This Friday at 10pm EST MTV will premiere Jacob Gentry's (The Signal) prime time slasher flick, My Super Psycho Sweet 16. Made in the 2000's but DEFINITELY born out of the 80's there are enough slasher references to keep any bona fide horror fanatic happy for a few ours on a Friday night.
We had the chance to sit with My Super Psycho Sweet 16 director Jacob Gentry and we chatted everything from John Hughes to John Carpenter. Check out the full interview and an exclusive pic of the killer from My Super Psycho Sweet 16 below.
FEARnet: With so many great 80’s slasher film references in My Super Psycho Sweet 16, you have got to be a slasher fan yourself.
Out of the sub genres of horror movies it's not my favorite but it's sort of become one of my favorites in making sure that if I was gonna do it I'd do it right. If I'm gonna throw my hat in the ring, I wanted to make sure I knew my shit. Through wanting to make a slasher movie and trying to figure out what it is. I didn't want to reinvent the wheel I wanted to be true to the ones that I thought worked and the ones that worked for the fans. And also what I felt was missing in more recent ones.
It's not even a wheel to reinvent, it is what it is. As a fan or filmmaker you really just gravitate towards what makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Absolutely, I think part of the fun in slasher movies is that you kind of know what you're getting in for, and if you celebrate it and are true to the form it's more fun.
Old school slasher fans should really get a kick out of the film but at the same time you’re introducing a whole new audience.
The intent was to introduce a newer younger audience to a kind of film they don't get a lot. Definitely a lot of the newer horror movies these days aren't that true to the salsher form. As a whole we've gotten away from what makes the slasher films we grew up on so good; Like the idea of suspense and the cat and mouse chase and the lead up to the kills.
It's like making soup, and you know what the ingredients are but you need to make sure they are really fresh.
Right, you want fresh ingredients but you don't want to change the recipe because they like KFC and Coca-Cola (laughs)
So how did you initially get involved with My Super Psycho Sweet 16?
We were contacted by MTV; they were fans of The Signal. It's the first thing I've done where I didn't write the script but it did feel like working on The Signal, it was a group effort. They said they wanted to make this movie My Super Psycho Sweet 16, actually at that time I think it was called My Super Scary Sweet 16 which reminded me of a ghost story or spooky Disney movie. I wasn't really interested because I didn't want to do a horror movie based on a reality show, but then I saw the show and I realized its perfect for a horror movie.
The show is almost a horror movie itself!
It is! It's giving the audience what they really want to happen; Simultaneously engaged and repulsed. Most good horror movies have a sense of social satire or metaphors like in Dawn of the Dead zombies are a metaphor for consumerism. I'm like 'That's perfect, we're in a recession right how could you create a better monster than someone thumbing their nose up at the fact that we're in a recession right now! A spoiled rich person!'
The parallel between the father, who enables his daughter to be a spoiled brat and to give her whatever she wants no matter what the cost, is like creating that monster. Then you have this other father/daughter with the father being a psycho killer and trying to lead his daughter to the dark side to be a psycho killer too. Which one is worse? (laughs) Most people would say the spoiled brat is worse.
I’m guessing you have to take not only special care in writing the story, but also in writing out and planning all of the kills, which could probably be its own script.
Absolutely, but I think that this movie works as not only an homage to 80's slasher movies but also to 80's teen movies.
I was thinking that, it's like if John Hughes directed a slasher film. I kept thinking this is the slasher version of Pretty in Pink or Some Kind Wonderful.
Absolutely, it was great I got to combine two of my favorite directors from the 80's John Hughes and John Carpenter! (laughs) I feel like you take the killer out of it and you still have a movie. I'm glad you pointed that out because that's something we really wanted to do with this movie. And with the kills they have to be related to the characters.
Also striking a delicate balance between winking at the audience and being a bit tongue and cheek without being overly brutal
It’s a tough balance to strike, you want it to be brutal but you don't want it to undercut the John Hughes story. You don't wanna go full on Martyrs with it.
There's definitely a place for that, just not here.
Thinking about the landscape of horror movies, we're not trying to make a SAW movie, that's covered. If you want that it's there for you. Where are the holes to fill, and as far as the slasher movies go, there are the remakes and then there are the movies like ours which is an homage and we're not tied down to anything with the homage. In that respect we can do a different movie.
So did you shoot for an R knowing you'd cut to a PG-13? There was a lot of violence in the unrated cut but no language or nudity. I'm assuming that was intentional because it's easier to just edit the violence for broadcast.
We live in America! In America violence is treated a lot less harshly than nudity and language. I thought it was a fun challenge to not have those things. I would love to make a movie that does have those elements. I'm somewhat of a degenerate so I can go way further. (laughs) We tried to go as far as felt right for the kind of story we were telling. But at the same time we didn't want to be a sissy about it.
I’m assuming we can expect an unrated DVD down the road.
Absolutely, there are plenty of people in the MTV audience that will be happy with the broadcast version and then there's the harder version. I hate to see the stuff that might go (for broadcast) but it goes pretty far, we didn't have to hack it up that much. Sometimes I wonder if I could have gone even a little farther with things…maybe, maybe not. It's not a Takashi Miike movie; it's not Ichi the Killer! So if that's what you're looking for you’ll be disappointed.
What’s your biggest fear?
I'm afraid of so many things (laughs) it’s when you're in danger and safety is just out of the way, just out of reach. A feeling of helplessness.