Horror movies have dedicated audience demographics but to make memorable, creepy, stirring and original stories in this built-up genre, it takes many elements to click. Thankfully talented producer Adrienne Louise Biddle, knows unhinged quality, including working on two of my scary movie favourites, The Strangers (2008) – Stephanie (2017). Talking with her regarding Shudder exclusive; The Dark and the Wicked, I found our conversation compelling with stories form the set and beyond.
Did you come in under budget.
AB – No but our budget was really small and I’m ok with that, very close.
What did you do before you were producing.
AB – that’s a long time ago, I sold insurance, car courier, worked for a non-profit organisation, subway sandwich artist and in a video store. I had a lot of fun in my twenties outside the industry spotlight, then decided to go to graduate school and have been involved in film in some fashion ever since.
Some horror sets can have troubled productions or cursed sets, did anything weird happen on Dark and the Wicked.
AB – One of our producers was riding in a tractor bucket, another producer was driving it horsing around until they hit a bump, knocking him out of the bucket busting his teeth. Not cursed just stupidity (laughs).
Were you in pitch meetings for Dark and the Wicked since conception.
AB – (Director) Bryan and I had been partners for ten years, I was there when he started talking it up the origins. I worked for the studio when his movie The Strangers (2008) was made, so we collectively had been in each other’s orbits for a long time including being connected to another writer producer director friend of mine, Sonny Mallhi.
He and Bryan discussed a way to limited production costs on certain projects so Bryan suggested to me we should try the same approach with our unique stamp. This led to him using his family goat farm, the working farm Bryan actually goes to write.
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Were you mates with Bryan prior to The Strangers.
AB – An agent sent me a script to The Strangers, it was phenomenal. A meeting was set up, it was clear he was an artist that spoke my language approaching the genre in a space most people disrespect or don’t understand. Bryan and I clicked namely from a pretentious literary thematic place (laughs). I was at Summit Entertainment at the time, when I left and went to Rogue Pictures, one of the first thigs I did was suggest The Strangers script in my job interview, it built from that. It was the most profitable movie for Universal that year. Bryan vouched for me as his executive on future projects.
What is it about paranormal horror that attracts you for projects.
AB – I’ve always been fascinated with people, how complicated we are. What I liked about horror, fear clarifies us as one, when your scared none of it matters how different we think we are, I’ve always liked that idea you can dig underneath the visages people put up. You can explore interesting dark stuff in horror that used to be able to be explored in drama, but in horror if you stick a ghost or vampire in it you can cover some heavy, intimate emotional things. It’s not really the blood and guts that attracts but I don’t shy away from that either.
Did you assist in casting.
AB – More important than anything is quality actors, I looked hard to find someone who’d give it their all during our pretty gruelling production plan. none of us are making a ton of money so you want everyone to be in sync. Bryan was a huge fan of Marin (Ireland), not as familiar with Michael (Abbot jr) but they’d played brother and sister before in a movie for producer Sonny, so that fell into place. With the great Xander Berkely, we wanted someone to bring an unexpected approach to the role for a day. He said yes! Marin is brilliant, she leaves nothing behind, as does Michael. Julie Oliver-Touchstone, as Mother, was a marvel. We knew during local castings as she walked in, she was game she was our Mother.
Why should viewers choose Dark and the Wicked scrolling on Shudder.
AB – One of the things I’d always hoped in response to the movie is to make people look around, remember what is important and now more than ever with this pandemic being as isolating as it is, it’s is a kind of mirror to that. People seem to have an incredibly strong reaction to this being scary, to me that’s number one of what we needed to accomplish.
It was really nice talking to you Shane, until next time thank you.