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It’s the last hour of filming, and writer/director Drew Daywalt is talking the cast and crew through the final scenes of MY NAME IS KRIS KRINGLE, his twisted Christmas short which will debut on this very website tomorrow, December 22. Come with us as Fango continues its exclusive MY NAME IS KRIS KRINGLE set visit and shares some exclusive pics and interviews below the jump.
The once-fabricated panic and fatigue conveyed by actors throughout the production is now very real, very tangible. Outside the room, actor Donnie Jeffcoat hears Daywalt shout “Action!” and bursts through the door in front of the director. “Have you guys seen the news?” he hurriedly asks co-stars Azure Parsons and Bradley James. This is the 100th time we have heard him say this, but somehow this time is the most chilling. THIS is the moment when the story comes together, when Daywalt’s nightmare is finalized, the moment that will haunt us in our sleep, once sure that we would wake up the next morning. Will you be ready on Christmas Day?
As the day progresses from afternoon to evening to midnight, it becomes ridiculously apparent to Fango that Daywalt Fear Factory is one in a million. From the unrivaled candor of the cast and crew to the familial atmosphere that is unfortunately absent from so many other productions, you can tell immediately how Daywalt (pictured below, with his star) is able to push out so many short films with little difficulty. “Aside from the usual budget stuff, we hardly have any issues,” Daywalt says. “We’re used to guerrilla filmmaking, and that’s what makes this so smooth and fun.”
But Daywalt takes the term guerrilla filmmaking to a whole new level. For example, it isn’t unusual for the family man to wake up with a story in his head and to be filming that same story only seven days after conception. Daywalt is even trying to motivate others to get out and start shooting as well, releasing his script THE TALISMAN specifically for the purpose of bringing together filmmakers to lense their different interpretations of the same nightmare. But it’s his sense of drive and purpose that puts our muse ahead of the pack.
“The world is full of people talking about making their film,” Daywalt states on his FearNet blog FearNet.com. “Most will never set foot on their set. And that’s a bummer. Because a brilliant concept never executed is a greater horror than even I could ever conceive.” The most intimate corroboration that can be presented as evidence of this altruistic mantra is when Daywalt positions first assistant/associate producer Chad Nagel on a stepladder, hands him the camera and leaves the room. “It’s your shot. I’m out of here. Your shot,” he says, closing the door behind him. Daywalt’s unending trust of his teammates is what really makes the Fear Factory shorts what they are—a collaboration of extremely talented individuals, making waves in a genre that many claim has peaked.
In watching MY NAME IS KRIS KRINGLE, you’ll find that there is a sense of nostalgic youth that escapes those with even the greatest of imaginations. For those in the room during filming tonight, the acting is so spot on that it is unusually difficult to tell whether or not there is really an interrogation taking place 5 feet away—unsettling if you consider what the interrogation pertains to. Although the story itself is about a madman (LEATHERFACE’s R.A. Mihailoff) dressed in a Santa suit, the presented concept should tickle the fancies of even the most astute fans of horror. What if a giant man in red really did break into your house, uninvited (unless you count cookies and milk as an invitation) and acted as a sort of demigod in choosing whether you lived or died? Although these fears were a reality for Daywalt as a child, his offspring will never have to carry such a burden. “Well, my kids have been in a few of my short films,” he says. “They help out; but if it has disturbing subject matter, they never see the finished product. Especially shorts like this one… they will never see MY NAME IS KRIS KRINGLE.”
“That’s a wrap!” Everyone still on set lets out a collected sigh of relief and smiles. Ian McCarthy and Nagel begin stripping the set as Daywalt takes apart the camera and compliments everyone on a job well done. Jeffcoat, Parsons and James make their way out of the room, walking out any kinks or soreness from the constant sitting and standing throughout the day. After only 11 hours, a new cacophony of fears borne of the morbid imagination of horror’s new flag bearer has been witnessed. But we can’t give all the credit to our beloved director. From the stance of observer, the crew behind MY NAME IS KRIS KRINGLE is as professionally outfitted as they come. The expert hand of costume designer Sarah Mgeni provided Mihailoff’s Kringle costume, sewing the entire outfit from scratch. But Daywalt’s demented childhood horror wouldn’t be complete without the talented Melissa Anchondo, whose use of makeup and vision is what really makes this Santa Claws the adolescent torment of a lifetime. But as we all know, it’s the red stuff that we fright fans truly yearn for. So how bloody is MY NAME IS KRIS KRINGLE? “Bloody enough,” smiles SFX artist Jeff Farley.
Stop back tomorrow (Wednesday) for the world premiere of MY NAME IS KRIS KRINGLE and see here and here for more exclusive set visit coverage.
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