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Q&A with Mitchell Slan, Director of “Balloon”

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ALTER: Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual level? Who is your Horror spirit animal?
MITCHELL SLAN: I completely relate to Freddy Krueger! He’s full of personality like myself and always puts on a show. We share the same style and use of comedy. The things I find hilarious are a bit dark and I have no shame whatsoever.  His abrupt personality and being unpredictable share similar aspects with the way I think.
Sam from “Trick r Treat” is my spirit animal. We share the same respect for Halloween and how it should be treated on a traditional level. I grew up feeling that chill in the air that only happens on halloween night. You have to really stop to notice it and take it in. That’s how I treat my films with the horror genre. I try to tell stories that are thought provoking and put the genre in a good light. 

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?
MS: Oh, shit. Lol. I had one idea I started for a feature called “Daylight Slayings”. Kind of a horror comedy idea about a girl that is stalked by a killer that can only kill people in broad daylight. When the sun sets, she’s safe.  Opening was strong, but then I started laughing at myself trying to convince others of the idea.

A: Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?
MS: I do! The last two years in the film festival circuit has made me realize just how small and tight nit the horror filmmaker community is. I’ve made so many relationships across the U.S and I feel like I’m in the inner circle.

A: When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?
MS: Sometimes it’s just something you would never think of. Sometimes you’re doing laundry in the middle of the night and a rerun of “Oprah” is playing in the background… and that’s it! She says she’s afraid of balloon’s. Sometimes it comes from childhood and the things we can tell you detail by detail as if it happened yesterday.

A: What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?
MS: I would probably start worrying about my brain. Meeting the characters you created would be a lot to handle. I would also try to bring them into the real world. Just to see what happens.

A: Who would be on your ultimate horror villain squad?
MS: Freddy Krueger to get in their heads and for style. Michael Myers for brutality and epic music. And the third would be the headless horseman. I mean, he’s just freaking awesome.

A: Lightning round: Freddy or Jason? Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft? Practical or CGI? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
MS: Freddy. Jason would be horrible on a first date.
Stephen King, true fear.
Practical. Always practical. Why do you think the first Jurassic Park is the scariest? It was in front of their faces. Also check out “Krampus”. All puppet and practical.
Post Apocalypse. More mystery as to how we got here.

A: How do you go about creating the props and sets for your film? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
MS: Oh, man. We make everything ourselves. I remember the night before the first day of shooting, I was sitting on the floor and sparked the idea to paint white serial killer gloves with splattered colors. It became a theme for the film and so we did it on everyone’s costume. The sets are one of those things we design that looks ridiculous in person, but the camera makes it look incredible.
Another time, we realized that we can’t have out whole set with white walls. We dipped thousands of newspaper in coffee and then taped every inch of it to the walls. It looked amazing.

A: And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’
MS: “Suspiria.” The colors. The music that never leaves your brain. The big reveal. The mystery. There’s nothing like it.