I had the recent opportunity to interview Robert Conway the screenwriter of Krampus Origins, that starred Maria Olsen, and with his extensive history of credits of horror film, and vast knowledge of cinema, allows one insight of his craft.
Baron Craze: You have made quite a few Krampus themed movies, what is it about this character you enjoy so much?
Robert Conway: The fact that we are able to basically take completely new directions every time out. After three films, Krampus finally speaks in Krampus Origins which I think is really cool.
BC: A follow-up, it appears you keep restarting or redoing the Krampus storyline, rather making it a franchise, why is that?
RC: Because I want to enjoy the films when I make them. The three titles are all so different that it never feels like we are simply re-hashing what we did on the last one and keeping the material fresh keeps it fun.
BC: Were there any times that you needed to rewrite a scene in a hurried manner on the set of this film?
RC: Thankfully no. We had a great director in Joseph Mbah and he did a fantastic job of managing the set, so there was no need for emergency writing sessions. We were also very fortunate to have such an amazing cast on this film who really brought the film to life. Many of these actors I’ve worked with before like Maria Olsen, Anna Harr and Amelia Haberman and they are always great. But Katie Peabody and Shannyn Hall were also very instrumental in making this a great shoot and a fun film to watch.
BC: In the past you mentioned how films, in general left the fantastical to the wayside and explore more realism in horror, any thoughts of penning a screenplay incorporating those forgotten elements into an outrageous horror film?
RC: When looking back at the other Krampus titles, I really believe that embracing the fantasy element has made Krampus Origins the best of all the films. The reason for this is because Krampus himself is pure fantasy and the dark fairytale approach seems to work the best with him.
BC: In the land of remakes and reboots, if you could what film would you remake and why?
RC: Caligula with Malcom McDowell. And that’s because it was a great script by Gore Vidal with a legendary cast but was butchered by a terrible production approach. I just feel that the source material is fascinating and with the right approach, it could be a really good film.
BC: Many filmmakers got the itch to make movies when they were children, but what film hooked you on the cinematic arts? Also what film hooked you on the horror genre (not your favorite movie)?
RC: I’m the living embodiment of the cliché filmmaker in that I was making films with my childhood friends and never really stopped. For horror, I guess it was my love for Halloween and the pretend macabre that drew me to the genre.
BC: Your films are often financed on a micro-budgeting basis, does that factor into how you write your scripts? Or do you write care-free and then cut /gut backwards so you can actually achieve the story?
RC: The low budgets dominate my writing. Only once did I ever write a film that I couldn’t afford to make. So it’s challenging because as a story teller you never want to bound by the confines of a small budgets but that’s just the way it goes.
BC: Out of the multiple jobs on many films from director to editor and of course writer, which if any do you rate higher than the others and why?
RC: Writing is nice because it’s free. Most of my creative process is tied to the very expensive and stressful endeavor of shooting or cutting a film so I guess writing is the lest stressful but also the most lonely. Shooting is grueling at times but a lot of fun because I love what I do and the people that I work with. Post is where for better or worse, it all comes together and there’s always a creeping deadline. Years ago a friend who’s older than me said that films are never finished, they just run out of time and money. It’s true.
BC: Your project, from reading other articles, is Eminence Hill, is that still occurring? Why a western themed film?
RC: My first film was a Western and I’ve been trying to get another one made for a very long time. I’ve had a lot of fun with horror over the years but now it’s time to take a break from it and return to my creative roots. I don’t think I’ve been this excited about a project since my first one so I know it’s the right move.
Thanks Robert Conway for your time.