I covered and reviewed the new indie-horror film Stomping Ground. So when I got the opportunity to ask its director, Dan Riesser, a few questions? I went for it. First, a little background, perhaps? Here’s some information on Dan from his Irrational Films website:
Dan is a freelance producer and indie filmmaker who specializes in genre films with a smart blend of horror, thriller & dark comedy. He is currently working on his sophomore feature film & seeking his next gig in the industry.
So read on about his high school musical chops, favorite horror sub-genres, Bigfoot vs. Sasquatch, and who he’d like to work with if given the chance. Thanks so much to Dan and his gang for letting me pick his brain with some silly stuff!
1) From The Soup to Stomping Ground; a very interesting jump to genre work. But I see that you directed a horror short called “Night of the Punks” a few years ago. How’d you get interested in horror?
I’ve always been a horror fan, though growing up I was more into stuff like Gremlins & Beetlejuice – not necessarily the blood and guts slashers. I’ve always gravitated towards the funnier side of horror. Once I started pursuing filmmaking as more than just a hobby, I discovered my love for the genre. When I moved to Los Angeles in 2005 I kind of stumbled into my job at The Soup, which was a great outlet for learning TV production and gave me the opportunity to work with hilarious comedians and writers. It also afforded me some free time (and savings) to make my own horror projects. Horror and comedy always go hand in hand for me.
2) Bigfoot or Sasquatch?
I like calling them Bigfoot more, Sasquatch feels a bit stuffy sometimes. In the film, we refer to the big guy by his North Carolina name… Boojum.
3) Speaking of Sasquatch, I see there’s a yearly Sasquatch! Music Fest. Would you ever consider doing a musical? Or better still, a horror musical?
I played Kenickie in Grease in high school, and one of my writing partners is pretty theatrical, so I bet we could write a kickass horror musical if given the chance.
4) Favorite horror movie/sub-genre?
My favorite horror film is possibly this weird little French/Belgian one from the 2000s called Calvaire. I wrote a non-sanctioned American remake of it and was told by the producer who brought all the J-horror film’s to the US that no one would ever make it. Sub-genre, for me has to be horror/comedy… Although only when done right. There are a lot that can’t seem to strike the right balance.
5) If you could pick one horror icon, living or dead — director, actor/actress, producer, FX guru — to work with on your next genre film, who would it be?
There are so many to choose from, so it’s a little hard to narrow it down to just one, but I will say there’s an indie horror producer, Travis Stevens, whose body of work I really admire and would be a great collaborator. Maybe he’ll read this and be incredibly flattered? Who knows.