Look out, Dorothy- Kansas Isn’t As Safe As You Remember: An Interview With Patrick Rea.

I’m still unpacking and looking for any interesting nooks and crannies in the new digs over here on wordpress, and so far, I’m rather enjoying myself.

To kick off the new blog in typical Mangled Matters fashion, it’s an honor to splash the spotlight onto Patrick Rea, one of the brightest minds in the indie horror community.

Born in Nebraska and currently wreacking horror havoc across Kansas, Patrick has a glowing portfolio of shorts and awards. Things are only getting bigger for Mr. Rea.

His most recent film, the feature ‘Nailbiter’, is drawing rave reviews all over the internet. I was fortunate enough to have a copy of this fantastic film sent to me. It immediately became one of my favorite independent horror films of all time.

Amidst his busy schedule, Patrick was gracious enough to take a few minutes to chat with me about his films, his dream screenplay and his love for Don Rickles.

Without further ado, ladies and gents, get to know Mr. Patrick Rea…

1. Your feature film ‘Nailbiter’ is one of the best horror films I’ve seen in a long time. It’s got a nice retro feel to it- even though the film is clearly shot in modern day. I could see this being a drive-in theatre favorite back in the day. What was your inspiration for this film?

I had an actual experience when I was 16 in Nebraska, where me and some high school buddies got caught in a tornado warning.  We had just left the theater after seeing the first “Mission Impossible” and the wind started blowing like crazy.  We basically ran to a stranger’s house and pounded on their windows.  This elderly couple answered the door, and we ended up staying in their basement.  They were probably more frightened that we were.  I always thought, man that would make a great horror film.

2. How did you go about wrangling up a cast and crew for this project?

Well, it took a long time.  We shot most of the film in Lawrence, KS and some other sections in Prairie Village, KS over the course of 2 years.  We spent along time casting the film and putting together the ideal ‘family’.  The crew base in Kansas City is very good.  We had a lot talented people work on the film, and I felt blessed.

3. Who are some directors you admire or have learned tricks of the trade from?

Obviously I’m a huge Spielberg fan.  His films have had a lot of influence on me since I was a kid growing up in the 80’s.  One of my biggest influences is John Carpenter.  His style is very old-fashioned and I have always appreciated that.

4. You’ve also achieved some nice recognition thanks to Fangoria’s short film contest from a few years back. ‘A Man and His Finger’ is a fun little jaunt down Twilight Zone alley, with a tad more gore to it. Are these the thoughts that dance around your mind throughout the day?

I haven’t discussed those particular short films in many years.  We made the two films that were on the Fangoria Blood Drive way back in 2002.  So, they are about ten years old, and we’ve definitely come along way since then.  However, I do think those shorts are fun despite them being pretty creaky from a technical standpoint.  We were students at the University of Kansas when they were made.  I think we were just learning how to make a film and we were using the first digital cameras that were available at the time.  Basically we were kids making movies and cutting our teeth and having fun, using the resources we had.


5. ‘Disturbances’ is downright creepy. Dolls are the worst, especially when they blink and screw with the remote control. What are some things that creep you out?

I would say that cults creep me out.  I’ve always been extremely disturbed by a mass of people, missing their individuality.  The idea of ghosts also fascinates me and creeps me out.  One of my favorite films of the last five years was Insidious.  The movie made the hairs on my neck stand up.


6. A lot of your shorts have a very nice Twilight Zone feel to them. Were you a big TZ fan as a youngster?

To be honest I wasn’t so much a Twilight Zone fan as I was a Tales From The Crypt fan.  I feel like “Now That You’re Dead” really plays like an old Tales From The Crypt.  I always liked that TFTC kept a really good sense of humor, while still being scary.  I always loved the episode with Don Rickles as the ventriloquist.  Still one of my favorites.



7. You do a great job with stop-motion animation. How long did it take you to master that technique?

Well, it was trial and error.  We haven’t used the technique in years, but I was enrolled in an Animation course in 2001 at the University of Kansas and did several stop motion projects.  Now I feel like I need to do another stop-motion soon.

8. In the last decade, you’ve done almost thirty films, almost all shorts. How long does the typical short take you to film?

Well, they’ve been taking a lot longer each year.  We made four shorts in 2006, each took about 3 to 4 months to complete from shooting to post-production.   In 2010, we produced a short film titled “Time’s Up, Eve” which has been on the festival circuit.  It took about 6 months to complete from shooting to finishing the post and premiering it at a festival.  Right now, we are in post-production on a short film titled “Rhino” which is a crime drama.  The film was shot in April of 2011 and I think it will be 100% done by March of this year.  That’s about a year turnaround.  We’ve just gotten more meticulous overtime.


9. You’ve tackled several different styles of film. Is there a particular style or subgenre of film that you’re looking forward to taking on?

I really really want to take on an old-fashioned ghost story, badly.  “Insidious” was one of my favorite horror films of last year, and I just really love haunted house movies.  “Poltergeist” is in my top 10.

10. Who or what attracted you to the world of horror?

I was attracted to horror at a young age.  My childhood was in the 80’s and the forbidden fruit was “A Nightmare On Elm Street” and “Friday the 13th”.  Naturally, being that I wasn’t supposed to watch them, I tried to find ways to see the films.  I found myself loving them more and more.  My initial reaction was that the films were shocking (for the time).  The kids at school would talk about them, and how they saw the films late at night.


11. As an independent filmmaker, with funds at a premium on your projects, what are a few of the more memorable “quick fix”/ indie film mishaps you’ve been a part of?


We had issues with blood squibs on one of our 2008 shorts, “Paint Shaker”.  The actor was supposed to get hit in the face with blood, but when we would aim the blood to hit his face, it would always miss and hit something by him.  Finally the DP, Hanuman Brown-Eagle, grabbed the blood and guzzled some of it.  He rolled the camera and spit the blood in the actors face.  That was the take we used.  It was perfect.

12. Your work has garnered national attention. What is your most proud accomplishment as a filmmaker to date?

Well, I’m proud that we were able to receive Heartland Emmy nominations for our short films and we won two, with our shorts “Get Off My Porch” and “Woman’s Intuition”.


13. What are you currently working on?

Besides finishing up “Nailbiter” and getting it out to fests and distributors, we’re working on our short film “Rhino” which stars Malcolm Goodwin (Breakout Kings).  We are working on several scripts for new features, including the sequel to “Nailbiter” and a horror-comedy about energy drinks titled “Buzz Kill.”


14. Can you tell us a little more about your latest project, ‘Rhino’?


Well, it’s NOT a horror film.  It’s a crime drama that deals with pot-dealers in a college town.  It was a challenge for me, but I think it’s made me a better director.  The film stars Keith Loneker (Lakeview Terrace) and Malcolm Goodwin (A&E’s “Breakout Kings”).  It’s a longer short film too.  The runtime is around 40 minutes.  I’m very proud of it.

15. Any last words?

You can see our latest short films “Get Off My Porch” (Heartland Emmy Winner), “Time’s Up, Eve”, “Now That You’re Dead” and “Next Caller”, along with many more at www.vimeo.com or go to our website,  www.senoreality.com

I would like to thank Patrick for all of his time and enthusiasm with this interview. Please check out his website, his IMDB page as well as his Facebook page! You’ll be glad you did!



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