Fred M. Andrews is a production designer turned writer/director. His latest film, Creature, is the story of a group of teens who head to back woods Louisiana for a week of fun and debauchery. They get more than they bargained for when they encounter a creature thats part man, part alligator. We talk with Andrews about Creature, working with Sid Haig, making the transition from production designer to director and more.
Shock Till You Drop: Please tell us about Creature.
Fred M. Andrews: Creature is an old school man-in-a-suit monster film, set in Louisiana, during a non specific time period. Youve got the set up of kids who end up going off the beaten path and run in to the locals and the monster. There ya go!
Shock: What inspired the script for Creature?
Andrews: Well, the original inspiration was an original script from Tracy Morse, my writing partner, who had done a slasher horror film script, in the early 2000s, about a guy in Florida that became a serial killer with alligator teeth. We started messing around with that and we thought it would be better if the killer was a monster rather than another slasher kind of thing. After years of us talking back and forth, I really latched on to the monster idea and we came up with a whole back story. At one point, the concept was going forward as a graphic novel. So, we had the ability to put in all the mythos that was in that whole area of America. There was a lot of old southern folk lore that was put in there. I think that was probably the biggest inspiration, the old southern folklore legends. Every area has one, whether its a Big Foot kind of thing or a Lizard Man.
Shock: On that same note, I had read that, at one point, there was going to be a Creature graphic novel developed. Whats the status of that, now?
Andrews: It has not moved forward, since then. I still have the work that I had done up to that point. The producers had originally talked about having the graphic novel come out before the film. And, then they decided that they didnt want to do that and that they may release it after the film. But, it has not moved forward since then. They have the rights to the stuff, so I wouldnt be able to continue doing that on my own, at this point. Its ready to go, but it would be their decision.
Shock: Creature has a great cast, particularly, Sid Haig. Tell us about the casting process.
Andrews: Kelly Wagner was our casting director. Shes done the Hostel films. Shes really great. I felt really fortunate, because I had much more experienced actors than I had originally anticipated I would be able to get with our budget. Of course, getting Sid Haig was amazing. Hes Sid Haig. The guy is awesome! That was just fantastic. That made my year. It was a good experience. Getting Mehcad Brooks for the lead was great. Im a fan of his from True Blood. I was glad that he was able to fit it in to his schedule to do it. We also got Amanda Fuller and Dillon Casey, and Aaron Hill straight off of Greek. We actually delayed shooting, a little bit, so that some of these actors would be available for the film. It was quite a pleasant experience.
Shock: What prompted you to make the transition from production designer to director?
Andrews: I guess, because I had the opportunity to. I love production design. Ive been a designer for a long time. As far as the arts are concerned, I draw and I paint and I write. When my executive producer asked if I would be interested, in doing Creature as a film – as opposed to a graphic novel – of course I said yes. I guess it was right place, right time.
Shock: Are you a big fan of the horror genre?
Andrews: Absolutely. I grew up with Hammer Films. Im also a big giant monster movie fan, as well. Ive always enjoyed horror. Not just the films, but literature, as well. Its always been a big influence, and I think it has always permeated everything that I do.
Shock: What films have served as inspiration for some of your work?
Andrews: Alien, for sure, just because its pretty much the ultimate creature film. There are a lot of books, as well. Dread in the Beast, by Charlee Jacob. Thats a pretty amazing book. I definitely like the classics. I like The Creature from the Black Lagoon films. I always have. Ive always been in to Asian cinema, for sure. The thing I like about Asian cinema is that theres a little bit of a twist. I dont know if youve every seen The Wig or not. Its a film about a possessed wig. Theres something kind of funny, but shocking there. As far as the Creature stuff goes, I was inspired by The Prophecy, Its Alive, The Incredible Melting Man and Octaman.
Shock: Thats all we have for you. Thanks for taking time to talk with us!
Andrews: Youre welcome.
Creature hits DVD on March 20th!