Courtesy Shout! Studios

We’re in a new era of horror remakes and reimaginings. Heck, the week of October 16th alone we saw the release of a new Chucky series, the return of Michael Myers in Halloween Kills, and a reimagining of I Know What You Did Last Summer in a TV format. To cap the week of revivals off was the reimagining of SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE and, as far as reimaginings go, this one nailed it. A fresh update on a cult-driller women-led franchise, fans got a mixture of the familiar and the exciting from Director/EP Danishka Esterhazy and screenwriter Suzanne Keilly.

For the release of the reimagining of SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE, Nightmarish Conjurings’ Sarah Musnicky was able to participate in a conference call with Director/EP Danishka Esterhazy, where she got to ask her a couple of questions focusing on the talented filmmaker’s below-the-line background in relation to tackling this horror IP and tackling the logistics involved with a mega-death-drill.

How did your below-the-line background assist in tackling the reimagination of this movie? 

Danishka Esterhazy: Every filmmaker comes from a different background. Some of us go to film school. I did go to film school. Some of us have worked our way up through the crew. I did that too. [laughs] Some people kind of get parachuted in from weird other jobs, which I always find very surprising. But I think directing is an incredibly hard job. You need so many skills. You’re working with a huge crew of talented people, but you have to understand their jobs to be able to collaborate with them effectively.

So, when I was first making my short film, I did everything. I made the costumes and I loaded the camera and I lit the scene and I painted the walls, and I made the coffee. I really did every role, and I also volunteered in all my friends’ films. I belong to a cooperative called the Winnipeg Film Group and we all help each other make each other’s films. So. I’ve really done every crew position there is. Although, I wish sometimes it had been a faster journey to get to making feature films, because I did this for about a decade, and then I made the three feature films before I could get a television episodic job. So, it wasn’t fast. But I think having done all those different roles absolutely makes me a better storyteller. I have a big arsenal of tools to try out and I do hope that that shows.


Can you talk about the logistics of navigating kill scenes with the mega-drill from hell, especially on uneven woodsy terrain?

Danishka Esterhazy: It was a safety concern, for sure. So, we had several drills, lots of drill bits. Some of them were soft drill bits. They were made from foam so, that you could wave them near an actor’s face and they didn’t do any kind of damage but those are really wobbly. You have to be careful how you use them in the shot so, they don’t end up looking completely ridiculous.

Also, we had a safety bit. The end of our drill went into a little safety mechanism we built that had an automatic shut-off. So, if the drill actually came into contact with something, the motor would turn off so you wouldn’t end up accidentally…an actor wouldn’t drill themself, for example, by accident. And then, we had a bunch of brittle drills that could do break-away scenes and things like that. But then sometimes, we just had the metal drill. If you’re going through a door or we need to make a spark, we had the metal drill. So, we just tried to do it as safely as possible.

It’s a really incredible prop. It’s a lot of fun and I know that our actor who plays Russ Thorne (Rob van Vuuren) had a great time with it. There’s something about when you hold it. It’s got these crazy handles and it’s quite heavy and it’s really long, and it really just changes your body language in a really interesting way. So, it’s definitely the most interesting prop I’ve had the chance to work with.

SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE premiered on SYFY on October 16th, and is you can now purchase or rent the film on Apple TV, Google Play, Amazon, and other digital platforms to watch it again and again to your heart’s desire!

Sarah Musnicky
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