CS Interview: Beck & Woods on Haunt Collector’s Edition, Quibi & 65!
ComingSoon.net had the chance to speak with filmmakers Scott Beck and Bryan Woods about the Haunt Collector’s Edition two-disc set available now on Blu-ray from Ronin Flix in partnership with Momentum Pictures. The co-writers of A Quiet Place also briefly discussed their experience collaborating on Quibi’s 50 States of Fright with Sam Raimi as well as their upcoming project 65 starring Adam Driver. You can check out the interview below, along with more details about the Collector’s Edition as well as the Blu-ray covers in the gallery, and order your copy of the Haunt Collector’s Edition here!
In Haunt, a group of friends encounter an “extreme” haunted house on Halloween that promises to feed on their darkest fears. The night turns deadly as they come to the horrifying realization that some nightmares are very real.
Directed and written by Beck and Woods, the 2019 horror movie stars Katie Stevens, Will Brittain, Lauryn Alisa McClain, and Andrew Lewis Caldwell, and was produced by Eli Roth.
The commemorative two-disc set will treat fans to the Original CD Soundtrack by tomandandy, four 16” x 20” movie poster reproductions, a 16” x 20” reproduction of the haunt map, six enamel pins featuring the eerie costume masks worn by the villains in the film, four 2” x 3 ½” replica VHS box-style magnets, and over five hours of special features including a new To Escape the Haunt: The Making of Haunt featurette. A single-disc version will also be available.
Special Features Include:
ComingSoon.net: I was just thinking like, with COVID and everything, was that challenging in the sense that did you guys just say we’re going to do all our work over Zoom? At what point were you like, oh screw it, we need to be in a room together? How’s it been working for you?
Scott Beck: Yeah, I mean, the last few months, like everybody’s life has just been such a fascinating, unexpected experience. And so, so much of our work, in general, became Zoom and became meetings. The first week the pandemic hit in LA, we were pitching a movie and on Monday it was in person, by Friday it was all virtual. And you know, luckily for writing, that’s bee’s knees, but when you start moving into pre-production for a movie, it gets a little more difficult and we’re in prep right now and we’re on the ground in Louisiana now socially distancing with multitudes of other people. But for this new Blu-ray for Haunt that was really fascinating because everybody was kind of spread across the country. Nobody was leaving their house and it just recontextualized how you put together a Blu-ray, how you put together special features. And it was a challenge, but a fun challenge I think everybody was willing to figure out and find a way to, you know, put forth the most amount of effort and hopefully pack this disc with a lot of goodies.
CS: Yeah, I’m looking at it right now. There’s a magnet. There are these beautiful pins that you had designed. There’s some posters. And there’s the map. Now is this map actually something that you guys put together in pre-pro or is this just done for the package?
Bryan Woods: It’s the in-picture map that our production designer Austin Gorg hand drew it originally. It basically reflects what the villain of the movie would’ve used to kind of draw their plans of how the different haunted houses would fuse together. And even though when we’re filming, all the stunts are kind of broken up into pieces, the haunted house didn’t actually connect in terms of like, it being a set. But each set was designed in a way that could actually connect and be put together as a haunted house and actually work. So the fun of including the map is just to show that, one day, it would be fun to actually put this up and do a real haunted house with the haunts from Haunt.
CS: Yeah, and it’s always fun to get to talk to people sort of after the fact. The movie came out last year and I’m just wondering what kind of audience feedback did you guys get? Have you been able to connect with fans and people who saw the film?
Beck: It’s incredibly surreal to take a look back a year later. When the movie came out, it was funny, it came out on Friday the 13th, but it was still a fairly limited release with the theatrical release and very much a word of mouth film. And now we’re seeing people this Halloween creating their own masks inspired by Haunt, their own costumes. The film got a release in Japan, where they created this haunted house of sorts based on all the rooms in the film. And so, we just kind of sit back and I think our jaws are kind of like wide open at how the film has kind of gathered this cult following. And all that does is it makes us think of when we were in high school and discovering some of our favorite films to this very day, whether it’s something like Fight Club or Donnie Darko and movies that didn’t ultimately find a gathering from the get-go, but it kind of trickles through the bloodstream of people who are fans of the genre or people who are fans of the film. We just feel very, very fortunate that the movie has been praised the way it has.
Woods: And we’re not comparing our movie in any way to those, those are masterpieces, but I think Scott mentioned those because they’re such great DVD discs. We’re just such diehard fans of like, physical media. Even if a movie we don’t like comes out with a cool set and there’s some thought put into the features, we’re the first ones to snatch it up and devour it. We’re just fans of that kind of medium and a company like Ronin Flix took on Haunt, it’s just exciting that they have as much passion as we do about physical media for movies. It’s like the souvenir of the movie you can buy or collect a DVD for something, so it’s really fun for us to put together this set.
CS: Yeah. I mean, you’re preaching to the choir here because I write a weekly Blu-ray column, and I definitely still collect physical media. And yeah, it’s hard to explain to some people. I remember there was recently in an episode of Queer Eye where they were in this guy’s house and they were doing a makeover on him or whatever and they saw he had a shelf full of DVDs. And they’re like, ugh, hasn’t he heard of streaming? And I was like, number one, f*ck you. Number two, yeah. Physical media, yeah, it takes up space and all this stuff, but it’s like, if you’re a fan of how a movie looks and sounds, it’s never going to look and sound better than playing from a disc.
Beck: Exactly. I mean, there’s also an extension of the art form, there’s the art form where you pop in a disc and you’re actually watching the DVD, but I think there’s also the art form in terms of the aesthetics of what’s on the disc. And again going back first to the Fight Club DVD, that was something where automatically you hold it in your hand, but it feels like it’s built with care and precision. And I think that’s always what draws us back to putting our 2,000 Blu-rays and DVDs that we own and putting that on a shelf. There’s just something really beautiful about that and it’s fun to place it at that culture, and that’s something that certainly in designing these discs. We’re just putting ourselves in the shoes of anybody who will need to spend money on a Blu-ray, you want something that feels special and unique. That was always our hope and goal.
CS: Yeah. And sort of speaking to the ephemeral nature of streaming, we just had Quibi fall apart. And I was wondering if you guys had any sort of perspective about your experience with that streamer?
Woods: Well, I mean, we’re sorry to hear the news just because they were creating a lot of content and empowering artists. Like, our experience with Quibi doing 50 States of Fright was an incredible experience. We had a lot of freedom to tell our story. We got to work with Sam Raimi, who we’re now working with on our feature film that we’re doing right now. And so, that was an incredible opportunity for us to work with Sam and create something that, in that case, we did an episode of 50 States of Fright that’s based on our home state of Iowa. I don’t know, it was an amazing opportunity for us, it was an amazing opportunity for a lot of artists to get new stories out there in a new form. So on some level, the news is disappointing, but obviously, a lot of challenges, both with the pandemic, but also conceptually in whatever else.
Beck: I think ultimately, our hope is for certain shows, to use 50 States of Fright as an example, is that there could be a second life for them, you know, whether it’s Netflix or more of the specialty platforms like Shudder that gears towards the horror genre, that there’s a way to continue something like that. Also, when you have a show called 50 States of Fright it feels like a disappointment if you don’t deliver for all 50 episodes of what that premise promises. So we’re still rooting from afar for things like that.
CS: So, I love Adam Driver, love his work, but what drew you to him specifically for this new thing, 65, that you’re directing for Sam Raimi?
Woods: Well, our first taste of Adam was the TV show Girls. And his role on that, we love that series, in general, it’s one of our favorites and we’re big Lena Dunham fans here. But, in particular, his role and his performance on that show was so explosive. It was just like, who is this guy? It was hard to comprehend- you never knew what he was going to do next. He kind of constantly surprised us throughout that series, and that was very exciting.
But then, he went and he tried to capture that same magic and turn it into a career. In other words, the choices he made as an actor in terms of what roles Adam took on in something he would work with, it was like that big energy of like, wow, I don’t know he’s gonna do next. What is this guy? And the fact that even last year, jumping from his incredible performance in a Star Wars movie of all things, and then an intimate character in something like Marriage Story and kind of turning in our favorite two performances of that year, we’ve just always been blown away by his work. It just speaks for itself. I don’t really know if I can articulate why this works so much and it just seems pretty obvious once you watch it.
CS: Yeah. How is the scale of 65 different than what you were doing on Haunt?
Beck: Well, that’s a fascinating jump because we can’t really say much about it other than it’s a much bigger canvas movie. I mean, obviously, it’s a studio film versus Haunt, which was an independent film. But I think what’s kind of a binding feature is there’s always a mystery box element that we’re always intrigued by. The promise that there’s going to be something in it for audiences to really dig into, but there’s going to be much more that meets the eye. And part of the joy of creating a film like 65, similar to like when before A Quiet Place was even known by anybody else, was there’s a mystery behind it. And to that, as moviegoers, we love that. We love when you watch a teaser and it does only tease you and it doesn’t give you much more than that, but it gives you enough of a hook.
So this whole film is kind of designed with maintaining that experience as much as possible. But certainly, on a canvas, it’s a big canvas movie. We just feel very fortunate to be able to get it up and running in production in this time where not many movies really get made, especially original movies.
CS: No, absolutely not. And one of the reasons I loved talking to you guys is how dedicated you are to making sure your career doesn’t go down the path of doing IPs and sequels and stuff. But in terms of sequels, did you guys get to see A Quiet Place 2?
Woods: It’s kind of funny. We were taking this project, 65 out, as Scott said earlier, I think, the week that happened, basically, the week of the pandemic. And we were at Paramount. And we were talking about the sequel and there was a screening coming up for us and the movie was like, I think it was two weeks out from release. And on a Wednesday it was like, talking to everyone at Paramount and everybody was kind of like tracking, saying, “We think we’re gonna be okay, and we’re not really sure, but we’re on track.” And then a day later, they pulled it from release. And so anyway, that’s a long-winded way of saying we actually didn’t get to see it. It was like quarantine after that. But we heard it’s good. We heard from a lot of the collaborators on it that, you know, everyone’s very excited about that.