I think what’s nice about something like this is we all grow up, but then when we see an authentic representation of what it was like to be younger, you’re like, “Oh yeah.” I think with this movie, yes, there are aliens, there are fantastical elements, but it’s also, that’s what it’s like to be a teenager, doing stuff you’re not supposed to be doing.
Totally. A lot of the movie is based on my childhood, making movies with my friends in my backyard, and trying to convince my sister to be in them, and terrorizing her with my friends. There’s literally moments in the film that are just plucked out of my own childhood. And then also being inspired by back home, on a farm in Nova Scotia, we have this crazy UFO story where a UFO crashed into one of our harbors in 1967. All these fishermen rushed out thinking it was a plane crash, and they were going to look for survivors, and they just found this glowing light coming from underneath the surface.
Then, days later, the American military came up, parked their boats over it, kept it all secret from the public. Ever since, there’s been all these conspiracy theories, and rumors, and I had family members who were in the Navy, and they heard stories, too. So when I was around the age of the kids in the movie, I was hearing all these stories and being so freaked out of the idea that aliens could be in our backyard, or that they could be coming out of the water, which was, to me, a really terrifying idea.
Well, especially because I think aliens, so traditionally, it’s like they come from above. That’s why I feel like oceanic movies, it’s that idea of, we focus on outer space, but…
I know, right? The ocean, we don’t know what’s down there.
You did the “Slumber Party Alien Abduction” segment in “V/H/S/2.”
How long was it before you told yourself, “I think there might be a full movie here,” or was it something that a producer came in and was like, “You should turn this into a movie.” How did that process go?
Originally, when we made that film, oh my gosh, 10 years ago or so, at the time, I thought I wanted to make it into a feature film. Right after I was like, “Let’s do it, let’s do it,” but it couldn’t happen. Then over the years I kind of forgot about it. Then Mark Ward, from RLJE, he reached out and he was like, “I love that segment. That’s one of my favorite segments from ‘V/H/S.'”
It’s one of mine too, just for the record.
Oh, thank you.
It’s so good.
Thank you. So he was like, “I’d love to make a movie with you, or you do a feature version of this.” I was like, “Cool, yeah. I want to do something different. I love the short for what it is, and I want to preserve that, and make it its own thing,” but I wanted to make the feature and expand it, and bring the inspirations that I have now into it.
Is it nice when a guy from RLJE comes to you, a company that does well with this kind of movie, and you already know going into it that, “I’m working with a guy who knows exactly what to do with this kind of movie”?
Totally. He just got it. It was honestly, after so many years of pitching movies and doing the whole song and dance of pitches, and months of pitching, and building decks, he was just, it was over a phone call. He was like, “You want to do this?” I didn’t even necessarily have to pitch anything. He just believed in me. He was like, “I want to see you make a film. If you’re going to do something like the ‘Slumber Party Alien Abduction’ thing, that’s cool.” He just believed in me and green lit it off that. I couldn’t believe it. I was like, “When is this dream — where’s going to be the trick?” You know what I mean?
It’s the person looking over your shoulder thing. You’re just waiting for someone to tap you on the shoulder and say, “That’s it. You’re done.” Someone figures it out.
They let me make the movie I wanted to make. It was amazing. It was honestly the best experience.
Even when I saw the title of the movie, I just remember thinking this feels like the kind of movie, as you’re wandering around Blockbuster and then you’re like, “Yes, this,” and then you beg your parents to rent that movie for you.
Yeah, totally. Growing up I remember doing exactly that. Going to my video store, and I would be looking at the covers. You just lose your imagination just looking at covers. I just would spend hours in there just looking at all the box art. But yeah, that’s my goal. When I was a kid, and I was the age of these characters in the movie, I turned a shed in our backyard into a little clubhouse, and I just would rent movies. There was a deal at our video store, five movies for $5 for five days. I would just go there and just clean out the whole horror sci-fi section in summer. I’m always thinking of that kid when they’re looking at the shelf, on the DVD shelf, even on the spine, trying to catch their attention.