While DC and Marvel are busy turning out adaptations of epic comic book series, there’s another comic adaptation headed our way based on the Rottentail comic created by David C. Hayes, Kevin Moyers, Kurt Belcher, and Henrik Horvath.
Corin Nemec, who has been in a long list of fantastic films like Bundy: A Legacy of Evil and Chicago Massacre: Richard Speck and hit series such as “Ghost Whisperer” and “Supernatural”, stars as scientist Peter Cotten mutated into a half man/bunny creature in Rottentail.
Directed by Brian Skiba, this horror-comedy tells the bizarre tale of young Peter Cotton, who grew up in the town of Easter Falls and loves rabbits. Peter’s Science project on rabbit breeding is ruined when the school bullies beat up and actually kill his rabbit. Years later, the kind but still shy Dr. Cotton works steadily and gently with his rabbits to cure human infertility. Unbeknownst to Peter, the military is perverting his work, developing fierce soldiers with strength far exceeding a human of their size, and with Peter’s fertility serum, the ability to breed in the field.
Peter discovers the true nature of the experiment and attempts to stop it. But in an accident of poetic justice, a bite from an experimental mutant rabbit combines with Peter’s own serum to transform him into the evil Rottentail. This creature heads to Easter Falls to exact revenge on the wrongdoings of his youth and to finally lay claim to the love of his life… and his timing could not be better since Easter Falls’ biggest day of the year is coming and the entire town will be there to watch the Annual Easter Parade.
I sat down for an interview with Nemec and Skiba to find out more about this fun horror flick, its filming, challenges and more.
Horror Fuel: “What was it like taking Rottentail from the comic to the screen?”
Brian: “It was a process for sure. It took about a year and a half. The actual original writer, David Haze had written the first draft of the screenplay, so then I came on board the project and started a rewriting process. The first draft is a direct rip of the comic, I wanted to do more of a…tell the story that’s in the graphic novel but go a little deeper. We dug in to tell Rottentail’s origin story which in the graphic novel was briefly glazed upon. I thought that was important. That’s how we took it from there and once we finished, the publisher had some investors and we went to filming.”
Horror Fuel: “That’s great that you can really tell his story.
What look will the film have?”
Brian: “The look is very unique to the 80s. The film takes place in 1983. I not only wanted to take the film to 1983. We gave it kind of a 16mm look. We also gave it sort of a VHS type feel. Watching it, it’s very much this grindhouse type feel to the film. We didn’t have a huge budget, it’s not Marvel by any means, but it worked, the look of the film, the feel of the film. It’s an homage to early 80s grindhouse. It’s very brightly colored.
Horror Fuel: “The trailer looks great!”
Horror Fuel: “Just by looking at the trailer, it’s plain to see that the makeup had to have taken hours. How long did it take to transform Corin into Rottentail?”
Brian: “The first time we did it, it took almost three hours. I hired Todd Tucker of Illusion Industries, I didn’t hire him, he picked me. Todd is at the point in his career where he doesn’t have to just take any project, he’s a very accomplished makeup artist.”
Corin: “We did the testing at their offices, their studio. That was rad. The makeup was about a two-hour process typically and about an hour and a half to get it off at the end of the day.”
Horror Fuel: “Wow. I don’t think I could sit there that long.”
Corin: “It was well worth it.”
Horror Fuel: “I’m sure that it is. How did you come to be making the movie? Did you read the comics and then get the rights? How did it happen?”
Brian: “They actually reached out to me. I’ve known the writer for probably going on fifteen years. He was a professor at a film school at the University of Arizona where I went. My junior year at college I entered one of my films to the film festival there. My short won the festival, from there it went to Sundance, then David and I just kept in contact. He eventually got a publisher on board to make it into a film and David reached out to me. He said, ‘Hey, I’d like you to direct this thing.’ I read the graphic novel and it was hilarious. We didn’t have to option it, it was through the publisher.”
Corin: “I was really, really excited to be involved. The graphic novel version is just outrageous. It’s a perfect graphic novel for this genre, the way it’s written and everything. When I saw that it turns into a half man, half rabbit, my jaw dropped. It’s hilarious.”
Horror Fuel: “So it’s more of a horror comedy?”
Brian: “You’ll laugh often, we hope.”
Horror Fuel: “Just judging from the trailer, I’m sure we will.”
Corin: “Kind of like in the vein of how Chucky was and the horror comedies of the 80s were. I call them horror comedies, but they were really tongue-in-cheek. But I think this one is a step beyond. It really has some laugh out loud scenes. It is very well directed by Brian and we had an incredible team together out there in Pheonix. It was a tough shoot with a skeleton crew, but everyone was on their game. I think what we did was pull off something very special and hopefully we’ll follow this up with another one.”
Horror Fuel: “That’s great! I’m glad to hear that you two are already talking about a sequel. I love 80’s style horror. It was the golden days of the genre.”
Brian: “This film is set in the 80s. It has that feel in terms of production design, wardrobe, the settings, and all of that.”
Horror Fuel: “What was the most difficult aspect of filming?”
Brian: “I guess I live for difficult moments. I like those times. It’s when I thrive. But I would say the weather was the worst. We ended up having rain storms and we had a church we built get flooded.”
Corin: “Oh, that’s right.”
Brian: “We were in Arizona and you don’t think Arizona would have flooding, but sure enough, we had flooding for three days. It ended up pushing the shoot I think three or four days. It wasn’t great, that’s for sure. It was an obstacle. But the cast was amazing, I absolutely love working with Corin. Our crew was a little inexperienced, but you know what, they stuck through it. But yeah, definitely weather.”
Corin: “The weather was great for me because I was stuck in that hot ass suit all the time. It was really could because we were in February in the high desert there, so it got very chilly, especially at night. It worked out great for me.
I would say that the schedule was really tight because of the budget on this first one. Brian had a lot that he had to accomplish in a very short amount of time. And each of the departments really had a lot that they needed to accomplish in a small amount of time at a lower budget than one would normally like to work with. For me, it was just the amount of stuff we had to do in the amount of time. I think the average director would have caved in on day 6. But I love Brian. It was our first time working together. Since then, I’m always blown away by what he can accomplish with such a short schedule. With other directors I’ve worked with, it would have been impossible to get all of the shots and get everything done as well as he gets it done. They might get it done, but not the way Brian gets it done.
We had such a great cinematographer working with Brian. His eye for lighting and everything like that really brought a life to it that it needed very much. It has a dark, realistic feel to it which I think adds to the comedy of it. A lot of comedies, in general, have flat lighting in general, not a lot of depth to them, but this follows the tradition of the old horror films, I’m sure it follows them now, but I don’t like a lot of the horror films going on now. I’m just not attracted to a lot of the horror films that have come out recently. But the cinematography is great. Brian and our cinematographer Patrice worked really great together.”
Horror Fuel: “If you had to describe Rottentail in just four words what they be?”
Corin: “In four words? It’s hippity, hoppity, homicide! (laughter)”
Horror Fuel: “(Laughter) That is hilarious! I love that! When is it set to be released? I need to see this movie!”
Brian: “You can purchase the DVD on a kind of pre-sale pre-order. It’s coming now in a bunch of theaters across the U.S. this weekend, on the 12th as well for the Easter weekend.”
Horror Fuel: “What a perfect time to release Rottentail! Do you already have a time planned to start working on the sequel?”
Brian: “We have a script we’ve kind of hashed out, but Corin and I haven’t really dived into it. It’s one the writer wrote about what he thought would be a sequel. Corin and I will go back through it and work some magic. But hopefully, it’ll be soon.”
Horror Fuel: “What movies have you worked together on since completing Rottentail?”
Corin: “We’ve done a number of movies for Lifetime. They’ve all been very well received both by Lifetime and the fan base they have over at Lifetime.”
Horror Fuel: “I like Lifetime. I’m not gonna lie. They have some great movies. ”
Brian: “Watch out for Deadly Excursion. That’s the latest one we have. They’ve actually asked for a sequel, so we’re putting that together now.”
Horror Fuel: “Congratulations on a getting a sequel! I’ll have to see if I can track Deadly Excursion down and watch it.”
Brian: “It will be on Vudu May 1st.”
Horror Fuel: “Awesome, I’ll definitely check it out. ”
Be sure to follow director Brian Skiba on Facebook and Twitter, as well as Corin Nemec on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on their projects. For more on Rottentail the movie or to grab some merchandise, visit the official Facebook and Twitter pages.