David Ryan Keith Interview (The Redwood Massacre)

DAVID RYAN KEITH – THE REDWOOD MASSACRE
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One of the most anticipated fright flicks of 2015 comes to DVD and VOD July 7 from Uncork’d Entertainment.  David Ryan Keith’s Redwood Massacre “epitomizes the 80’s slasher and just adds a dollop more of the red stuff into the mix making it better than the 80’s!”.

Starring Mark Wood (TVs Trinity), Lisa Cameron (My Brother’s Keeper), Lisa Livingstone (TVs Holby City), Rebecca Wilkie (Legion of Evil), and Alec Westwood (TVs Roughnecks), the “chilling” film chronicles the horrific outcome of a group of friends who visit a legendary murder site, Redwood House. What happens next will chill you to the bone.

For five adventurous friends, visiting the legendary murder site of the Redwood House has all the hallmarks of being an exciting and thrilling camping weekend away. A popular site for revelers and party goers, each year on the exact date of the famous local family massacre, people from around the country head out to the site to have fun and scare each other. Events take a bloody turn for the worse when the innocent campers discover the Redwood legend is in fact a horrible bloody reality, which turns the unsuspecting victims into prey for a mysterious axe wielding maniac that has remained dormant for 20 years.

The Redwood Massacre is available on July 7.

We caught up with writer/director David Ryan Keith.

DAVID RYAN KEITH – THE REDWOOD MASSACREYou can tell you spent as much time on character development as you did the scares in the film. How important was it to you that the audiences cared about the characters in the movie?

The screenplay was the hardest part of the process for me, I’m not the greatest writer but I knew If I didn’t tackle it head on and get it produced the film would never happen.  We really wanted to have a bash at making a classic style slasher film. We shot the movie in Aberdeen, Scotland and it isn’t exactly known for having any kind of film industry or willing investors that would take a risk on this kind of project. The screenplay came out of necessity more than anything else. I wanted the film to be a throwback to the 80’s and wanted that rather cheesy dialogue that served as only a means of putting the actors in various ridiculous situations. The real character development came from the actual actors on the day, the original script was more of a blueprint for the film and I’d encourage them to change as much of the dialogue as they wanted. Being such a small cast and crew, the actors really only had only each other throughout the long shooting days. They formed some real friendships that I think show in some of the earlier scenes.

Is there a character in the movie you think audiences especially relate to?

We tried to make the lead character Pamela the one in the group that questioned what was happening. This kind of film is all about the death scenes and it’s hard not to set them up without getting one of the characters doing something really stupid. As much fun as it was to get in all the horror cliché’s into the movie, we wanted Pamela to almost act as the audience and be the one person really grounded in some kind of reality.

In terms of writing, was one funner to write than the other?

It was fun to write, you don’t realise how influenced you are by other films in this genre until you start trying to create the scenes. We know this movie is going to take a bashing for not being the most original film ever made, but it was really made for horror fans by horror fans that appreciate this old school approach to film making. Sometimes you need a little bit of the 80’s mixed up in these films to remind you why you enjoyed them so much in the first place. If you’re looking for a movie with award winning screenwriting and Oscar worthy acting I would recommend Double Impact! if you’re looking for a movie you can turn your brain off to sit back and enjoy the  bloody spectacle, this is definitely the film for you

They say horror is an easy sell. What’s your experience been like?

When you make an independent film like this you never know what you have on your hand until you sit back and watch the final product. Horror has such a huge, loyal fan base it would be easy to say this was a safe bet for us, but the market is really oversaturated at the moment with indie films like ours that were just glad someone took the risk to pick it up and get it out to the audience. Even if most people hate The Redwood Massacre we know it’s now got a good chance of finding the audience it was originally intended for

Are festivals important for horror films? Did they help secure distribution?

We actually found distribution before we did the festival circuit. It was a fun experience to travel round the world with type of movie and got to meet some truly wonderful people.  I can see why festivals would be so important, not only is it a chance to show people your film and get honest feedback, it’s a chance to network and meet with people in the industry that have connections with sales agents and distributors.

What did you use for blood!? It looks great!

We used a company in England called Dempsey Film Blood. We used over 100 litres of fake blood during this production so it was great to find someone who could supply it quickly and be of such high quality, highly recommend those guys J

How do you feel your movie differs from other films of the same ilk?

We wanted to embrace the flaws of the slasher genre and at the same time try a pay honour to what made them so great in the first place.  I think most reboots these days try to change what made the original films so good. I’m not for a minute putting this film in the same league as all the classics, but I think we’ve done a decent job at trying to capture the look and feel of slasher films from the 80’s

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About the Author

Shawn S. Lealos
Shawn is a film critic with over 25 years of experience in print and online media. He is a member of the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle and loves everything from critically acclaimed movies to B-level action flicks.
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