Exclusive Interview: Director Eric England Talks Roadside, Revisiting Madison County And More

Director Eric England and company cranked out one of the more popular horror flicks of 2012 with Madison County, a backwoods slasher film that pays a gory homage to 80′s horror movies featuring those iconic killers who wore masks.

The director is really keeping busy because he already has his followup Roadside waiting in the wings and it looks like it’ll be a good Hitchcock style thriller for fans and that’s not all, he has more projects waiting in the wings ready to unleash. England has impressed me with his filmmaking style and story telling and I guarantee you’ll be watching his films for years to come!  They guy has a plan, he’s talented, he knows what the fans want to see and is a director you should keep your eyes on!

Check out my latest “Versus” with Eric England who gives us updates on everything he is working on (except the top secret stuff!), his favorite horror movies of 2012 and lots more!  If you haven’t watched Madison County, give it a try!

Alien Bee - What got you into filmmaking?  Who are your influences?

Eric England – Whoa! This is always a tough question because I don’t have the “I grew up with my home video camera” story like a lot of filmmakers. I was actually an athlete that was a closet movie nerd. When I wasn’t playing basketball, I was watching movies — any and all kinds. But my tastes always gravitated toward the “taboo”, which when you grow up in the Bible Belt.. a lot is Taboo. So when movies like American Pie were coming out, people were saying things like “Don’t go see that, it’s PORN!” — so naturally, I had to see it! And SCREAM (which is my favorite movie) was one of the first horror films I saw in theaters, if not THE first.

As a youngster, my Dad and I would rent movies every Friday night and I grew up on a steady diet of not necessarily “horror films”, but dark and violent films. Things like Beetlejuice, Army of Darkness, Pulp Fiction and Desperado are some of the first films I can actually remember paying attention to. The first “horror films” I ever saw were at age 4. I remember them like they were yesterday.. Night of the Living Dead with my uncle, Fright Night (from down the hall – my Dad wouldn’t let me watch it, ha!), Stephen King’s IT (with my Father) and Beetlejuice at my Grandfathers. My dad always had a taste for the darker side of things which trickled down to me and led to me becoming a hardcore horror fan in my teens.

I don’t know who my “influences” are.. I’m a big believer in not trying to be the next someone, but being the first YOU. But I have a ton of directors that I really love like David Fincher, Alfred Hitchock, Tim Burton (earlier stuff), John Carpenter (earlier stuff), Sergio Leone, Tony Scott, Wes Craven, Coen Brothers, Tarantino, etc. 

Alien Bee - The trailer for your next film Roadside has gotten quite a bit of buzz. Tell me a little about the movie.

Eric England – The movie is my version of a single setting thriller in the vein of Hitchock’s Rope, Rear Window, etc. I love movies that take place in very few locations and are just heavily driven by story. For me, I wanted to make a movie that was completely different from Madison County and something that a broader audience would appreciate. It was always the intention to do something different with each film (which luckily, I’ve been able to do so far). With this, I just wanted to ask the audience.. “What would you do?”. 

I see a lot of movies about people (usually dumb teens) in cars and they make a wrong turn or something stupid like that.. this is the opposite of those films. This is a road that these characters (who aren’t dumb teens, but fairly wealthy, intelligent adults) have gone down a thousands times before.. and they end up being trapped on this road with their car running, their cell phones working, but they can’t leave because this random guy has the upper hand and will shoot them on a moment’s notice. That cat and mouse game was really appealing to me.

Alien Bee - What’s the plan for Roadside? Do you have any distribution yet? Any festival plans?

Eric England –  We’re still figuring everything out. We have a lot of distribution interest, which is great. The plan is the same as always, get it out to the broadest audience possible! 

Alien Bee - Ya’ll got this thing out pretty fast considering Madison County just released a few months ago!

Eric England –  Yeah, I’m kind of a workaholic and even before Madison County, I was thinking about what my next couple of films would be. We (Daniel, Ace and I) just hustled really hard to get Roadside put together as quickly as possible. It was one of those magical times where everything fell into place when we needed it and just a couple of months after writing the first draft, we were on set shooting. I’m a big believer in always staying busy as a filmmaker. You’re only as good as your last film and I never want my last film to be my best. The only way to get better is to keep creating. 

Alien Bee - Can you give me an update on Contracted?

Eric England – Contracted is in post and we just locked picture. So hopefully we’ll be hitting festivals with that early next year. Contracted was a dream experience for me with an amazing cast, crew and team around me. A lot of my Madison County and Roadside team were with me, which made it that much better. The film turned out really great and I’m excited to get it out there. I think people will be surprised by it in a lot of ways!

Alien Bee - Tell me you’re going to do a sequel to Madison County!

Eric England –  That was always the plan from the beginning. I have a really fucking awesome idea for the sequel, but it’s honestly just a timing thing. I’m getting pretty busy and finding a time to head back into the woods is becoming more and more difficult. But if the money and the time lines up correctly, I’d love to tell the rest of the story!

Alien Bee - Ok, what else do you have going on?

Eric England –  Well, in addition to Roadside and post on Contracted, I’m doing a segment for an anthology that’s being produced by CHILLERTV. I start shooting that in 3 weeks in Connecticut. Also directing segments are Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton (YellowBrickRoad), Emily Hagins (My Sucky Teen Romance), Miko Hughes (Pet Sematary, making his directorial debut) and Nick Everhart (The Scout). That should be really rad when it’s all wrapped up! 

I’ve also got a couple of other things that I can’t exactly talk about just yet — but 2013 should be a pretty crazy year! That’s kind of the trend I want to keep going as a filmmaker.. each year just gets better and better. 

Alien Bee - Give me your top 5 horror films from 2012.

Eric England –  Um.. I don’t even know if I have a top 5. I really loved Cabin in the Woods, V/H/S was really good and FINALLY The Loved Ones came out, which is a favorite of mine. Those are 3 I would urge people to seek out. I also think I’m gonna love Sinister. So go see that as well. 

Alien Bee - Would you like to say anything to everyone checking  this out?

Eric England –  Thanks for all your support! You’re the reason filmmakers do what they do. There’s nothing like getting support from those that appreciate what we’re doing. Best feeling ever

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