5 Questions with Andy Palmer, Director of ‘The Funhouse Massacre’
Imagine a controversial funhouse where the theme is based on the crimes of six of the most notorious and colorful serial killers. Now imagine the serial killers have hijacked the funhouse and the gore you thought was fake. Well, it is actually real. A clown, a taxidermist, a dentist, a cannibal, a dollface killer, and a cult leader want more blood. This is the world of The Funhouse Massacre. You can check out the horrornchill.com review of the film by clicking here.
What was it about Ben Begley’s and Renee Dorian’s The Funhouse Massacre story and script that attracted you to the project?
Andy Palmer: Anybody that see’s Ben and I together sees very quickly that we share the same brain. We’re like Dave and Chainsaw in “Summer School”. So when he sent the script over, I started it at about 11:30 at night, and 2 hours later I was emailing my producing partner Warner Davis the script saying, I don’t know how we’re going to do it, but we have to get this flick made! Everything for me worked. The nods to the 80’s and 90’s slashers, the humor, the visuals and the characters. I really liked the killers, which I thought was really fun.
How did Robert Englund aka Mr. Freddy Krueger himself get involved in the project? And how was it working with Robert?
Andy Palmer: This sounds super douchey director of me, but honestly, from probably the first time reading of the script, I was hearing Warden Kane in Robert’s voice. He just has that great gravitas to his delivery and I knew he could come in and just tee the whole movie off for us. But it was Robert Kurtzman who really helped in bringing him on board. We had made our offer and Robert Englund was considering it. We were in Ohio at Creature Corps, going through the script with Robert and his team and he pulled me aside and said, Englund just called me to ask about you guys and see if he should do the movie, and I told him he definitely should. And that was it, Englund signed that day. I will always be grateful to Bob for not only taking a chance on us, but also telling another colleague that we were worth the risk. We had him on set for two days and they were incredible. What I loved about Robert was that he is so giving of his time and effort on set. For Candice De Visser, this was her first film and Robert just elegantly guided her through their scenes together. He has a tremendous sense of where the camera is at all times, and he is able to sort of glide in and out of frame, and after just a few takes, Candice was doing the same. I learned a tremendous amount in those two days.
Out of the six Funhouse killers, which one was your favorite and was there a specific challenge in bringing the killers to life?
Andy Palmer: The biggest challenge was just in finding the right actors in casting. Casting for me is the most important part of directing. These are the people that are going to set the tone for your film, and because we shoot so quickly, I need folks that can just nail it in a few takes. When I saw Jere Burns and Clint were options, I jumped at them, because they are so amazing and being both larger than life, but also grounded at the same time. My favorite of the killers though is Animal The Cannibal. We saw a ton of different actors for that role and through the first few days, I was getting worried, because no one had quite gotten it. And then walked in E.E. Bell. I knew from the first reading that it was going to be him. He is just a fantastic actor.
Many horror fans are also indie filmmakers and aspiring screenwriters. Do you have any advice for these indie artists that would help them break into the industry?
Andy Palmer: Oh man I could turn this question into a 10 page essay, but I’ll try and condense it down to just a few things. The first thing is, never listen to anyone that tells you, you’ll never make it, or it’s all about who you know. I knew one person in LA when I started. And my good friend and frequent collaborator Levi Ellsworth and I found a great group of young people trying to the same thing and we just started shooting. Shorts, skits, music videos, whatever we could get our hands on, and slowly but surely you start to meet more and more people and more and more doors start to open. Start turning “What if’s” into “Why not’s” and crazy stuff starts to happen. Secondly, prepare for the long game. The first thing I would tell anyone wanting to pursue writing, directing or producing, is to get a degree or trained in a trade of some sort as well. I’ve made and continue to make my living from editing television and film. Making films, even micro-budget films is really expensive and having a job that allows you to keep the lights on, whether in the industry or outside is really important. I’ve directed four features and the first one that had a paycheck with my name on it was Funhouse. So I would say lastly, prepare to build your dream career during alternative hours. Filmmaking is not a 9-5. It is a whenever you’re not sleeping sort of thing. During my first two films, I would wake up at 5am, edit the film from 5-8:30 or so and then go to work editing a TV show. But if you love it, I promise you it is so worth it. The first time an audience laughs or gasps at something you’ve created, it’s magic.
After watching The Funhouse Massacre, two thoughts came to mind. The first was there should be a The Funhouse Massacre II. The second was there should be a Dollface movie. Is either of these a possibility? If not what can the fans expect next from Adam Palmer?
Andy Palmer: Wow, thank you, I think both could be incredible! Ben and Renee have a script for Part 2 and it is awesome, so new gods and old willing Part 1 will do well enough to justify a sequel. As for me, I have quite a few projects in development right now. There is one we are hopefully announcing really soon that I am really excited about. But as things are still in flux I have to remain tight lipped for now 🙂
I would like to think Andy for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. It’s awesome that a director appreciates and takes the time to interact with horror fans.
If you haven’t had the chance to pick up your copy of The Funhouse Massacre, you can do so by clicking here.