Interviews: Director Tristan Clay Talks Red Eye

TMS: Horror is a crazy field right now and the independent startups seem to be really taking a foothold. What do you see for the future of the genre? And do you think the indie films will continue to be the best new entries in the near future?

TC: This is a rough question to answer on how the genre will play out in the future. We were headed the right direction in 2016 with It Follows, The Monster, and Don’t Breathe. In 2017 we had a lot of great films and then we had the biggest box office numbers with a horror remake, IT. Which with its success we gave the studios more reasons to continue cranking out remakes instead of original content because IT showed if marketed correctly and done well, it will turn in the money. I feel it is a lot of tug and pull.  Although, I do feel strongly that independent films will continue to be the best entries in the future.

TMS: Red Eye is obviously rooted in numerous films that you’re paying tribute to here. What would you say are your top five personal influences and why?

TC: For me the biggest influences would have to be Scream, Rob Zombie’s Halloween and his sequel, Night of the Living Dead, Wrong Turn, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  Scream inspired the film in the story telling and intelligence in slashers. Rob Zombie’s Halloween influenced the atmosphere, the grittiness, and the brutality. Night of the Living Dead was a big motivation due to how the film was made with such a low budget and it being so important to the genre. Wrong Turn inspired us due to the backwoods atmosphere and feel, along with Texas Chainsaw Massacre with how real the film felt.

TMS: You guys made this film on a tight budget with very little outside support. How hard was it to pull funding together and how on earth did you manage those sweet gore effects with so little money behind your movie?

TC: It was a very stressful process to raise the funds. I’m still unsure how we managed to raise 12K through our crowd fund back in 2016. We even went over our goal with two thousand extra dollars. It was successful because we had very supportive and important individuals contributing, without them the film wouldn’t have been possible. As for our SPFX on such a low budget was the genius of John Lauterbach who was the man behind the effects; you will have to ask him this question because he did wonders! We were very lucky.

TMS: There are some scenes of excessive violence and some moments of perversity that push the envelope. We’re not into spoiling things, but some of the sexual deviancy in Red Eye is a real eye opener. Was it hard filming those sequences and how did your female stars deal with that amount of sheer grossness?

TC: We love exploring what is beyond those boundaries. It wasn’t difficult filming the scenes because of the atmosphere we had on set. It may be hard to watch but as soon as the camera cut we were all laughing at how crazy it was. (Those made the “Gag Reel” which I hope gets feature on the DVD release this summer.) Our actresses actually were the tough ones during those scenes. It was the actors who I were concerned about the most because one got so worked up that I didn’t think he was going to go through with it. With material we touch has to be done professionally and carefully.

TMS: Tell us about the development of the film. I know you and Destinie worked on the movie together. How did it all come together for you? Give us the dirty details without ripping our entrails out.

TC: Destinie and I met through Instagram, which led to us meeting up at a convention where we instantly became best friends. She shared a short story she wrote a few years ago in high school that was inspired by a folk tale her stepfather made up and would tell her when they traveled through West Virginia. We decided it would make a killer slasher and we shared a very similar passion for the genre and filmmaking. Why not turn it into a feature film? We wrote the script as seniors in high school, raised 12K one year later, and shot the film that summer.

TMS: As a total horror junkie myself, we sometimes get jaded by what we see on film. Disgusting acts don’t seem to have the same effect they used to. I’ll be honest. I was shocked at how far you went in Red Eye. How do you feel as a director knowing that people might be offended by what they see?

TC: This is a horror film made by horror fans for horror fans. This will not be your grandmother’s cup of tea; it definitely wasn’t my grandmother’s taste. It is art; it is a way of art. If they are offended by the two specific scenes in the film (depending on which cut of the film you watch) they are blind to the true horrors in the world that we touch on.

TMS: This is your first full length feature. It runs around an hour and twenty two minutes. Was it hard coming off short films to do this?

TC: It wasn’t too much of a challenge as I expected it to be. We knew the layout and just typed until our brains couldn’t think of any more ways to add to the story. There were even pages that got cut on set due to timing.

TMS: I ask this all the time because it always gets diverse answers. But, if you could remake any film, what would it be? And it doesn’t have to be horror. Give us an idea of what you might want to remake and who you might cast as your lead actor.

TC: Hmm. I’m going to have to go with Martyrs. It is my all time favorite foreign film that needs a better remake. There is so much within the film. It’s painfully beautiful. I would cast Danielle Harris as Lucie or Anna. She is so talented and someone I dream of working with one day.

TMS: How hard was it to get distribution for Red Eye?

TC: It was a challenge, especially with no connections. You have to be very careful and patient with the process, you don’t want to get your film in the wrong hands. We were blessed to have Cyfuno Ventures as our sales agent who did a fantastic job at getting us in touch with several companies and soon after signed with Terror Films!

TMS: Last but not least, let our readers know where and when they can see your movie? And should they wear protection? And if they do, what type of gear will protect them from Red Eye?

TC: They can rent the film on various platforms like iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Vudu, Google Play, and Xbox on February 9th, 2018! You may or may not want to wear protection; I’d suggest a barbwire bat and birth control!

TMS: Good answers.