Recently, I was able to check out the new urban horror film Parasites, but I had a few questions after I was done watching. Who better to get answers from than the creative genius behind the madness? Chad Ferrin, writer and director of Parasites, was more than happy to answer my questions and was quite forthcoming with everything I was dying to uncover. Don’t worry, this interview is entirely spoiler-free and full of interesting tidbits. Come see what he had to say about the making of what is sure to become one of the best horror films of 2017!
PopHorror: How did you come up with the idea for Parasites?
Chad Ferrin: A few years back, I had gotten lost driving through downtown. The city had numerous streets torn up because of construction, so following a detour sign, I ended up under the 6th street bridge where, to my surprise, there was a huge homeless encampment. Countless filth-covered men and women froze in the beams of my headlights and just stared at me. My mind raced with thoughts of these modern-day savages taking me out for encroaching on their land, so I threw my car in reverse and got the hell out of there. Parasites was conceived.
PopHorror: What was the most challenging part about directing a film that you wrote?
Chad Ferrin: Raising the money was the hardest thing for Parasites.
PopHorror: It seemed very important that the characters were able to be fully dimensional. How did you go about casting the characters and how long did it take?
Chad Ferrin: Robert Miano, Silvia Spross, Joe Pilato and Robert Rhine I had worked with before. The rest of the casting was done online through Actors Access, where we had thousands of submissions to go through. It took a little over a month to finalize the cast.
PopHorror: In the trivia section of the film’s IMDb page, it said that you guys were chased off by an actual group of vagrants. Is this true and what happened?
Chad Ferrin: We shot the script in sequence, so the first night we were filming the opening driving scene through skid row and a couple of bums took after us. Actors Sean Samuels, Jeffrey Decker and Sebastian Fernandez were driving the pick-up truck, while myself, Christian Janss (DoP), and Steve Hitselberger (sound) were in the bed when suddenly a couple of bums rode up on bikes along side of us. One of them grabbed my arm and began screaming that we can’t film there. I yanked my arm free just as his buddy threw a beer bottle, just missing Steve’s head. Christian yelled to Sean to step on it and we sped off as they yelled obscenities at us from middle of the street.
PopHorror: What scene was the most fun for you to direct?
Chad Ferrin: The chase between Marshal and Chain trough the LA river was a blast. There’s a stillness down there in the twilight hours that’s just amazing – you’re in the heart of downtown, but it’s so still, except for an occasional helicopter or police siren. And stealing the shot with the train was a real rush!
PopHorror: While writing this film, was there anything that initially was in the script but got edited out? If so, what was it and why did you choose to take it out?
Chad Ferrin: The opening scene originally had about five pages of dialogue/character development between the three kids driving through the city. It just didn’t work for me. Sometimes less is more. Their smiling faces, images of the city, football game on the radio, and Gerard McMahon’s “Hot Town Streets” as a score does the trick better than those 5 pages ever could.
PopHorror: The film itself was enjoyable throughout its entirety. The ending was what took me from loving it to being in love with it. Did you write the entire film knowing what the end was going to be and shape it around that?
Chad Ferrin: No, the original ending was completely different, and to be honest, never felt right. However, once I figured out how I wanted to re-shape it, it pretty much wrote itself.
PopHorror: Was there anything that you really wanted to do with the film that just wasn’t possible?
Chad Ferrin: The fight scene between Marshal and Spade was originally much longer and more gruesome. We had to re-work it on set because there just wasn’t enough time to pull off all the effects. When shooting 10 pages a day, you fly by the seat of your pants and you’ve got a be ready to compromise, here and there, to ensure the film gets finished.
PopHorror: Parasites kind of had an ’80s horror feel to it and I loved it. How important was setting the tone in this movie for you? What kind of tone were you going for?
Chad Ferrin: Paramount! From the inspiration of the films of John Carpenter, Walter Hill, Friedkin and Romero to our locations, casting, use of vintage Kowa anamorphic lenses, Matt Olivo’s fantastic synth score all came together to nail that ’80s vibe.
PopHorror: What do you want people, who haven’t seen this movie, to know about Parasites?
Chad Ferrin: That it was greatly inspired by one of my favorite films, The Naked Prey, and I hope that Parasites is able to entertain, inspire, and effect them as much as that film has for me.
When a genre film of substance gets released, the horror fan in me is more than grateful. When you bring everything together perfectly and add a director that loves the genre, you get a film like Parasites. I said it in my review and I am going to repeat it again here: Parasites is a piece of art in its purest form. When this gets released on Blu-ray or DVD, I will be first in line to get my copy. Parasites has definitely earned its spot in my collection. I do know that you will be available to watch it digitally VOD January 24th, 2017. So, set aside some funds and enjoy a horror movie that you can tell came from a man that loves the horror genre as much as we do. Great job, Chad Ferrin! Great job….