Interview with SATANIC PANIC's Chelsea Stardust

Our review for Satanic Panic is up now and we absolutely loved it. We were fortunate enough to have some time with the delightful Chelsea Stardust. Check out our interview with this talented up-and-comer below!

Ghastly Grinning (GG): Hello

Chelsea Stardust (CS): What a treat this is!

GG: Yeah, hi!

CS: Hi! How’s it going? So delighted to be talking to you!

GG: I know when they emailed me and were like do you want to interview Chelsea, I was like “of course I do!”

CS: Love it, love it.

GG: Okay, see it feels weird because like part of me just want’s to be like ‘hey what's up?’ but I obviously want to talk about the movie and I know you’re on limited time today, a lot of interviews today, so one of my first questions is, I was actually wondering when you were brought on. What point were you brought onto Satanic Panic?

CS: Yeah, great question. Okay 2018 in the summer, my agent reached out to me and said this script came across my desk for your consideration, we would love for you to check that out and I looked and saw that it was Satanic Panic and I had actually read that script in 2017, a friend sent it to me and she said you would love that, you should check it out and I said oh this movie is batshit crazy and I can't wait to see it made. Then, well when I got the script I was like "Oh, I’ve read this, I love this script.” I'm a huge fan of Grady Hendrix and I saw that Fangoria was taking it and I said what do I have to do to get this project? I knew they wanted a female director and they had talked to Blumhouse already about me because of All That We Destroy and I just pitched the shit out of it. I just said, you know, here's my vision, here are movies that I think tonally I would try to match and I pulled screen grabs and I sent songs and score notes and things like that, like this huge packet. It was this zip file of all these photos and things and just pitched to them why I was the best person for the job and you know I come from comedy, I’ve worked for Ivan Reitman and Judd Apatow but I also worked for Jason Blum. I said I know the comedy world, I know the horror world, basically give me this chance, let me do this and they said yeah.

GG: That's incredible and you know I have to tell you, I loved it so much.

CS: Thank you!

GG: Yeah, I've listened to and read so many interviews about it with it coming up, and all of the projects and movies that you liken it to or you kind of were like thinking about, I've heard you mention Jennifer's Body and Evil Dead. It fits so tonally well with those, I totally see it, but it's still very much your own thing, which I love.

CS: Yeah I think it's like, I was trying to you know walk that line, I want to make a love letter films that have inspired me, an homage of sorts. So how do I do it in my own voice without copying anyones work, you know what I mean? Like keep it in my voice and show these movies influenced me but I'm not trying to copy them in any sort of way. So, you know like, Jennifer's Body you've heard me list off off: Jennifer's Body and Evil Dead and Deathgasm and Drag Me To Hell and Society and House of the Devil and Race with the Devil and so many movies, even American Psycho. You know studying horror comedies, I just watched all my favorites. Okay, so let’s see how the masters make this work because the tone is so tricky and I said I was basically going to film school with them, little reminders like “oh yeah right this is how it's done” and I'm so glad that came across.

GG: Yeah and it it really does, because I as soon as it was over I was like “oh I really want to double that with Jennifer's Body” but the reason is because I feel like it stands on its own, it's not like I'm watching two Jennifer's Body, it stands on its own.

CS: Yes!

GG: Yeah and like you said that it’s that tone and I think a lot of it for me was really nailed down because you are balancing that humor and that horror but I think Rebecca Romijn was incredible. I thought she did such a good job of grounding that movie, what was it like working with her?

CS: Oh my god, yeah. She’s so fierce in this film. You know when she's on screen she just grips, she’s just this incredible presence, just grips this awesome, powerful femininity that I was just so excited about. In the first scene I shot with her, which is the first scene you see her in, which is that the sort of that TED talk in the middle of the living room and it was so fun and there's these little sort of subtleties that she does in the middle of her performance but I would come up to her and be like “keep doing that,” like I love these little things that she’s bringing to the performance. I knew she was really excited about the part, we had Skyped, I was in Texas when we had cast her and so you know we had Skyped and talked about the role and I had met with her ahead of time. Especially in the finale when she’s in the headdress and the robe and chanting with the cultists, it’s just the coolest thing, and she’s also kind of scary and intimidating in it. She’s so powerful in it, and she was so fun to work with too, we had a great time. And it was a hard shoot, just 18 days and a lot of night shoots but everyone brought their game faces, it was just great.

GG: You filmed that in 18 days?! Oh my god, that’s crazy.

CS: Yeah, man!

GG: Did you sleep at all?

CS: No, we had 6 day work weeks, so no.

GG: Oh my god okay. And then if I'm going to talk about her, I just of course have to ask. Jerry O'Connell giving the most Jerry O’Connell performance I've seen him in years. What was that like with him? To have those two very veteran actors for your first like really big feature debut?

CS: Yeah, well, Jerry was such a dream to work with and you know he has done horror in the past. Like when we were shooting the scene with Hayley and that was one day we shot that whole scene in. My G&E crew was setting up lights, I sort of sat on the couch with Jerry and I said “listen, can we talk about Wes Craven for a few minutes? And can we talk about Alex Aja?” I wanted to talk to him about his experience working with Wes and on Scream, you know he's done horror in the past and so I wanted to talk to him about that. He was such a team player and you know was in the room while we're setting up and yeah he's like “what? I can do my own stand in and then you can just light me!” You know this stuff that doesn't always happen and I’m like “are you sure? Like you can go hang out, you know in hair and make up or in your room and he's like no, no I want to be with you guys, I want to be with the filmmakers. You know, he had some friends to the set and was like “Hey guys, come meet my boss!” It was really cool, he's such a nice guy. He knew everybody's name and introduced himself to everyone, shook their hands and was just so friendly. And that parts not easy, that sort of, you know, toxic masculinity that he’s portraying in the film, it’s not an easy part to do but he was so fun to work with. He and Hayley work so well together, yea, it was a dream shoot.

GG: That’s awesome. I always love hearing that about actors, especially you know I’m a huge Scream fan so you know coming from Scream 2, I'm like “man, I really hope he's a great guy” and like everything I hear is he's fantastic, so that's really cool.

CS: He totally is, yeah.

GG: Okay, awesome, I have one more question Both of the movies you've done are horror but they're very tonally different, so my question is what’s next for Chelsea Stardust? Like, do you want to stick with horror? Do you want to explore elsewhere, do you want to do a different genre of horror, what would you like to do?

CS: Yeah so I sort of have a list of subgenres in horror. I've obviously checked off sci-fi thriller, I’ve checked off horror comedy but there's so many more I want to explore and there's a lot of things I’m attached to. I’m attached to one involving a serial killer, I’m attached to a witch project. I love body horror, I love man versus nature, man versus creature, like how Crawl was, there’s so many I want to tackle. And in terms of non-horror, I would love to direct a sports movie. Which is totally outside the box but horror is my genre and where my heart is. There's a lot of boxes I want to check and subgenres I want to explore within the genre, and there’s a lot of things coming up that I can’t talk about yet but I’m very excited about it. So there will be more horror in my future.

GG: Yay, awesome! Well you know that we will be there to support you the whole way through. Chelsea, thank you so much for talking to me today, it was a blastt.

CS: Thank you Ryan, have a great day.