Q&A Filmmaker Tommy Faircloth discusses his latest horror film, Family Possessions

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Tommy Faircloth has been making horror films for years - PROVIDED
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  • Tommy Faircloth has been making horror films for years
As someone who has been making movies since the days when Fangoria was actively haunting the Book Bag stores in the mid-’90s, Columbia-based filmmaker Tommy Faircloth loves to make his own brand of horror. Recently, he sat down for a Q&A in advance of the screening of his new film, Family Possessions, at the Terrace Charleston Film Festival.

CP: How long was the process for Family Possessions from writing to where we are now?
TF: Well, I had the story idea and title since the late ’90s. I mentioned it in an article in Fangoria magazine in a story about my film Generation Ax around 1997 but I didn’t get serious about this project until I found the perfect location. So it took about a full year starting in 2015 to complete the script, cast, and get all the locations down to begin filming in 2016. The film was completed in late October 2016 so we are early still in the festival circuit for the film.

CP: Is it easier to get folks on board with your films as opposed to say when you made Generation Ax?
TF: I’ve always pretty much done things myself when it comes to my films. Even now, I have a very small crew so I never really depended on anyone but myself to get these films done. Now that my movies have been out, it does help when it comes to casting or if I am launching an Indiegogo to raise money. Many filmmakers out there reach out to actors about their projects but they never get completed. Having a good portfolio of films under my belt, the casting process goes a lot smoother now. I can contact someone now and show them my past films when talking about a new project and they take me serious.

CP: What led you to choose to have Family Possessions have its Charleston premiere with the Charleston Film Festival rather than your own Crimson Fest?
TF: I really do not like to use Crimson Screen Horror Film Fest to showcase my own films because that is space I could give to another filmmaker. I want to be able to show as many films as possible and give as many filmmakers as possible the chance to have their work screened in front of a appreciative audience. Of course, if there is a demand for it, then that could change but luckily Paul Brown (owner of the Terrace Theater) reached out to me to have a screening. A few of the cast members live in Charleston, and we shot part of Family Possessions in Charleston, so I am excited that we are able to get a screening here.

CP: Watching the movie, I noticed a few familiar faces from some of your other films, namely Morgan Monnig, Jason Vail, Leah Wiseman and Elizabeth Mears.
TF: Once I find reliable actors that are not only great actors, but I like working with, I tend to use them over and over. It’s like my arsenal of actors. For Family Possessions I only auditioned actors for two roles, as the rest were given to people I’ve worked with before.

CP: You have two horror icons/scream queens that lend some fun,humorous moments in your film. What was it like to have Mark Patton and Felissa Rose in your film?
TF: Felissa Rose is someone that I would be friends with outside of film. She and I hit if off the second we met at a horror convention in 2015 and we both said that we would work together. Within a year, she was on my set shooting Family Possessions. She is the nicest person you ever want to work with. Her energy never lets up and besides that, she is a great actor. Sleepaway Camp is a film that I saw as a kid in the early ’80s and it really had an impact on me as a filmmaker. Being able to work with the star of that film in my own film was almost surreal. Getting Mark Patton (the star of Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge) in Family Possessions was equally surreal. He’s known as the first male scream queen and he hadn’t done another horror film since ... I really wanted to have him in my movie and the part was written especially for him... needless to say I was stoked when he said yes. Mark started on Broadway acting along side of Cher and Kathy Bates, and he later reprised his role in Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, for the feature film version of the play too. It’s really intimidating when you think of the people he has worked when you are giving him direction in a scene.

CP: Were there any particular films that influenced Family Possessions?
TF: I really wanted the film to not have date to it. Almost like it could have been shot in the 1980s or the present time. Besides a few references and maybe a car or cell phone, you really can’t date the movie. The old horror films of the late ’70s or early ’80s, like The Amityville Horror films, or the spooky After School Specials of the 80s had a real influence on me when I was writing it. I wanted it to be like an adult Goosebumps. Something a person that likes horror films will appreciate but also someone that does not watch a lot of horror films to be able to watch as well. My favorite type of horror stories are those that could easily happen. Those are the most scary because you can put yourself in the situation as you are watching and you may think about it later when you are in the bed sleeping.

See Family Possessions Fri. March 17 at the Terrace Charleston Film Festival at the Terrace Theatre. Tickets are $11.

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