Repo! director Darren Lynn Bousman's currently in the midst of a whirlwind forty-city tour with his new film musical The Devil's Carnival, but fortunately he had time to chat with me last week about the film, as well as tomorrow's Blu-ray and DVD release of his long delayed home invasion thriller Mother's Day (starring Rebecca De Mornay) and his recently-released-on-DVD apocalyptic chiller 11-11-11. Find out what Bousman had to say about these films and more, after the jump.
What extras will we see on the Mother's Day Blu-ray?
You know, the DVD's not much. It's sad, when I think of Mother's Day. There's a commentary by Shawn Ashmore and myself, where I get into a lot of what happened and why this movie was held. One of the sad things that happened with Mother's Day is because the movie ping-ponged with the distribution plan of when it was supposed to come out. We're not talking about one year or two years. We're talking about three years. Because of that we lost the ability to make a lot of behind-the-scenes features on the first disc. Due to the fact that there was such a long period of time from the film being completed to when it actually finally hit the disc. My hope is that if the disc is popular, which I hope it is – I think it's going to be – that not only will I be able to do another disc that has all of these behind-the-scenes features and all of that, but also I'll be able to put the director's cut out, which is a much different experience than the theatrical version which is currently on the disc right now.
The film itself would seem to play as well at home as it would in the theater, simply because it's about a home under siege.
Yeah. It is. Again, as a filmmaker and an artist it's always hard when you have expectations of what your films are going to do, and then you see them do quite the opposite. When we originally made Mother's Day and we tested it, Mother's Day tested as my highest testing film, and I think in a lot of respects it's one of my best films. From just a standpoint of acting and story, mainly the acting and performances. Then having to wait years and years… I'm just glad now that it's finally getting out there. If people see it on their iPhones, their home entertainment systems, or in the theater – because it's gonna be in a couple of theaters – I'm just glad that people are finally getting the chance to see it.
Were there many scenes taken out that can be in a director's cut?
Oh yeah. Hours and hours taken out of the movie. The version that's on DVD right now is the best version of the movie, hands down. There's not a better version of the movie than that. But there was a lot more movie shot. My first cut of the movie was over four and a half hours long. And there were entire characters that were cut out of the movie. But for the betterment of the film. The movie is a much better movie now. But that being said, I think it's interesting to see where it started, and how it reached the point where it is now.
Regarding 11-11-11… The making of that film appears to have been as gripping a story as what's on screen.
Yeah. Here's the thing about 11-11-11… 11-11-11 was a very dark point in my life. Not only as a filmmaker. Just for the whole experience of making it. What sucks about it is that a lot of people think a lot of that stuff was hype, or it was some kind of publicity. And it was not. Everything we talk about in the documentary was real. Everything. From the murders that took place there to the sacrifices to the all-around whole aspect of everything, it was a horrific experience. As well as the paranormal shit that was going on there. I walked in not believing in shit, and I walked away questioning my entire beliefs.
Just the snippet of footage of that face you found watching you in the window is as disturbing as anything in the film.
Yeah, more so than anything in the film. I think the problem was I was dealing with my own demons when making that movie. First off, I'm thrown into a world in which I don't speak the language. In a time zone that I'm not familiar with. In a house that is probably haunted. And a crew that is getting violently ill around me as we're shooting in this house. The whole experience was pretty surreal.
You're in the middle of the Devil's Carnival tour as we're speaking. Where are you right now?
I'm talking to you right now from somewhere in Canada. I'm not actually sure where I am. We have six or seven more stops. We added a few more. So I think we'll have ten more total. I've done thirty so far. So it'll be a forty city tour in basically forty-five days. It's not a joke – this is probably the toughest thing I've done. But absolutely the most rewarding. I mean, here's a perfect example of how this relates back to Mother's Day… Mother's Day's a movie that I'm very proud of and very happy with. The movie will be in three theaters, that's it. 11-11-11 was in ten theaters, and Repo! was in ten I believe as well. The Devil's Carnival will be in more theaters, and more people will see it live, than the last three movies I've done combined. And it's something that's rewarding as a filmmaker, because I set this all up with just my friends. We got the van and said, "Let's go to these forty cities and show it in these forty theaters." And we've done it and we're selling out every single night. Then last night was kind of a surreal experience… We were in Toronto, and the line wrapped about a quarter of a mile down the street. About 700 people standing down the street, seriously – 700 people formed a line to get into this thing. It was insane. It's rewarding to know there's an audience for the types of films that I make. You just got to go out and find them.
Has this tour differed much from the Repo! tour in that there's a built-in audience already anticipating this film?
Pretty much. I have such a dedicated loyal fan base. With Repo! we were at zero. With this we already have an army of people, and the army has grown.
What's next for you?
It depends. It looks like I'm going to do Devil's Carnival 2 next. We're going to go right into doing that one. This has been such a rewarding experience. Most likely Devil's Carnival 2. I'm writing a lot more. I've sold another screenplay that I have to finish up on. Then there's another project with the guys who made 11-11-11 that I'm working on right now. That might go into production right away actually.
Regarding Devil's Carnival 2, can you say what it will involve?
Exactly what Devil's Carnival 1 was, but bigger, more disturbing, and cooler. Devil's Carnival 1 dealt with hell. I think Devil's Carnival 2 will deal more with heaven.
Could this become a Dante type trilogy, where a third film could deal with purgatory?
No. I think we're going to keep it in heaven and hell. But the idea with it is that it's going to be a series. What we want to do with it is eventually turn this into a series. We'll see if that happens. But we're basically positioning ourselves as "Tales from the Crypt meets the anti-Glee."
Could it spin into other media? Could you get involved in comics again?
Definitely. I've got Abattoir, which we're actually turning into a feature film right now. And I love that. I love comic books.
Going back to Mother's Day – do you see it as sort of the mic drop of the home invasion genre? Since there can't be a figure more emblematic of the home than a mother.
I think what makes it cool is that she's relatable, and the fact that everyone has a mother. So they all have a place of understanding of where that actually begins from, and what a mother would do to protect her children. So that's my hope, man, that's my hope.
Thank you so much for taking time out of your tour to chat, Darren.
No worries, man. Thanks a lot.