Are you easily offended? Well, first of all, if you say “Yes.” what the hell are you doing reading my column?!! Anyway you delicate snowflakes, prepare to have your sense of decency melted completely away and slap yer putrid peepers on this lil’ gem [CONTENT WARNING for those of you at the office!]:
Ok, now that you know what yer in for, I’m please to welcome PEELERS‘ die-rector Sevé Schelenz to the Crypt o’ XIII!
Famous Monsters. Please tell my faithful fiends in the Coffin Club a lil’ about the story to your upcoming fright flick PEELERS.
Seve Schelenz. PEELERS is about the closing night of a small town strip club when some patrons arrive who are not what they appear to be, and s—t hits the fan. It’s up to the club’s owner, Blue Jean, to try and save her employees and friends as all hell breaks loose.
SS. We always wanted a lot of blood, scares, and action in PEELERS. After we initially meet the characters and the story is set up, we get right into the mayhem and go for broke. We also wanted to do some unique things in terms of kills and reveals for our audience. I think horror fans will be pleasantly surprised and pleased with everything they see. In terms of going “too far”, I think a lot of that was worked out before we started production. The screenwriter, Lisa DeVita [Devits] and I threw around a few ideas on the kills, but most of them were from her sick mind. There was indeed at least one kill that she had imagined and that we couldn’t do due to budgetary reasons. Unfortunately, I can’t get into the specifics of it because it would spoil the scene for what we did end up doing. There are also many “talents” the strippers have in the film, and there was one in particular that we debated but in the end swapped it out because we came up with something that worked better. Once again, can’t say too much other than it turned out to be a great choice! Audiences actually end up clapping at that one.
FM. Were there any serious ass-pains in bringing PEELERS to the screen?
SS. No. There are never any serious ass-pains in making an independent film. Wait… what?!? Oh yeah, there most definitely are! Without all the pains it would be easy and everyone would be doing it. And what fun is making a film without challenges? At the end of the day, those are the things you remember and it’s how you get through them that make the film such a rewarding experience. There were quite a few hoops to jump through on PEELERS. Finding a main location was difficult. We went from having to shoot during the off hours of a real bar to building a bar from scratch on a sound stage. Neither of these plans ended up being ideal due to the amount of shooting time we needed in a location and the amount of money required to build something from scratch. But it was meant to be, because the bar we ended up shooting at was one I originally scouted. I hit lots of dead-ends before I received a call from a friend who told me to check out the original bar again. I did and it turned out that the bar had closed down and was in the hands of a new owner. I went to them to negotiate and they explained the building was going to be torn down, but that we could use it for a couple months before it was demolished. This turned out to be a godsend as they let us film there 24/7 and do whatever we wanted to in the building. This was one of those small victories that make independent filmmaking so great.
FM. Were there any particular fright flicks that inspired you to become a die-rector in the horror biz?
SS. I grew up on slasher films like HALLOWEEN and FRIDAY THE 13TH. So, I’ve always been partial to them. But I’m also a big fan of any well done horror. JOHN CARPENTER’S THE THING, ALIEN, THE RING, JAWS… these are all really kick-ass horror movies. But, I think what really inspired me to become a filmmaker were movies like RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and STAR WARS. There was so much excitement to those films that I left the theater on a high. And it’s that high that I wanted to have every time I saw a movie. So, what better way is there to get that amazing feeling than to make your own film? That’s what set me along the path that eventually got me here today.
FM. What flicks do you have planned for the future, and where can the fiends follow you online?
SS. After our festival run and distribution with PEELERS, I have a number of projects I’m eager to do. If it’s not my own project, then it’s one in collaboration with Devits, whom I worked with really well in getting a good solid script for PEELERS. We have about eight projects at different stages right now. Some are horror flicks, but most are quite different genres. We have a finished family script that’s pretty awesome and a sci-fi one that’s halfway through. We also have a number of treatments for other genres, including comedy. To keep up with what we’re up to, it’s best to check out our website or facebook . Or just say Beetlejuice three times and we might show up.
Thanks so much for the interview! It was great to have a chance to chat about PEELERS. Right now, the film has already been accepted into 10 festivals in a very short period of time. In May alone, we’ll be having our Canadian Premiere at Shock Stock Film Fest in London, Ontario and our Northeastern U.S. Premiere at Sanford International Film Festival in the state of Maine. We’ve also gotten very early acceptance into a couple of international festivals, but can’t officially announce them yet. Let’s just say, they are HUGE on the Horror Festival circuit! I hope your readers get an opportunity to check out PEELERS at a festival near them!