I recently sat down for an interview with writer-director-Scream Queen Deborah Voorhees, who starred in Friday the 13th: New Beginning, to talk about her upcoming horror film 13 Fanboy, a film about a killer stalking actresses from the Friday the 13th franchise. I learned during our conversation that the film was inspired by true events which makes the movie more frightening in my book.
The cast features some of the biggest names from the franchise, including 3 actors who have played Jason Voorhees. Kane Hodder (Jason: Friday the 13th VII and VIII, Jason Goes to Hell), C.J. Graham (Jason: Friday the 13th VI), Thom Mathews (Friday the 13th VI), Judie Aronson (Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter), Jennifer Banko (Friday the 13th VII), and Ron Sloan (Friday the 13th V). The cast also includes, Drew Leighty (Never Hike Alone), Hayley Greenbauer (Chapters) and Vincente DiSanti who played Jason Voorhees in the fan film Never Hike Alone and “The Shape” in The Spirit of Haddonfield. More cast will be announced in the near future.
Horror Fuel: “Tell me about your movie, 13 Fanboy.”
Deborah Voorhees: “I’m super excited about it. It’s about an obsessed fan who is stalking, with the intent to kill his favorite actresses from Friday the 13th. It is a fictional full-length feature. It is not a fan film at all. It is going to be in theaters and get a wide release as far as DVD and streaming. It isn’t directly associated with Friday the 13th and it’s very different from the Friday the 13th franchise. It is much more realistic because it is something that could actually happen.
More than one woman from the Friday the 13th franchise has had this issue. I actually wrote this script for Adrianne King. She and I had talked prior to me writing it. She really liked the idea and was excited about it, but by the time I finished with the script, (in fact, we just had a talk about this a few days ago) she read it and confided in me that it was close to what really happened to her and that as much as she wanted to it, she needed to back away. It’s such a great role, but I’m having to re-cast that particular role. But it’s very realistic. If you think of some films like Hush and Cape Fear that are very realistic, and the stalker is right there, that’s what this film is. And add in the horror kills that Friday the 13th fans love so much.
The film is going to be using all practical effects. In fact, we are going to be using Tom Savini’s top student. Her name is Nora Hewitt. She’s going to be doing at least part of the effects. When we went to Tom Savini and she was the person he recommended.”
Horror Fuel: “It sounds amazing. I love that it is realistic. Those types of films get under my skin. I hate that any actress has to deal with stalkers. I’m sure it was a very traumatic thing that Mrs. King went through. It would be for anyone.
I saw the teaser on your Indiegogo page. It’s hilarious.
Deborah Voorhees: “That is something we did instead of having a regular Indiegogo video. Basically, we created a little mini horror film just as a nod to the Friday the 13th franchise to say ‘We know you, we care about you, and we want to entertain you while we tell you about our Indiegogo project.’
Horror Fuel: “I got a kick out of it.”
Deborah Voorhees: “Good.”
Horror Fuel: “What inspired the title?”
Deborah Voorhees: “We went back and forth so many times on titles, between Friday Fanboy, Fanboy. We went through several. Once we came up with the 13 Fanboy, it just made perfect sense. It is showing respect to the Friday the 13th franchise and it’s about a fanboy of Friday the 13th.”
Horror Fuel: “I was curious because in the Indiegogo video they mention someone posting a video. I was wondering if it was like a Twitter handle.
What made you want to come back to the franchise?”
Deborah Voorhees: “Over the years, the Friday the 13th fans have been really kind to me. I’d been looking for a project that is right for them. This one, I have to say it took me a little bit to agree to it. What happened was, I was talking with my producing partner Joel Paul Reisig and we were talking about a couple of other films that we are working on getting off the ground and he asked me about going to conventions and I said that they are just so much fun. The fans are just so sweet. It’s so much fun because there’s this happiness in the air. People may be dressed up in these scary looking costumes, but they lift up their mask and they’ve got these big, bright smiles. You get to be a kid and play dress up. Then he asked if there was ever a scary moment. I said ‘No, not really.’ Then I told him about a couple of instances, one was online, I can’t say if it was a fan or not or somebody playing a practical joke, but it was scary. We used some of that in the film. He said, ‘This is a movie.’ They were saying things that were kind of scary. When he said, ‘This is a movie,’ it sent chills up my spine. I was like, ‘Oh, wow.’ I wasn’t sure I wanted to get into it. It can be so real, so scary. Then, after I slept on it, or didn’t sleep on it, I finally decided that I needed to make it. If it can scare me like this, it should really scare people. This is a great horror movie and I was able to bring some of the Friday the 13th people back. This is the perfect opportunity for it. I called Joel back up and said ‘Let’s do it.’ He and I sat down and wrote a highly detailed outline and knew every scene. From there I fleshed it out and finished it up. The support for the film has just been incredible in such a short amount of time.
Horror Fuel: “I’m glad that you decided to make 13 Fanboy. I saw that you have almost reached your Indiegogo campaign goal.”
Deborah Voorhees: “We are at eighty-six percent right now. We do have private investors as well. This money is going to help a lot when it goes to do the practical effects that we want and some bells and whistles that we really want to do.”
Horror Fuel: “Congrats! That’s great news. I noticed that you have some really cool perks.”
Deborah Voorhees: “Yeah, we do. That’s one of the things we really wanted to do. I really want the fans involved because this is for them. This wouldn’t have happened without the fans. They’re the reason I wanted to do this, to begin with. There had to be a way to involve them. Starting at $13 you can get your name in the credits. There are also different levels of producers there. You can get your family photo in there.
I had open auditions for fans to send in their music to possibly be included in the film. I’ve also invited them to send in their artwork. We have one house where one of our characters has a lot of horror art on their walls so we’ve invited people to send in there art. There are so many different possibilities of things you can do. You can even get killed on the set.
Horror Fuel: “I think it’s amazing that you’re giving fans so many opportunities to get involved. It’s every horror fan’s dream to get killed in a horror movie.”
Deborah Voorhees: “I’ve been hearing that everyone wants to get killed on the set. We opened up that as a possibility. My goal is to have as many people involved as possible who are fans. For example, Vincente DiSanti is going to be doing our stunt work, he’s a huge Friday the 13th fan. The cast are all professional actors and fans. That’s our goal, to have people that are really passionate and care about the franchise.
Horror Fuel: “That’s fantastic. It makes a big difference when a film means something to those involved. If someone wanted to submit a piece of art or music where would they send it?”
Deborah Voorhees: “They can send it to [email protected] They can address it to me with “Art for 13: Fanboy”, the same for music. The horror auditions have already ended but when I open it up for professional actors I’m more than happy to let fans audition as well.”
Horror Fuel: “To be able to see or hear fans’ work in it is amazing. You don’t get opportunities like that often.
I love the Friday the 13th franchise. The original was the first horror movie I ever watched, so it has a special place in my heart. After I saw it I slept under my bed for a week then realized I wanted more [laughter]. I was nine at the time.
Deborah Voorhees: “I hear that a lot. It was mine too. Think about the physical responses that the body has. When you get old enough you realize that it’s a safe fear, though it took me a really long time to learn that [laughter]. I was slow. I love it, but man it scares the crap out of me, especially ghost movies. You can’t prove that they are not there.”
Horror Fuel: “They still get to me too. But I love it. I think horror movies help us work out our real fears, like killers who are really out there on the street and things we don’t have answers to like ghosts.”
Deborah Voorhees: “Absolutely. I think that horror fans are the kind of people who face their fears head-on.”
Horror Fuel: “I think that’s true. We are also the best group of fans out of any genre.”
Deborah Voorhees: “I agree. Honestly, I do. I have found that horror fans are so kind. And I’ve heard that from many actors who have crossed genres. They’re in superhero or comedy or other genres they’ve been in when they’ve gone to conventions and they all say that the nicest fans you’ll ever meet are horror fans. I’ve never found any exception to that. I swear by it. I think horror fans are just amazing. When I started meeting horror fans I was like, ‘Wow. I want to hang out with these people.”
Horror Fuel: “I guess you don’t normally expect someone carrying a big knife or machete and covered in blood to be friendly. But horror fans are the best.”
Deborah Voorhees: “But they are. They are everything you would not expect.”
Horror Fuel: “I agree. Speaking of fans, when can fans expect to see 13: Fanboy?”
Deborah Voorhees: “We’re still in logistics and we are still working on schedules, but our goal is to release in October 2019. We are going to have a theatrical release. The distributors that we’ve talked to, one, in particular, is wanting to do it for Halloween or on a Friday the 13th week release.”
Horror Fuel: “Friday the 13th would be so fitting.”
Deborah Voorhees: “We have two next year, one in September and one in December.”
Horror Fuel: “Oh, wow. That would be great.”
Horror Fuel: “I’m glad to know that by this time next year we will have seen it or are about to. I’m very excited about 13 Fanboy.
Where can fans find you on social media?”
Deborah Voorhees: “I have a horror group on Facebook, Deborah Voorhees Shear Horror. I also have 13 Fanboy on Facebook. I’ve just joined Twitter and Instagram.”
Deborah Voorhees is an inspiring woman who has entertained us both as an actress in films like Friday the 13th: A New Beginning, Appointment with Fear, and the series “Dallas”, and as a filmmaker directing Billy Shakespeare, Othello: Good Night My Sweet, and Catching up. She’s kind and genuine and has an infectious laugh. She was truly a pleasure to interview.
Be sure to follow 13 Fanboy on social media for updates. This is going to be one horror movie you’re not going to want to miss. Check out the 13 Fanboy Indiegogo campaign that features some really cool perks like autographed merchandise and even film credits.