Check out our interview with the incredibly talented director, Nicholas Payne Santos. We talk about his new comedy horror, It Cuts Deep. A phenomenal film that is a must-see this holiday season. Learn about his career, the inspiration behind the film, favorite scenes, and more!
PopHorror – Hi Nick. It’s great to talk with you. What inspired you to get into the filmmaking business?
Nicholas Payne Santos – Ever since I can remember I was obsessed with film and TV. I used to make stop motion shorts as a kid and started making comedy sketches in high school. Since it was the only thing I seemed to actually be good at, it was the logical choice.
PopHorror – That’s legit. You’ve done a decent number of films related to the horror genre. Is this genre one you enjoy and if so what is your favorite horror film?
Nicholas Payne Santos – I’ve been a massive horror fan since I was a little kid. Some of my favorite childhood memories are seeing EVENT HORIZON with my dad when I was in second grade, being absolutely terrified by Chucky from CHILD’S PLAY at every waking moment, and watching PSYCHO for the first time on VHS when I was 7 years old. My favorite film is THE SHINING, which I think maybe clear from IT CUTS DEEP.
PopHorror – I can see it! Your new film and the short HOLIDAY FEAR (which I’ve seen and love) are both centered around the holidays. I’m a huge fan of holiday films especially holiday horror films, are you?
Nicholas Payne Santos – Thanks so much! I love holiday horror films as well. In terms of Christmas horror, I especially like BLACK CHRISTMAS, GREMLINS, and more recently BETTER WATCH OUT.
PopHorror – Love them all! Can you tell the readers a little about IT CUTS DEEP?
Nicholas Payne Santos – IT CUTS DEEP is a horror-comedy film about my fear of getting married and having children. While on Christmas vacation, a young couple contemplates their future together. Ashley is interested in getting married and having kids which terrifies Sam. When the more attractive and paternal Nolan enters the picture, Sam’s life spirals out of control as Ashley questions their relationship. Chaos reigns as Sam desperately cling to Ashley while fending off the threatening Nolan. It’s a fun mix of slasher, cringe comedy, and psychological horror.
PopHorror – What was the inspiration behind this film?
Nicholas Payne Santos – The idea for the film came to me when I was preparing to propose to my wife. I felt a deep fear of commitment and responsibility that was ripe for a horror film. I quickly overcame that fear and am now happily married, but it was a perfect starting point for this story.
PopHorror – Congratulations! I really enjoyed the cast and characters. Did you have certain people in mind when casting for this film? Like as soon as someone auditioned, were you like “YES, YOU WOULD BE PERFECT FOR THIS ROLE?!
Nicholas Payne Santos – I knew the comedian/actor Charles Gould from the NYC comedy scene and he was the first person that came to mind for Sam when I finished the script. He introduced me to John Anderson for the role of Nolan and after John’s first audition it was obvious that he was Nolan. We had a more extensive casting for the role of Ashley, but when Quinn Jackson came in for the role it was clear she could handle the necessary range of the role.
PopHorror – That’s awesome. Do you have any favorite scenes in this film without spoiling anything?
Nicholas Payne Santos – My two favorite scenes in the film are when Sam (Charles Gould) is being yelled at in front of the men’s room by an angry father (Chris Kazarian) who suspects him of being a pedophile and when Nolan (John Anderson) tells the story of the very slasher film murder of his sister (Chloe Roe) in front of the fireplace to Sam’s dismay.
PopHorror – Yeah those are great! IT CUT DEEPS looks like it was a lot of fun to make. Do you have any fun/memorable on set memories?
Nicholas Payne Santos – It was a super fun and collaborative shoot. While the subject matter got dark at times, we tried to make it as welcoming and positive as possible on set. One of the highlights was having a movie night every night for the cast and crew of films that inspired IT CUTS DEEP.
PopHorror – What’s next for you? Any upcoming projects?
Nicholas Payne Santos – I have two new features that I hope to get into production soon. YOU KILL ME is a dark comedy about a marriage that unravels after the husband witnesses his wife murder a man in self-defense. THE BAD FRIEND is a home invasion horror film about a toxic friendship.
PopHorror – Once again, thanks for talking with me, and I look forward to all your upcoming projects! IT CUTS DEEP is now available in select theatres as well as Digital and VOD.