Chelsea Lupkin is a Director and cinematographer and has produced short films, comedy sketches, live productions, commercials, and documentaries for major media outlets including MTV, Delish, Elle, Elle Decor, VH1, and Fusion. Her previous short horror film, Lucy’s Tale, premiered at the Fantasia International Film Festival in the coveted “Born of Woman” program in 2018 and has since become an Official Selection of the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival, Knoxville Horror Film Fest, Chattanooga Film Festival, Buried Alive Film Fest, Final Girls Berlin Film Festival, Monster Fest, Etheria Film Night, and won Best Short Horror at the Winter Film Awards.
Not only does Lupkin make short films, she is a Senior Programmer and editorial writer for the online film curation site Short of the Week. She is also the Creative Video Producer and an original member of Delish, an award-winning Hearst food site, producing a number of hit reality food shows across multiple platforms.
Q & A
Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual level? Who is your Horror spirit animal?
My horror spirit animal is definitely a Gremlin - However, instead of turning into one from being fed after midnight, I turn into one when I haven’t eaten anything - I get pretty hangry.
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?
In my opinion, bad ideas are just ideas you abandon too quickly. In order to find the best idea, I tend to multi-draft where I’m working on at least two simultaneous stories to not only avoid writer’s block, but inform both scripts.
Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?
I feel like I’m just on the fringes of that community. I love horror movies, but I’ve only just recently discovered that I enjoy making them. I finally feel like I have something to add to the genre and I’m excited to see where my filmmaking goes.
When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?
When world building, I like to stay as true to reality as possible. The more it feels genuine, the more my audience will believe in the rules of the world. That’s why Lucy’s Tale was set against the backdrop of present day high school. I also think that the best horror stories are deeply rooted in reality that capitalize on everyday fears. In this way, I find inspiration in my own insecurities and fears. For example, puberty was scary to me, so why not make a horror movie about it? Lucy’s Tale explored themes of body image, gender specific animosity, and sex - All hurdles that young women must navigate when entering adulthood.
What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?
If I woke up inside of my film, I would befriend Lucy and there’s something hugely satisfying about championing the underdog. I just hope she never gets mad at me enough to punish me with her telekinetic powers - I don’t fancy getting injured.
Who would be on your ultimate horror villain squad?
My ultimate horror villain squad would include Ginger Fitzgerald (Ginger Snaps) , Jennifer Check (Jennifer’s Body), Annie Wilkes (Misery) because I can only imagine the crazy ways these ladies would egg each other on.
Lightning round: Freddy or Jason? Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft? Practical or CGI? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
Freddy, Stephen King, practical, post-apocalyptic
How do you go about creating the props and sets for your film? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
For Lucy’s Tale, I wanted to stick to practical effects, but knew nothing about prosthetics. Fortunately, a good friend of mine is a very established special effects makeup artist by the name of Anthony Giordano. When I asked him for advice on how to build the tail, he volunteered to create it. So we drove Irina Bravo (Lucy) out to his New Jersey workshop and had her spine specially casted to make a prosthetic just for her. A few weeks later, we had five growth stages of the tail for filming and I couldn’t have been more happy that we chose practical over CGI effects.
And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’
Jaws! I love horror movies that don’t necessary rely on the “scare” element. Jaws is very much a character centric film, which is why you care so much when Brody, Quint, and Hooper are in danger on the boat. I also love that Jaws is largely scary by just existing - you don’t have to see it to be afraid of it; It doesn’t have to jump out and say “boo!”. Rather, just knowing it’s there, lurking under the surface is what makes the shark such a compelling villain.