|Blood Widow co-writer Ian H. Davis|
IAN H. DAVIS INTERVIEW
Ian Davis is the co-writer of Blood Widow, an uber-frightening new horror film that might nearly have become a comic-book instead. Fortunately for movie fans, the horrifying creature got her debut on the silver screen.
You wrote the film with Chad Coup. Whose idea was it?
Ian H. Davis: The Blood Widow character came from Jeremy [Buckhalt], our director. She was a sketch for a comic book idea he had years ago. When we had the opportunity to create a slasher, she came out of his archives. He gave us the visual design of the character and his vision for the final sequence of the film. We worked backwards from there. It was kind of like Jeopardy. We had the answer and had to figure out the question.
How did you work together? Was it a matter of sharing a computer or passing notes between you?
ID: We did quite a bit of both. For the first draft we would each write a scene and then pass it to other, back and forth until it was complete. For subsequent drafts we talked through it line by line. We work great together because we have different strengths as writers. Chad is very much the pacing and structure guy while I am the character and dialogue guy. I'd write pages and pages of characters just hanging out, talking. Chad would chop those scenes down to their core to make them work with the pace of the movie. Chad's scenes would have the action happening at just the right spot and then I'd go in and figure out how to get the characters into that situation in that I thought seemed interesting. We play off each other very well. As it got closer to what became the shooting script, Jeremy was there as well and we would make changes based on what he saw in his head. We tweaked it until we were all happy. That finished script is 98% on screen.
Did you find you and Chad agreed on mostly everything that should go into the story? Anything you had to meet each other 'in the middle' on?
ID: The only real argument we had, and it was a big one, was the cell phone situation. The hardest part of writing this sort of movie today is the technology problem. So many dilemmas in this genre are solvable by some variation of "lock the door and call for help." We spent hours and hours brainstorming increasingly convoluted ways to keep phones from being an easy out for the characters, none of which would have held up very well. I held out for the simple explanation of the house being out in the country, and there just isn't any cell coverage there. Funny part is, when we got to the location that we ended up using, cell coverage was extremely spotty, even non-existent on a few carriers. And this was just 30 or so miles away from downtown Orlando, on the outskirts of a tiny town called Mims.
|Stills from Blood Widow.|
|Click to enlarge|
If you had to name a couple of horror films that Blood Widow was inspired by, which titles would you say have definitely been an influence?
ID: There are the obvious influences, like the masked killer classics Halloween and Friday the 13th. Chad and I are both huge fans of the original Black Christmas. As a kid, my Saturdays were spent watching old horror films on a show called Creature Feature, hosted by a guy who called himself Dr. Paul Bearer (not the wrestling manager), which showed stuff like The Ghost Galleon and Dracula Has Risen from the Grave. The movies were of course edited for television, so my core horror influence is much more about establishing an unsettling tone than anything else.
You've also ended up with an associate producer credit on the film – I take it you ended up wearing more hats on the film than originally expected?
ID: Everyone on this production wore multiple hats. We couldn't have gotten it done any other way. I helped out with a little bit of everything. I helped with casting, which was a lot of fun, drove all over central Florida scouting locations, fixed a generator, did some painting, and even waged war against a wasp colony at one location with Derek (our production designer).
|Stills from Blood Widow.|
|Click to enlarge|
Did you spend much time on set? And how great was it seeing your story come to life?
ID: Unfortunately I didn't get to spend as much time on set as I wanted. Chad and I are co-workers in our day job and he took a month off to be on set every day, which meant I only made it out a couple times a week. I made a point to be there for the party scene. I'm the guy in the back in a fedora with a spoon sticking out of it.
I loved every minute I was there. It's hard to explain the excitement of being on a movie set, and that excitement is just unreal when it's your story.
How has the reaction to the film been?
ID: I knew we had something when I showed my wife an early cut for the first time. She's an extremely tough critic of everything I do, and when she responded positively I knew it was only a matter of time before the movie found its audience. Reviews are starting to roll in and she was proven right. I'm just humbled by the reaction.
What's next for you? Writing anything new?
ID: If the opportunity to do a sequel arises, we've already got a treatment ready to expand. Chad and I have also written a couple comedy scripts that we'd love to produce some day. If I get chance to scare people or make them laugh, preferably both at the same time, then I'm happy.
We'd like to than Ian H. Davis for taking time for this Q&A. Look for Blood Widow on June 3rd, 2014!
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