Top 5 Reasons to Watch SLAY BELLES This Christmas

Regular readers of Dread Central may have read our recent series of interviews with the writer/director and female lead of the Christmas-themed horror movie Slay Belles, Spooky Dan Walker and Kristina Klebe respectively. We talked about the production, the Los Angeles horror community, and what makes Christmas such a natural backdrop for supernatural and/or gory horror.

Obviously, I’m a big fan of the film, which blends Old World Krampus mythologies with New World Christmas stories to create something completely unique—and totally irreverent. If our interviews weren’t enough to convince you to give Slay Belles a spin, below are the top five reasons why you should consider checking it out this holiday season.

The Cult Icon

Slay Belles stars Barry Bostwick as a foul-mouthed Santa who looks more like a Hell’s Angeles that Kris Kringle. The actor is best-known for his portrayal of Brad in the seminal cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show. In our interview, Walker likened Bostwick to a secret weapon, one capable of elevating any production lucky enough to nab him. Indeed, Bostwick’s Santa is a consummate scene-stealer—and that’s saying a lot in a film that features a trio of buxom babes.

Related Article: Writer/Director & Star of SLAY BELLES Talk Working with ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW’s Barry Bostwick

The Girl Power

In a nutshell, Slay Belles is about a trio of YouTubers who team up with Santa to battle Krampus in an abandoned amusement park. The “Adventure Girls” are a fierce pack of empowered woman; sexy to be certain, but also intelligent, resourceful, and brave enough to face down the demon Krampus. Alexi (Klebe), Dahlia (Susan Slaughter), and Sadie (Hannah Wagner) have incredible, infectious chemistry and the posse could easily carry future feature films. Of course, before the Adventure Girls can reunite, they’ll have to solve the real-life “Missing Cast Member Caper”. [Link Below]

Related Article: Writer/Director & Star of SLAY BELLES Describe Real-Life Missing Cast Member Mystery

The Creature

We’ve seen a lot of Krampus since Michael Dougherty essentially gave Americans a crash course on the centuries-old Christmas demon in 2015. Still, Slay Belles’ Krampus is bad ass; much more primal and animalistic than the hooded monster we met in Dougherty’s Krampus. I’m not saying one iteration is better than the other, but this isn’t the same old recycled Anti-Santa we’ve seen so often in recent years. Slay Belles makes Krampus unique and terrifying—almost lycanthropic.

The Gore

Krampus unleashes some serious violence in Slay Belles and the Adventure Girls never back down, resulting in an epic, bloody conflict. The film uses bells and whistles sparingly, but when the script calls for gore, the effects team delivers in buckets. This is a good time to remind readers that Slay Belles is an R-rated affair and definitely not for the kiddies.

Related Article: Writer/Director & Star of SLAY BELLES Talk Christmas Horror, Indie vs Big Budget Filmmaking & HELLBOY 2019

The Twist

Listen, Slay Belles is all about having a good time for 90 minutes. There’s no deep subtext or moral message being shoved down anyone’s throat, but that doesn’t mean it’s a fluff piece. Slay Belles is nothing if not creative and inventive at every turn, and the 3rd Act, final sequence twist blows the entire story wide opened for future installments. Sure, there were some clues, but it still came as a surprise, which is refreshing at a time when horror fans seem to think “it’s all been done before”.

Slay Belles is now available on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD; you can purchase your physical copy, HERE. Check out the synopsis and trailer below.

Synopsis:
It’s Christmas Eve, and three cosplaying women are breaking into Santa Land for some partying and fun! What they didn’t expect was to come across the malevolent Christmas demon Krampus! The girls must team up with Santa Claus himself to battle the creature and save the world!

Have you seen Slay Belle yet? Are you a fan of Christmas-themed horror movies? Sound off in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram!

The post Top 5 Reasons to Watch SLAY BELLES This Christmas appeared first on Dread Central.

The Anti-Claus is Coming to Town! A Brief History of Krampus

This story originally published on FEARnet.com back in the day, but I’m reposting it here, along with a few updates, to mark Dread Central Presents’ release of SpookyDan Walker’s Slay Belles, which features one of the meanest on-screen Krampuses in movie history!

We horror lovers pretty much celebrate the holidays like any of those “ordinary” people out there — each according to family traditions, personal beliefs, childhood nostalgia, or just a few days’ freedom from the office. But by now, most of you probably know there is a mythical holiday figure practically tailor-made for fans of the macabre. Still, there might be a few of you out there curious about the long and colorful history of this creepy character, who’s been enjoying a pop-culture resurgence in recent years…especially in genre cinema.

The legendary figure of Krampus – a literally devilish fellow often complete with horns, forked tail, and cloven hooves – is apparently best buds with St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children, who of course evolved into jolly old Santa Claus. According to tradition, St. Nick rewarded good little boys and girls with presents and sweets. But when it came to the naughty kids, instead of the standard lump of coal, he left the dirty work to his demonic counterpart…who would literally drag the little buggers to Hell.

Popular throughout most of Europe for ages, Krampus in his various forms has now solidified his position in North American holiday festivities – especially among the horror community. Even the name “Krampus” seems ideal for the world of horror since it’s derived from the old German word “Krampen,” meaning “Claw.” Just the idea that kids hoping for a present from St. Nick might also be cowering under their beds in fear of “The Claw” is beyond creepy, and I can’t believe most horror fans weren’t down with this dude a long, long time ago.

The origins of Krampus not only predate the Catholic feast of St. Nicholas but may actually have originated before Christianity even reached Europe. In many cultures he was first portrayed as a primal beast-man – maybe even the European equivalent of the Bigfoot or Yeti legends. Once those regions began converting to Christianity, the character evolved into a fairytale used to scare children into behaving, so they’d get presents from “good cop” St. Nick and avoid a beating – or worse – from his “bad cop” partner.

If that seems like a shitty parenting technique, remember that most of the fairy tales compiled by the Brothers Grimm were extremely gruesome in their original form, and were often meant to keep children out of real-life danger, and I dare you to look up the German children’s fable of “Struwwelpeter” for some legit scream-yourself-awake nightmares.

The best-known depictions of Krampus originated in the Germanic countries, and soon spread throughout most of Eastern Europe and even parts of Italy. Of course, with each different country and culture, the creature would take on different names, looks, and habits…such as the Dutch legend “Belsnickel,” a hideous, troll-like creature who was also known as Kris Kringle – which today, of course, is just another common name for Santa Claus.

I’m kinda skeeved out thinking how I once looked forward to this monstrosity breaking into my house during the wee hours of the night…if I’d known about this tradition when I was six years old, I’d have installed some major Home Alone-style booby traps all over the place. I mean, seriously…this is the guy who “sees you when you’re sleeping?”

But assuming you escaped his wrath with your childhood (and limbs) intact, let’s slide up to the present day: In Europe, December 5th is the traditional Krampusnacht (Krampus Night), which in some communities becomes the December equivalent of a massive Halloween party – but with a very specific theme: lots of devil stuff. Hordes of elaborately-costumed revelers (many of whom look like a cross between Chewbacca and Tim Curry in Legend) take to the streets with torches, pitchforks, scythes and other nasty-looking implements, rattling chains, ringing bells and setting off fireworks, all to commemorate the arrival of a mythical monster who steals children in the night.

By now, Krampus festivities have migrated to many large cities in North America, often coinciding with the night before Christmas instead of St. Nicholas’ Eve…or just the entire month of December, which is cool. Along with horror fans who have taken the opportunity to create some amazing Krampus costumes, masks and artwork, many members of the fetish and S&M culture have also embraced the more adult-oriented aspects of the character – who has often been depicted on German postcards as having a fondness for spanking young ladies (a tradition called “birching”), and comes ready with his own supply of whips and chains. Yes, we’re talking waaay kinkier concepts than the usual “Santa’s Naughty Helper” cosplay.

Now that you’ve indulged my little history lesson, I’m hoping you might join me in planning your own crazy Krampus holiday traditions (imagine the decorating possibilities) and beat those post-Halloween blues. You can get plenty of ideas by visiting the website Krampus.com, a.k.a. “Home of the Xmas Devil.” Even though it’s been a while since it was last updated, you can find tons of images, videos, and e-cards based on early 20th-century designs.

This vintage artwork adorns thousands of DIY decorations and party favors (Etsy is crawling with them now), and social sites are overflowing with fanart in just about every medium possible. Just think, another golden opportunity to scare the living crap out of your neighbors again!

Image Credit: Vincent Guastini

As you know by now, Krampus makes many awesome appearances in Slay Belles, thanks to the brilliant work of FX guru Vincent Guastini and his talented team (check out the full-size monster above!). Many fans are already declaring this version the most impressive cinematic portrayal of Santa’s evil counterpart, and he gets lots of screen-time!

You can bring Krampus home – along with the grumpiest backwoods Santa Claus since Bad Santa and three vloggers-turned-superheroines who kick his hairy ass back to Hell – by picking up a copy of Slay Belles and making it a part of your annual Krampus festivities! Slay Belles is available through all major VOD platforms, as well as DVD and Special Edition Blu-ray. Hit this link to get yours…and beware this Krampusnacht, you naughty boys and girls!

The post The Anti-Claus is Coming to Town! A Brief History of Krampus appeared first on Dread Central.

Writer/Director & Star of SLAY BELLES Talk Christmas Horror, Indie vs Big Budget Filmmaking & HELLBOY 2019

Thanks for checking out the third and final installment of Dread Central’s exclusive interview with the writer/director and star of the Christmas-themed horror comedy Slay Belles, Spooky Dan Walker and Kristina Klebe respectively. If you missed Part 1 (which featured Barry Bostwick) and/or Part 2 (“The Missing Cast Member Caper”), you can find them in the links below.

Related Article: Writer/Director & Star of SLAY BELLES Talk Working with ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW’s Barry Bostwick

Related Article: Writer/Director & Star of SLAY BELLES Describe Real-Life Missing Cast Member Mystery

Today, we talk about Christmas horror movies in general and what makes the holiday such an unlikely yet natural backdrop for terror. We also discuss indie vs big-budget filmmaking and Klebe even gives us an overview of her experience working on Neil Marshall’s Hellboy, arriving in US theaters on April 12th.


Dread Central: Dan: We’ve seen a lot of Krampus movies since Mike Dougherty’s film in 2015, but Slay Belles may be the first time I’ve seen Krampus and Santa in the same movie. Still, you did more than just pit them against each other as enemies—you made them connected, like two halves of the same being. It’s a really fresh concept and I wanted to ask what gave you that idea? You’ve essentially combined these Old World and New World Christmas mythologies in a very unique way.

Spooky Dan Walker: The Krampus mythology is centuries old, but there are so many different versions. So, when it was time to make our own story, we wanted to do something really unique that wasn’t just the European version of Krampus. That’s kind of how Mike Dougherty did it as well, taking all these different angles. And hats off to him, because he really introduced the world to Krampus so we didn’t have to in Slay Belles. You already know him. There’s another really good one called A Christmas Horror Story that had a really awesome Santa vs Krampus fight in it as well. There are a couple out there that are really cool. But Dougherty’s movie is so fucking good.

DC: It really seems like there’s been a surge of new Christmas-themed horror movies in recent years. How would you explain this phenomenon and why do you think Christmas makes such a good backdrop for horror movies?

Kristina Klebe: The only Christmas movies I hear about are, like, Hallmark Christmas movies. But, with horror movies, it’s scary because a lot of people don’t like their families and having to get together. Thanksgiving could be a horror movie! Also, just the fact that there’s the mythology of Krampus and Santa; it’s kind of like the tooth fairy: There’s a dark side to it.

DC: Yeah, having a dark perspective on something that’s usually portrayed in such a positive light. What do you think Dan: Are we seeing a resurgence of Christmas-themed horror movies?

SDW: I think there’s a couple answers to this. Think about how many Halloween movies there are. Every year we get another 20 Halloween horror movies and everyone loves it. And when Halloween is over, we’re not ready to say goodbye… we want to keep that darkness going. There’s clearly a need for this in the same way there’s a need for the Hallmark Christmas movies. Because, for whatever reasons, these movies have a huge audience.

I think horror fans are a lot like wrestling fans: We want more! So, for me, it was like, “Let’s do something fun with the Christmas genre.” Horror movies, because they go down a supernatural path anyway and go into fantasy so often, it easy and awesome to go into the Christmas mythologies and that can be really silly fun. And, at the same time, they’re rooted in the supernatural. It’s a natural combination. I just hope we can see some more of them. I’m actually on my way to see Rebekah McKendry’s movie, All the Creatures Were Stirring, as soon as we wrap up this interview.

Related Article: For ALL THE CREATURES WERE STIRRING Director Rebekah McKendry Juggled Filmmaking & Childbirth

DC: We’ve been hearing great things about that one as well. Kristina, you have an extensive IMDB resume. You’ve acted in horror movies and mainstream movies; you’ve worked on indie projects and major studio projects. Now, I understand that actors love to work, but I wanted to ask how working on a horror movie differs from other genres, and how working on a major studio release differs from working on an indie project?

KK: That’s a good question—it might take me a couple hours to answer [laughs]! As for how working on horror movies is different from, say, a Lifetime movie, I’d say it’s more fun as an actor because you get to do a lot more. The characters are more extreme. The female characters are much stronger than in mainstream movies. Not necessarily in the Marvel movies which have a lot of strong female characters, but in a Lifetime movie, you’re like, the girlfriend or the wife. But, in general, in horror, you get to do more and work your acting chops. It’s more exciting! I have this German TV show now where we shoot a couple episodes a year and it’s such a different feel on set. It’s more like a machine. There’s clearly not as much happiness behind that, which is weird to say because you’re always happy when you’re making something.

And with studio vs indie filmmaking the difference is, basically, studio films have a lot of money. You feel kind of spoiled; it’s almost ridiculous how much food they have and everyone’s always bringing you something while you’re sitting in a trailer. It’s kind of stupid actually. You’re like, “I’m, getting paid to do this?” And then you work for two hours a day, then maybe again for half an hour that night. That might be a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea. But, when you’re working on an indie film, it’s the exact opposite. You’ve got no money so everything’s super difficult because your scraping things together and there’s no time. And you’re on set working the entire time. You get tired and there’s no one bringing you food. It’s the opposite in so many ways, but at the same time, indie films are way more satisfying. Everyone puts their blood sweat and tears in, and it’s really gratifying in the end. In some ways, it was like being in a war. Not literally, of course, but it’s like we’re all in the trenches together.

DC: My only non-Slay Belles question is for you, Kristina: Hellboy’s coming out this April. Can you tell us a bit about the part you’re playing and what it was like working with Neil Marshal and David Harbour?

KK: Yeah sure. I play Leni Riefenstahl. I’m only in one scene but I got to spend a week on set with them. It’s the second time I worked with Neil. He directed me in his short [“Bad Seed”] in the Tale of Halloween anthology [released in 2015]. And he’s just awesome; such a good guy who’s become a really good friend. As for David, he and I actually went to the same college; we know each other through Dartmouth. in fact, when I was in directing school at NYU, I used him in one of my directing exercises. So, somewhere, I have video clips of him doing a scene from my movie. It’s so random!

DC: If you find it, we’ll run it on Dread Central—unless you think it would embarrass him?

KK: That would be so mean!

DC: I’ve seen Slay Belles, and I can attest that it’s a fun, gory romp, but how would each of you describe Slay Belles in a way that will get our readers excited?

KK: It’s like celebrating Christmas with your best friends on steroids. Not like you’re personally on steroids, but—you know. Fun on steroids!

DC: How about you Dan?

SDW: I always describe it like this: Three powerful chicks team up with Santa to fight Krampus at an abandoned amusement park. And it’s a “Girl Power” film. It’s not your typical horror movie. Slay Belles is a fun, silly, campy, bizarre—thing! Maybe you can help us out because I don’t know what I can compare it to.

DC: Well, I will say this: While I was watching Slay Belles, I knew I was experiencing something really unique.

SDW: I hope it’s something people will want to watch while they’re hanging out during Christmas break, looking for something fun. There’s no hard sell; there’s no moral message that we’re shoving down anyone’s throat. It’s just fun. Watch Slay Belles!

Slay Belles is now available on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD; you can purchase your physical copy, HERE. Check out the synopsis and trailer below.

Synopsis:
It’s Christmas Eve, and three cosplaying women are breaking into Santa Land for some partying and fun! What they didn’t expect was to come across the malevolent Christmas demon Krampus! The girls must team up with Santa Claus himself to battle the creature and save the world!

Have you seen Slay Belle yet? Are you a fan of Christmas-themed horror movies? Sound off in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram!

The post Writer/Director & Star of SLAY BELLES Talk Christmas Horror, Indie vs Big Budget Filmmaking & HELLBOY 2019 appeared first on Dread Central.

Writer/Director & Star of SLAY BELLES Describe Real-Life Missing Cast Member Mystery

Thanks for checking out Part 2 of our extensive interview with the writer/director of Slay Belles, Spooky Dan Walker, and the film’s female lead, Kristina Klebe (who plays Alexi). If you missed part one, follow the link below to find out what it was like for the duo working with iconic cult movie star Barry Bostwick (best-known for his portrayal of Brad in The Rocky Horror Picture Show).

Related Article: Writer/Director & Star of SLAY BELLES Talk Working with ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW’s Barry Bostwick

Today’s continuation will explore a real-life mystery surrounding Slay Belles. I’m calling it “The Missing Cast Member Caper”. When the film enjoyed its premiere in Hollywood last week, one integral member of the Slay Belles family was missing: Actress Hannah Wagner who plays the bubbly, blue-haired “Adventure Girl”. It’s not that she wasn’t welcome; the truth is, no one has seen Wagner for years.

Pre-Slay Belles, Hannah Wagner was a well-known social media star who operated under the moniker, Hannah Minx. She was a popular YouTuber known for embracing Japanese culture; she would often appear at comic-book conventions dressed as popular anime characters. She amassed over 600K followers with consistent posts until, without warning or explanation, everything came to an abrupt halt.

While most familiar with the situation suspect the actress has dropped off the map of her own accord, the fact that no one knows for sure makes this a genuinely compelling mystery. What makes it most unsettling, though, is that the horror community in Los Angeles is surprisingly close-knit, making Wagner’s MIA status truly perplexing.

Following today’s portion of our ongoing interview, we’ve included our own deep dive into Hannah Wagner’s disappearance.


Spooky Dan Walker: One of the great things Kristina and I have is that living in Los Angeles, you have the support of the whole horror community. Basically, we’re all friends and we all support each other. And, unlike other groups, like actors and comedians, we really support each other. It’s not competitive in the same way. We all want each other to do well. It’s a really loving community out here in Los Angeles.

Dread Central: Don’t be surprised if this triggers a flood of horror filmmakers to moving to LA! Dan, I don’t want to give too much away, but the ending of Slay Belles re-writes the entire mythology of Christmas as we know it and really begs the question, “What comes next?” I hear a lot of filmmakers say they’ll do a sequel if they make enough money, but Slay Belles really feels like it was designed to have sequels, like it’s really just the first chapter of a larger story. Were you always planning to expand the story or have you been taking a wait and see, one step at a time approach?

SDW: We’ve talked about how it would be fun to do another “Adventure Girls” movie where we follow Dahlia [Susan Slaughter], Alexi [Klebe] and Sadie [Wagner] on more adventures. But one potential hurdle is since we shot the movie, one of the actresses has literally gone missing; none of us know what happened to her. She erased herself from social media and, if you look up “Hannah Minx missing” on Google right now, you’ll get a bunch of results—hundreds of responses. There are rumors about what happened, but it’s heartbreaking because we’re her friends and we have no idea why she disappeared. As a matter of fact, [filmmaker] Darren Lynn Bousman [Saw II, Saw III, Saw IV] talked with us about maybe hiring a private detective, just to find out for sure what happened to her.

Kristina Klebe: She was at my house for New Year’s Eve that, year and it was literally just a couple months after that that she disappeared.

DC: I had no idea there was this real-life mystery connected to Slay Belles!

SDW: There are conspiracies.

KK: So now, of course, we’re talking about doing an “Adventure Girls” movie where Alexi and Dahlia are looking for Sadie, and it turns out Krampus ate her!

DC: That would be pretty “meta”.

KK: The idea is Dahlia and Alexi will save her because, before we start filming, we’ll have actually found Hannah in real life.

DC: Knock on wood. I really hope she’s okay. So, Kristina, I guess this means you’re down for a sequel if the opportunity arises?

KK: I’m in. I guess I’d have to dye my hair purple again.

SDW: You could go blue this time. We could mix it up and give you blue hair!

KK: Okay.

Slay Belles is now available on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD; you can purchase your physical copy, HERE. Check out the synopsis and trailer below, and check back tomorrow for Part 2 of our exclusive interview with Spooky Dan Walker and Kristina Klebe.

Synopsis:
It’s Christmas Eve, and three cosplaying women are breaking into Santa Land for some partying and fun! What they didn’t expect was to come across the malevolent Christmas demon Krampus! The girls must team up with Santa Claus himself to battle the creature and save the world!

Have you seen Slay Belle yet? Are you a fan of Christmas-themed horror movies? And did you know about the real-life mystery surrounding the disappearance of Hannah Minx/Wagner? Sound off in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram!


The Hannah Wagner Case

Spooky Dan is correct when he mentions that the Hannah Minx/Wagner disappearance is still a popular mystery on social media, with her disappearance mentioned less than a year ago on Nicki Swift’s video “YouTube Stars Who Completely Disappeared” (below). The most extensive investigation, however, appeared in the Gazette Review.

It’s widely suspected that Wagner disappeared following a legal dispute with her then-manager, after which she lost the rights to the Hannah Minx trademark and all associated content. Her discussion to abandon her Hannah Minx personae seems to have coincided with a much happier circumstance: Love. The Gazette Review story sites sources close to the former YouTube star who claim she married Steve Osterhagen and has embraced a new life as a wife and mother, leaving the trials and tribulations of fame in the rear-view mirror.

While lack of confirmation means there will likely always be those who suspect Wagner fell victim to nefarious circumstances, the truth is adults have the right to disappear if they please. As far as I could confirm, there has never been a police investigation or even a missing persons’ case file regarding the former Miss Minx.

Still, Hannah, if you’re reading this: Your friends miss you and we’d all love to know that you’re okay. Plus, there are more “Adventure Girls” movies to make!

The post Writer/Director & Star of SLAY BELLES Describe Real-Life Missing Cast Member Mystery appeared first on Dread Central.

Writer/Director & Star of SLAY BELLES Talk Working with ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW’s Barry Bostwick

Now available on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD, Slay Belles is the debut feature film from effects artist and established horror blogger Spooky Dan Walker. In a sea of holiday themed-horror movies released in recent years, this bloody romp sets itself apart from the crowd with a talented cast, hilarious scripting, and stellar production value. It’s also a unique spin on established Christmas lore certain to strike a chord with those tired of the same-old-same-old.

Dread Central was lucky enough to sit down with Spooky Dan and Slay Belles’ star actress Kristina Klebe (Halloween 2007, Proxy) last week. It was an extensive interview, so we’ll be bringing you our conversation in three parts. Get to know Spooky Dan and his path into filmmaking below, followed by a discussion regarding what it was like working with cult icon Barry Bostwick (Brad from The Rocky Horror Picture Show) who plays Santa Claus.

Check back tomorrow for The Missing Cast Member Caper; we’ll conclude our conversation on Friday when we talk about what makes Christmas a natural backdrop for horror movies.


Dread Central: First, I just have to give you props for the name of the film, Slay Belles. I head the guys at Dread Central Presents talking about the film before I ever saw the cover art, so while I figured that, in a Christmas-themed horror movie, Slay was a pun on Santa’s sleigh, but it wasn’t until I saw it in print that I realized it’s “Belles”, as in “beautiful women” as opposed to bells that toll. It’s a double pun which is really clever.

Kristina Klebe: I can’t take any credit for that.

Spooky Dan Walker: You were one of the Belles.

KK: I guess so!

DC: Dan, those of us who know you as “Spooky Dan” have watched your transition from being a blogger to being an industry insider. Can you tell us about bout yourself, your roots, and how you got into filmmaking?

SDW: I still go by “Spooky Dan”, so that hasn’t changed! I was drawn to special effects because I love horror so much, I was like, “Let’s make monsters!” From there, I just kept getting drawn into the filmmaking side of stuff. I did digital effects for years and left that to write for Bloody Disgusting. And after, gosh, I think I was there for seven or eight years, it was time to move to the other side. But the journey definitely started with effects. Like a lot of us in this genre, we can’t escape it; it’s in our blood and we just love it so much, you just want to be part of it. You work with the guys at Dread Central Presents, so you know what I’m talking about.

DC: Absolutely. You have a huge resume as a visual effects artists, so obviously you have a successful career in that arena. What made you want to get behind the camera and direct?

SDW: The honest truth is this: Digital effects is a good job; my wife is a digital effects supervisor who’s worked on so many big movies and TV shows. But my heart wasn’t in it and I wanted to get into storytelling. And digital effects were a great way to learn the post-production side of things so that was a huge asset.

DC: I really want to talk about Barry Bostwick, for a couple reasons. First, I know that younger fans don’t even know about The Rocky Horror Picture Show and that he’s this huge cult movie star. But I have to admit, when I saw his IMDB page, I had no idea he’s been so prolific!  He’s had hundreds of roles in films and TV shows ranging from the obscure to the mainstream. Since it seemed like you guys really had a blast on set, I tell me what it was like working with Barry?

KK: I’d be one of those people who never watched The Rocky Horror Picture Show until I was older. When I did finally see it, it was at a cemetery here in L.A. So, when I met Barry, I knew who he was, but I mostly connected with him in terms of acting. Sometime, even though actors might be well-known for something, they’ll just give a phoned-in performance. But he was so dedicated to the role, and I think he’s an actor’s actor. I also think he’s a director’s actor. He just loves to act and he’s so good. I come from the theater, so I think we just connected right away. And we’re still friends, which is awesome.

DC: It sure is! Dan, how did you even get him to be in Slay Belles?

SDW: Well, I’ll tell you this: Between the ages of 13 and 15-years-old, my parents wouldn’t let me see Rocky. So, I would sneak out every other weekend to see it in the theater at midnight—until I got caught and got grounded for a month. But I was a fan as a kid and I still probably still see Rocky in the theaters three or four times a year. Not as often as I used to, but it’s just been such a big part of my life for so long that it was kind of a no-brainer when it came to casting Santa Claus. We had talked about lots of different people, but I was like, “You know what, we’re a low budget movie, so let’s cast who we want as opposed to who some sales agent wants us to cast.” It was kind of a dream come true and I had to do everything I could not to “fan out” on him when we met in real life. And now we’re friends too!

DC: I love hearing stories like that. It’s obvious he was having a blast in Slay Belles and I’m glad to hear that, after working with him, your hero worship is still intact and he’s a great guy.

KK: Can I tell you another story about Barry?

DC: Please!

KK: So, after we had met through working together on Dan’s film, I actually did a convention with him. I had some audition I was preparing for and somehow, we ended up at the airport at the same time. He was like, “I’m going to help you with this audition, we’re going to work on it together.” He went through the entire scene with me, literally breaking down it down piece-by-piece and reading it with me. And he was so good in terms of directing me. It was one of the nicest things ever.

DC: I love hearing about how movie stars are good people in real life. It’s heartening.

SDW: I think every filmmaker out there should jump at the chance to cast Barry Bostwick. He’s like a secret weapon. He’s such an awesome human to just hang out with but he’s a fucking awesome actor as well. He really digs into his roles and he’s not someone a lot of people instantly think of. I hope that between Slay Belles and a few other projects, people start seeing him as like a Danny Trejo type of actor. He’s going to improve whatever film he’s in. He’s just that good.

Slay Belles is now available on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD; you can purchase your physical copy, HERE. Check out the synopsis and trailer below, and check back tomorrow for Part 2 of our exclusive interview with Spooky Dan Walker and Kristina Klebe.

Synopsis:
It’s Christmas Eve, and three cosplaying women are breaking into Santa Land for some partying and fun! What they didn’t expect was to come across the malevolent Christmas demon Krampus! The girls must team up with Santa Claus himself to battle the creature and save the world!

Have you seen Slay Belle yet? Are you a fan of Christmas-themed horror movies? What do you think of the high praises heaped on Barry Bostwick? Sound off in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram!

The post Writer/Director & Star of SLAY BELLES Talk Working with ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW’s Barry Bostwick appeared first on Dread Central.

On the Red Carpet with SLAY BELLES

Catch up with the cast and crew of SLAY BELLES, Spooky Dan Walker’s directorial debut and our next Dread Central Presents release! We’re incredibly excited to announce that the Yuletide horror/comedy is out now on VOD platforms as well as Blu-ray TODAY so grab some eggnog and some caramel popcorn enjoy this early Christmas gift from us to you!

And don’t forget to check out our other awesome titles:

Synopsis:
“It’s Christmas Eve, and three cos-playing women are breaking into Santa Land for some partying and fun! What they didn’t expect was to come across the malevolent Christmas demon Krampus! The girls must team up with Santa Claus himself to battle the creature and save the world!”

The post On the Red Carpet with SLAY BELLES appeared first on Dread Central.

Dread Central Presents: Get Ready to Ring Those SLAY BELLES!

This December, prepare to unwrap some serious laughs and thrills when we here at Dread Central Presents bring you Spooky Dan Walker’s Slay Belles! We’re incredibly excited to announce that the Yuletide horror/comedy will be coming to VOD platforms as well as Blu-ray on December 4, which will give everyone just enough time to start acting just nice enough to get it and then act VERY naughty once it starts playing!

We’ve got the poster on the right, the trailer above, and a gallery of stills below, so enjoy this early Christmas gift from us to you!

It’s Christmas Eve, and three cos-playing women are breaking into Santa Land for some partying and fun! What they didn’t expect was to come across the malevolent Christmas demon Krampus! The girls must team up with Santa Claus himself to battle the creature and save the world!

Directed by Spooky Dan Walker, who co-wrote the film with Jessica Luhrssen, Slay Belles stars Barry Bostwick (The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Megaforce), Kristina Klebe (2019’s Hellboy, Tales of Halloween) Susan Slaughter (Alleluia!, The Devil’s Carnival), Diane Salinger (Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Batman Returns), Richard Moll (House, Scary Movie 2), and Hannah Wagner (YouTube celebrity, Miss Hannah Minx).

Click to view slideshow.

The post Dread Central Presents: Get Ready to Ring Those SLAY BELLES! appeared first on Dread Central.