Darren Lynn Bousman talks raising hell with “TALES OF HALLOWEEN”Movies/TV,News Michael Gingold
Among the many and varied minimovies in TALES OF HALLOWEEN (out today in theaters, on VOD and iTunes from Epic Pictures, and reviewed here), Darren Lynn Bousman’s “The Night Billy Raised Hell” crams perhaps the most mayhem into its brief running time. But as Bousman tells FANGORIA, for all the insanity the segment spotlights, the inspiration behind it was rather conservative.
“I’m very introverted outside of things like this [interview],” Bousman says. “I don’t like leaving my house. So when they asked me to do this movie, I said, ‘I will, but I want to stay within a one-block radius of my home at all times.’ So we shot it all in my immediate neighborhood.”
The short nonetheless looks a lot bigger than that, as a malevolently mischievous old man (Barry Bostwick) leads a preteen prankster (Marcus Eckert) to wreak all kinds of havoc on his suburban streets. When it comes to the story’s scope, Bousman says, “I think a lot of my success comes from Joseph White, my DP. He did DEVIL’S CARNIVAL, MOTHER’S DAY, REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA and 11-11-11, and he’s a great cinematographer. He makes my shit look big, even when it’s not—even when it’s really small.
“My success in general comes from those I surround myself with, and I’ve had many opportunities to work with great people. So if you think that story looks big, it’s because of Joe, it’s because of George and Gabe, who did the prosthetics on Barry, it’s because of the production designer, Jennifer Spence, who did the INSIDIOUS and PARANORMAL ACTIVITY movies. I always say this: I’m not talented, it’s the people I surround myself with who are talented. They have to do the hard work; I just sit back and drink beers and say, ‘Point the camera there,’ and they make it look awesome.”
Also key to the segment’s success is Bostwick’s over-the-top performance as the embodiment of unhealthy influence. Bousman and Terrance Zdunich had previously cast Bostwick in ALLELUIA! THE DEVIL’S CARNIVAL (which they discussed here), and the actor joined them for a few stops on the movie’s roadshows—which saw some bad behavior of their own. “I can’t go too much into what happened, but…” Bousman relates. “There was an event at this one place—I can’t tell you what happened or where it happened—but we were responsible for four police cars and three ambulances and two fire trucks showing up. Barry was there, and we thought he was going to be so angry, but he was awesome. We got to live that rock-star lifestyle on the road, which was great.”
Getting back to TALES OF HALLOWEEN, Bousman notes another key collaborator. “My friend Clint Sears wrote it—a guy I went to high school and middle school with. We started making short films together when we were 12 years old, and I called him up maybe two years ago and we started talking about writing scripts together. We wrote one that we sold called THE BYSTANDER EFFECT, a thriller similar to THE FIRM, and he wrote this for me.” Originally, the two tried to cram even more mayhem into the short: “I wanted to set a house on fire, we wanted to set people on fire,” Bousman reveals. “But there’s only so much you can do in two days—that’s all we had to film everything, two 12-hour days. My neighborhood was not happy, let’s just say that.”
One of his neighbors, however, had a surprise in store: “I had to go to each of them and say, ‘Hey, I’m shooting a movie on our street,’ ” Bousman recalls. “This one woman asked, ‘What are you filming?’ and I said, ‘It’s called TALES OF HALLOWEEN, starring Barry Bostwick.’ She said, ‘Barry? You tell Barry that so-and-so says hi.’ I was like, ‘You know him?’ and she said, ‘I dated Barry for many years.’ So my next-door neighbor was Barry’s ex-girlfriend from college—it was crazy!”