Interview with Peter Herro, cowriter/director of ‘WTF!’

Awhile back, I got to review the indie slasher film WTF!, (check out the review here), a horror film with a huge mean streak and brutal kills. Then I got the chance to interview one of its stars, Andrea Hunt (you can read that interview here), and now I’ve got the chance to interview the film’s director, Peter Herro. See what he had to say about everything that went into making WTF!, whether there will be a sequel, and what he’s working on next.

PopHorror: What made you become a filmmaker?

Peter Herro: I remember always having an over active imagination as a kid. I wanted to show people what I was thinking, and I realized the best way to do that was through filmmaking. It’s an amazing way to share your vision with the world. I remember watching Jurassic Park as a kid and realizing, at that moment, that I wanted to be a filmmaker.

PopHorror: What films and directors influenced and inspired you the most?

Peter Herro: The Nightmare on Elm Street series really inspired me. I grew up watching those movies on repeat. I love Freddy and the way they were able to execute gore and comedy together. Wes Craven is a magician. Among Scream and other Craven classics, he was the one that inspired me the most.

PopHorror: Where did the idea for WTF! come from?

Peter Herro: I wanted a film that felt like the horror films I grew up loving so much… Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, and so on. At the time, I was working in the marketing department at Warner Brothers and I was really interested in not only making a fun movie, but one that I knew would sell. So I made the decision early on that the title of the film had to be simple and catchy. WTF! came to mind and the rest is history.

PopHorror: You shared writing duties on the film with two other people. What was the writing process like?

Peter Herro: I started writing with Christopher Centanni back in 2009. We decided over dinner one night that we wanted to write something. He is a full time writer and I really wanted to direct a feature film. So we teamed up to write WTF! In 2010, we brought Adam Buchalter on board to help with some amazing rewrites and dialogue punch up. He did a ton of polishing on the script and also made himself available on set most days for rewrites. It was fantastic to have him on set. There were a few times where we had to cut pages due to the lack of time. Adam was amazing at closing the gaps and rewriting the script the same day to accommodate those changes. The writing team for WTF! is fantastic and I am thrilled I got to work with them both.

PopHorror: The cast of characters all have their own personality. What was it like trying to find the right cast for the roles?

Peter Herro: The producer of the film, Kyle Zingler, and I spent three months in casting with our amazing casting director, Derek Stusynski. He really helped bring in over a few hundred people easy for this casting. I was very interested in not only getting the best cast possible, but also getting people that were hungry for the role. With this being my first feature and the film being so low budget, the only way to make the film work well seemed to find people that would give it their all. They did just that. After three months of casting and chemistry reads, we had finally got the cast you see in WTF!, a really amazing cast with very different personalities.

PopHorror: What was it like directing your first feature on a low budget?

Peter Herro: It was a real challenge. I knew making the movie had to be done on a low budget and a ton of favors. I was fortunate to have Steve Parker from Cthulhu Crush Productions find interest in me and the project. I knew being a first time filmmaker, I needed to make the best movie I could for the lowest possible budget I could. Steve took a chance on the project and I am so happy he did! We were able to pull off a really good quality film for the time and money we had. Under $100k and 12 days of shooting was intense but well worth it! With this being the first time I have ever really called action, I am really happy with the final product.

PopHorror: My favorite kill is when Bonnie’s face got lit on fire. How was it shooting that scene?

Peter Herro: It was my favorite death as well! It was very intense on set that day. I remember Andrea Hunt, who plays Bonnie, being in the make up chair, headphones on, listening to dark disturbing music to get in the mood and just completely zoning out. She also made a request not to see herself in the black and blue smashed face make up until she looked into the mirror for the first time after I called action. We did that reveal in one take. She crawled up to the sink. Looked into the mirror, and saw her bloodied up face for the very first time as she was acting out her death. I think it was masterful and helped a ton in really setting the tone for one of the best deaths.

PopHorror: The end of WTF! hints at a sequel. Is one in the works?

Peter Herro: That’s a great question! I guess I can break the news here. Yes, a script is in it’s first draft and in development now. It also would appear that one of the victims may have survived the killer’s wrath after all. More to come!

PopHorror: If you could work with anyone in the horror scene, who would it be?

Peter Herro: I would have to say Kane Hodder and Robert Englund are the first that come to mind. They both represent the horror franchise’s that I grew up loving so much. I would be thrilled to have the opportunity to work with them on a project.

PopHorror: Any upcoming projects?

Peter Herro: I am working on a film now called The Locksmyth. It is a horror film based on an urban legend about a guy who gets off breaking into the most secure homes. It will have some great horror names attached, as well as another awesome name attached for the lead. More to come on that soon!

About Charlie Cargile

Central Illinois based film journalist. Lover of cinema of all varieties but in love with films with an independent spirit. Elder Emo. Cat Dad. Metalhead.

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