We interview Bobby Roe, the talented writer, director, actor and visionary behind the indie horror hit The Houses October Built and its successful sequel.
The Houses October Built and its sequel The Houses October Built 2 are found footage horror films about a group of friends whose pursuit of the scariest haunted house attractions in the country finds them targeted by an extreme haunt group known as The Blue Skeleton. I recently got the chance to see and review The Houses October Built 2 here on Morbidly Beautiful, and liked it a lot!
The best part of both the movies for me was that they travel to real haunted attractions, and we get to see places we might not ever get to go to. As a person in the haunt business, I loved seeing all the real haunts, which is great advertising for the haunt industry! Also, I enjoyed the chemistry between the goofy group of friends (Jeff Larson, Zack Andrews, Bobby Roe, Mikey Roe) and their quest for the scariest experience they could find. The movies both have humor, some very uncomfortable and violent images, a bit of gore and lots of edge-of-your-seat tension. And like I shared in my review: If I ever get an RV it is going to be way more secure than theirs is. No RV home invasions for me!
Now that the sequel is out, I got a chance to talk to Bobby Roe, who had the daunting job to co-write, direct and act in both films.
INTERVIEW WITH BOBBY ROE
Los Angeles Zombie Girl: The Houses October Built movies are your first venture into making your own movies. What made you go into horror? What is your background?
Bobby Roe: “I’ve always loved horror since I was a kid. And on the practical side of making movies, horror allows for great ideas over star power.”
LAZG: Was the first movie intended to be a real documentary and morphed, or was it always a horror story?
BR: “It was always intended to be as realistic as possible, then have it turn you on your head at the end. You have to be methodical and patient if you want to pull off a trick.”
LAZG: Do you go to haunts in your real life? Is Halloween your favorite holiday?
BR: “Yes, and Yes. Unfortunately, we have been working, it feels like, the past seven years on Halloween (Bourbon Street scene was really Halloween night) so I haven’t been able to relax and enjoy the way I used to. But I will try this year.”
LAZG: You wear a lot of hats in these movies. Writer, director and actor. How do you do balance all the different jobs?
BR: “It’s not easy, but I do think the most beneficial thing a director or any kind of leader can do is have experience in all the moving parts of the machine.”
LAZG: One of my favorite parts about The Houses October Built movies is the fact that you go to real haunts around the US. How do you pick which haunts are in the movie? I bet there are a lot of them sending you tapes!
BR: “For the first movie it was going to them. We wanted to find interesting and different themed haunts. Then for Part 2, we would receive emails from all over the country to come film the sequel at their haunt. But a lot of Part 2 ended up being events and different types of Halloween experiences to show how much range the holiday has.”
LAZG: Did you run into any especially creepy people in the haunts you attended?
BR: “Honestly, the haunt community is awesome and very inviting. Most of these scare actors, and I stress actors, have normal day jobs like anyone else.”
LAZG: What was your favorite haunt from this movie?
BR: “The setting for the Zombie 5k was unbelievable. A million-square foot disaster training ground. They had everything there. I could have shot an entire movie in that facility.”
LAZG: My only complaint about Part 2 is that I think you all would have been way more damaged and even PTSD from the year before. Why did you decide to show you all, even ultimately Brandy, so unafraid to go through it again? Did you consider making you all more jumpy and afraid?
BR: “Well, the boys were never jumpy in Part 1. But I will say your question may be answered a little better when a specific extra scene comes out on the Blu-Ray.”
LAZG: Are there any funny or memorable stories you can share about the making of this movie?
BR: “The scene at the Hayride was a genuine moment where a scare actor named Clicks was a big fan of the first movie. I was able to make that scene work in the movie, but it’s a really meta and heartfelt moment I loved and it propelled our characters new found fame storyline.”
LAZG: What were your biggest challenges making these films?
BR: “LIVE sets. We had to shoot scenes alongside 30,000 zombies. If you didn’t get the shot, there was no tomorrow to try again.”
LAZG: Tell me about your special effects team- the gore was great!
BR: “Thanks. Unfortunately, there was a death in the family of our special effects advisor the night before our major shoot and he was not able to come. So, it’s a testament to our entire team and cast for banding together, wearing different hats and making those effects happen.”
LAZG: Anything else you want to share about The Houses October Built 2?
BR: “One day I hope people can watch 1 and 2 seamlessly as one long movie on Halloween.”