Q&A: Daniel Farrands

I chatted with filmmaker Daniel Farrands about the legacy of “Halloween 6” and his new film “Ted Bundy: American Boogeyman”

Why the horror genre?

I was the right age at the right time. I was a teen when the horror franchises we love now were coming out. I became obsessed with “Friday The 13th”, “Nightmare On Elm Street” and “Halloween” series. When I was fourteen I wrote a letter to Frank Mancuso Jr, who was the producer of the “Friday The 13th” films at the time. Low and behold he wrote back! He said it was the first time he had ever responded to a fan because my letter stuck out. He said he couldn’t believe I was writing at that level at fourteen years old. He told me to pursue.

And then years later, didn’t you have a hand in one of the Jason documentaries?

More than one of them ::laughs:: There was a period in my life where Jason was all I thought about. “His Name Was Jason” was the first one I did. I was recruited to do the special features work by Paramount on the Special Edition DVD’s they were planning at the time. I found a lot of lost footage for “Final Chapter”, parts six and seven as well. In the meantime, we had done a book called “Crystal Lake Memories”, which is the definitive “Friday The 13th” coffee table book. A few years later, we adapted the book into a feature length documentary. The first person I called was Frank Mancuso Jr. He came in and was interviewed as a favor for me.

As a horror fan, what was it like being able to write a “Halloween” movie?

It was a thrill of a lifetime. I was only twenty four when I got that job. The fact that it was happening for me was hard to process at the time. Yet, here I was being handed the reins to the horror franchise I loved growing up. I’ll be forever grateful for that experience.

What will the legacy of “Halloween 6” be?

I think it depends who you talk to. Some people abhor it. Those have a fondness for it. It may depend on where you were when you saw it. Was it the first one you ever saw? Did you see it in the theater opening night with a crowd of people? Some people have a lot of affection for it. Especially if they’ve researched the different versions and the studio fuckery that went with it. I think the legacy for me is being asked questions about it twenty some years later. I never in a million years thought you and I would have this conversation. It’s amazing the longevity of the movie and the franchise.

What was it like working with Paul Stephen Rudd before he was the superstar, Paul Rudd?

(shout out to Kelly Hager for this question)

I don’t ever remember calling him Paul Stephen Rudd. ::laughs: He was just Paul. He was just a part of our little rebellious Gen X’ers that were given an opportunity. We were all so happy to be there.  We all became fast and good friends. When you’re in a Mormon City like Salt Lake, there’s nothing to really do after 6pm. You find creative ways to have fun. I have fond memories of him and I just laughing and talking about the things that we love. I remember specifically when he found out that I was a massive fan of the franchise and how I got the job. He changed in that moment. He wanted to get the part right and took it all very seriously with a lot of love.

I ran into him on a flight ten years ago. We saw each other and both went “Oh my god!” There was a hug and he introduced me to his wife. He was the same guy I was remember. Now he’s Ant Man, so ::laughs:: I couldn’t be prouder of him. A literal superstar rose from our little horror sequel.

You launched him!

I’m always waiting for my commission ::laughs:: I remember when he told us that he booked “Clueless” and would start filming it right after we wrapped. We were very thrilled for him.

You have a new movie called “Ted Bundy: American Boogeyman” coming out soon. Why now?  

I don’t know if there’s an answer really for that. There was a resurgence of interest in him. Several streaming documentaries and a film with Zac Efron came out last year. I came away from those being moved. I had an idea about a Bundy-like killer and it had always in the back of my mind. When I watched the Amazon documentary and seeing the people whose lives were destroyed by this man AND the law enforcement team who tracked him down, it got me thinking that I’ve never seen that side of the story on film before. I wanted to tend to things that some of the other films hadn’t touched on. Like his lack of humanity, his narcissism, his brutality..and in particular the lives who he affected and stole from. It’s all seen through the lens of a young detective based in Seattle.

You wrote and directed the film. Which was harder and why?  

We were the first independent feature to be greenlit to go back to work by SAG and the Director’s Guild, during the height of the pandemic and it was pretty nerve wrecking for everyone. We were a small crew and really tempting fate. Now, the protocols are pretty standard, but it was all new for everyone at that time. We held tight to each other. We created bubbles so people on the outside couldn’t infiltrate so it kind of made it scarier. Writing it was challenging; because writing is never easy. But in terms of the physical production, that was more challenging.

You got to work with horror icon Lin Shaye in this..

She is! She didn’t like that we called her a horror in the trailer because she wanted it to be about the film. She’s VERY selfless and I mean that in the best possible way. She’s the elder of the cast and she was taking the greatest risk in playing with us. She plays the part of Bundy’s mother Louise, who is such a strange and sad and tragic woman. Lin brought what she brings into any part – gravitas and humanity. I adore her and I’m so grateful she agreed to take part of it. We kept her VERY safe in our bubble.

Are you excited about the films release by Fathom Events?

Of course! It’s a one night sneak preview before it hits video on demand in September. You work so hard on something for so long and you live in a bubble. And then to share it with the world is pretty exciting. It’s always thrilling and eternally grateful that I’ve continued to work.

“Ted Bundy: American Boogeyman” will be released in theaters ONE NIGHT ONLY, August 16th, by Fathom Events! Buy tix