If you wish to go to the current Fangoria site, you may click the top logo, "Home" or "News" links. Or click here.
Monroe Mann and Ronnie Khalil have a sense of humor about
horror movies—and interviews. When Fango contacted them for a chat about their
new slasher takeoff YOU CAN’T KILL STEPHEN KING (for which we premiered the
they replied by providing the questions as well as the answers regarding how
the film came to be.
Mann (pictured below left) and Khalil (pictured below right)
directed YOU CAN’T KILL STEPHEN KING with Jorge Valdés-Iga, wrote it with Bob
Madia and appear in it as actors, along with Crystal Arnette, Kayle Blogna, Kate
Costello, Jus Brown, Polly Humphreys, John Mancini, Michael Bernstein and
Arthur S. Brown. It’s a takeoff on the genre that promises to be as irreverent
as its creators…
FANGORIA: How would you describe YOU CAN’T STOP STEPHEN
MONROE MANN: It’s a campy horror film about six friends who
visit a lake where Stephen King lives and start to get killed off one at a
time. Oh wait, did I just give away our amazing plotline?
RONNIE KHALIL: What can I say? We really wanted to do
something groundbreaking in the horror genre by having friends get killed in a
forest near a lake. We thought we’d be even more original and throw in some hot
girls in bikinis. We fairly confident this will revolutionize horror as you
FANG: What led you to come up with this idea?
KHALIL: Monroe and I met literally a week before we wrote
the script at a book fair in New York. One of his friends cancelled on a trip
to Maine the following weekend, and I took his spot—it happened to be the same
lake where we shot the film.
MANN: Yeah, I grew up in Maine, on that very lake, and so
the town has a lot of Stephen King lore surrounding it. It was raining that
weekend, dark and gloomy, with lots of fog over the water, and I ended up
sharing with Ronnie a true story about King. Next thing we knew, since we were
stuck inside all day, we had written a first version of the screenplay. But it
didn’t actually get finished and fully fleshed out until we brought on our
co-writer and Stephen King expert, Bob Madia, who helped us complete the first
official draft. We’re really grateful to Bob for throwing in all of the
subtle—and not-so-subtle—King references.
FANG: Does King know about this film?
KHALIL: Mr. King was kind enough to read the script and
smart enough to pass on it. But yeah, he is aware and was actually around the
area during some of the filming.
MANN: I ran into him twice during shooting at the local
markets. This film is really a homage to his great work and how much he’s
influenced our generation. Fortunately, he has always been really supportive of
young filmmakers. So even though he is not involved with the project, we’re
hoping he likes the finished film and finds it both fun and funny.
FANG: Speaking of fun, this seems like it was a fun film to
make. How was the production process?
MANN: Define “fun”…just kidding. It was tough—and anyone who
was on set will agree. But looking back, I think we can all laugh about it. The
on-set antics were just like a reality show. Half of our entire cast and crew
were living in the cabin that was also one of the primary sets. More than 25
people were crammed into a lake house built for five, so there was definitely
some drama. We are grateful for three saving graces: our co-director Jorge
Valdés-Iga, co-producer John E. Seymore and the team at The Maine Studios—we
couldn’t have done it without them.
KHALIL: I remember at one point, our AD looked at me and
said, “So, you wanted to make a movie, huh?” then walked away laughing. We
definitely had a lot of fun, but it was also a lot of work. We had three directors
because there was so much to handle, and Monroe and I were both acting in the
film. At one point, in between takes, I asked our production manager to find
where the closest hospital was because I was losing consciousness.
MANN: We may have slept during a few takes too—
KHALIL: Yeah, we were pretty exhausted. Some of the crew
were literally working 19-hour days. They weren’t complaining, though; I think
it was because they were too tired. That was our strategy.
FANG: The trailer is very tongue-in-cheek; is the entire
film like that?
KHALIL: That’s the goal. While watching the classic films of
the late ’80s/early ’90s, what we liked the most was how seriously everyone
takes the ridiculous moments, so we did our best to take everything seriously
and shoot this like a real ’90s horror film. We also did our best to include
the stereotypical characters, the ridiculous lines that move the plot forward
for no reason, the cheesy wakeboarding scenes—it’s all intentional, but we
never wanted the characters in on the joke.
MANN: When we wrote the original draft, we thought it was
going to be a horror film with a few bits of comedy. However, after subsequent
drafts and read-throughs with the cast, we realized how much goofiness ended up
in the script and really embraced it. Our editor Gabriel Cullen and sound
designer Bruce Chianese added the finishing touches. The movie definitely does
have a few good scares in it, provided by our effects guys: Anthony Jones, who
created all the prosthetics, and Eric Anderson, who made things horrifically
FANG: What are your hopes for YOU CAN’T KILL STEPHEN KING?
KHALIL: One of my friends just Facebooked me, asking me to
let him know when this movie is coming out, ’cause he has “Wednesday Horror
Nights” with his friends where they all get drunk and watch horror flicks. Most
directors want their films to be released in 3,000 theaters, but to me, there
is no greater honor than having your film watched by a bunch of good friends
getting together, then quoting obscure lines in class or at their jobs.
MANN: Oh, I am one of those directors who wouldn’t mind
3,000 screens. Do iPod screens count?
FANG: What are your future plans?
MANN: Before I got deployed to Iraq with the Army in
2004-05, I was in the midst of producing a wakeboarding romantic comedy I
co-wrote with Andrew Hyatt called IN THE WAKE. The war disrupted those plans,
and I’ve been trying to get that project back on track ever since. I also have
a comedy about my time in Iraq called OPERATION: JESSICA SIMPSON.
KHALIL: I’m working on a comedy/action flick that is
blatantly politically incorrect, and is a little like HOT FUZZ meets TROPIC
THUNDER. I’m also trying to produce a horror film in Cairo, Egypt, based on the
FANG: What are some of your favorite horror movies?
KHALIL: I always liked the comedic horrors, like ARMY OF
DARKNESS, SCREAM or DEAD ALIVE. Of course, there are the classics like ALIEN,
MISERY and THE EXORCIST.
MANN: I like the SAW series a lot, I think because—in the
end—the films always have a positive message: Don’t be bad. Of course, the
means don’t justify the ends… But yeah, I liked those movies.
FANG: Any last words?
MANN: Great work to the amazing cast and crew, and special
thanks to our executive producers, John Mancini, Carolina Vensius, Yassar Hosni
and Debbie Bordelon. We all should be very proud of ourselves…we did it. Soul
KHALIL: Last words? What is this, a snuff interview?
JOIN OUR COMMUNITY AND BE THE FIRST TO KNOW ABOUT NEWS, CONTESTS, EVENTS AND MORE!
All contents © 2011 Fangoria Entertainment