MUSE TV & Culturally Obsessed’s Jennifer Ortega recently spoke to writer/director Frank Sabatella about his new horror film, The Shed. The Shed is about two friends, Stan and Dommer, who have been bullied and abused their whole lives. Things begin to change when Stan discovers a merciless vampire in the backyard shed. The Shed opens in theaters and VOD on Nov. 15th, 2019.
Jennifer Ortega: I love the idea of these two friends that are tormented in school and have a different way of approaching things when they discover what’s in the shed. Firstly, where did you get the idea from?
Frank Sabatella: The idea of the vampire in the shed came from my film school buddy Jason Rice who wrote a short story about a vampire in a shed. I expanded it into a feature. Basically, I wanted to tell the story about these sort of neglected, abused, kind of latchkey kids and see how a situation like that would create conflict between them. I wanted to see how the story would unfold if they were both experiencing the same problems and they’re both given a solution. I thought what was interesting is that this is what divides them.
JO: That’s why I find the film really interesting because yeah it is a horror movie, but it’s also this story about friendship. It’s like a teen story about friendship and what that means. Because of that even though it has to do with vampires and creatures, it does really resonate with people too because they’re dealing with similar issues. And the actors were great. I loved the role of Dommer played Cody Kostro.
FS: I really love the cast. I got so lucky with everyone involved.
JO: What do you hope that people get out of the movie and take away from it?
FS: First and foremost I just want people to enjoy watching it. I want people to leave the theater saying that it was cool and fun and scary and different. So that’s first and foremost. If anyone is going to take a message away and it would be great if they did, although it’s fine if they don’t. I think I just want people to understand in a sense that you know rage and anger, the things that you do to other people can have serious repercussions. I think we’re seeing that culturally right now. I hope this comes across, that the idea that if you are sort of adding on to somebody else’s bad circumstances it could have serious repercussions. I hope people think about how they treat other people.
JO: It is interesting when you see these situations that you either have to, I mean it’s a personal decision, but are you going to put yourself above the situation or exact revenge? So it’s kind of like how do you want to put yourself on the map ethically I guess because crap happens to a lot of people, but it’s how you deal with it at the end of the day.
JO: I always love hearing from directors what were some of the films that like as maybe as a kid made you want to get into filmmaking.
FS: I think the earliest recollection I have of thinking about what makes filmmaking amazing was when I saw Friday the 13th Part 2. I was very young and there was a scene where one of the characters gets their throat cut with a machete. I remember my grandfather telling me don’t worry about that, that’s fake. He saw what I was watching and came into the room and told me it was fake. But it made my little brain go what do you mean that its fake? How they do that? That sort of started something there and I remember trying to learn how to do special effects like that, how to do various movie magic tricks and how to make skin rip off and things like that. So I think I just got fascinated with the process of telling a story and doing these cool little tricks to make things appear real. I think that’s probably the earliest inkling of where I started having an interest in filmmaking.
JO: I love that it took you on a journey of special effects makeup. There were a lot of practical effects in The Shed, right?
FS: Yes, but l I would say that there’s one big effect that we had to have digitally enhanced. We had no choice. Besides that, 95 percent of the effects are practical.
JO: I love that there is more of a push towards practical effects that has been missing I think for some time. What advice you would give to young filmmakers out there that are trying to get their movie made?
FS: Realize that it takes a long time to get a movie made. You can write a really great script. I can think I have this awesome script and I’m ready to make this movie and it could take years to get it made. I think the filmmakers that survive and become leaders are the ones that are willing to put in that long haul. Because it’s a rough road where you have a script and you have a project you’re passionate about and it’s not going anywhere and you just feel like nobody likes it. A lot of people read The Shed before it finally got made. I got a lot of rejection letters and a lot of people saying its really which is really great but we’re not going to be able to make it. It is very disheartening. You just got to be like screw everything. I’m going to get my movie made and just keep pushing it until it happens.
JO: I think that’s the best advice. You have to be persistent and just keep going. I’m really glad you kept going because I really enjoyed The Shed!
FS: Thank you so much. I can’t wait for people to see it.
Synopsis: A teen and his best friend endure nonstop torment from bullies at school, but that soon changes when one discovers a bloodthirsty creature that resides in a country shed.
Directed by: Frank Sabatella
Written by: Frank Sabatella
Starring: Jay Jay Warren, Cody Kostro, Sofia Happonen, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, Timothy Bottoms, Frank Whaley
Running time: 98 mins Release Date: Nov. 15th, 2019