Recently announced from Tom Devlin is the upcoming slasher Teddy Told Me To. This past weekend at Mad Monster Party in Glendale, Arizona, fans were treated to a panel with the filmmakers and the very first trailer for the independent horror feature.
Over a decade ago, Tom Devlin was a strong contestant on the popular Syfy reality series, Face Off, where FX artists battled it out by bringing to life horrific characters. Taking on the task of creating a nightmare-inducing villain, Devlin crafted Teddy, a sinister and murderous effigy of a stuffed teddy bear. But for the upcoming film that follows about a couple that hopes to resurrect a closed haunted attraction with a bloody past, Devlin has seemingly beefed Teddy up a bit.
During the Mad Monster Party panel, Devlin and several members of his cast and crew admitted that Teddy Told Me To is good old fashioned slasher fun and not meant to try to re-invent the subgenre in any way. It was made with an independent spirit, utilizing the incredible collection and sets found at Tom Devlin’s Monster Museum in Boulder City, Nevada, and the cast and crew of friends often pulling double duties for production.
When I spoke with the team (Topher Hansson, Kamarra Cole, Lola and Tom Devlin, Walid Atshe, and Kayla Bushell) at Mad Monster, it was no secret that they had fun making Teddy Told Me To. The crew was all drafted from previous projects or working relationships with Tom and Lola Devlin, and I think that provided a solid backbone for their film. They all saidthat they had a blast making Teddy Told Me To and the challenges each faced were next to none. Kamarra Cole, who stars in the movie, said her only challenge was keeping the continuity for her character while working another gig simultaneously, adding, “It was so much fun and a privilege to be a part of this.” Topher Hansson, who took on the roles of Assistant Director and actor, enthusiastically expressed, “It was great! I was not expecting to film and help out on post-production, but it was awesome to be able to step into other roles besides acting.”
The manager of Tom Devlin’s Monster Museum, Kayla Bushell, was even roped into the madness not only for the weekend at Mad Monster but also fulfilling numerous roles during production. “It was a giant learning curve for me. I’d never even been on a movie set before, but I had a great time.” Rounding out the Teddy Told Me To team was Walid Atshe, whom Tom Devlin described as his right hand man and fellow FX artist. Walid also contributed music for the movie via his band, Chainsaw Fight. While sharing his experience making Teddy he jokingly said, “It was controlled chaos, like a carnival ride where you don’t know if they screwed in the bolts all the way, but it’s really fun to ride it.”
Originally, Tom was not keen on directing Teddy Told Me To himself and wanted to hand those duties off to his talented and well-educated wife, Lola, but she insisted he finally sit in the director’s chair, saying, “It was his character. He already knew what the whole movie was before I did. It was the most natural thing that he direct this movie.” Tom was quick to say that their 18-year marriage was built on the shared passion to be creative and make movies together. “We haven’t made a film together in years, and that was the whole idea, to play with my wife again,” said Devlin, “to remind people that my wife is a badass.” And it seems like she is because she not only nailed the sound design in time for festival deadlines while making sure a six and nine-year-old didn’t burn the house down, but also co-wrote Teddy Told Me To with Vincent Cusimano.
After 23 years of being an FX artist, curating a killer museum for fellow horror devotees, and being someone who truly believes that “fandom is family,” I’m pleased to see Devlin check Feature Filmmaker off his list. Promising blood, guts, dozens of victims, and appearances by Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp – our retro review) C.J. Graham (Friday the 13th Part VI – our retro review), The Grim Life Collective, Trent Haaga (Cheap Thrills – our review), Warrington Gillette (Friday the 13th Part II – our retro review), Drew Marvick (Pool Party Massacre – our review), and more, Teddy Told Me To looks like one hell of a good time for slasher fans!
We would like to thank team Teddy for taking the time to chat with us during Mad Monster. We really appreciated it!