Horror Society discussed all things grisly with Writer/Director Evan Blank. Read below to learn about his career path and inspiration as a writer and director, as well as a sneak peek into his upcoming short, “CHAINED.”
What appeals you about the horror/thriller genre?
It’s not the violent acts or the gore or the scary pop-out moments that I find appealing in this genre. For me, it’s the haunting (and sometimes disturbing) psychological effects that a horror/thriller film can have on the audience. This includes situations and scenarios that are based in reality, which can also prey on the audience’s phobias and worst conceivable nightmares. Like the thought of being kidnapped by a stranger or by a relative, or getting eaten alive by a shark or by your therapist.
When I was in middle school, I remember telling a family friend that I had recently seen Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho and that I was about to read the novel. But before I could explain why I loved the film so much, she asked me to stop talking about it. As it turns out, she was a teenager when Psycho was released in 1960 and her memories of seeing it still horrified her. When I asked her why it still bothered her, she begged me to never discuss that movie in front of her again.
The fact that a movie could still be disturbing to an adult, who was only an adolescent when last viewing it thirty-plus years earlier, will always be fascinating to me. And as I continue to meet and befriend others, I’m always astounded to hear that there are some who will always be terrified of a particular movie or television series. To me, that’s what makes the horror/thriller genre so intriguing and influential.
What is your upcoming horror project called? Are there any details you can share?
The title of my next short film is CHAINED.
It’s about a young boy who is being pursued by a bloodthirsty entity in the Old West. That’s all I can give you at this time with regard to the plot.
As for the crew, here are some of the names that are attached:
Douglas Tait, Creature Actor/Performer (Freddy vs. Jason, J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek, MTV’s Teen Wolf); Michael Mandaville, Line Producer (Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings, Taken, Taken 2, Taken 3); David Woodruff, Creature Effects Supervisor (Fire City: End of Days, The Thing, X-Men: First Class, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem); David will also be assisted by the creature effects team at Amalgamated Dynamics, who are known for creating the most memorable creatures and special effects in such films as Aliens, The Terminator, Tremors, The Monster Squad, and Mortal Kombat; Leonard Morganti, Storyboard Artist (Edge of Tomorrow, The Hunger Games, Child’s Play, Critters, Troll, Fear No Evil)
Currently, I am in pursuit of enlisting A-List talent for the main roles. Some of the actresses whom I think would be great to star as the female lead would be Anna Faris, Evangeline Lilly, Blake Lively, Winona Ryder or Deborah Ann Woll. As for the male lead, Jon Bernthal, Gerard Butler, Michael Cudlitz, Eli Roth or Sam Worthington would also be great to co-star. Once the leading roles are attached, my team and I will then begin a major crowdfunding campaign to raise the funds needed, so we can make this film a reality and shape it to its fullest potential. The storyboards have already been drawn and the creature designs are completed. I hope that all of you who are reading this will help play a big part in getting CHAINED made.
Do any particular films or directors inspire your work in horror?
Frankenstein, Dracula, Psycho, Jaws, Alien, Poltergeist, Aliens, Silence of the Lambs, The Mist, Hostel, and I have to include the greatest television series ever produced — The Twilight Zone.
With your significant history in comedy, what motivated you to transition to a horror/thriller project?
As different as the comedy and horror/thriller genres are, they still excite people in the same way a roller coaster does. Both movie genres exhume the same results: screams, laughs, a sense of uneasiness, and an increased pulse rate.
For my next project, I very much want to tell a story that will frighten an audience as well as challenge them. This will not be your typical horror/thriller film, and I think fans of both horror and thrillers will enjoy seeing something that’s new and refreshing in this genre. And I’m looking forward to making this project materialize — probably more excited than any of my previous or current comedy projects. I believe that it’s something that hasn’t been imagined before, and if we raise the money that’s needed and if we get the right talent attached, I believe that people are going to be blown away by it.
What are your favorite horror/thriller films from this year?
10 Cloverfield Lane, The Conjuring 2, Don’t Breathe, and The Purge: Election Year.
Any additional info you’d like to add?
It’s about an inquisitive seven year-old girl who demands to learn about “the facts of life” from her reluctant father (played by actor/comedian Elon Gold). It is a comedy, but to parents who have to face this age-old dilemma, it is pure horror.
Twinkies and Donuts has screened at the LA Comedy Film Festival, the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal, the Laugh Factory in Hollywood and it won an audience award at the Chicago International REEL Shorts Film Festival.
And feel free to check out the website for Twinkies and Donuts.