29th Jan2018

Horror-On-Sea 2018 Interview: Brett Dejager talks ‘Bonejangles’

by Philip Rogers

Bonejangles is new horror comedy (review here) from director Brett Dejager, which was selected to play at the Horror-on-Sea Film Festival on Saturday 27th January. I got chance to ask Brett a few questions about his influences, taking on the role of creating a new immortal killer in Bonejangles and working with horror legends Elissa Dowling and Reggie Bannister.

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What can we expect from the film Bonejangles?

If there is anything from Bonejangles that horror fans can expect it’s that you will leave the theatre wondering when Bonejangles II will be available! Ha ha, but in all seriousness, Bonejangles is about having fun and making the experience of watching movies fun again. I believe it has a nice balance of slasher and comedy. We took the production of Bonejangles very serious but had a lot of fun with the characters and storyline. So far Bonejangles has been well received and horror fans are liking it.

How did you become involved with the film Bonejangles?

Pure luck! Actually, I met Shaun O’Connell from Labyrinth Films a few years prior at the red-carpet premiere of my sci-fi/drama, The Legend of Cooley Moon. We collaborated on a few projects afterwards and he’s the one who introduced me to Keith Melcher (writer/executive producer of Bonejangles). They were looking for a director that could bring Bonejangles to life and that knew his “horror”. They asked me and of course I said yes.

What makes Bonejangles stand out from other horror icons?

When we made Bonejangles it wasn’t really about standing out from other horror icons. We took elements and inspiration from all the great/classic horror icons (Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, etc.) and melted them all together and Bonejangles is who we got.

Did you take inspiration from any other horror movies when making Bonejangles?

Absolutely. Bonejangles was our way of paying tribute to all the great horror movies out there from the 80s. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Friday 13th (1980), and Halloween (1978) were big inspirations for Bonejangles. We tried being as unique and fresh as possible while integrating elements from those franchises that worked well with horror fans.

Bonejangles acknowledges the classic slasher genre, but feels original because it incorporates so many different concepts and the events don’t unfold as you would expect. Did you have any other ideas which were not used in the film?

We had a lot of ideas that were scripted and planned for all the way up to the start of production. Unfortunately, a lot of our crazy ideas ended up being scrapped due to budget and the fact that some guy stole a large some of our money and practical effects weeks before production started.

You have two horror legends in the film with Elissa Dowling as Rowena and Reggie Bannister as Edgar Sr. What were they like to work with?

They were amazing! Seriously, that’s why the horror industry loves those two. They work hard and are genuinely great people. They oozed creativity from the time they landed in SD. It was definitely a pleasure working with them both.

What was your favourite scene in the movie?

That’s a tough one! Every time I watch the movie I enjoy it more and more, which is rare because normally I don’t watch my work. My favourite scene in Bonejangles… Likely when Clint chainsaws his own face. That was a last-minute decision on set and I always get a crack out of it.

Did you find it difficult both directing and acting in the film?

Not at all. My bit part was so small that it wasn’t a big deal at all.  I love directing but it was really fun acting as well so I wouldn’t mind expanding that avenue sometime down the road. It’s certainly a craft that requires diligence and hard work.

Are there any plans for a sequel to Bonejangles and what could we expect?

Bonejangles II and Bonejangles III are on their way whether the fans want them or not! The scripts are ready to roll. The fans can expect the same humour and even more over the top kills. Having parts two and three will really allow us to finish the story and provide true closure.

Do you have any other projects which you are working on at the moment?

I just wrapped up directing two segments in the upcoming horror anthologies, 10/31 and Cryptids. 10/31 just released this Halloween and was brought to you by mastermind, Rocky Gray. Cryptids (Zane Hershberger, Justin Seaman) is just wrapping up post-production, but I’m not exactly sure the release date. Both anthologies will give horror fans exactly what they crave and include segments from a lot of upcoming filmmakers. I’m also gearing up to start filming my segment for another new horror anthology this February. It’s being made by a lot of great midwestern filmmakers and will be centred around horror stories in Minnesota/Wisconsin/South Dakota, etc. There are also some feature length scripts I’d love to get made (‘Tis the Season of the Witch, Bonejangles II), and I’ll be working on securing funding for those in the next months. That’s always the tricky part. A lot of great scripts ready to bring to life.

If someone is looking to direct their first film, what advice would you give them?

Pre-production is your best friend! Make sure to spend adequate time planning every little detail out. Of course, once you actually start production those plans will likely go out the window but at least you’ll know the script like the back of your hand and will feel prepared to make last minute changes and problem solve when everything falls apart. But most importantly persevere. MAKE THE MOVIE. Don’t give up when things start feeling like they are falling apart. Problem solve and make do with what you have. Oh, and drink plenty of water.

Bonejangles screened at the Horror-on-Sea Festival on Saturday 27th January at 7:30pm.
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You can find out more information on the event and purchase tickets from the Horror-on-Sea website https://www.horror-on-sea.com

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