The Final Girls trailer was sent to me by a friend as “Last Action Hero, the horror movie!” Today, I got in for The Finals Girls panel at New York Comic-Con with director Todd Strauss-Schulson (A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas) and star Malin Akerman (Watchmen, The Trophy Wife).
The film, which is opening this weekend, is about a girl whose mother (Akerman) was a B-movie scream queen in the 80s. “Was” as in she is now passed on, and Max (Taissa Farmiga, American Horror Story) and friends are attending a tribute screening of her famous slasher film, when they are all sucked into the screen and into the film. Soon they are the counselors at “Camp Bloodbath” trying to escape a cliche horror villain (think Jason Voorhees). Now armed with a wealth of knowledge on how to survive these movies, Max and her friends must try to last till the end credits, all the while trying to save her mother.
At the panel we got to see the trailer, which looks awesome! Then, Strauss-Schulson and Akerman were introduced. The director sited Pleasantville and Tucker and Dale vs. Evil as inspirations for this film; later on, he would include Purple Rose of Cairo by Woody Allen and even Buster Keaton’s Sherlock Jr. His main point was to express how The Final Girls is shrouded in horror, but really a moving tale about parents and kids getting a chance to be together. One of the screenwriters (Joshua John Miller) is the son of Exorcist star Jason Miller, and both he and the director lost their fathers recently, so there is actual drama within this horror-comedy.
We got to see two clips, one of Max (Farmiga) realizing she may be able to save her mom; and the other showing a great scene where the characters are in slow motion and totally get that they’re moooooving in slooooow motion while running (jogging) away from a fiery killer. On that scene Strauss-Schulson LOVED it because we see the film within a film concept.
Some quick notes:
– Adam DeVine & Thomas Middleditch were hilarious and ab-libbed like crazy.
– Strauss-Schulson’s favorite horror movie is Dead Alive by Peter Jackson; Akerman said The Shining (although she says was not and is not a huge horror fan).
– Akerman claimed that hanging out with the young cast was fun, but she was in bed by 8pm.
– Nina Dobrev apparently really like hot dogs, and is “so [email protected]#&ing smart”
– There’s a lot of heartfelt empathy throughout; the director says he enjoys watching 80s characters evolve when meeting modern day people
I got to participate in the Q&A and asked Akerman if she researched her role by watching 80s slasher films, despite her not liking horror films in general. She said she was much more focused on the mother/daughter aspects of the plot, but Strauss-Schulson was a horror encyclopedia, so that helped. Strauss-Schulson answered that for the movie within a movie 80s slasher, he re-watched Friday the 13th Part 2 and Final Chapter (Part 4) as well as The Burning; specifically noting the score from The Burning as highly influential.
The best question asked (aside from mine, of course) was when a young fan asked Akerman what movie would she want her son (now 2) sucked into in 20 years. She said none yet were good enough for him, to which the director screamed “Hey!”
The Final Girls is out tomorrow, October 9, 2015, in theaters in limited release and on VOD. Go out of your way to see it. It looks like it’ll fall right into the same wonderful meta horror category as Shaun of the Dead, Tucker & Dale, and Cabin in the Woods. And its director and star are really cool people!
Keep it here at Geeks Of Doom all weekend for our on-site coverage of NYCC 2015 and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates.
[All photos by Dr. Zaius for Geeks Of Doom.]