Interview with the Directors of ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE

Chris Sivertson (left) and Lucky McKee (right)

Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson, directors of 2013 Midnight Madness opening night film All Cheerleaders Die, were kind enough to grant the Midnight Madness Blog an interview in advance of their film's world premiere this Thursday, 11:59PM at the Ryerson. You can find their IMDB pages here: Lucky McKee; and here: Chris Sivertson. You can find Lucky McKee on Twitter here.

Midnight Madness Blog: We recently posted an article about how All Cheerleaders Die is actually a remake. Can you tell me a little bit about the making of the original film? Also, what was it about the concept that made you want to revisit it?

Lucky McKee & Chris Sivertson: We made the original ACD about a year after graduating from USC Film School. We were walking down the street one day after buying some indie movie magazines and were talking about these b-movies that were being shot on video and edited on PC's. Chris said, "Why don't we do one of these?" So we wrote up a script, got a tiny amount of money from our parents and shot the thing over two four day weekends in Lucky's hometown. Our first feature. It made us feel ten foot tall and bullet-proof.

The new and improved All Cheerleaders Die

We decided to tap back into that initial impulse of doing a wild, fun, comical, sexy movie but with all we've learned from our solo careers. After making such heavy movies over the last ten years it has been a delight to work on something so tonally different than what we're known for.

MMB: Several of Lucky's films – May, The Woods, “Sick Girl,” The Woman – have focused substantially more on female characters than most horror films do. All Cheerleaders Die appears to continue this tradition. Can you talk a little bit about the draw of complex female protagonists?

LM/CS: There's just so much uncharted dramatic territory for female characters within the genre.

MMB: The little that we know about All Cheerleaders Die makes it sound like somewhat of a changeup for you guys tonally. The title itself has a playful vibe to it. Midnight Madness programmer Colin Geddes describes the film as “hilarious.” Lucky in particular is coming off of a film that elicited strong visceral reactions from audiences in The Woman. How does the tone of All Cheerleaders Die fit in with the your previous work?

LM/CS: The film is funny, but it's not a comedy. The situation is so wild that a lot of humor comes from it being so outlandish. This isn't a Lucky McKee movie. It's not a Chris Sivertson movie. It's a McKee/Sivertson film and it's what happens when two old friends get hooked on an idea and poke and prod each other to get it up to a level that's entertaining as hell. When we hang out, we don’t talk about heavy shit all that often. We mostly joke around and have a good time, so it’s only natural that feeling would find its way into any collaborations between us.

MMB: With all the credits between the two of you on the film versions of The Lost, Red and The Woman, you guys have set up a really interesting filmmaker-novelist relationship with author Jack Ketchum. How did this relationship begin? And are there plans to continue? Do you have more Ketchum projects in the works?

LM/CS: Between the two of us and our producer, Andrew van den Houten, we’ve been behind all of the Ketchum movies produced thus far. It’s been a lot of fun spreading the gospel of Jack around the globe. Lucky wrote another novel with Ketchum called I'm Not Sam that he would very much like to get on film, as well as a short story called Squirrely Shirley that would fit nicely in an anthology if that opportunity ever comes up. They'll probably write a new book in 2014 if the time is available.

MMB: Your time at the Festival is no doubt going to be very busy, but will you get a chance to actually see any films? Are there any films in Midnight Madness or elsewhere in the Festival that you guys are particularly excited to see?

Vanguard North American premiere The Sacrament directed by Ti West

LM/CS: Very excited to see Ti West’s and Eli Roth's new babies [The Sacrament and The Green Inferno, respectively]. Also been hearing great things about Almost Human. Our colorist worked on both Ti's film and Almost Human, so we're curious to see what his work with other artists looks like. Ti and Eli have gotten stronger as filmmakers with every film they've made, so it's just plain exciting as a fan to see what they've cooked up next. Also excited about The Double. Avi Korine is a gifted writer and just a good person who deserves tons of success. And Horns. First Joe Hill adaptation to hit the big screen! Beyond that, we'd like to see as many films as time allows! We finished our film six days before the festival, so what better way to celebrate than watching as many films as possible? You guys put on a hell of a show.

ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE screening times:
Thu., Sept. 5th, 11:59PM, RYERSON
Fri., Sept. 6th, 3:00PM, BLOOR HOT DOCS
Sun., Sept. 15th, 9:30PM, SCOTIABANK 11

THE GREEN INFERNO screening times:
Sat., Sept. 7th, 11:59PM, RYERSON
Mon., Sept. 9th, 1:30PM, SCOTIABANK 13

ALMOST HUMAN screening times:
Tue., Sept. 10th, 11:59PM, RYERSON
Wed., Sept. 11th, 7:15PM, SCOTIABANK 3
Fri., Sept. 13th, 2:30PM, SCOTIABANK 9

THE SACRAMENT screening times:
Sun., Sept. 8th, 5:15PM, BLOOR HOT DOCS
Tue., Sept. 10th, 9:45PM, SCOTIABANK 7
Fri., Sept. 13th, 8:45 PM, SCOTIABANK 3

HORNS screening times:
Fri., Sept. 6th, 6:00PM, BLOOR HOT DOCS
Sun., Sept. 8th, 1:00PM, SCOTIABANK 4

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