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Fango recently spoke to director Brad Rego, who’s currently up in New York’s Catskill Mountains of New York shooting his fright feature THE KILLING OF JACOB MARR. We also got a couple of exclusive behind-the-scenes photos, seen after the jump.
In this slasher opus, KILLING’s title character finds a strange object in the woods as a young boy, which leads to horrible nightmares and the eventual murder of his parents. Twenty years down the road, Jacob is living in the woods when a group of vacationers descend upon his cabin for a good time, and he is none too happy.
Despite the familiar setup, Rego insists he isn’t going for the same old, same old—and that includes the overabundance of boobs ’n’ blood so many filmmakers seem to strive for in indie genre flicks these days. “I’m a fan of the slow burn rather then the quick flash,” he tells us. “Put the characters in a plausible setting and let the story unfold gradually. Remove the hectic jump cuts and things lunging at the camera and let a scene develop on the screen, slowly. I love mise-en-scènes and even though I don’t have many in this movie, I still think it’s a great way to build suspense and tension. Of course, all that is dependant on having a group of characters that the audience cares about. Putting relatable people on the screen where they aren’t making stupid mistakes is a great way for the audience to become invested in the movie, and I’m hoping I can do that.
“For me, it’s all about trying to apply that tension,” he continues. “That’s what’s missing in some of the movies that just go for the gore. Don’t get me wrong, I love that stuff, but it should be the payoff/release, not the story, or in place of the tension and actual horror. A movie that makes you feel uncomfortable when there isn’t gore on the screen is the real goal here—the kind of thing directors like Hitchcock, Carpenter, Cronenberg and Raimi have done exceptionally well.” That’s not to say there won’t be any blood, as New York City-based FX artist Anthony Jones (pictured below left with Morgan White) tells Fango he’s so far had to do a full jaw remove, a leg slicing, a torn-off head and a slit throat.
Rego and his crew are working in the microbudget fashion so many of the well-known directors he admires started with. This has only made it harder given their location, smack in the middle of the Catskills during a very eventful New York winter. “We are in the ultra-low-budget category,” he admits. “To get the most out of it, we’ve had to construct a lot of gear ourselves, like tracks and dollies. I’ve hounded friends and family to help out where they can to keep our overhead as low as possible, and several people have taken on multiple jobs in order to make it most cost-effective. We’ve had to really scrutinize and get value for every dollar spent. Luckily, people have come on board who are very passionate about the project, and are more interested in working with everybody to make the best film we can as opposed to just collecting a paycheck.
“The first night it was 8 degrees and snowing, and the second night it was minus-6,” Rego adds. “Two weeks later, when more exteriors were shot, it was minus-8. Sometimes, just getting up to the set has been harrowing. The first weekend, one of the cars slid off of the road into a ditch and couldn’t get out, and I had to tow them out with my truck at 1 a.m. Then a few weekends later, one of the cars blew out a tire and had to stay the night outside a local hotel. Another car had to be towed to the top of a hill for one scene, because it couldn’t make the drive up the snowy terrain on its own. Suffice it to say it has been difficult at times. So far, it has been very tiring, but rewarding.”
In keeping with his indie spirit, Rego plans to self-releasee THE KILLING OF JACOB MARR this October. “I’m hoping it can get distribution once it hits the festival circuit, though. Of course, that’s the real trick, isn’t it? The good thing is that I do have a past relationship with Victory Multimedia, which was able to get my previous movie, The Assemblage of the Crystal Sphere: A D&D Story—a mockumentary about a group of DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS players—into Netflix, Blockbuster and several stores. So as long as my production company picks up the cost of the replication, I’m sure I’ll be able to distribute through them again. I’m just hoping I can find someone who would pick up the check for both replication and distribution.” We’ll keep you posted as THE KILLING OF JACOB MARR makes its way toward release.
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