Q&A with Jason Kupfer, Director of “Invaders”
ALTER: Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual level? Who is your Horror spirit animal?
JASON KUPFER: John Lithgow in the final Twilight Zone movie vignette. If dropped into even the most harmless of horror film scenarios (like Caspar), I would absolutely react with that level of wild delirium and obnoxious panic.
A: You’ve gotta go through some bad ideas to get to the good ones. Tell us one of your bad ideas. How do you get past the bad ones to find your spark?
JK: I’d written a short promotional film for a Florida-based film festival where all of Florida was slowly consumed by its own orange juice. The festival immediately rejected it. I still maintain that this could have been a ridiculous b-style short, but also….in hindsight, I absolutely recognize and support their decision completely.
I think you’re always going to be your own harshest critic. Every idea you have is going to seem “bad” to you at some point during the process. When I find that I’m leaning more toward being consistently excited about a particular idea rather than constantly lapsing into periods of doubt and computer-throwing tantrums, then I might have something worth actually pursuing.
A: Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?
JK: I definitely didn’t until Invaders began bouncing around the festival circuit. Over the course of a year or so, I met so many incredible festival organizers, filmmakers, and horror fans in general that could not have been more passionate about the genre or more welcoming to anyone contributing to it. It seems slightly contradictory, but there isn’t a warmer community than the one that is just really into watching people creatively dismembered and mangled to bits on a regular basis.
A: When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?
JK: I think so much of it comes from a sort of unconscious osmosis of films, writers, or directors that you love…hopefully with your own unique style blended in. When working, I actively try to avoid anything that may seem like it’s a direct pocketing of something I’m a fan of, but looking back on a finished project, it’s always impossible to not see the influence that The Coens, Tarantino, Raimi, Burton, King, Mamet, and hundreds of other writers and directors had on me. I can see it all in there. I’m a fan of any filmmaker that creates a world and language that is so specifically their own that no matter how much they evolve and deviate, they’re style/character/worlds are always recognizable as uniquely theirs.
A: What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?
JK: I would John Lithgow the shit out of the situation (just a lot of relentless crying, shaking, vomiting) until the danger passed.
A: Who would be on your ultimate horror villain squad?
JK: Hans Gruber, Captain Howdy, El Guapo, Immortan Joe, and any stringy-haired Japanese Water Ghost.
A: Lightning round: Freddy or Jason? Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft? Practical or CGI? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
JK: If I could make any dream film, it would be a love letter to Stephen King about a practical effect-heavy Freddy Kreuger in a post-apocalyptic landscape.
A: How do you go about creating the props and sets for your film? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
JK: For Invaders we had a really amazing team of FX folks that had to create the effect of over 300 gallons of blood spraying out of a man’s face. That required an endless amount of syrups and dyes and suctions and hoses, but what we overlooked was that the wireless turkey carver used for the initial stabbing in the first place isn’t something that actually exists, so we had to create our own. The only thing that would create the aggressive shaking effect we needed, were mini egg vibrators purchased by some unfortunate PA from the local Orlando sex shop. We cut the cord, gutted the carver, jammed it full of shakey-eggs, and plunged it into a custom face mold of the Driver Pilgrim. It’s movie magic in its purest form.
A: And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’
JK: A perfect tie between The Exorcist, The Shining, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Haunting, The Wicker Man, The Fly, The Tenant, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Opera, Evil Dead, American Werewolf in London, Poltergeist, The Thing, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Twilight Zone: The Movie, Hour of the Wolf, Inside, High Tension, Dead Alive…..sorry, I know this is a complete cop-out answer and Ghostface would’ve already hung up by now.