The Movie Waffler Waffling With... DAVID RYAN KEITH, director of <i>THE REDWOOD MASSACRE</i> | The Movie Waffler


David Ryan Keith’s The Redwood Massacre hits DVD and VOD in July from Uncork’d Entertainment. Here he chats about the movie and the horror genre at large.

You can tell you’re a big fan of horror. Where and how did you discover the love of the genre?

My entire childhood was spent watching all the iconic horror and action films. It’s fair to say the '80s and early '90s were a golden age for filmmakers. A lot of the movies made in that period are still being remade today, which pays testament to the film makers of that generation. Like so many people my age you couldn’t really escape directors like Sam Raimi and John Carpenter. I think deep down these films have been burnt into my brain and really acted as an inspiration when I first started to make my own movies.

Do you have a favourite horror movie?

For some reason I love the whole mythology behind the Hellraiser series. I’m probably one of only a handful of people that think part three is the best but in general I love all horror movies.

What’s your take on today’s horror movies?

The audience fell in love with the horror movies made in the '80s and early '90s for a reason, I think as much as people want to see fresh, new original horror, they also miss a little bit of what made them so great in the first place. With The Redwood Massacre we wanted to embrace and honour all the old slasher films and even play on some of their flaws. In real life people have the sense not to investigate spooky noises coming from behind big locked doors, but the film would be so boring if they didn’t. You really just have to take this kind of film for what it is, a fun bloody romp with multiple graphic deaths.

The Redwood Massacre seems to be influenced by the horror movies of yesteryear. Is that fair to say?

The film is really inspired by all the classic slasher films that kick started the genre. We really wanted to try and capture what made those films so special and appealed to so many horror fans. Today this kind of movie has been done to death, most reboots seem to want to change the formula to what made the originals so appealing in the first place. We actively went out of our way to try and put in as much of the old horror clichés as we could. We wanted the audience to be shouting at the screen at the silly decisions the actors made and we also obviously wanted to deliver on the blood and body count.

Where did you find the great locations?

The movie was shot in the North East of Scotland. We literally live about two hours away from some of the most recognisable and iconic Scottish scenery but finding the barn location was complete luck. This is a low budget independent film so we knew we had to find a location that would paper over what we lacked in other departments of the production. Finding a huge derelict barn that would look cool on camera is one thing, finding a barn so run down with working electricity was another. Luckily we found two locations that had owners that bent over backwards to try and accommodate what we wanted to capture. It was such a nice experience to meet helpful people along the way that understood what we were trying to achieve

Can you tell me where you found your lead actor – quite a find!

Lisa Cameron is an actor I’ve worked with in the past. When we started casting the movie she was the first one we wanted to secure. Lisa has a very natural quality to her and is extremely nice and cheerful to work with. We really put her through her paces in the last half of the film as she never complained once. It’s so important you surround yourself with people like Lisa when shooting a low budget film like this. It’s a lot of hard work for both the cast and crew so it’s nice to have people you can have a laugh with in-between all the blood and guts.

How important is the internet as a marketing tool for independent films like this?

Without the internet and the explosion of digital cameras I’m not sure what indie film making would look like today. You can make a film like The Redwood Massacre and know you have a good chance of finding its audience. It’s also such an amazing tool for interacting with other horror fans and film makers and obviously allows some of the smaller guys in this industry to squeeze in with some of the bigger films and get it seen by the public.