Interview With Zoe Graham, Star Of ‘Scare Package’

With the recent pandemic and subsequent lockdown of, well… the ENTIRE world, newly released movies came to a screeching halt. With theaters shuttered indefinitely and productions shut down, we were really looking at a very slow, very mundane quarantine. Then Scare Package, a new horror anthology, was released on Shudder. It was exactly what we needed to save us from dying from boredom. It’s funny, entertaining, and bloody. I caught up with Zoe Graham of the segment, “Horror Hypothesis,” and we discussed Scare Package, intimacy in the Covid world, what podcast she’d love to be a part of, and of course, horror movies.

PopHorror: Scare Package is so good. It’s so funny and entertaining. 

Zoe Graham: Thank you so much. That’s really nice to hear.

PopHorror: Of course. And happy early birthday! I see that your birthday is at the end of the month.

Zoe Graham: Thank you so much! Thank you.

PopHorror: So what intrigued you about Scare Package and made you want to be a part of it?

Zoe Graham: I had never worked in horror before, so that was something I was really excited to do. But also, the first time I ever met Aaron [B. Koontz writer and director – read the PopHorror interview with him here] was in the audition for Scare Package, and his presence in the audition room… And Cam [Burns co-creator] as well, who he worked with… They both had such a great sense of humor about what they were doing. They seemed so human.

And the fact that a director would be willing to do that with someone who… you know. He hasn’t cast me yet, he doesn’t know me, he doesn’t know what I’m going to think about him. So the fact that he was willing to be fully himself in that audition room made me think he was a guy I wanted to work with. He seems really cool; he seems great. So that was one part of it. The other part is they were doing all of the stunts and practical effects in “Horror Hypothesis.” They were all practical effects, as opposed to CGI or in post. So I knew that I had to be a part of that. I was really into that.

PopHorror: That’s awesome! I love that. Practical effects are always a plus and always preferred, personally.

Zoe Graham: I agree!

PopHorror: Were you a horror fan before making this film?

Zoe Graham: I wish I could say yes, but I’m a big time scaredy-cat. If I watch a horror movie, I can’t sleep for weeks, and anytime I turn my lights off, I freak out. So I can’t engage with horror movies as much as I would like to. However, I respect the genre deeply and listen to a lot of podcast interviews that dissect horror movies and talk about the ways they comment on society. Horror is maybe the genre that’s talking about societal issues right now more than any genre.

PopHorror: Absolutely! Horror movies aren’t afraid to go there. You’ve already worked with some big names. I was looking through your resume, and Julia Roberts is on there, Ethan Hawke… But if you could collaborate with anyone living or dead, who would it be?

Zoe Graham: Oh, man. Anyone in the film industry? That’s a big question. I would kill to be on the Bechdel Cast, which is a podcast that I listen to religiously every single week that takes apart movies. So it is movie adjacent.

In terms of creatively, during quarantine, I’ve been watching all of the Batman movies in succession, starting with Adam West Batman, and I would love to be a part of any Batman movie. That would be awesome. I really grew up with the franchise. My family was really into it, so that would be really cool.

PopHorror: I know that Covid has stalled a lot of projects, and things have been cancelled and pushed back. Is there anything that you’re currently working on, or anything else that you have coming up?

Zoe Graham: Not currently. I’m Austin-based, so our film industry is a little bit smaller than if I was working in L.A. I know a lot of productions have picked back up with bare-bones crews and things like that, but we’re still getting back to it here. And I’m also pretty serious about being on lockdown and don’t want to come back to a set until I’m really sure that we’re not making it worse. So, not yet. But I’m hoping soon. I can’t wait to be back.

PopHorror: I don’t blame you! I don’t go anywhere either. I read that Grey’s Anatomy is back to filming and will be having their season premiere in November. This is the first major production that I’ve seen that’s gone back to filming after Covid and then aired on TV. I’m eager to see how this is going to look and work.

Zoe Graham: I’ve been doing a lot of training around the concept of intimacy coordination. Do you know about that concept?

PopHorror: I don’t!

Zoe Graham: That’s a sort of semi-new concept of people who are hired to do… It’s like a stunt coordinator but for scenes that involve sexuality or kissing or anything like that. They come in and have these conversations of like, “Well, what’s this going to look like?” “What does this scene mean in the course of the script?” “Are you okay with them touching you here? What about here?” So, having those kinds of conversations are totally different when Covid is involved.

PopHorror: I bet!

Zoe Graham: It really doubles down on who’s okay with what, and who feels safe doing what thing. And I’m really hoping that Covid will sort of expand that conversation to all parts of production, and everyone will get more comfortable having those conversations. I think it will be really great.

PopHorror: Those are really important conversations to have, because very rarely do you see anything that doesn’t have some type of intimacy in it.

Zoe Graham: Absolutely, yeah. And I think it’s a really quick jump between everyone feels really safe and respected, and “Oh, I just did something that I don’t know I agreed to when I signed on. I feel kind of confused.” I think those conversations are really necessary. 

PopHorror: That’s really interesting. I’m so glad you brought that up. One last question for you, Zoe. You said that you don’t really like scary movies, but I want to know what is your favorite scary movie?

Zoe Graham: I have two answers here. One that’s perhaps a more stock answer, and it is very related to Scare Package and “Horror Hypothesis,” and that’s Cabin in the Woods. That’s a movie that I’ve seen many times. It has a lot of comedy in it and it deals with horror tropes and handles it in such a funny way. And I really love that movie. It scares the heck out of me, but I roll with it because it’s such a good movie. I forget the line, but he’s like, “I wanted it to be the mer-people.” It cracks me up every time.

But my other answer, which is maybe more appropriate since I’m such a big scaredy-cat, is that I was really, really afraid of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory as a child. I was terrified of it. I remember faking sick, because I needed to be at home after I watched it with my family. That’s just embarrassing now, because I love the movie.

Thank you so much, Zoe, for taking the time to speak with us. Courtesy of RLJE Films, Scare Package was released On Demand, Digital, DVD and Blu-ray on October 20, 2020. You can also check out Scare Package on Shudder.

About Tiffany Blem

Horror lover, dog mommy, book worm, EIC of PopHorror.

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