There’s a gag in this movie that made me laugh harder than anything for a long time. It’s just a little moment, but I think it’s in the trailer, so I think I can talk about it. There’s a moment where someone is holding a gun sideways, and then another character flips it correctly, and it just destroys itself. Was it in the script? Was it improvised? How did it happen? It was magical.
It’s Jermaine Fowler. I have to give that one to Jermaine Fowler. The situation was obviously in the script. I’m not sure to this day, I don’t know if he told Sinqua [Walls] what he was going to do. I don’t believe he did. Once he did, and I think we were joking on set about Sinqua going to shoot, how it’s a cultural thing that you always wanted to shoot a sidearm, which is pretty much the worst way to shoot a gun. When he did that on set, we all laughed and knew we had something. These kind of little moments which, as you said, are so little, but if you understand, it really makes you laugh out loud.
More broadly, I think horror is having a moment right now. Was this film in development before this horror boom? Or was this movie somehow the result of “Okay, there’s this horror rush going on right now. We see the opportunity”? How did it happen?
Yeah, it’s weird to say that, it’s been almost four years in the making. Dewayne Perkins created this short that went viral. I mean it was in 2018, if I’m not mistaken. And [co-writer] Tracy [Oliver] found him and said, “Listen, I think we can turn this idea into a feature film.” And luckily, he accepted. It took them another year to find the script. Then we finally got the script. I was a producer on it at the time, but I read it and said, “Wow, that’s really awesome.”
I thought the script was brilliant, and just hilarious, and so clever. So I kind of raised my hand and said, “What if I become a director?” Although, at the time, I was just supposed to produce. We finally got there. Literally, we look up and it really has been four years. It was before the boom. Now, we’re finding a really good time where, like you said, the horror has that moment right now. I think when you can also put comedy inside, I think you kind of have an experience that could be pretty cool.
Of course. And you talk about two genres where comedy and horror are arguably the hardest to do individually and then having to do both at the same time. But this movie really nails it. There’s a lot of real horror in there. One of the things, your killer in this movie uses a crossbow. Jason has his machete. Michael has his kitchen knife. Leatherface has his chainsaw. How did you come to a crossbow?
Yeah, I’ll try to represent the writers as best I can. I think one of the main ideas in figuring out what the killer was going to use is one, to be perfectly honest, we didn’t want to do something that kills too quickly. We wanted to be a little twisty where possible, if he caught you he might put some in you, which I know sounds a little crazy. But we wanted to be able to extend some of the kill moments. We didn’t want to be too gory because even though we were doing kind of our version of a slasher movie, we didn’t want it to overpower the movie in terms of gore.
Once you get into other things like axes or machetes or this and that, once someone hits you with one of those, there’s only one way to do. I don’t want to say a lot, but we knew where we were going and we knew this weapon would be the best to have a lot of fun with. But at the same time, still pretty horrifying, what’s in the trailer when you see those moments happen, for someone to chase you down and shoot you, that would be pretty terrifying. So it was definitely a choice, something that would allow us to have a lot of fun and extend the moments throughout the film.