LA Film Fest 2012 Interview: 'Saturday Morning Massacre' Helmer Spencer Parsons Talks Horror Fun
Scares, sex and...Scooby Doo? From the creative and twisted mind of filmmaker Spencer Parsons ala the LA Film Fest 2012 comes “Saturday Morning Massacre”, a film so bold, so brutal and so totally unique it will have even the hardened horror fan screaming like it’s their first time. The film revolves around a group of unusual paranormal investigators and their faithful K9 who find that their latest haunted mansion assignment may be a tad more then they can handle. We got a chance to talk to the genre-jumping helmer Parsons who chatted with us one-on-one about his influences, his notable leading lady and his memorable Zalman King influenced sex scene. Grab an axe and go to town – here’s...
Since "Saturday Morning Massacre" explores multiple genres within a horror setting, what were some of your influences making it?
Spencer Parsons: A lot! I feel like it’s pretty obvious in the film. There were a lot of things that came up like I’m a huge fan of "Texas Chain Saw Massacre," which obviously informs our title. This particular movie I guess more attention was paid to the 80’s horror comedies like "Re-Animator" school of things. "Basket Case." But also going back a little bit earlier to almost embarrassing influences like Bob Clark’s "Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things" and there’s a little "Bad Ronald" thrown in. I guess personally my own influences that I take very seriously film-to-film are Cassavetes and Altman – they’re in there.
Seeing as how there are so many things going on in the film, did you have to do more balancing of the various elements during shooting or more in the edit room?
SP: You know, it’s always in both places. The filming was very much in sequence, so that created a certain logic. Going into a scene where we’re going to change the tone a little bit we really have the experience in our minds of what came before – that helps with shifts in tone. And in the editing room you gotta work and you gotta massage things. I spend personally on any film a long time in the editing room because there are so many opportunities to get it right.
Your lead gal Ashley Rae Spillers is fantastic, interesting and wholly unconventional – how did you come to cast her?
SP: She had worked a little bit with Jason Wehling, one of the producers, before and he was just wowed by her. So he brought her in to meet when we were working on the casting and I was like she’s really good. She just snapped to it and brought a lot to the movie.
You mentioned in your intro to the film sensual movie master Zalman King and your own sex tryst in the film was right up there with his best. What was it like to shoot that scene and did you get everything you wanted from it?
SP: Oh yeah, absolutely. It was actually really fun. I think people like to talk about sex scenes being really difficult because they are sometimes, but we treated it very matter of factly. We rehearsed it and we dealt with everybody’s questions about each other. We shot it very quickly – it did not go on for a really long time. But yeah, at that point we were thinking a little Zalman King, a little "Red Shoe Diaries" and it was really important to me that is was going to be fun.
Would you then ever consider making an erotic thriller?
SP: Absolutely! I think about the attitude that people have about sex in films. Whenever there’s a really sexy film out there that’s revealing, critic’s really take pains to say it’s not really gonna turn you on or it’s not erotic. It really makes you not want to think about sex and I find that to be the silliest thing ever. Why have that sort of idea? When a movie is gonna be sexy, that’s one of the pleasures that you get from a movie. But that’s not a guilty pleasure, that’s a pleasure pleasure and I think its part of the things that movies can do.
So what’s next for you?
SP: It depends what comes up next. I didn't even imagine this one a year ago, so I have other things that I’m working on. I’ve got a project I’m trying to get off the ground – horror related but a scarier film along the lines of "Repulsion." And I’ve already started another film that’s very different from this and not horror at all, a very personal experimental narrative a lit bit along the lines of Nicolas Roeg’s "Bad Timing."
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