Dee Wallace and Craig Anderson celebrate Red Christmas
Hello. I am here with actress, Dee Wallace and director, Craig Anderson of the upcoming film, Red Christmas.
Dee : It is a Christmas film. It just happens to be a very red Christmas.
Ron : Craig, what was the actual process to get this film made?
Craig : The process was I am kind of a lone shooter. In as much as I’ve made a lot of television in Australia and short projects. So I didn’t bother to look for funding or anything like that. In Australia we have a lot of government funding which alters how a project is made. In the end I just went to all my friends to make it and help me and fortunately I have a lot of fantastic friends and crew. I got in contact with Dee and we became friends. That’s what I was looking for; to be friends with someone on that level.
Ron : How did you get Dee involved in this film?
Craig : I was fortunate enough to be in contact with some academics who write about horror movies. They put me in touch with a journalist who knows Dee, writes for Fangoria and is writing a book on Cujo. He got me in touch with Dee. This way I was able to get a script out to her and her agent with someone she trusted. From there the script did the rest. We then did a Skype conversation.
Dee : We did a Skype and I just loved Craig right off the bat. He was real and I could tell he was a total fanatic about films. it’s very important to me to work with people I like. It happened so easily and the right things in life usually do.
Ron : I heard you were really excited about the script.
Dee : Oh yeah. I read the script and thought this was another Cujo. I can really get into this part. I also thought it said some interesting things about social commentary subjects. The fact that we were going to have a down syndrome actor play my son really interested me. There were so many innovative things going on and yet it stayed true to the genre of horror film.
Ron: Well you are one of the biggest names in scream queens.
Dee : I like to think I am. (laughing)
Ron : Did you know what you were getting into with this being such an independent film?
Dee : I’ve done a lot of independent films. Did I quite know what I was getting into with this film? That would be a big “no.”
Craig : Dee, had no idea just how low budget we could be in Australia. We don;t have the same scale of wages. If you do a movie in America everybody gets paid proper wages, insurance, certain legalities, etc. However in Australia things are different. I had to rely on everyone coming in and doing things the old fashioned way taking pay cuts and pitching in to help get it made. I felt bad for Dee because this was not like an American low budget film.
Dee : It was not like a low budget American film at all, but better. I just felt like everyone really went out of their way to take care of me and respect me. Everyone was able to give to the level of an American film. It is very different to an American film who has the level to give and doesn’t. It’s just honour and respect between people. It has nothing to do with money, it just has to do with caring really. It was a huge learning experience for me because it was very much a family affair. Everyone stayed in the same house. There was no catering, we all had to cook and clean dishes,then I had to get used to Australian food which is not at all what I’m used to, so yeah there were some comfort challenges. The whole experience for me was really loving and good and challenging. That’s even from the script itself.
Ron : Did you enjoy vegemite?
Dee : (smiling) I’ve tried vegemite years ago so I did not revisit trying vegemite. (laughing) It’s an acquired taste for sure.
Ron : Did you find working with the script a challenge at all?
Dee : Well it was a huge emotional and physical challenge of a ride which is why I loved it. This film is a ride from the very beginning and that’s one of the reasons I did it. I wanted to prove I still had it.
Ron : The shoot took 15 days. Where did you shoot it?
Craig : From Sydney we drove two hours out into the bush. I’m not sure if you have that term here? it’s the same place where they shot the movie, Babe. It’s called the Southern Highlands. It’s a country area.
Dee : We saw a lot of wombats. Spiders. All those things that little girls from LA really love. (laughing with Craig)
Ron : Is Christmas your favourite holiday?
Dee : Absolutely. At first I was like “Oh wow a Christmas movie!” then I read it (laughing) “Oh a Christmas movie.” My daughter would tell you I’m a fanatic about anything that’s Christmas.
Craig : Well, I love Christmas and any movie centred around Christmas. two big influences for me were Die Hard and The Family Stone. They’re not horror films but they’re both set at Christmas.
Ron : So you’ve taken a holiday that’s all about family and fun and put a spin on it.
Dee : Into horror a film.
Craig : Yeah well horror films usually take something tat’s familiar and makes them scary.
Dee : I think that’s why Red Christmas works so well. We really took the time to create that family bond. So when things start happening to the family it’s even more horrifying.
Ron : In all this horror were there any funny moments or bloopers happening?
Dee : Well there were so many flies we made a competition of who could kill the most flies and I’m happy to say I won! There was also one actor who frequently farted all the time.
Ron : I think this movie has a real look and feel of the 1970’s.
Craig : I just love Italian horror films where they would focus on the lighting. We had a great director of photography Douglas Bergdoff. I also loved the idea of lighting up every room in the house as if it were a part of Christmas tree lights. So every room has it’s own lighting. It’s a great effect. What’s interesting is I wrote and edited some of this film a cruise.
Dee : iI didn’t know that.
Craig : Being on a cruise you have nowhere to go so I would just write, Then I took another 10 day cruise and showed certain people cuts we had shot to get some feedback.
Dee : That’s great! So now cruise ship people can know what we’ve done.
Ron : Well Dee, Craig I’m al out of time.
Dee : (sad) Awe.
Ron : Thanks so much for your time and I wish you both all the best and continued success.
Dee : Thank you for a great interview.