@TigersMS78 got to ask Red Christmas director Craig Anderson a few questions. Anderson talks about getting Dee Wallace on board, writing the stupidest film possible and 10,000 VHS tapes.
What is your story?
I’m an Australian comedy director who has done a bunch of television down under, but always loved horror.
How did Red Christmas come about?
I tried to think of the stupidest film that I could. Because we live in a time where a lot of people can make a film, the battle is now over ideas and the loudest and most ‘outlying’ ideas will get noticed and perhaps resonate. The original impetus for the film, a guy who survived his own abortion meets his family, carried me through the two year writing process.
The film covers a lot of issues abortion, infertility, disability – are these issues personal to you?
As much as they are to anyone. I don’t think that men should have much of an opinion on reproductive rights, as there is way too much of that going on, but I think that horror is an excellent way to process dark ideas, opinions and fears. I met with a lot of women, did research and consulted with a midwife regarding the issues raised in the film and also loved the Tony Kaye movie Lake of Fire, which presented dozens of angles on the topic. The other thing I inherited from Tony Kaye’s documentary was an attempt to remove the ‘binary’ arguments from the topic.
I’ve also worked a lot with people who identify as having an intellectual or physical disability, so I always wanted to be inclusive when making a film, it just turned out that the reproductive rights discussion overlapped.
Every character has a flaw, was this done to create the tension needed, so you can attack the issues in the film from a different perspective?
Every character is meant to represent a different approach to reproductive rights. I don’t know if I meant them all to be flawed, but I did read that good horror writing involved writing characters you like, making decisions you hate. That made sense to me, as I’d experienced that as an audience member and wanted to continue that tradition.
Dee Wallace starred and produced – how did she become involved?
Dee was an absolute blessing. I was fortunate enough to get my script to her through a writer named Lee Gambin who was in contact with her. She read and loved it. Horror does a great job of giving women strong heroic roles and I always wanted to give a scream queen from the 70’s or 80’s a chance to return to the screen in a similar role.
After Dee and I spoke over skype, we were both very excited and Dee’s constant advice and gravitas made her a natural fit for producer.
Was the idea of putting these issues into a slasher film to get a conversation started about them?
Absolutely. Horror can deal with things bluntly and push extreme, horrible thoughts into the public conscience. Nowadays people feel like they can give their opinion on art and that means they are discussing important issues.
What are your favourite horror books or films?
I like non-fiction books about horror “Men, Women and Chainsaws” is a personal favorite, books by RESearch, Creation Cinema and writing by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas. In regards to horror films- I’ll watch anything, I have 10,000 VHS tapes and love discovering random movies amongst them.
There is something about watching a film on VHS but 10,000 VHS tapes!? How was this collection sourced?
I started collecting in the late 90’s, primarily because I wanted to see a whole bunch of Woody Allen films that now cost a dollar. I continued collecting because I realised Video stores were getting rid of them, despite them not being available on DVD, so it freaked me out that these films might not exist anymore if people weren’t keeping collecting the tapes. So it became a Noah’s ark scenario, where I was throwing away tapes as they came out on DVD and kept sourcing ones you couldn’t get. In the last few years, I’ve calmed down and hardly get any new tapes.
What does the future hold?
I’m writing two more horror films right now. One that is about misogyny at college and the other is about online taboos.