Interviews: Director William Scherer Talks About His Film House On Rodeo Gulch

Chanel Ryan (Bad Kids Go to Hell) and Barry Ratcliffe (Ted 2) star in writer-director William Scherer’s Hitchcockian thriller House on Rodeo Gulch, now available on VOD.

Uprooted from her childhood home in Texas by her father’s new job, seventeen-year-old Shani Peterson (Megan Jay Simrell) moves to California with her new step-mom, Denise (Chanel Ryan). Their new home, located deep in the redwoods of Central California is a dream come true… until it’s not. With an over friendly Reverend and his alcoholic assistant as their only neighbors, Shani and Denise must unearth the haunting mysteries of the house and its history, before they lose their home, or lives.

We spoke to Scherer, based in Santa Cruz, about the new film.

TMS: In a few words, what’s the film about?

WS: It’s about a teenage girl and her new step-mom who fight for possession of their new home with a church Reverend living next door.

TMS: Always been a fan of the genre?

WS: I love all genres but mainly thrillers that leave you on the edge of your seat and make you think.

TMS: Have you discovered any unlikely fans or segments that you didn’t count on?

WS: The antagonist in HRG is a church Reverend. Although I’m a religious man and find religion very important in today’s world, there’s always a rotten apple in every barrel. Some viewers don’t like the fact that I make this Reverend the bad guy.

TMS: How important are reviews to you?

WS: If I am going to see a movie I always go to Rotten Tomatoes to see what people have to say about it before I spend my hard earned money. Reviews for HRG? Haven’t seen anything in writing yet although the viewers at the Premiere said it was fantastic.

TMS: Besides what it’ll do for your career, are there any standouts involved in the film that you believe will see a real career boost from being involved in it?

WS: My young teenage girl, Megan Jay Simrell, is going to be a big star. She has it all and reminds me of a young Jennifer Lawrence. She had never acted before I met her but after her reading and talking with her I knew she was going to be big. HRG is the break she needs and I was happy to make it happen. All my actors are good but my other standout is Adrian Torres, a young Hispanic man playing the role of “Raul”. He is one of the best actors I have ever worked with and that includes all the years I spent in Hollywood. I told him he should move down the LA to make it happen.

TMS: Have doors opened for you as a result of it?

WS: As the movie just Premiered last week it is too late to tell. My wife doesn’t yell at me as much. Does that count?

TMS: Would you compare the storyline to anything we’ve seen in earlier films? Anything you can say is an intentional homage?

WS: I’m a great fan of Alfred Hitchcock and love his suspense. My story line is very unique and I’m very proud of it. I have strong women as leads, which Hollywood is hesitant in doing. I have a Church Reverend who happens to be very smart but also very bad guy. I have a snake crawling up a woman’s butt in the toilet, which I think is a first in the history of cinema. By the way, directing a snake is very challenging. I also have comedy in my thriller which audience members are finding quite exciting.

TMS: Insert the blank. If you loved ____, you’ll love my movie.

WS: Alfred Hitchcock…

TMS: Has it all gone according to plan for you? Anything you’ll do differently next time around?

WS: As it was my first film I made every mistake in the book and too numerous to list here. Someday I might write a book. My next movie will be financed by someone else. I will only be writing and directing it and will have a crew of 50 instead of 5. Having enough money in the budget will also allow me to hire someone else to do the editing, coloring, special effects, music, laundry, casting, grading, etc. etc.

TMS: What’s ahead for you?

WS: I have one more rewrite on my next thriller, “Cantiga Bay”. I also hope to get back on the golf course some day.

House on Rodeo Gulch is now available from vimeo.