we being hypocritical? Hopefully, I think, we’re commenting on it but we are acknowledging it, we are showing it as part of, at least right now in films, what the audience responds to. But again, what we really tried to do with the movie as much as possible is set them up and build it so, once stuff really starts happening, the audience can’t really tell where its going.

Well you definitely have that, especially in the first half, you have that rollercoaster and kind of a f*cking with the audience type of thing…

I think you have to. The thing is, you know, maybe we’re different in that we don’t have a big kill every eight minutes or so. In the beginning we’re setting up characters and stuff like that. But again, all this stuff was really devised to lull the audience in and let them know the characters a little bit more than just the average kids going to the woods, so we can then chop them down and chop the genre down a little bit.

And again, that goes back to the old school type of horror. For example, FINAL EXAM has a kill in the beginning, but after that there is not one single kill for like forty minutes.

Right. And sometimes that is tough. With today’s audiences, you never know until the movie is out of their reaction if that works today. The thing that we’re facing now, is that we are in a generation that does watch things on YouTube and attention spans are shorter. And the thing is, you really want them to have a little patience. It’s like, give it a chance guys, let it build… we’ll give you the payoff. But you know, go through this with us. So what we’re hoping is that there is enough stuff building up to it that keeps their interest and keeps them invested so when we do start pulling the rug out from under them, that they’ll be like, ‘Yeah, we’re satisfied.’

Now I have to ask you about working with William Sadler. What was it like working with him and how did you get him in the project?

Well the lucky thing is, I always wanted William Sadler, he was my first choice from when we started this. I loved him as an actor for so long and he’s done genre stuff, and a lot of the great character work, from all the Frank Darabont movies to even DEMON KNIGHT. I just always thought he was a great actor and I certainly wasn’t disappointed with that. He was incredible to work with and a real mentor to the younger actors and even to me. It was a really great collaborative effort because when you get someone like that, you want to let them play a little bit, and he brought a lot of fun to the role. I think he really had a lot of fun doing it because it is not the same type of thing that he gets to do. I don’t think he gets to play crazy that much. I think he had a really good time doing that. And it was quick, we only had him for a short amount of time so we maximized that as much as we could. But the great thing was, he was really game for it and was willing to go there and go to dark places and really give it to us, you know, in a way, it’s a fun, not totally scene chewing role, but he definitely gets his teeth in there.

There are quite a few times you went against the grain with the casting here. For starters, your lead character is a dude. And Tad Hilgenbrink is really quite good here.

Yeah, I really enjoyed… I enjoyed working with all of them but I really enjoyed working with Tad. He was a little unsure because he had just done LOST BOYS 2: THE TRIBE and that was what it was. So he was concerned because there were… again, he was doing something different and he wanted to show that he could pull off more serious types of roles. What was fun was being able to push him, push his buttons and stuff like that. And in the end it was like, ‘Wow, I didn’t know I had that in me.’ So that was really cool.

I liked the fact that you made these characters flawed and they make a lot of mistakes like his friend and his girlfriend.

Oh yeah.

And the cast are all quite good.

We were very fortunate with the cast. They were all really, really committed, dedicated and willing to put up with all the crazy, out there type of things that we were asking them to do. It was great. I mean, everyone says, ‘Oh, it was wonderful, we’re such a family…’ and stuff like that and the thing is that, a year after we’ve done this movie we all still hang out.

Can you talk about working with Dark Castle? How early did they get involved?

Pretty early on. We had done the re-write with Dave Schow, we’d done a teaser trailer for the other company just to show the mood and what we were going for and then we took it to Warner Brothers, they saw it and they jumped on board.

Did they give you a lot of freedom when it came to violence, nudity and gore? Did they ever say, no that’s too much?

No. They pushed. They said no, keep going. They were really fantastic to work with.

That’s a bit surprising.

Yeah, but that is what they wanted to do with this one, to make something very different from what had been done before and as far as the extreme length they were willing to go with it.

Is there any thought about THE HILLS RUN RED Part 2?

As far as a sequel goes - my feeling on those is that if they are done then they should be ideally done not to just make money - the reason most sequels are made, but because the fans truly want one. I guess that is determined by sales of the first movie most of the time - another catch in it of course.

As far as doing a Hills Run Red sequel/prequel/whatever - we never really thought that far ahead - to me I want to just try and make the best movie possible and I think it's near impossible to create a franchise - that again is really determined by the fans - if they want it, then it will happen.

Our ending is open ended, but really it was more in the spirit of endings like Carpenter's The Thing - leaving the audience to fill in where the story could go from there. What is cool is that with the way things end with the movie, you could go in many directions with another one. I know if one happened that I would love to work with everyone again and that we would try to come up with something that surprises the audience and tries to take the concept of a sequel and veer from what would be expected. Of course Babyface in some incarnation would be in it - but how, that would be the fun part. Let me know what you think...


Let me know what you think. Send questions and/or comments to [email protected]


Source: AITH

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