Tommy Stovall’s AARON’S BLOOD is a refreshingly unique take on the tired vampire genre. Although it still features enough gore to keep horror genre fans satisfied, at its heart is a strong family relationship as a concerned father wrestles with his hemophiliac son’s transformation into a vampire. Stovall’s own son plays the vampire, adding another layer to an already strong father-son dynamic. Scripted, shot, and edited by Stovall, the film is a true independent gem.
DG: How did you come up with a fresh spin on the vampire genre, a hemophiliac infected with vampire blood?
TS: The idea started with my son–he told me he wanted to play a vampire. I didn’t take him seriously at first, but as he got older, we started thinking about movies we could do without a lot of money. We tried to see if we could come up with an interesting story. I figured if a vampire was infected with a virus, it could be looked at like any other disease. And a hemophiliac often has to get blood transfusions. The interesting part to me is how the father deals with it.
DG: What was it like casting your son Trevor as Tate in the film?
TS: I wrote the part for him, though I still made him audition to double check. I pushed the character to what he’d be interested in and have fun with on the screen. In a way it’s scary casting your own child, because you have that normal dynamic with them–especially when they’re a teenager and they rebel. I know him so well though, and he’s a good actor and very professional, so for us it’s a lot of fun.
DG: How did your experience as a father influence this film?
TS: The film was all about the idea of Tate becoming a vampire and getting revenge on his bullies. But I kept coming back to what his parents were feeling, and how they would react. That became the most interesting part of the story to me–a father trying to save his son. As a father, I did put a lot of my own experiences and feelings into it.
DG: I read you only had four weeks to get the cast and crew together. What was that experience like?
TS: We did do it pretty fast, because we just had this window in which we wanted to shoot. So we said okay, let’s do it, come up with a script and get the crew together. But everything came together real fast. We knew we had to find a good actor to play Tate’s father, Aaron. We found James [Martinez] and were able to contact him, and he was into it and on the same page.
DG: What was it like to work as an editor on your own film?
TS: To me, editing is the most fun because it’s when you see the film come together, and you try all kinds of things to see what works. I see it as a whole process–the writing and the shooting leads into the editing. I also like that I can just sit on my computer and work alone.