"My name is Kevin Sommerfield and watching people die makes me
feel so alive."
Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Kevin Sommerfield
and I am a recent graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh with a degree in Radio-TV-Film. I am a huge 80s slasher
fans and own over a thousand different horror movies. I started watching horror movies at the age of six and
I guess you can say that I never looked back.
your favorite scary movie?
A: This answer changes every few months. Right now it's Black
Christmas. I sincerely believe that Black Christmas is the perfect slasher, it was just ahead of its time. It
came out in 1974, a full four years before Halloween and yet, for some reason, Halloween continues to receive
all of the acclaim. It really is a brilliant little slasher filled with likable characters, a great killer, and a chilling
Q: I agree, the ending to Black Christmas is unmatched. The
"random act of violence" idea really did it for me. Which brings up an interesting point, when looking
at a new slasher there are two things that always manage to draw my attention; plot, are they at least attempting to do something
different, and killer, how much creativity went into the appearance, back story or otherwise. I am in love with 80s
style practical gore effects (NOT CGI), but I firmly believe that nothing beats a character driven suspense piece.
What are some of the things that draw you to slasher films?
me, first and foremost, a slasher film must have likable characters. If the audience doesn't care about the characters, it
doesn't matter how amazing the death scenes are. It is easy for writers to create assholes that we cannot wait to see killed
but to create a full flesh-and-blood three dimension character is much harder. Also, I strongly believe that a slasher is
only as strong as its final girl. This is the reason that Halloween, Black Christmas, and A Nightmare
on Elm Street are so well remembered today.
your favorite slasher death scene?
A: Phillip's death from A Nightmare on Elm Street 3:
Dream Warriors. The way that Freddy slices open Phillip's veins to turn him into a human puppet is quite disturbing.
It gave me nightmares when I was a kid and I couldn't watch the scene until well into my teenage years.
Q: Did you plan on doing what you're currently doing back in school? Producing,
writing, acting, directing, but also in horror, and more specifically slasher films, were these all directions that you intended
A: I've known that I wanted to be a part of horror movies,
specifically slasher films, since I was a young boy. I spent my childhood curled up in front of the television set ready to
be taken in by the blood and gore and the excitement of a brand new horror movie. As a teen, I knew that I loved that feeling
so much that I just had to share it with the world. To this date, I have the most fun with 80s slashers and they bring back
all sorts of good memories. I want people to have the same experience with our films.
you work on any other slasher films while you were in school?
wrote the script for Popularity Killer and a script for a yet-to-be-produced slasher named The It List during
my college years, but sadly I didn't get a chance to make any slashers of my own.
Q: There's obviously a strong bond between you and Steve and
your love for the sub-genre, so take us back. Take us back to when Slasher Studios began, how did you two meet up?
think it was in 2003, I had just moved to the area and found a job at a retail store. I met Steve there and we instantly bonded.
I showed him my love for bad 80s slashers and he caught on to the genre immediately. He moved to Arizona a short time later
but we continued to keep in touch and we wrote each rough drafts of Teddy communicating back and forth via e-mail.
It was a new, exciting time for both of us and each film since then has had that same rush. I love it!
Q: What has the reaction been, overall, to you two starting Slasher Studios? What
did your family and friends have to say about it and how well has the horror community reacted thus far?
A: Absolutely amazing! When we started the Slasher Studios site a year ago, I had no
idea that it would become what it is today. It is hard to believe that just one year ago we started filming on Teddy.
Since then, we have finished two shorts, started pre-production on a third, and written over a hundred slasher reviews
for the site. It is something that I am very proud of.
My friends and family are big horror fans as well so they
all love it. I would say that about 3/4 of our funding for both Teddy and Popularity Killer came from my
friends and family. I seriously can't thank them enough. I wouldn't be who I am today if it wasn't for them.
The horror community couldn't be more accepting. It is just such a great environment
to work in when you know that others are excited and willing to accept new filmmakers with open arms.
Q: What does the future hold for Slasher Studios? I
know that you're currently working on a new short, Anniversary Nightmare, but what about after that? Festival
circuit? Full length feature?
A: There are a lot of festivals that we've been applying
to all over the country and patiently waiting the results. As for our next project, we would absolutely love to make a feature
if we can get the funding for it. I just don't want to rush into anything if I feel as though we don't have enough resources.
Right now, we are going to keep on making shorts and hopefully the right people will see them, be impressed, and work with
us on getting funding for a feature. It's a lot of commitment and we don't want to let them and our fans down. Especially
after everything they have done for us.
Q: Aside from getting banned, are you pleased with how well
Teddy has been received?
A: I couldn't be happier with the reception of Teddy.
The reviews that we received were nothing short of glowing. We wanted to make an homage to the slasher films of the 80s and
I think we succeeded. The few mixed reviews that we received were helpful as well. You don't deserve the praise if you can't
accept the criticism. They have made us stronger and made us want to become better filmmakers. Overall though, the reception
was extremely strong and I look forward to more people checking out the short.
Q: Kevin, I have to ask if the tiki torch death was your
idea and whether or not it influenced your decision to play that character in Teddy?
A: It was all Steve's idea. When he told me the idea for the death scene, I said "Let's go for it!"
I was up for anything and having a kick ass death scene that people would remember really appealed to me. I don't remember
how my character was originally supposed to be killed but this death was MUCH better.
Q: What's the first thing that went through your mind when the snow fell on the set
A: Oh shit! Seriously, we were frantically rewriting
pages mere minutes before filming a lot of the final scenes. The original finale involved a lot of struggle and a big
fight and it all had to be cut out due to weather conditions and lack of time. Nevertheless, I think the movie actually works
better as it is. I've had countless people ask me if Jenny survives. I guess we'll have to wait for the sequel....
Q: You can definitely count
me in for that sequel and, for the record, Jenny is a part of the body count in the Teddy review. Now, Teddy and Popularity Killer have a very 80s feel to them, are there any particular 80s slashers
that you found yourself drawing from while conceptualizing and creating either?
A: With Teddy we were definitely going for a Friday the 13th and Sleepaway Camp vibe. We wanted
to play homage to these slasher films but we didn't want the film to play off as parody. We wanted the film to be first and
foremost scary as hell. But, you can never really go wrong with the "maniac killing campers" formula.
Popularity Killer was completely different. We wanted to have a good old fashioned murder mystery ala Happy
Birthday to Me. The challenge was trying to come up with a compelling whodunit in only twenty minutes.
Q: Any funny
stories from either set that you would care to share with us?
urination scene of Mike in Teddy was completely improvised. Let's just say that Mike may have had a few two many
PBRs that night and he was pretty out of it by the time we got to film. It seemed like a funny moment so we added it into
the film. Also, when he got hit with the ax he fell right into the tree behind him. He had a pretty nasty cut on his head
and we weren't sure what blood was fake and what was real. He was a great sport about it and just laughed it off.
Q: Can we get
a little synopsis of the new short, Anniversary Nightmare?
A: Anniversary Nightmare is the story of a couple who is celebrating their five year wedding anniversary. They
come home from dinner, get in a huge fight, and go to bed angry. What they don't know is that someone else is in the house
with them. Someone from their past.
Q: Kevin, are
you writing for Anniversary Nightmare?
A: Yeah, I wrote the final draft of the script myself. I'm
pretty proud of this one and I think people are going to love the twists in the script.
Q: What's the
body count looking like? Is it going to bigger and bloodier than your previous short film entries?
A: This film is going to be more of a psychological thriller than a straight up slasher.
Q: Any familiar
faces in the cast of Anniversary Nightmare?
are in talks for Matty Dorschner who played Corey in Popularity Killer to play the lead in this short.
Q: Other than
Anniversary Nightmare, is there anything else you'd like us slasher fans to know about?
A: Keep watching slasher films! It's a dying subgenre and it really needs all of the support that
it can possibly get. Also, for slasher filmmakers out there..don't give up! You might just have the next great idea and you
could be the one to jump start the genre again, just like Kevin Williamson did with Scream.
Don't Move, Don't Breathe, and
Whatever You Do...DON'T LOOK BEHIND YOU!