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STALK ‘N’ SLASH: PELT is based on a true story – can you tell me how much of the story we know to be true?
RICHARD SWINDELL: Due to the fact that I’ve directed a lot true crime documentaries, I’ve had the opportunity to work with detectives and they tell me a lot of crime stories off the record. While I was in Tennessee doing the story of Christa Pike, I was having lunch with this detective and he was sharing his theories about what happened to some missing kids. All we know is that they had a run in or some kind of trouble with some locals. There are multiple theories, but no bodies were ever found and they remain missing persons. Pelt is basically the re-telling of one of those theories.
BRIAN GORK: Richard is a wealth of knowledge so I trusted him on this one. It is definitely based on a true story. I think some of the campfire stuff was based on his true stories though.
STALK ‘N’ SLASH: I am a HUGE fan of ‘stalk ‘n’ slash’ films, in particular 1980’s films such as Friday the 13th – when I watched ‘The Making of Pelt’ I was excited to see that it appears to be inspired by the films I love, can you tell me if this is the kind of film we can expect?
RICHARD SWINDELL: Hollywood has recently been re-making a lot of films I love from the 80’s and it got me thinking that perhaps there is something missing from today’s horror films. Being a product of the 80’s horror genre, I made a movie that I would want to watch. The key to the horror films of the 80’s is that they are a fun scary versus a disturbing scary, and I believe that’s what we’ve achieved with Pelt.
BRIAN GORK: Good point Richard. I’m not a big fan of the horror films that are so gruesome the audience has to look away. Pelt has its share of gore, but keeps you attention without relying on it as a gimmick.
STALK ‘N’ SLASH: With at least seven potential victims can we hope for a variety of interesting deaths?
RICHARD SWINDELL: Being of fan of horror films myself, I completely understand that no two can die the same way.
BRIAN GORK: One thing I can say is that the majority of the deaths come as a surprise. Sadly, you might even laugh at some.
STALK ‘N’ SLASH: From what I have seen PELT strikes me as a film that doesn’t take itself too seriously – will we get some laughs in amongst the horror?
RICHARD SWINDELL: I decided to give the characters a sense of humor to add a dimension of humanity. To make a good horror film, you have to invest emotionally in the characters. To do that, the characters need to be believable. For them to be credible as friends, they had to have fun with each other. I think humor was the best way to accomplish this. The humor in Pelt is never situational, because the situation is not funny. The threat is serious and Pelt takes it seriously.
BRIAN GORK: I think the humor is a key point to the film. It makes everyone very relatable. Nothing is over the top and it continues throughout the movie.
STALK ‘N’ SLASH: How big was the film’s budget, and do you feel there was anything you would have done differently had you had a larger budget?
RICHARD SWINDELL: Of course, like any film, more money means more tools to make it. That being said, even though we may not have had all the tools we wanted, the story we wanted to tell comes across on screen.
BRIAN GORK: From a producers standpoint, any film under 1M is going to be a challenge. I think we put every dollar we had on screen. A bigger budget could have made some bank accounts happy but I think the film holds up without it.
STALK ‘N’ SLASH: Were you up against time constraints, and if so, how did that impact you?
RICHARD SWINDELL: With most of the film being shot on location, everything is against you. If it’s not the sun setting behind you, it’s the generator running out of gas. This forces creative filmmaking. What may be viewed as a compromise in the beginning sometimes turns out to be an asset to the film.
BRIAN GORK: Obviously every day that you are still shooting adds to the budget so you want to move as fast as possible. I think we fit a lot of filming into a short period but we were still able to free up some time for the cast and crew to enjoy their surroundings. We couldn’t have found a more beautiful location to spend our time. I hope to go back to Bucks Lake again sometime.
STALK ‘N’ SLASH: Can you tell me a little about the locations? I understand one of them burned down shortly after filming!
BRIAN GORK: We filmed North of Lake Tahoe in the Bucks Lake area. It has beautiful mountain terrain and many old weathered structures. The main part of the lodge was the bar (which we all got to know very well) and the restaurant. This structure along with the adjacent cabin (the home of the owners Louie and Rebecca) burnt to the ground in the winter. There was too much snow for rescue vehicles to make it in time to save these historical structures. Fortunately the last images of this beloved spot will live on through PELT.
STALK ‘N’ SLASH: Do you have a release date yet?
BRIAN GORK: We are currently working with distributors and will have to follow their timetable. Unfortunately I have no idea what that is at this time.
STALK ‘N’ SLASH: Any other interesting projects lined up we should know about?
RICHARD SWINDELL: Currently we’re in talks with Discovery Channel for a project called Lore. It’s a dramatic telling of modern folklore. Our next feature, entitled Harper Valley Serial Killers’ Club, is due to begin filming in 2011.
And finally, a couple of questions I like to ask just for fun:
STALK ‘N’ SLASH: Can you name your top three horror films? (Almost impossible I know, but try!)
RICHARD SWINDELL: My top three changes constantly. My most influential would have to include The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). I love the documentary feel. You could almost smell the hot, sweaty summer. Dawn of the Dead (1978) is important because Romero uses humor and that’s where I realized that humor and horror can be blended. Last but not least, Jaws (1975). It’s a misconception that Jaws is labelled as a thriller. By definition, it is not a thriller. It is a horror film. Thrillers ask the question why the killer is killing. Horror films show HOW the killer is killing. That being said, we never question why the shark attacks but we’re fascinated by how.
BRIAN GORK: Believe it or not, I’m not a huge horror fan. I prefer comedy but enjoy comedies that have an element of horror. I cant get enough of films like Shaun of the Dead, Club Dread, and even Zombieland. The “jump factor” adds to the film but the comedy brings me back to watch again and again. Funny will always be funny to me. I think that’s why Pelt caught my interest. I have seen it several times and I can’t wait to see it again.
STALK ‘N’ SLASH: Zombies attack (slow Romero style) I’m out in my armoured Hummer having a blast – where are you?
RICHARD SWINDELL: It’s not a question of IF they attack – it’s when. I live my life planning this. No matter how much supplies you stockpile, you’ll always run out. I think staying mobile is key.
BRIAN GORK: I would love to spend a little time on the roof of a sporting goods store where I could find different fun ways to lower the number of zombies looking up at me. Then I would have to steal your Hummer idea and take the show on the road.
STALK ‘N’ SLASH: Thank you for your time guys -- most appreciated!
Here's the link to The Making of Pelt.
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH 5.1 DOLBY SURROUND SOUND; SPANISH DOLBY SURROUND, FRENCH DOLBY SURROUND
RUNTIME: 88 MINUTES
ASPECT RATIO: FILMED IN ANAMORPHIC WIDESCREEN; ALSO AVAILABLE IN FULL SCREEN 1.33:1
SYNOPSIS: PELT IS AN ACCOUNT OF EVENTS THAT TOOK PLACE IN KENTUCKY DURING THE SUMMER OF 1991 AND SUDDEN, GORY DEATHS BEHIND EVERY BUSH.
WHEN BEAUTIFUL JENNIFER AND HER FRIENDS EMBARK ON A BACKPACKING EXCUSION DEEP INTO THE WOODS THEY COME CHEST TO CHEST WITH AN EVIL AS OLD AS THE TREES. LISTEN…ABOVE, THE CRACKLING OF THE CAMPFIRE…IS THAT THE SOUND OF A TWIG SNAPPING OR YOUR BEST GIRLFRIEND’S NECK? THE INTERLOPERS DISCOVER THAT WHEN THE LOCALS WARN YOU NOT TO TRESPASS, IT’S A WARNING YOU SHOULD HEED.
MUSIC BY: TEXAS RIFLES