Night Caller writer-director Chad Ferrin answered a few questions we had about this psychic serial killer horror-thriller. This is a sometimes atmospheric, sometimes claustrophobic film stocked with quirky, offbeat characters from top to bottom, and doesn’t skimp on the gore.
Slice of SciFi: Was there an inspiration for this thriller?
I had such a good time with Kelli Maroney and Bai Ling on Exorcism at 60,000 Feet that I had them in mind for a sort of American Giallo. When I finished the Night Caller script, it bounced around to my regular collaborators Robert Miano and Robert Rhine to try and secure finance to no avail, so I ended up optioning it to another production company.
While waiting for that company to go into production, I went off and directed H. P. Lovecraft’s The Deep Ones on the cheap. That was a success artistically and financially, so that it sort of injected all of us with a dose of Roger Corman inspiration to just get few bucks together and crank out these modest budget, quick turnaround films. At about this time, the production company’s option had run out on Night Caller, so I re-pitched it to Miano and Rhine who got behind it on that smaller budget model. Miano then pulled in Susan Priver to invest/star, and along with a few other investors we were off to the races.
Using a cat-and-mouse game between a serial killer and the phone psychic he’s pulling into his hunts by exploiting the connection they share seems like a surefire way to have most of the characters in the story be fringe dwellers or offbeat personalities. Did that influence the casting in any way?
I’m an offbeat personality, so it makes writing those types of characters all the easier. And the actors that I usually work with like Robert Miano, Silvia Spross, Robert Rhine, Kelli Maroney and Lew Temple play fringe dwellers oh so well.
Was there any particular theme or impression or commentary you wanted the audiences to take away from this movie?
I’m sick and tired of all the woke bullshit in movies today, so I wanted Night Caller to just be a good old gory time.
Were there any challenges in the use of special effects? Most of the effects seemed to be practical effects (blood, prosthetics), are those your preferred methods to use in making a horror film?
No, not really, Joe Castro was at the top of his game as always. YES!!!
Can you talk about your involvement with editing and post-production? About any extended use of practical effects, and of the music?
It takes me around a month to edit/lock picture on a film, then I send it to the composer, re-recording mixer, and colorist to do their work on it. Usually, I add temp music and sound effects to give them a direction that I want it to go in. After they finish, I’ll make notes on their work, and we usually have it 100% completed in about 2 months. Then I send it out to festivals which leads to a distribution deal. Script to screen is about a 4 to 6 month process.
Is there a certain type or style of thriller that you enjoy, and are those the type of films you enjoying making?
My love for the darker side of cinema and decision to make those types of films would stem from my childhood and my pessimistic view of life. Growing up on a Minnesota farm, I always felt I didn’t quite fit in, so I’d escape through film. Watching John Carpenter’s The Thing, Quest For Fire, Popeye, Nine to Five, The Empire Strikes Back up on the big screen really lit a fuse inside my young mind and my cinematic love affair was born.
Are you working on any new projects you can talk about yet?
Pig Killer will be hitting the festival circuit in October. It stars Jake Busey, Lew Temple, Bai Ling, Kate Patel, Robert Miano, Silvia Spross, Jon Budinoff, Elina Madison, Ginger Lynn, Cyril O’Reilly, Michael Paré [Michael Paré, Robert Rhine, Jennifer Drake, Cassandra Gava, Susan Priver, Scott Vogel, Kurt Bonzell and James Russo. With music by G Tom Mac.
Synopsis: Based on the terrifying true story of Robert ‘Willy’ Pickton, the pig farmer cum prolific ladykiller whose horrific crimes shocked the world. PIG KILLER graphically depicts Pickton’s felonious farmhouse of rape, torture, slaughter, and dismemberment of almost fifty women. With his herculean hog, Balthazar, by his side, Willy and his menagerie of colorful cohorts terrorized Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside for almost two decades until his 2002 arrest that uncovered the most bizarre series of murders Canada has ever seen.
Thank you, Chad!
Telephone psychic Clementine Carter is pulled into a complex web of mystery when she receives a call from a serial killer. Predicting his murders before he commits them puts her into a terrifying game of cat and mouse. Enlisting the aid of her invalid father and clairvoyant co-worker, they must use their unique abilities to stay one step ahead of a maniac whose unspeakable acts in the present are nothing compared to his past and future.
Stars Susan Priver, Steve Railsback (Lifeforce), Bai Ling (The Crow), Lew Temple (The Devil’s Rejects), Christine Nguyen, Silvia Spross, Kelli Maroney (Night of the Comet) and Robert Miano, and Robert “Corpsy” Rhine
Written & directed by Chad Ferrin