Psychological Thriller ‘Dry Blood’ is a hit with audiences
Dry Blood premiered at Monsterpalooza 2016. Even with the technical problems of being screened in a room that leaked light and shown on a warped looking screen, I really enjoyed the new indie film. It had a retro feel that I loved; the lead protagonist’s view of things was from a guy trying to kick drugs, so there was a very dazed and confused vibe. Filmed mostly in and around a cabin in the San Bernardino mountains, this micro-budget indie film packs quite a punch.
Dry Blood is a crazy, bloody trip through insanity and back! This is definitely not a happy vacation in the woods.
Since the first time I saw the film, Dry Blood has been making the rounds of film festival circuits. Audiences seem to be loving the film as much as I did, because Dry Blood has been collecting awards all along the way. Winning Best Horror, Best Horror Feature Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay and nominated for many other awards, this indie thriller is really getting noticed.
The spoiler-free synopsis is: Brian Barnes returns to his mountain vacation home to sober up one final time. Most of the houses of this dwindling community sit empty during the snow-less off season. This ghost town seems like the perfect place for Brian to begin putting his life back together. His attempt to get clean is soon interrupted by a sadistic local Sheriff and ghastly visions of ghosts (that may or may not be hallucinations brought on by his withdrawal). Brian embarks on a terrifying quest to discover the horrible secret past of the very cabin he is sleeping in. As he pulls at the threads to the mystery, it may be his sanity that unravels first.
Dry Blood takes the audience along on an insane ride with Brian (played by Clint Carney) to his family cabin, where it seems like everything that can go wrong does. The local Sheriff (Kelton Jones) is truly a pain in the ass who won’t leave Brian alone. We know that because Brian is a drug addict that he hasn’t been a good guy, but we want to empathize with him, we want him to do well. Clint did a great job in the role and I was surprised to find out he had never acted before. Having written the script- he just became the character he had gotten to know so well in the creating process.
What I loved was that you don’t just figure out the movie about half way through like many films, this movie makes you wonder and think, and leave you actually surprised at the twist ending. I did not expect there to be such brutality and gore in this movie and was (being the horror geek that I am) pleased that there was lots of it, all practical effects, with no CG. The SFX makeup team did an amazing job!
At the screening I met Writer/Producer/Actor Clint Carney and Director/Producer/Actor Kelton Jones, both who handled a large amount of the jobs, switching hats as needed during the making of Dry Blood.
“The most important part is to have a great story,” Kelton shared. “We were very fortunate from the beginning in that Clint is an uncommonly skilled and creative screenwriter. Starting with a strong script is paramount in making a great film. We spent a lot of time in pre-production on rehearsals and production design which really helped us tell the best story possible. We had a great time making this film with people that we love. We hope that that love of the process of film making and our love of the horror genre resonates with our fellow fans and filmmakers in the horror community.”
After the movie, I got a chance to ask Kelton and Clint a few questions…
INTERVIEW WITH CLINT CARNEY AND KELTON JONES
Los Angeles Zombie Girl: What got you into film making and when did you know you wanted to make movies?
Kelton Jones: “I acted in a film when I was 16, after my scenes were filmed, I was invited to join the crew. I’ve been making movies ever since then.”
Clint Carney: “I’d always loved horror movies since I was a little kid. When I was about nine or ten years old I checked out a copy of “Dick Smith’s Do-it-yourself Monster Make-up Handbook” from my local public library. Dick Smith was the make-up FX genius behind some of my favorite scary films like The Exorcist and Ghost Story. That book pretty much showed me that I could make awesome monsters myself, and that’s what got me started. Through till my high school years, I churned out one short horror flick after another; all written around whatever special effect make-up trick I wanted to figure out that week. There were beheadings, eyeballs being ripped out and eaten, nipples pulled off with pliers, and far far worse. Fast forward many many years, and here I am, doing the same thing, but now with a very talented team of people and some real quality behind the production.”
LAZG: You both wear a lot of hats in the movie. What do you think you do the best and why?
Kelton: “I’ve worked on large blockbuster movies and small independent films in every department, so I have a very broad skill set. I find that independent films allow you to wear many hats so that you can retain as much creative control as possible. Being responsible for the budget and the schedule as well as the creative vision allows me to allocate my resources in a way that makes sure that every effort shows up on screen in a way that improves the final product.”
Clint: “I don’t know what I do the best, but the part that I always enjoy the most is the writing. I did have a blast acting though. It was trial by fire to jump into my first feature, having to be on screen in every single scene. Playing the character of Brian Barnes was both physically and emotionally taxing, but ultimately, it was a great experience that I‘ll never forgot. I hope to have the opportunity to take on more roles in the future.”
LAZG: How did you put together the funding for the movie?
Kelton: “Dry Blood was independently financed by friends and colleagues who believed in us and wanted to be part of a great film.”
Clint: “We did it the old fashioned way. We came up with a solid plan and script, and Kelton and I pitched it to anyone and everyone who would give us the time of day. We were very fortunate to find a core group of people who believed in the movie (and believed in us) enough to help finance the picture. I’m very humbled by the faith they showed in us; never once doubting that we could see this film through to the bitter and bloody end.”
LAZG: I loved all the gore and the ghostly characters. Tell me about the special effects and who did them!
Clint: “It was very important to us that the film had great practical make-up effects. I fucking hate digital blood and digital creatures just never have the same presence on screen as a great physical effect. Kelton and I had met FX artist Chad Engel on the set of some behind-the-scenes thing we were helping out with, and we hit it off right away. Chad had been a part of the FX teams for some really cool flicks like Killing Them Softly and Looper, so we knew he was capable of kicking some ass. I had met our other FX artist, Sioux Sinclair, on the set of a music video for the band Motionless in White. Sioux was doing the creature make-up and I was doing the gore make-up and VFX on that one. I loved what she was doing, and she had a great work ethic, so I thought of her right away when we were getting the crew together for Dry Blood. The quality of their effects work shines through in the film. Judging by all the screams and squirms from the people who watch Dry Blood, I’d say they did their job well!”
LAZG: Can you tell me the hardest thing about making the movie?
Kelton: “Waiting to show it to an audience.”
Clint: “For the three weeks of filming, I slept an average of three hours a night, and it only got marginally better when we moved into post production. That was the toughest part, just being so goddamned tired all the time, but trying not let it show and just giving it my all anyway. Even still, I loved every minute of making this movie. I think we all did – the whole team.”
LAZG: Can you tell me a funny story about the making of the movie?
Kelton: “When filming a scene at night with an actress in full body makeup, a giant insect, the kind you only see in the mountains, was drawn to the light and landed very near the actress. The crew saw it but she did not. We were all afraid she would see it and freak out before we could finish the scene. This was a huge terror inducing bug.”
Clint: “My favorite stories about making dry blood revolve around FX gags, but in order to keep this interview spoiler free, we can’t really talk about a lot of them just yet. I will say though that we spilled so much blood upstairs in the main location that it actually soaked through and started dripping down to the first floor. Does that count as a funny story? Maybe for weirdos like me.”
LAZG: Whose brother let you use the cabin? I loved the story you shared about cutting the hole in the wall.
Clint: “I was having lunch with my brother Travis, and we were talking about the new script I was writing (what would become Dry Blood). I told him that Kelton and I were going to make this one ourselves if the script turned out to be any good. Travis has this great house up in the San Bernardino mountains and graciously volunteered to let us use it if we were to actually make the movie. Well, the joke was on him, because we made the fucking thing, and so he let a film crew totally take over his home for about a month.
Right after Travis told me that we could use his house, I had begun to tailor the actions in the script around the layout of his home. I had remembered that he had a tiny little secret door connecting two of the bedrooms in the house. This was such a strange feature that I had to write it into the script. Though, as it turns out, I had just completely made that up. Maybe I dreamt it and thought it was real. I’m not really sure. In any case, if became a pretty pivotal location in Dry Blood. And once more, Travis stepped up and saved the day by letting us actually perform some last minute construction in his home, cutting a hole in the wall and installing a tiny little door, just so we could get the shot! That door is still there today.”
LAZG: Anything else you want to say about the movie?
Kelton: “The film was designed to reveal itself over multiple viewings. My hope is that viewers love it enough to watch it over and over many times.”
Clint: “We set out to make a scary and disturbing movie, one that was actually good, that people would want to watch again and again. I’m very proud of the film. And now it’s up to the audiences out there to tell us if we hit our mark. Mostly I’d like to say: read the credits at the end of the film. Every single person on that list made this movie what it is. Seriously, I’m so honored to have worked with all of them.”
LAZG: Do you have new projects coming up?
Kelton: “Clint and I have several films that we plan to move into production very soon including The Violent, an ultra intense punk rock drama set in the mid 90s.”
Clint: “As Kelton said, we’ve been working behind the scenes to get this teenage punk rock crime drama called The Violent off the ground. I think that one is going to make a serious impact. I’ve got a good sized pile of other scripts that I’ve written already, but I think the two that I’m currently going back and forth on right now have some real potential to be great films. All I can say for sure is, there will be many more films to come!”
LAZG: So how can everyone see the movie? I can’t wait for the Los Angeles F.A.S.H Fest screening in November!
Clint: “As for when and where to see the movie, we make announcements as soon as we have our festival screenings and release dates lined up. You can find all the information on the website and all of our social media outlets.”