Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Chainsaw Exorcism With The Directors of All Cheerleaders Die

The cheerleading/facechewing flick All Cheerleaders Die hit VOD on demand earlier this month, and it is an explosion of fun. The film was like sharing a teenager's head space as they shot along a roller coaster during puberty. Exciting stuff! I had the opportunity to interview the directing duo Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson about unloading this truck full of zombified pom-poms to our doors. Check out My Analysis of All Cheerleaders Die: HERE.

Zombi: Why did you guys become directors in the first place?

Chris Sivertson: For me it was simple love of movies. You know, like going to see see Star Wars as a kid and just being totally spell bound and becoming addicted to that experience. It's pretty simple, I guess on my end.

Lucky McKee: The first thing that made me pick up a camera was the Nightmare On Elm Street Films. It made me just wanna pick up a video camera and try to make my own Freddy movie. I never stopped after that.

Zombi: What did you learn about yourself while you were making All Cheerleaders Die?

Lucky: That we have gotten a lot older since we made the original.

Chris: Yeah it's true. It is kind of funny to remake something that we made basically as kids right out of film school and working with actors that were the same age as we were back then

Lucky: ...and our juvenile sense of humor has remained and gotten worse the older we have gotten.

Zombi: On that note. One of my favorite philosophers, Slavoj Zizek, has stated that, "The only real marriage is the second marriage to the same person." So in that light I was wondering why it was important for you to remake All Cheerleaders Die?

Chris: I think we wanted to tap back into what got us making, and also get away from making, heavy, dark, serious, and adult movies. We wanted to do something that was fun, young and vibrant. Shake our individual styles up a little bit more and compare notes about what we both learned on making our individual films over the better part of a decade. It felt like like the right thing to do at the time.

Lucky: I think there was a lot left to explore in the kind of simple concepts that we came up with for the first one and now that we have been through the process of working on a bunch of other stuff, it was fun to bring everything we learned together again to make this fun party movie.

Zombi: One of the things I really liked while I was watching All Cheer Leaders Die is that I didn't know where it was going to go next. I was wondering how you guys thought through suspense in the movie?

Lucky: We have to work on this thing for quite some time and we wanted it to stay interesting to us. The idea of replicating teen emotions climatically meant a lot of tone shifts and mood swings in the movie. It was just fun to play with all those styles and tones and see if we could throw people off, feel like you are going one direction, and then jerk them another direction. Then have something really really heavy and dark happen, and five minutes later have it be comedic and silly and fun and fantastic.

Zombi: Are there any of your high school memories find their way into All Cheerleaders Die?

Chris: I don't think so. Not for me. Nothing specific like an antidote that happen to us that we put in. It is probably more general emotion and feelings that we remembered as far as liking someone in high school and having it not be reciprocated and how it felt fitting into a group of people and determining your own identity which is all that fun stuff that happens when you are coming of age in high school. I think it was in a general sense, I mean I don't think either one of us has had sex with a girl in a bathroom...

Lucky: Unfortunately

Chris: We never went through that right of passage.

Zombi: What do you think All Cheerleaders Die says about the world we live in?

Chris: I think when we made the movie we didn't really have any statement or anything like that we were trying to make about the world. We saw it as a collection of characters we believe in and the relationships between them. I mean there are themes in there as well, but we try not to be too heavy handed. There is like simple stuff like about how Maddy, our main character, has these preconceptions of the cheerleaders at her school and they are prooven wrong. It's a very simple thing that people are people. You can make snap judgments on them to try to fit them into any kind of category you want, but more often then not if you get to know people they will surprise you.

Lucky:  Its a fun way to play with the audience too. Because when you hear the title "All Cheerleaders Die" or see the trailer your expectations are pretty base. And to start the movie, to start right with a cheerleader, right in that whole world and then to peal the layers back, I think was really fun. The Tracy character represents that theme better then anyone else in the film, because she appears to be this vapid cheerleader when it starts and she starts having some really complex emotions as the movie unfolds which we thought was interesting. I guess "don't judge a book by its cover" is the message All Cheerleaders Die has.

Chris: Its just going to become more and more monstrous as it tears everything apart. Our villain, the football player is kinda like when you have someone doing bad stuff, and people kind of know about him, and tolerate it for a while until it gets too out of control. Basically too hard to contain. A theme in a lot of horror and thriller movies in which the evil comes from people, rather than a supernatural threat. When in a supernatural movie the true horror is caused by the actions of a cold hearted person basically.

Zombi: I really like, what I've labeled, the Wiccan glow stones. I was wondering if there was any mythos behind the glow stones and how you got the effect you are were looking for?*

Lucky: We did practical lighting on set and then Chris introduced me to a visual effects artist named Roger who we worked with on I Know Who Killed Me and Chris and I were pulling influences from a lot of the great 80's optical animation that was really prevalent in films that we grew up on. We wanted to do a modernized version of that.

Chris: We kind of skated around any type definitions by Leena saying its not exactly Wicca when she is talking about her power. It was an offshoot where we could do what ever we wanted, but traditionally witches divine signs of things, and cast lots, which means they would toss a bundle of sticks on to the ground or a lot of the time it is tea leaves from the bottom of a tea cup and dumping them out on a table. Depending on how they fall trying to find meaning out of that, that is something that has existed for a long time and we did our own version of that with the special stones that Leena has, which is a little connection to the original where the girls had big stone necklaces around their neck. Back then we did it with little Christmas lights inside these fake stones

Zombi: What was the most fun scene to shoot?

Lucky: Gosh. It would have to be the river scene, Huh Chris? That was a blast.

Chris: The river scene was fun. There was a ton of people there all night and it was raining. That was fun because it was really difficult to put a car in this river. Just to get permission to do that in California was a lot of work. It's always fun when we give ourselves big challenges and see how we can pull them off. It is the fun of film making in general. Even shooting a simple scene can present a whole bunch of weird challenges you never anticipated.

Lucky:  and shooting on the universal back-lot, being able to shoot outside and have that kind of control, not having to regulate traffic or any of that kind of stuff. Having plugs where you need them and that was just really really fun to shoot just next door to the Jaw's ride at Universal Studios!

Chris: Yeah that was a blast!

Zombi: I have one last question that comes from one of my readers. Have you considered doing an Topless alternative ending, Like in Harold and Kumar?*

Lucky: A topless ending?

Zombi: Yeah I didn't know about it either. Apparently the movie had an alternative ending were everyone was topless.

Chris: We will discuss that one. It never came up.

Lucky: Yeah I can believe it. We will save it for the sequel. In the sequel everyone will be topless.

*Reader question: @HMPod Rocks!
*Reader question: Nikki Rocks!

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