FAMILY POSSESSIONS is an upcoming feature length horror film, based on a true story, starring Felissa Rose, Mark Patton, and Jason Vail. We were fortunate enough to chat with writer/director Tommy Faircloth about his highly anticipated paranormal/slasher film, which he describes as adult Goosebumps meets The Conjuring meets Mean Girls. Read our interview with this talented indie filmmaker below.
Can you start by telling us about when and how the idea for this film first originated and what inspired you to tell this story?
The original idea and title for Family Possessions has been around since I finished my second feature film, Generation Ax, back in 1998. The new script has evolved a lot, but the premise has pretty much remained the same. I am a big fan of slasher films and paranormal films, so I wanted to write a story that incorporated a little from both horror genres.
What can you tell us about the overall tone of the film and why you think it will appeal to horror fans?
It definitely has my since of humor. I mean, if you watch all of my films, you can tell they were all made by me. Even when I try to be serious with a film, my sense of humor always leaks through. So my hardcore fans will like the film. It definitely has a more serious tone than my other films like Dollface or Generation Ax, but there are moments where you will say, “Yeah, Tommy definitely wrote this script!”
I think horror fans will appreciate it because of the effects in the film. I used all practical effects, and they were done by Tony Rosen. Tony is most famous for creating the Annabelle doll used in The Conjuring and Annabelle, but he has created some brutal effects in tons of other projects as well. Overall, the film will be creepy, with lots of jump scares, good kills and a great cast.
What was your biggest challenge bringing this vision to life?
The biggest challenge was going out of state with an entire crew and cast to shoot the film. All of my past projects have been shot in my home state, where I am familiar with places and people. This time, we went to a very small town in NC… and just getting everyone there and getting the schedule right with so many people was a big challenge. Right after we wrapped and came back home, I dove into the planning for a horror film festival I put on in Charleston, SC called Crimson Screen Horror Film Fest. So now I begin my post-production editing work on the film.
Towards the end of last year, you completed a very successful crowdfunding campaign for the film on Indiegogo. What motivated the decision to raise funds via this platform, and were you surprised by the response from horror fans?
I personally hate having to do crowdfunding because I am not that great at it I guess. I did have a small campaign to raise about $5000 to go towards our special effects, and we did meet that… plus a little more. But 90% of the rest of the film’s budget came from my production company. Money came from past films and my personal investments as well. I put every dime of money I get from my films into my next project. If you don’t invest in your own films, you can’t expect others to do it for you.
Having said that, I was very pleased with the response from horror fans. We have had a great number of “fans” that support us, and some traveled hundreds of miles to just be an extra in a scene. By offering them something unique, they responded quickly. I would have done it if I was a young horror fan back in the day for sure, to be able to see my name in the credits of my favorite horror film.
The film features legendary scream queen Felissa Rose. Can you tell me a bit about how she became attached to the project and her role in the film?
I met Felissa Rose at a convention I attended in 2015 with my film Dollface. We had booths next to each other, and I walked over and introduced myself to her. We immediately hit it off and became good friends. So a little over a year later, we were working on Family Possessions. I contacted her after the script was completed and asked if she would be interested. She was excited about it. Besides being in one of my favorite films ever, Sleepaway Camp, Felissa is just a sweet and nice person. I love working with people who are genuinely nice, and she definitely is. I can’t say enough about her.
Also in Family Possessions is Nightmare on Elm Street 2’s Mark Patton. Mark had pretty much retired from acting, except from some recentl interviews in documentaries on the NOES series. I reached out to Mark once the script was completed and didn’t hear back for a month or so. I was beginning to think he didn’t want to do it, when he suddenly contacted me and said, “Yes, I’m in!” Mark is such a huge talent. I mean, he starred on Broadway and on the big screen with Cher. What else can you say?
Having two big horror movie stars in the movie was a big deal for me, and not just because I knew horror fans would be excited to see them. As a young horror movie fan, I watched these guys on the big screen. It was a little surreal to be directing them in my own film.
Tell me about why the focus on practical effects was so important to you for this film. Can horror fans expect a lot of gore and creative kills?
Anyone who has seen my films know they are not bloody, gory films by any means. But on Family Possessions, I wanted to up my game with the kills. I wanted them to be as realistic as possible and Tony Rosen is the man for it. I have seen the work he has done on other projects, and so I knew getting him on the film would be great. He created our “villain” and did all the kills and some of the props.
When do you envision the film will be ready for audiences, and what’s the current distribution plan?
I am not setting a hard deadline at the moment, because I don’t want to be rushed. However, I would like to be done by October for sure to have a World Premiere possibly at the annual Fear Fete Horror Convention in Biloxi. This is a larger film project, so I don’t know how long it will take me to complete it, but October would be nice. I plan on taking it around to film festivals while my sales agent markets the film to territories all over the world. They are representing my last film Dollface as well. I may also do a limited number of DVDs/Blurays for the fest circuit.
Have you always been a horror fan? Do you remember the first horror film that first turned you on to the genre and how old you were?
I have always loved horror films, so writing scripts has naturally always lead to horror stories. I mean, there are people who are good at writing all genres, but I am not one to be all, “I should try and write a drama this time.” That does not come naturally to me. I like scary stories, so that is what I am always going to write. I think the first scary movie I saw was When a Stranger Calls. I remember seeing it in the theater with my parents. I was like 4 or something? I also remember seeing Jaws in the theater as well. I loved how people were scared to death. I remember my father flipping out in the theater, worrying about where I was during a scary scene. I was sitting right next to him! I think that started my love of seeing people jump.
Later, when HBO was everything, that’s when I really started watching horror films like Friday the 13th, etc. And then when VHS exploded, I would rent every horror movie I could and would spend the weekends watching as many as I could. I used to write horror stories in middle and high school and pass the stories around to all my friends. I would use my actual friends and teachers as characters to keep them interested.
What are your top five favorite horror films of all time?
Even though they are not all “horror”, they are… Sleepaway Camp, Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, Heathers, and Friday the 13th (plus, any John Waters movie).
Great choices! As a filmmaker, which directors have inspired you the most (in or out of the genre)?
I’d have to say that would be John Waters, Wes Craven, and John Carpenter.
Finally, if you could work with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Definitely John Waters. I think we have the same since of humor.
Thanks so much for your time! Before you go, is there anything else you’d like for horror fans to know about your film FAMILY POSSESSIONS?
Please follow us on the film’s Facebook page as well as my production company Horse Creek Productions to stay updated on where we are in the process. Our Indiegogo campaign is open ended, so you can still be a part of the film by preordering DVDs and other cool items. We will have some great props available from the movie soon, like Mark and Felissa’s wardrobe… plus much more!