Over the summer I caught a screening of Chris Moore‘s Triggered and I absolutely loved it. The film is currently running the festival circuit and is scheduled to come out in wide release next year. Moore’s first horror film Blessed are the Children was just picked up by Wild Eye Releasing and is available today on Amazon and Amazon Instant Video. His films are slashers with a taboos twists. Blessed are the Children is about a woman who terminates a pregnancy is stalked by masked maniacs who protest outside abortion clinics, while Triggered takes a unique turn at portraying social justice warriors. One thing for sure, the young filmmaker has a flair all his own. I got a chance to speak with about his upcoming films, his influences and aspirations.
Check out the interview below (with some spoilers!).
Geeks of Doom: I watched Blessed are the Children and really enjoyed it. I have to start with this because I was very proud of myself for catching this, the end credits… they’re all final girls.
Chris Moore: You’re very perceptive.
Geeks of Doom: Haha, well is this your horror geek way showing that this was a low budget independent film and you basically had to do everything?
Chris Moore: Yes, very much, very very much. We had a crew of maybe two or three on a good day. Most of the positions are not really real people. So I basically had to pretend I had a full crew.
Geeks of Doom: I saw the “Script Supervisor” was Nancy Thompson and said, “˜Oh Nancy from A Nightmare of Elm St,’ and then I was like “˜wait a minute…’
Chris Moore: This is a conspiracy. I only hired people with the names of final girls. Only one other person has picked up on that, which is kind of surprising. I’m not really sure why they haven’t yet.
Geeks of Doom: Well, not everyone is as big a horror geek as me.
Chris Moore: Well, there’s nothing wrong with that.
Geeks of Doom: Thank you. I just watched and reviewed Blessed are the Children, and Triggered and you certainly choose unconventional and controversial topics for your horror films, whether abortion or social justice warriors. I feel like one genre that lends itself to taboo and controversy is horror, so can you speak to why you chose these topics for your films?
Chris Moore: It’s weird. I never sat down and thought about what controversial topic I would make a movie about next, it just has to be a topic that speaks to me at the time. When I came up with Blessed, I was actually in 7th or 8th grade and I was going to a catholic school, and they were really big on abortion. I had never really heard of it but they were really big into pro-life and some were disturbingly so. They were really zealous. And I thought, what if people took this too far and started killing people who had gotten abortions. I kind of tucked that away until late 2015, and we were getting close to the presidential election and there was a lot of talk about abortion again and I thought about that idea I had way back when. I thought I could do something with that now. I started to write the script very quickly, and we actually premiered it right before the election. It was crazy.
Geeks of Doom: What is the process like when you make a low budget horror film, and then you ride the festival circuit all the way to distribution. Blessed are the Children got picked up by Wild Eye Releasing, so what is this long process like?
Chris Moore: Definitely strange. I had done a few shorts when I was in high school, and those had played in more local festivals, so I wasn’t very familiar with that whole culture I guess. Blessed played a pretty good number of them. I know I was at some that were amazing and the projection and sound were great. The audience was huge and terrific. But then, I was at some that were in a basement with awful sound and terrible projection, and there were three people in the audience. It’s different from festival to festival, but it’s good to get the films out there. People do start talking about your movie. There was a screening I booked of Blessed a few months back in the UK because it played in a festival there a year before. A lot of really great opportunities have come from that. As far as distribution, Blessed was surprisingly easy. Someone had seen it at a festival and knew the guy in charge of Wild Eye and said you gotta watch it, and he loved it and thought it would be a great fit for the company.
Geeks of Doom: Triggered just recently played the New Jersey Horror Con and
I enjoy going to horror festivals and seeing the new crop of horror films and up and coming directors. I have to ask about the special effects in Blessed are the Children because for the low budget, they were pretty convincing, especially the stabbings. How did you pull them off?
Chris Moore: You’re going to laugh because they were so cheap. There’s one gag with a tongue where we somehow created one out of gelatin and it was very stretchy, so when the killer would reach into the character’s mouth and pull out the tongue, in most takes it just looked like a piece of bubblegum. It looked ridiculous. And the knife in the mouth, we made a cardboard replica of the actual knife and spray painted it. We just cut the tip off and stuck it in their mouth, I mean these were the most super cheap special effects in the world. I know for some of the stabbings, we’d just put a blood bag on a piece of cardboard or foam and just go to town.
Geeks of Doom: What were some of your inspirations as a horror fan?
Chris Moore: In general, I was kind of a scaredy cat as a kid, so I would go into the horror section at the video store, and come up the most crazy plots to these films, and have terrible nightmares. I think my first horror movie was House of Wax or Psycho. Once I started watching them, my nightmares went away completely which is just crazy to me. I’ve always been a big fan of the more obscure stuff, because I don’t think it gets enough love. For this film in particular, there’s some nods to Alice Sweet Alice and Black Christmas.
Geeks of Doom: I noticed, and correct me if I’m wrong, but some nods to The Burning and Halloween as well. And I’m glad you brought up the video store. I miss it so much. It’s why I’m a horror fan.
Chris Moore: It was my temple. That place was unbelievable.
Geeks of Doom: I have to ask about Triggered for one second because I loved the character of Callee Bishop so much. The Banana Republic line, I nearly did a spit-take on. How do you go about writing a character like that?
Chris Moore: Callee is pieced together through people I had known in real life, and people I met online. So she’s kind of a mix of those, probably about ten different people. I had an acquaintance in college who got on my case about an article I posted, I can’t even remember what it was about, but it made me laugh and she got on my case and was like “˜I don’t know who you are but I think you’re a terrible person!’ She was just going off and basically calling me a monster because I dared to laugh at something. I said I need to keep her in the back of my head because she’s interesting. There were a few more. The crush Callee has is kind of inspired by something I had gone through with a friend of mine, where they had a crush on me, but it wasn’t really reciprocated, and it was really uncomfortable, and they got possessive and weird. But she’s just a mix of a bunch of people.
Geeks of Doom: I think that’s why that movie spoke to me, because you see so much of this vitriol online and trolling-style behavior.
Chris Moore: Yeah, I never saw anything like it in all my years. It’s interesting to me that people get so upset about the tiniest things and I think they always did, but now everyone has a voice and it’s a loud prominent voice. Years ago, if you didn’t like a character on a TV show, you would have to call the head of the network, it was something behind closed doors. But now it’s out there in the open, and for everyone to have an opinion on.
Geeks of Doom: If things goes well and these two films put you on the map, and you were given carte-blanche over whatever project you wanted, what would that be?
Chris Moore: If I could, and this is a pretty big departure, but if I could, I’d love to do a film adaptation of the musical Gypsy, or the musical Follies, which are bizarre choices given my last two films. But they’re very dark stories. I wanted to do an adaptation of Flowers in the Attic but Lifetime kinda did that, and I won’t say much about that. And I’ve always wanted to remake the film Curtains, that’s something I feel I have to do.
Geeks of Doom: I only saw Curtains for the first time a few years ago, and I remember thinking how perfect it would be if it was remade now.
Chris Moore: Yeah, it really is topical. It is inherently a very flawed movie, and there are all these reasons why it’s flawed. I’ve never seen a copy of the original script, so I don’t know what they had planned before it went totally insane, but I’m assuming it was probably more of a classier character drama. I’m still playing with ideas as to what I would exactly do, and what the tone would be, because at times I picture a very dark comedy, or as an Agatha Christie meets social satire.
Geeks of Doom: Blessed are the Children is out on Amazon on October 23rd. What’s the deal with Triggered? IMDb lists it as a 2019 release.
Chris Moore: Blessed will be up on Amazon on the 23rd, and Triggered will be out in 2019, co-distributed by Wild Eye and Summer Hill Films. They’re working on the logistics of that as we speak.
Chris Moore is another is a terrific crop of young, talented filmmakers in the horror genre. His films are compelling and thought provoking and deal with topics not often cited in the genre. Blessed are the Children is out now on Amazon for purchase or to rent on Amazon Instant. Triggered debuts next year.
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