I had the honor of chatting with indie icon and cult horror favorite Lucky McKee before the world premiere of his surprising new film “Kindred Spirits”.
Before treating myself to a spectacular viewing of Lucky McKee’s newest flick, Kindred Spirits, which held its world premiere at The Music Box theatre during Cinepocalypse, I got a chance to sit down with McKee and discuss this film, the evolution of his career, slow-burn horror, and so much more.
Kindred Spirits is, most certainly, a much different kind of Lucky McKee film. Most horror fans know him from his earlier films, like May (2002) and The Woman (2011), both of which are considered genre staples by most horror buffs.
Kindred Spirits is so starkly different in tone and pace from other films in his repertoire.
Yet, it still shows the same restraint and commitment to character develop we know and have come to expect from McKee. As a result, I found myself curious as to how he became so attached to such a project. The synopsis of the film was so simplistic that it left me very little to go on, and the film itself played out far differently than I would have expected.
McKee explained that he ended up working with Mike Moran – his producer on Kindred Spirits – over the last few years, and the two developed both a friendship and working relationship that led to him leaning on Moran’s assistance to sniff out new projects.
McKee’s last film, Blood Money, came out in 2017. And before that, his segment “Ding Dong” in the Halloween-themed anthology, Tales of Halloween, came out in 2015.
Many directors seem to constantly be working on projects, sometimes a few at once, especially when they’re in the independent filmmaking space. McKee explained his restlessness — and how necessity became the mother of invention that led him to this project by way of a familiar source. McKee explained:
“It wasn’t going fast enough. I really wanted to make a movie at the end of the last year. And I was jonesing to be back on set. So I was like, ‘I know you guys are making more movies this year. Do you have any scripts lying around that I might be a good fit for?’ And he (Moran) was like, ‘Yeah, I have one by your oldest friends, Chris Sivertson.'”
Sivertson and McKee had worked on All Cheerleaders Die and The Lost together.
McKee stated that they’ve been working together since they were teenagers. Sivertson also directed I Know Who Killed Me and The Brawler.
“So he gave me this script that Chris (Sivertson) had written, and I think I’d probably read it three or four years before and thought it was really cool. He just had that script, and it was ready to go. It was green lit. He just plugged me into it, and I got to just go do it. It was the fastest a movie has ever come together for me in my whole career.”
When asked about just how fast things came together, McKee said, “I think I called Mike (Moran) on a Tuesday and a couple days later I was making the movie.”
The already lightning-fast timeline continued to move along quickly, and a couple months later, they were in Austin, Texas, filming.
For comparison, McKee gave me some background on his first film, May. With May, McKee wrote the script when he was 19 years old. It took 5-6 years to get underway. Now, 17 years later, his experience with production surely gives him an advantage over newer filmmakers. But it’s still a fast turnaround by traditional standards. At the time we spoke, McKee stated that he’d finished everything on the film just two weeks prior.
“It’s the first time I’ve directed anything where I didn’t have to, like, put my hands on the script in any super crazy way. Usually I’ll make something, and I’ll kind of just re-write the thing basically.”
Some of his biggest successes can be attributed to the crew and the people he’s worked with on this and many of his other projects.
“Money and time, those are the big challenges. That’s about it. But when you have good people around you, you just make it happen no matter what.”
He goes on to explain:
“I worked with a fantastic crew. This was the first movie I ever shot in Austin, Texas. The crew, just the people – I’m all about the people. Having that really good vibe on set, the crew was just magnificent. We had a really short schedule, we never worked a day of overtime, we came in early a lot of days, and shot a lot of movie really, really fast. Some days are harder than others, but it was one of the smoothest shoots I’ve ever had, actually.”
Sivertson and McKee have cultivated a fantastic partnership throughout the years, and part of that magic shines in their other collaborative works like All Cheerleaders Die.
Kindred Spirits has that same magic. Like many other dynamic duos in horror a