When you have passion and talent, why let it go to waste? Tristan Clay and Destinie Orndoff are definitely two talented people who aren’t wasting a second to accomplish their dreams. They not only write, direct, produce, and act, but they also have created their own production company – Deranged Minds Entertainment. They know horror from the inside out and are an unstoppable team. Luckily for PopHorror, Tristan and Destinie took the time to talk with us about how they got involved in the film industry, what horror means to them, the inspiration behind their short stories, details on their first full feature Red Eye, and more!
What inspired you two to take the first steps into the film industry – indie horror, specifically?
Tristan: I’ve always been fascinated with how films are made and have always been drawn to horror out of all the genres growing up. Being in a sheltered religious household, I wasn’t exposed to many horror films outside of the PG-13 realm, which made me even more curious about the genre growing up. It’s always been a deep passion of mine at a very young age. Seeing how others began their careers inspired me to go out and just do it!
Destinie: I’ve been a horror fan since I was a little girl. My first horror film in a theater was actually Freddy VS Jason. I was six. Now being nineteen, I’ve always – for my whole life, dreamt of being in, a part of, or creating horror films somehow. Horror is and always has been my whole life. What inspired me to make Red Eye was the simple fact of living out my biggest dream, a dream I never thought was possible.
That’s amazing that you both have different backgrounds yet have come together for the love of horror. In the last year, you created Deranged Minds Entertainment. Can you elaborate on how you got the idea for it, how you came up with the name, and what your goal is?
Destinie: When we were writing Red Eye, we realized this was just the beginning. We both knew this is what we wanted to do for the rest of our lives and with each other. We just mesh so well. We created Deranged Minds to brand all of our projects. We knew that we wanted to have complete creative control over everything we do from beginning to end. Besides the horror aspect we’re both huge fans of creating films in general, so that’s why we made our own production company. The name just came along when we were spit-balling ideas for it. Our goal with Deranged Minds Entertainment is to keep putting out content for the genre that means so much to us, content that we’re passionate about and content that we’d love to see as horror fans ourselves.
I love the name, it’s fitting to a tee. Your first feature short film was Sin. Where did you come up with the idea and what was your inspiration for it? Would you ever want to make it into a full feature?
Tristan: I actually have two short films prior to Sin but this project was our first short film under Deranged Minds. The idea came to me about a year before filming, just no one would do what the role entails and it became difficult to do without a crew and cast, until I met Destinie. She inspired me to bring it back to life and actually do it! What inspired the short? Well, what better way than the nasty world we live in? Just like Used was inspired, I saw a video online of a religious family walking through a Target store, preaching and yelling in a “stand” against the transgender bathrooms. You know those kids were being fucked with a cross by their parents. (Not literally – just another way to say it’s being jammed down their throats.) And Sin was born… and I’m unsure if I’d ever turn it into a feature. Maybe the meaning and cross fucking applied to another film but not one directly off the short. The story has been told and I’ve got more ideas that I want to do!
Destinie: Sin was Tristan’s idea to begin with, but a fun story. What I can share is the fact that the entire short film was improvised. We had no script, just ideas. We basically got to the set and made it up as we went along. The main goal was trying to portray this reason he had behind wanting to make it.
It was a horrifying tale for sure! That’s so impressive that it was all improvised. Your second feature short film was Used. It was a dark, gruesome, and a powerful story with a strong message. How do you think audiences are responding to it?
Tristan: The way I hope they would be responding to it. They get it. They are taking notice that these things happen in our world, even if it may not be happening to them or a family member. We recently had a comment stating how “Ridiculous and boring” they thought it was… but they missed the point of the short. Our stuff isn’t for everyone, we get that. We just hope it reaches the people we intend for it to.
Destinie: I love how everyone is responding to Used! I’ve not really seen one bad review yet. It means a lot to me to be able to get a message out there dealing with that subject matter. I think it’s very needed and something that needs to be seen, heard, and taken a stand against.
I couldn’t agree more! Red Eye is your first full feature film. Can you give us any details on it? How you picked the characters, the story-line, where you filmed, what your ultimate goal is for this?
Tristan: Red Eye is about four friends who head out to document a local legend called Red Eye… once the sun sets on Black Creek, West Virginia, things take a turn. It’s a fun backwoods slasher film with plenty of twists and surprises along the way. We filmed in a small town in Kentucky – my hometown actually!
Our goal with Red Eye is to inspire others. Do you see a guy like me and a girl like her do this thing called movie making? So can you.
Destinie: Red Eye was written and produced by us, directed by Tristan and I take a part in it. I love writing. I’ve been a creative writer since elementary school, so creating these characters was more than enjoyable. Instead of doing the usual jock, dumb blonde, geek and final girl stereotypes, we created characters that horror fans can relate to. We know who our target audience is – it’s people like us. Making you feel for these characters was a big thing for us I think you can really connect and dig characters you like or have things in common with. If you’ve seen the trailer and don’t know us personally, you’re probably thinking it’s unoriginal and been done 100x over. But the thing is, there really isn’t anything that hasn’t been done before – there’s only original ways of doing them and making it your own. That’s exactly what we did with Red Eye.
I absolutely cannot wait for it to come out! I just know it’s going to be brutally amazing. Is there a release date for Red Eye and will you be sending it to you any festivals?
Tristan: Yes! Everyone will be seeing a world premiere date here soon. We have our eye on plenty of festivals and conventions this upcoming spring into the summer and fall. We’ll be going to traditional route with festivals first then a DVD/Blu-Ray release to follow! We’ll be announcing details as soon as we can.
Awesome! I will be eagerly and patiently waiting… well, as patiently as I can. Beyond this film, do you have any other upcoming projects?
Destinie: Tristan was talking about shooting another short when I visit in February so we may be having that to release, but we are officially starting to write our next feature film. We plan to have the draft done by the end of the summer.
Tristan: As Destinie mentioned, I’m currently writing our next short film. It’s going to be a tad experimental, different than you’re used to seeing us do. Yet not straying too far from our signature grittiness.
Be sure to let us know as soon as the next projects storm in. If you could work with anyone in the industry, who would it be?
Destinie: If I could work with anyone in the industry… I’d obviously say Rob Zombie, Danielle Harris, Adam Green or Eli Roth. But realistically (laughs), I’d love to work with Ellie Church, Brian Williams and Scott Schirmer, James Bickert, Todd Nunes, Stephen Biro, and Tristan Risk. I could go on and on.
Tristan: Shoot! Destinie just named about all of the ones I’d die to work with including Rob Zombie, Eli Roth, and David Lynch, but also if I’m being realistic… I’d love to work with Brian Williams, Scott Schirmer, Ellie Church, and Todd Nunes. That’s me trying to not copy exactly what she said above! Oh! And I would love to work with Jessica Cameron again but this time with the roles reversed and she be the director and me be her sidekick because I think our brains (including Destinie’s) are very similar and we could make one sick film. Just saying, Jess…
All excellent choices – especially Todd Nunes and Jessica Cameron. You both are true horror fans, which can be seen through your films. What was the first horror film you ever watched and how did it impact you?
Tristan: Tricking my parents into letting me rent The Hills Have Eyes remake from Movie Gallery because it was “unrated” left a huge impact on me, although maybe in the wrong way as I remember being just ten years of age and in tears as the dad was set on fire and tied to the tree. It left me wanting to know why a movie made me feel this way and if this movie can make me feel this way… can I say something powerful in my films and get to people that way? In horrific ways?
I’ll tell a quick story of when I was young that I’ve not told in any other interview. I had a sleepover planned with two friends from church and their parents strictly told my parents to not let them watch “Courage The Cowardly Dog.” Know what I did? Forced them into watching it. It was interesting to me… how even a cartoon could scare people! I think it proved to me that I could strike a nerve with an individual through a film. Sorry, got sorta deep there.
Destinie: The first horror film I ever watched was A Nightmare on Elm Street, that’s the film that changed my life forever and made me into the person I am today.
Thank you again, Deranged Minds Entertainment, for talking with us. We can’t wait to see all the amazing things you will bring the horror genre. For our readers, please make sure to read our reviews for Sin and Used as well and stayed tuned for updates on Red Eye and other details about this awesome team.