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Jangling some bones with horror’s Brett DeJager

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Movies have produced some very memorable serial killers over the years. Think about the chills that you felt the first time you were introduced to Hannibal Lecter in Silence Of The Lambs. Then there are have been the famous killers that have spawned from horror films – Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th franchise, and, of course, the man who created nightmares for people of all ages – Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare On Elm Street.

Now comes Bonejangles, a film that takes the best elements of the serial killer genre and mixes it with pure horror. Directed by Brett DeJager, who has already made a name for himself directing movies like The Legend Of Cooley Moon, The Loot and 10/31, Bonejangles follows the events of what happens while a group of police officers are transporting the legendary killer Bonejangles and they break down in a town cursed with monsters. In a twist that horror fans are going to love, the only way the police can survive is to release Bonejangles.

A quick chat with DeJager reveals that he isn’t a director who has just decided to dabble with horror – instead he is a seasoned horror fan  who has been watching horror films since he was a kid. “I grew up watching cheesy sci-fi and horror movies with my mum,” he says. “It was great bonding that I will always remember. So I think that love of horror movies has carried with me throughout my life. I’ve always particularly enjoyed those moments in a movie where I’d get scared and my adrenaline would start pumping. It’s a great feeling! As any horror fan knows, being scared is a natural feeling and it becomes something we seek in horror movies. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the first horror movie I ever watched but I do remember growing up watching Tales from the Crypt with my mom. She’d cover my eyes during the really adult themed parts. Thanks, mom! To this day Tales from the Crypt remains one of my all time favorite TV series.”

Like all of us, DeJager says there was a certain horror film that terrified him as a kid as well. “Graveyard Shift (1990) really gave me nightmares as a kid,” he says. “Every night I would think that my stuffed animals were going to come to life and eat me. Even if they weren’t rats. I still dream about them every now and then.”

DeJager does admit that while the horror films that he grew up have influenced his own work, what people found scary back then may not scare audiences today. “Absolutely. Tales from the Crypt has influenced me greatly,” he says. “From the storylines to the overall feel of them. I still watch them over and over again; they prove to be great inspiration for me in my own writing as well. People have become desensitized. There’s really no arguing that and it’s causing filmmakers to try and push the envelope further and further. Ultimately, it seems that our current reality is often scarier than what our imaginations can now contrive.”

He also admits that his amazing cast that consists of actors such as Reggie Bannister, Elissa Dowling, Kelly Misek, Jr., Julia Cavanaugh, Devin Toft, Jamie Scott Gordon, Lawrence Wayne Curry and Hannah Richter that helped bring the ‘feel’ of the film that he was looking for. “I’m beyond proud of the performances from the cast of Bonejangles,” he says. “They all worked really hard to deliver each and every take. In terms of scenes, I’m particularly proud of the camping scene. It was a blast to film (we survived the onslaught of mosquitos) and I feel like it captured the 80s vibes I was aiming for.”

While Bonejangles looks amazing for the budget that it was shot on DeJager says the film could have looked different with a big budget and he did have to make some changes to suit the budget. “There’s no doubt about it that if a big studio produced it and a big named actor starred in it, it would have turned out quite different,” he says.” I’m pretty sure I was able to make creative decisions on set that wouldn’t have been allowed if I had a big studio breathing down my back, I’m not saying I would pass up the opportunity to direct a big budgeted Bonejangles II… it deserves a big budget sequel! We had huge plans for the end battle scene in Bonejangles but budget and unforeseen circumstances had other plans for us. We had to deviate from the script quite a bit, making a lot of sacrifices along the way. Having said that, I think we were successful in our vision.”

With Bonejangles now out of the way DeJager says his fans still have other chances to see his work this year. “Hard to believe 2017 is half over!” he exclaims. “I directed segments in two upcoming horror anthologies, 10/31/16 (Rocky Gray) and Cryptids (Zane Hershberger, Justin Seaman, P.J. Starks), which I’m absolutely stoked about. Besides that, I’m currently weighing my options and trying to decide which project to movie from development into pre-production. 2018 is going to be even better!”

 

Bonejangles is stalking VOD right now.

 

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