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Q&A: Director Micheal Bafaro talks “WRECKER”

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While the logistics of road horror can sometimes seem like a hassle, it’s actually very surprising that more road horror movies don’t get made. With the intimacy of a character piece, a proven track record at the box office and a formidable villain that’s universally imposing, road horror isn’t even much more expensive than the one/two-location microbudget films coming out of the indie scene. Luckily, when road horror does come out nowadays, it’s usually worth your while, such as in the case of Micheal Bafaro’s recently ravager WRECKER. Bafaro recently spoke to FANGORIA about WRECKER, the film’s underlying message and what’s next for the horror helmer…

FANGORIA: So how did you first become involved with WRECKER?

BAFARO: Well, the idea was something I came up with a long time ago. I always wanted to do a road chase film, and one day I was driving up to the set of a different movie I was working on when I stopped at a gas station. While I was there, I overheard these girls talking about how they thought they were lost or something and how they took the wrong road. And when I was back on the road, I began thinking about the movies DUEL and THE VANISHING, and I thought about how, when you’re on a road trip, things can happen out of nowhere.

You can never know what’s going to happen, and that was the root of the idea for WRECKER that I pitched to Evan Tylor over at IndustryWorks. We had worked together in the past and had a great relationship, so together, we started hashing out a story and soon afterwards, WRECKER came along. That was how everything began, before we went up to Canada to shoot on the rough roads of their mountains. And when we were up there, driving around, and our minds were wandering about “what if” scenarios, that’s what WRECKER is all about.

FANGORIA: One of the things posed by road horror films is that often times, the villain is a faceless entity. What was it like to craft the antagonist of a road horror film with that in mind?

BAFARO: Well, if you’re in a road-rage type of scenario, you really don’t know who the other person is. The best example of that is DUEL, in which you never get to see who the other driver is, and when you have this type of film and you don’t see the who the driver is, I think that’s more thrilling and that’s why I thought that was the best way to go on WRECKER.

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FANGORIA: Was there anything you were inspired by outside of DUEL? Was there any road horror tropes you wanted to specifically avoid?

BAFARO: I really wanted to capture the mood of THE VANISHING, where there’s this feeling of loneliness and helplessness even though there are people around you. That’s what I really wanted from this movie.

If anything, I imagined this film as a film about women, starring women. I couldn’t imagine making WRECKER without have that female element because it was integral to the emotion of the story. I don’t like to harp on it too much, but WRECKER is really about abuse. Even though the film is in this commercial environment and has action and all that stuff, when you really look at the movie, it’s like watching this abusive relationship unfold between these two parties. At first, they seem kind of normal, and soon, the tension starts to build and each party begins to reveal themselves and eventually it explodes like any volatile relationship would.

FANGORIA: Was there anything that you experienced on WRECKER or that you learned on WRECKER that will carry on in your career as a filmmaker?

BAFARO: Yes. On this film, more than any film I’ve ever done, the preparation was significant. From finding the locations to knowing exactly where the locations were, wrangling a night crew, being on the same page as everyone, and everyone had to know what they were doing, including myself. I needed to be on the ball the whole time, and if we weren’t prepared for this movie, it would have been a disaster. There’s so much to think about when the movie you’re making is constantly on the move, and to be honest, I don’t think I’ll ever make a movie as tough as WRECKER again just because we were always moving constantly.

FANGORIA: Are you working on anything else at the moment?

BAFARO: I am! I have a few projects in the pipeline. I’m currently working on a film project with a writer named Michael Mitton and Evan Tylor is going to be producing that film as well. That project is a horror film called PLAYTIME and it’s about a pair of guys that come across a video game, but I can’t get more specific than that.

WRECKER is now on VOD from XLrator Media.

About the author
Ken W. Hanley
Ken W. Hanley is the Managing Web Editor for FANGORIA and STARLOG, as well as the former Web Editor for Diabolique Magazine and a contributing writer to YouWonCannes.com. He’s a graduate from Montclair State University, where he received an award for Excellence in Screenwriting. He’s currently working on screenplays, his debut novel "THE I IN EVIL", and various other projects, and can be followed on Twitter: @movieguyiguess.
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