A few weeks ago, Slasher Studios had the honor of having “Teddy” as a featured selection of Elvira’s Horror Hunt (you can read about our experiences at the event here and here). During the festival and convention we meet a lot of aspiring filmmakers but, being slasher fans, none of them quite stood out to us like Lucas Masson. A true slasher fan at heart, he came all the way from France to see his film played on the big screen. His film, “Baby-Sitting,” is a loving ode to the slasher films of yesteryear that he had the honor of reviewing here. We had the pleasure of doing an interview with the young director and we will also have him featured on our very next Slasher Studios Horror Webcast, Monday at 3PM central, as he will be calling in all the way from France.
1) Tell us a little bit about yourself and what drew you in to the world of horror movies.
My father showed me a lot of horror movies when I was young. I don’t know if that was a good thing or a bad thing but I loved watching them with him. I found them exciting and entertaining. So here I am now! I admit I’m having trouble writing anything that’s not horror. Even though I actually like all kind of films, I think it’s one of the most complete genre when it comes to storytelling and screenwriting. You can decide to put drama, comedy action, suspense in it and this kind of freedom is amazing, especially for young filmmakers.
2) How did you come up with the idea of “Baby-Sitting”?
I knew I wanted to do a fun, gory and unpretentious film. And I had this idea of two very weird and creepy looking children who wouldn’t talk or move or smile. I just decided to throw a few babysitters in there and a lot of blood to spice up the whole thing!
3) How was it working with young actors on “Baby-Sitting”? How were you able to extract such committed performances out of the two of them?
Both Vasco Bailly-Gentaud and Prune Richard were amazing because they were really patient and dedicated. It was one of Vasco’s first experiences on a film set but he was great. Despite his young age, he is a horror fan as well. That helped a lot since he couldn’t wait to shoot the gory scenes. Prune was younger and more sensitive. I actually had to change a few things in the script because she was afraid of a lot of the props we used for special effects. We had to think of lots of strategies to prevent her from seeing anything bloody. Scavenger hunts were actually organized outside the house when we shot the messy parts inside!
4) Throughout “Baby-Sitting” the idea of eating meat is mentioned several times. Any social commentary behind this?
I’m a vegetarian. Meat has always kind of grossed me out and I think my disgust was translated on screen in this movie. It wasn’t intentional when I started writing the script, but I’m glad it’s there. I do think meat consumption needs be rethought. “Baby-Sitting” was always supposed to be plain fun so I really didn’t want it to become patronizing or political, but it was nice having to put a little hint towards a cause that feels important to me.
5) Practical effects are a dying art when it comes to horror films and you recently won “Best Gore” at Elvira’s Horror Hunt for your practical effects in “Baby-Sitting.” How did you create them?
I’m really lucky to have Carole Rostaing as a special effect makeup artist on my films. She’s extremely gifted and manages to create impressive effects with almost nothing. So she had all the wounds and burns covered! As to blood projections and other gory stuffs, I designed the devices with a friend who’s quite a handy man but had never worked on film sets before. We had a blast but got exhausted after shooting 8 days in a pool of fake and sticky blood. So being rewarded with the Best Gore award at an awesome fest like Elvira’s Horror Hunt was beyond amazing.
6) “Baby-Sitting” has a wonderfully twisted score that is eerie yet playful. Who created the score and did you work with them on the creation process?
My good friend Laure Serriere who is a music prodigy created the orchestral score of the film and managed to get 70 musicians to play it. I’m a big film music fan and always work closely with her to be sure she gets what I expect from the score in each sequence (she often calls me a pain in the ass for that). I can’t play any existing instrument on earth correctly but I’m of course always present during recording and sound mixing, as I love those processes. I think Laure composed a beautiful and creepy score, which participates quite well in the old fashion atmosphere we wanted to give the movie. As to the opening title song “Creep in the City”, it was composed specially for the film and played by my parent’s rock band, the Never Been. I wanted a kind of retro rockabilly music that could set the mood right away and match the score Laure created. I think they did a brilliant job.
7) How long did it take to shoot “Baby-Sitting” and what was the budget of the film?
We had a really small budget for the shooting, which was around 1600 euros. The film was shot in 8 days during 4 weekends as the whole crew had a job and worked during the week.
8) Living in France, how easy/difficult is it to find a professional crew to film with and how easy/difficult it is to attain the equipment you need to shoot with (lights, camera, boom, etc)?
It’s difficult to find people that understand the requirements of such small productions. But horror movies tend to be federative. And for Baby-Sitting, I’ve met so many gifted people who were kind, professional and willing to throw themselves in this adventure, it was very touching. I actually think that those kinds of experiences are good means to spot the ones that are truly passionate and that deserve to succeed in the movie industry : those people work intense hours for free and prove to be as or more dedicated than any other paid professionals. Even though I whish I could pay my crew, that’s actually an aspect I really like in independent filmmaking. As to the equipment, we had to work with what we had. But some amazing people that wanted to help actually lent us some pretty nice things. Without them we would have never been able to achieve the kind of image and lighting I wanted.
9) Were there any particular slashers you wanted to play homage to while making this film?
The whole film is meant to be an homage to the horror genre in general and to pay tribute to some great horror movies that were made some 20 or 30 years ago. There are a couple of obvious references to Halloween or Scream, but also movies like The Evil Dead when it comes to the gory parts. So many great films were an inspiration, I couldn’t start naming them all!
10) What advice do you have for future horror filmmakers?
I don’t feel like I’m in any position to give advice yet. At this point I’m still only taking them. The one thing I think is important for any independent filmmaker to keep in mind would be to remain modest and avoid making pretentious movies no matter what genre they belong to. From what I’ve seen Americans got it covered but the French have still to figure it out.
Huge thank you to Lucas Masson for the interview and don’t forget to catch him live on Slasher Studios Horror Webcast this Monday at 3PM central.