By MICHAEL GINGOLD
Like many features that began shooting earlier this year, Blood Moon Pictures’ omnibus fright flick 13 SLAYS TILL X-MAS got blindsided by the pandemic, and had to shut down for a while. The filmmaking team eventually found a way to continue safely and recently resumed shooting, with masking, sanitizing and other guidelines in place.
13 SLAYS TILL X-MAS, which we previously told you about here, is produced by P.J. Starks and Eric Huskisson (2nd photo below), who also directed segments; the other filmmakers involved are Brittany Blanton, Sean Blevins, Jed Brian, Shawn Burkett, William Capps, Alex Clark, John Hale, Blair Hoyle, Robert Kern III, Carlos Omar De Leon, Drew Marvick and John Mason.
“When I conceived 13 SLAYS TILL X-MAS more than three years ago,” Starks tells us, “I never dreamed it would become something so special–not to mention being produced at the weirdest time in our lives. Changing gears from Halloween horror to Christmas horror has been an interesting transition, to say the least; nevertheless, everyone’s level of talent, passion, quality and obvious love for the various subgenres is spewing forth in beautiful crimson showers. If you’re into murderers, monsters, demonic possession, vengeful ghosts, bloodthirsty clowns, killer inanimate objects and all things that go jingle in the night, these 13 tales of Yuletide terror are going to be right up your dark alley.”
“For many of us, this has been the most surreal six months of our lives,” Kern notes. “I was so grateful for the opportunity, using every safety measure possible, to get back on set for 13 SLAYS. Horror films are my happy place, and I could not have asked for a better cast and crew to come with me on this adventure.” Blevins equally appreciated the opportunity: “It kind of feels like a class video project, where we get to go crazy with our own little groups and then mash everything together into something that horror fans will hopefully not only enjoy, but will throw on at Christmas parties for years to come.”
“13 SLAYS TILL X-MAS combines two of my favorite things: the unpredictable excitement of horror anthologies and the cozy nature of Christmastime,” Hoyle says. “We all have unique voices and styles, and 13 SLAYS truly showcases the talents of everyone behind and in front of the camera.” Hale adds that the stories are all eschewing the obvious subjects for Christmas fear fare: “When P.J. contacted me, he told me, ‘No killer snowmen and no killer Santa Claus.’ I asked, ‘What about killer reindeer?’ I could tell he was excited to see what I could come up with. Working on this project gave me an opportunity to create a unique holiday horror film that probably wouldn’t be showcased otherwise.”
For his part, 13 SLAYS allowed Brian to explore one particular, long-coveted scary subject: “It was a great opportunity for me to make a clown-themed horror film. That has always been on my list to shoot. 13 SLAYS offered an interesting time of year to apply it to, and the results are very festive!” And Mason says, “It’s awesome to take part in the longstanding tradition of Christmas horror films like GREMLINS, SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT, BLACK CHRISTMAS, KRAMPUS, JINGLE ALL THE WAY 2… What an honor to join up with all of the talented filmmakers involved in this anthology, and as a fan, I can’t wait to see it all.”