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  • Writer's pictureMartyn Wakefield

Rob Savage (INTERVIEW)

Rob Savage set the world alight in it's darkest hour as HOST gave life to horror at a time when film making in general was ceased. Now, Rob Savage returns with more found footage but this time dares to show more.


Rob firstly. Thank you for taking time to speak to us. I appreciate your quite busy with the release of a dash cam coming out quite soon so appreciate you're hot on the press trail at the moment.

Rob Savage:

Yes well that and I'm in the edit on this new movie as well so I'm kind of juggling both.

So firstly, DASHCAM is coming out here in June. so let's start with with how it came about and you know how did you get the the idea for DASHCAM?

Well Jed Shepard. One of the co-writers, he produces Annie's podcast and he'd kind of bought my attention to her show Band Car which is a real show she does which drives around and freestyle raps to comments that her fans send her. And he was like this is a way cool setup for horror movies.

Like hell, yeah. So we kind of like started throwing ideas around, We just, we got Brett. We used to live around the corner from each other. So we got breakfast one morning, and we kind of came up with this idea of Annie doing like DoorDash and basically being tasked with taking this elderly woman from point A to point B, and she's possessed.

And, you know, and chaos ensues. Basically, our pitch was like, it's THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL but in a moving car which we thought was like a cool pitch. And so, we took that around and we pitched it around. This was like 2018, maybe 2019 and nobody knew who we were. Nobody cared. Nobody said yes. And it just went in a draw somewhere and then HOST came about. And I made the deal with with Jason (Blumhouse) to make three movies for Blumhouse and I just wanted to dive straight into another movie right now to HOST and use the same team and just just keep that same creative momentum going.

And so we pulled DASHCAM out of the drawer and thought this could be a really cool follow-up, this is something that's expensive. And and you know much much bigger and goat than host, it's something that we can get out in the real world as opposed to being confined to our houses and it's something we can shoot in a similar way to HOST.

We can shoot an improvised with iPhones and we can use the same team to try and get this going pretty fast.

So you mentioned obviously Annie's show and they're bringing into how interesting was that to blend the real world with the, you know, the horror that that comes soon after?

I mean, it's great. That, you know, that the thing that was really exciting about seeing Band Car is that's Annie's brain working in real time. Like, you can see it like, you know, her viewers. Give her these comments and she'll incorporate them into a freestyle rap.

And it's like there's no one better at improvising than Annie. And so watching watching her Band Car show, it was like okay we don't need to have a full script, we don't need to have months of prep. All we need to do is build a framework within, you know, within which and you can can work and we can kind of you know, we can throw these different situations out and see how to see how she reacts.

Yeah, it what you know and it's it's which isn't isn't to say that it's totally improvised we had, you know, we had a character arc for her, she's playing a different, a different character, but that kind of like sharp spontaneous wit was basically that was off. That was our fail.

So because we didn't have time to write a script. Hey, did well incorporating that, that's great, you know, great character development for for money in terms of you know it's a believable character will, you know, able to kind of leap frog off, you know, a real persona. So you know that's quite interesting way of doing it.

I don't want to go too far into spoiler territory but there is a lot that goes on in that position. Yeah. What were the ideas to bring that that to life?

I've got I've got like a bucket list of things that I want to do in the horror genre and and I always wanted to haunted house movie and host was kind of a haunted house movie and then I've always wanted to make like a splatter movie. And so possessions are much more, you know, possession.

Movies are much more kind of visceral and bodily, and I wanted to make a movie where I could do something a bit more physical rather than done metaphysical. And so, you know, that gave me the excuse to throw every single bodily liquid at the screen and really work closely with Dan Martin who's our special effects person who you know, I've worked with him a bunch of times but I think haven't quite unleashed in the way that we did on dashcam at the beginning of the process we did this with host as well.

We you got all of the heads of department together and and I basically was like, look, here's the story. We go A to B to C. This is this is the part these, the characters. Now you pitch me, your craziest ideas. Tell me what we can do. We haven't got very much money, but is there something great?

Is there some crazy blood effect? You've always wanted to do is there's something that you think we can pull off within this moving vehicle. This is our stage. What can we, what can we achieve and Dan has just the most incredible brain for horror and was was pitching. He was like, you know, there was this, there's this idea that I had for possessor and they didn't let me do it so why don't we put it in this?

I was like hell yeah, give it to me. And so it was, it was, it was fun to just You push those practical effects in this movie. I was quite extreme to get admitted from possessor as well. Yeah, I know exactly. Right. But yeah. Obviously you mentioned host and obviously the the whole theme of COVID falls into dash cam and watching that.

Now how difficult is it for you to kind of make these films in a Covid environment that there's not much experience in and actually how do you see the longevity of that?

I think there's something valuable about making movies in this weird time that we're going through that are about the weirdness that we're all experiencing.

I think it's it's cathartic for people to see it on screen and recognise themselves in it. And I also think it's a good just it's a good document of where our heads were at the you know these different these different times during the pandemic. When HOST was conceived it was shot and released all within three months. It was very fast. DASHCAM was shot right after that in 2020. So really DASHCAM is really about 2020. That's the atmosphere in which it was, it was birthed. It's still works in its relevant now in 2022.

HOST is much more nihilistic but it's also got a bit of that sweetness and optimism of the start of lockdown when we're all jumping on Zoom and doing, you know, doing board games and quizzes and clapping for the NHS. Whereas DASHCAM really came out of the that kind of anger and cynicism of the winter lockdown, and not being able to see your grandma for Christmas and everyone yelling at each other, and the Trump/Biden election. And just think it's a much noisier movie, because it was a much noisy.

And also, we'd just been released from our homes, like wild animals and we wanted to go and do something crazy. Yeah, absolutely. It's this strange time that we're living in and it's great that we've got these documented films and both DASHCAM and HOST are really kind of you top of the list in terms of how can we keep making film and entertainment during this time I suppose?

How did you feel about the reception to HOST? Because there is no denying that is one of the greatest films that's come out since 2020. There's been a lot of big films come out but actually, you know, HOST adapted so well to the climate and gave us some great horror along with it.

It was surreal because we were, we were still kind of semi and lockdown when host came out. So it was it was an amazing feeling, but it was also a bit. You know, I felt slightly at a distance from it because it was all happening on Twitter. It was all happened virtually and and also you know, as much as I love the rest, the reception to host, the the thing that really energised me from that whole process was, was working with my friends, to make to make that movie working with the cast, like, improvising, that movie turning up every day during lockdown.

And having a creative outlet. I think that's part of the reason the host works. So well, is because we're all having such a good time making it and we're all just felt in such creative place and that was really what I was chasing with dash cam and, you know, dash cam was the most fun I've ever had on a, on a set and working with Annie was was one of the most rewarding like partnerships and, you know, so it was really that I was chasing.

It was like, what's what's gonna make me feel present and engaged and and how can how can we keep having fun and that'll lead to, that'll lead to something worth watching. Hopefully, and what is better than actually doing a job that you love? You know, there's there's nothing that contest to that.

So you mentioned you've got you've got a three film deal with with Jason (Blum) what is the next chapter?

I need to figure out what the next, what? Like, if it's gonna be another found footage, then I need to figure out what's worth going back into that sub genre again because HOST and DASHCAM are polar opposites and I loved that, you know, like THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE versus TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2. Very different movies and that's by design and and so I don't want to I don't want to go and just make another found footage, movie for the sake of it.

There's a couple of other little movies that I'd love to do with with Blumhouse just because they're so creative, they're such good creative partners and they give me a lot of autonomy to make these movies. I've just got to figure out what the what the right one would be.

I've just finished it. Just finished a new movie called THE BOOGEYMAN based on the Stephen King short story. So I'm in post on that at the moment. Yeah, as soon as I come up for air.

I'll probably want to go and do a smaller movie like another Blumhouse movie, probably.

That's great. The found footage movement went through a bit of a lull in recent years and you've given it absolutely new life and there's evidentially still a lot to to explore. I mean interestingly, the first interview ever did for BloodGuts UK was with Eduardo Sanchez. So it kind of shows the scale and legacy of the genre. That was 10 years ago and we still here talking about found footage.

Totally agree.

DASHCAM is in cinemas from June 3rd 2022.

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