[INTERVIEW] ABATTOIR Director Darren Lynn Bousman

Darren Lynn Bousman is nothing if not ambitious. He’s probably known for his writing and directing run on the Saw franchise, which he earned by writing a script that attracted attention, and his genre-blending horror-musical REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA. Now he’s back with a film steeped in mythology, whose universe started in a series of graphic novels that offers a completely unique take on the haunted-house subgenre. This latest project, ABATTOIR,  will hit theaters, VOD, and digital HD on December 9th. Darren Lynn Bousman generously offered his time to talk to DAILY GRINDHOUSE a bit about ABATTOIR.

 

 

Daily Grindhouse: ABATTOIR started life as a series of graphic novels. What was the process like of adapting the graphic novels into a film?

Darren Lynn Bousman : They were never really adapted, I intended this to be more of a multi-media narrative using various forms of storytelling. The format is just one aspect, they all hearken back to a given mythology. Other stories return to a different place within the same shared universe. It’s sort of a narrative break. There are some people I know who don’t read comic books, and it’s important to tell it in different formats.

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DG: In the film, you use a blend of different eras, with some old noir outfits and an older car, but you also feature new technology. What was your intent in creating this timeless aspect?

 

DLB: I respond to and love old technology. In my office I’m surrounded by typewriters and lamps from the twenties, but I use Ipads and cell phones, too. So in my own life, there’s that old and new blended together. It’s a stylistic choice more than anything. I wanted to create a hyper-realistic world. Something fantastical that recalled Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in a horror movie.

 

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DG: How do you approach the horror in a film like ABATTOIR, which is more mythology-based and atmospheric, compared to how you approach the horror in the SAW movies?

 

DLB: In a movie like this, it’s not as much about the gore and violence, but more about creating the mood and atmosphere. I wanted this whole movie to be very different. There’s a difference in the pacing, and in the dialogue, which is overly poetic.

 

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DG: What were some of the challenges of making this film independently, as opposed to working with a bigger budget on the Saw movies?

 

DLB: You can never have enough money or resources. Everything was done in a few days for a few dollars, and came down to the creativity of the crew and the resources you have. It meant driving around New Orleans, finding locations and modifying them.

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DG: How did you craft the tone of the film during its different parts of mystery and horror?

 

DLB: It was a bit of a challenge, since the first part of the film is more like a hard-boiled detective movie. The second act was a challenge, but it helped that it didn’t have to be macabre or violent.

 

DG: What suggested to you the idea of a haunted house made up of rooms taken from other houses?

 

DLB: I was thinking, how do I not do the same idea for a haunted house movie. The character of Jebediah Crone is a collector, who assumes the rooms that have ghosts or spirits from the dead. What this really leads into is a franchise, since there are so many spin-offs and places the narrative can go from there.

 

DG: What was it like working with the case of the film, some of whom worked with you on THE DEVIL’S CARNIVAL?

 

DLB: The great thing about my career is I work with the people I want to work with, and the people I like. And when I bring new people in, like Joe Anderson, they become part of my repertoire. It’s a real family atmosphere on the East Coast, and I don’t think most people realize just how much fun we’re having.

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