Frightfest Interview: Red Christmas director Craig Anderson Emily Stockham August 10, 2016 Editor's Choice, Film4 Frightfest, Interviews, London, London Interviews 1744 With festive slasher ‘Red Christmas’ debuting for European audiences at Horror Channel’s Frightfest later this month, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to catch up with director Craig Anderson and quiz him on his unusual theme, seasonal films and his next project… Q. Why did you focus on abortion / family ties? I originally set out to write the stupidest idea I could think of (an avenging foetus surviving its own abortion). But on my second draft I freaked out at how anti-abortion the script was. I did some research and realised that in personifying the foetus the movie would always be making a ‘pro-life’ statement. I then spent another year adding other themes to do with reproductive rights and looked to the way tragedies from Ancient Greece dealt with colliding character journeys as opposed to traditional good-v-evil morality plots. Q. Were you worried that people would think you are Pro-life even if it’s not your personal standpoint on the issue? To be honest, I’m real worried about the pro-life thing. I’m not pro-life myself and am not a fan of religion, so after writing the first draft I freaked out. I kind of liked the idea of making a strong ‘right-leaning’ statement in film as they so often push a left-leaning agenda (which I like). But when I read my first draft I freaked out because I just imagined people using the film as a pro-life statement. But then a whole bunch of friends pointed out that it was a pro-life slasher which is already an ironic statement. So I then started talking watching a lot of documentaries on the subject and met with mid-wives, I also paid for some workshops with women I knew to discuss the subject and the construction of the narrative. In the end I’ve tried to sit in the middle and let the viewer see what they want. I wrote Dee’s character to be a woman who chose to have an abortion, because she knew it was the right thing to do to protect her family. But the abortion is interrupted by the religious right who turn the foetus into a person and then raise it to believe what they believe (which is what happens often with real life abortion survivors). The foetus returns and follows through with what Diane always believed would happen if it existed- it destroys her family. Q. The film not only looks at abortion, but disability too – were you worried about broaching these sensitive subjects in a horror film? Hell yeah, especially abortion. But then I watched Tony Kaye’s Lake of Fire (2006) and realised that the ‘debate’ isn’t so binary and that there are loads of issues around reproductive rights left to explore. I had no fear around disability, I’ve worked a lot with people who identify as having a disability, so it was second nature. I was always planning to have a more inclusive cast and when the two subjects intersected I decided to go with it. Q. Why did you choose a Christmas setting? I’m a big fan of Christmas and Christmas films. I love the way Christmas iconography has shifted from religious to commercial and all the symbols exist in a weird emotional, glitzy bauble. Q. What was your favourite kill scene to shoot? I’ve never thought about this. Hmm, Maybe the kitchen blender death, because it was like an eighties horror moment, or the umbrella through the eye death, because it’s straight from Clown College 101. Q. What are you working on next? I’d love to make a fairly unrelated sequel to this film. Red Christmas 2: Coffin Birth, set twenty years after this film. Five young women at college find themselves dealing with misogyny, as a hooded killer is mutilating men on campus. Q. What’s your favourite festive horror? I love the stupidity of Silent Night, Deadly Night, the childhood memories of Gremlins, but without a doubt it would be the awesome proto-slasher Black Christmas, because it’s one of the handful of horror films to deal with abortion.