As the Halloween season kicks into full gear, SYFY has begun to roll out their newest horror films. Shannon had the chance to speak with director Nick Simon about his latest film TRUTH OR DARE which will be premiering on SYFY, Sunday, October 8th, as well as the use of practical effects and securing a top notch cast.
Nightmarish Conjurings: Hi Nick, thank you so much for speaking with me today! To start things off, for those not familiar with your film TRUTH OR DARE, can you tell us a little bit about it?
Nick Simon: TRUTH OR DARE is about a game of Truth or Dare that goes… bad… you could say. This movie is just a fun and very intense Halloween thriller. I’m immensely proud of the work that went into it from both my amazing cast and the incredible crew.
NC: What initially interested you in the script and what type of inspiration did you draw from to bring the story to life?
NS: What initially drew me to the script was Thommy Hutson. I was a fan of his writing, both with his documentaries and his book on Wes Craven and the making of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. His script is just a really tight fun and games type thriller that reminded me of the best parts of the first SAW movie and THE FINAL DESTINATION movies. I love those movies so much and always wanted to make one. Thommy and I met and got along really well. I would love to say that I drew inspiration from all of my experiences playing Truth or Dare as a kid but I can’t remember ever being invited to those parties.
NC: For a film that is on SYFY I’m sure you had restrictions in showcasing bloodshed and language. How did you work around that and was there a lot of challenges faced in conveying the story so that it still fit into the parameters of television rules?
NS: Good question. When we moved to Birmingham, Alabama earlier this year to shoot the movie, we didn’t really approach it under those terms. SYFY had some notes, but very few. Their marching orders were really to go out and make a good horror movie that feels and looks like a big theatrical horror picture…and that’s what we did. We never approached anything with this as a television movie. I approached this like I do everything. There is definitely an R rated cut that will be released on VOD/Blu-ray/DVD in a few months. But, for the most part, what is airing on October 8th is almost the same movie. We took out a few “F” bombs for the TV cut, but the blood and gore didn’t change. Thanks to shows like “The Walking Dead”, you can push that sort of stuff on television way more now.
NC: I see that you brought back Luke Baines who was also in your film THE GIRL IN THE PHOTOGRAPHS. Did you know you wanted to work with him again? How did you go about casting the rest of the characters?
NS: I love working with Luke. He’s one of those actors that makes my job easier as a director. I really wanted to work with him again as one of the “good guys” in a horror movie. I always love seeing great antagonists play the opposite side. Luke, of course is just a well-trained and very disciplined actor who handled the transition with ease. He makes it look simple. Honestly, with the cast I had on this picture they all made me look good. Cassie Scerbo, Brytni Sarpy and Alexxis Lemire went through hell and back on this movie. There is a scene towards the end of the film, (spoiler free) with Brytni and Cassie, and it took almost 11 hours to film. And they stayed in character the entire time. 11 hours of blood and sweat and tears. They’re just so good. Just solid, believable and honest performances that I couldn’t be happier with. The same thing with the guys. Mason, Ricardo and Harvey were all terrific. And working with Heather Langenkamp was really a dream.
NC: When it came to the death scenes, were you able to primarily use practical effect or did you have to use CGI?
NS: We did almost everything with practical. Weused very little CGI. A little bit to stitch some stop-motion shots together and of course we used it for one scene involving a cockroach or two…
NC: Last but not least, are there any other projects coming up that fans should be on the lookout for?
NS: I have a script that we are close to finishing that I really feel will be a personal film for me. I’m writing it with Lundon Boyd, who was my assistant on my first feature, REMOVAL a few years back. He’s a great writer and also a brilliant actors. It’s a contained thriller that takes place in 1983 and is based on a true but really insane story. My films are all a little different from each other. I like to keep switching it up, but ultimately, I’m just a huge genre nerd and I hope to continue working in this space.
Make sure to check out TRUTH OR DARE when it premieres on SYFY October 8th at 9pm/8pm central.