The Revenant finally arrives in limited theaters on August 24th from Lightning Entertainment. After that the original comedy-thriller hits DVD, Digital Download and On Demand September 18 courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment. I recently hopped on the phone with writer/director Kerry Prior to discuss how he found balance in the film’s unique and violent tone, and why he thinks that The Exorcist is a comedy.
“The breakout film centers on a fallen soldier who somehow finds he has joined the ranks of the living dead. Bart Gregory (Anders) has just recently been laid to rest – so why is he still up and walking around? The only way he can keep himself from diminishing to dust is to supply himself with a constant supply of fresh blood. He quickly decides to do law enforcement a favor by cleaning up the streets.”
Winner of the Best Feature, Best Director, Best Actor and Audience Choice at the 2009 New York City Horror Film Festival, The Revenant stars David Anders (TV’s “The Vampire Diaries”) and Chris Wylde (Joe Dirt). Head inside for the interview, the film’s trailer and a list of theaters where you can find the movie.
When I heard the title for this movie, I was expecting something gothic and uber-serious. But this movie has a lot of humor in it. Which aspect of the film came to you first? “The undead angle came first. It started as a vampire thing, but once I got into the research I gravitated to the old folklore. Which is to say I got away from the idea of a vampire being this sexy creature that wears a lot of leather and looks like a rock star. That old folklore is much more about dead people coming back and tormenting their friends and relatives. It was later in the game that I decided Bart should be a dead soldier.”
How did you balance the tone out? “I just went with what I thought was funny. I think of The Exorcist as a funny movie. I definitely think of it as a comedy. That and Rosemary’s Baby are obviously horror movies, but they’re so hilarious! ‘The Exorcist’ is about a 12 year old girl whose head spins around, she projectile vomits, she has sex with herself with a cross and she hurls the most horrific epithets at her mother and the priest. And the doctor thinks it’s a brain lesion? That’s comedy! That’s hilarious! Obviously ‘The Revenant’ is a bit more broad, but I think it’s all contextual.”
There are some long stretches of the 2nd act that focus on the characters. It’s kind of a bold choice to give them that much time to breathe. “I look at it as a mathematical decision. If an audience spends more time with a character, whether or not they agree with their moral or ethical code, they kind of grow to like them.”
The film was finished some time ago. What’s it like to have to sit on something that you’re proud of for 10 years? “We shot this in 2008. And at that point I was completely naive about the process of getting something to the screen. I mean we’ve been recutting and tweaking it since then until last year when we delivered it, but the reason we had that long is because it took so long to get a distribution deal for it.”
The Revenant will be playing in the following theaters.
August 24, 2012
Phoenix, AZ – Valley Art
Portland, OR – Hollywood Theater
Columbus, OH – Gateway Film Center
New York, NY – Cinema Village
Austin, TX – Drafthouse S Lamar
August 31, 2012
Denver, CO – Colfax 3
September 7, 2012
Durham, NC – Carolina Theater