Josh Hasty [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! Welcome to the 2020 edition of our Month of Horror. It’s almost humorous that we are showcasing the motion pictured displays of horror when it seems as though we simply have to look around us to see the natural horror that is enveloping our daily lives. But nevertheless, a quick escape from the surrealism of our daily lives is often appreciated. In this vein, we honor these wonderful folks who seek to only entertain us with a good scare and a break from the actual horror that is all around us. We have assembled a wonderful batch of actors, writers, directors & beyond, who have worked on so many different projects that you know and love. I am beyond excited to share them with you all throughout the month of October. Enjoy!

Today we have some words from the great new filmmaker Josh Hasty. He is the man behind a brilliant film entitled Candy Corn that came out last year, and is absolutely fantastic. It is a very well made, and brilliant homage to all the things that we love about horror. Josh made his big break in creating the documentary about the making of Rob Zombie’s beloved 2016 film, 31, and has been on the move ever since, poised to be a legend in the world of horror. In my personal opinion, Candy Corn already lands the guy in the these reigns, as I truly enjoyed this film so much.

We were so excited to have Josh on the site today, so Folks, please enjoy some words from the brilliant Josh Hasty!

 

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What inspired you to get into the world of entertainment? Was it an early aspiration you can always remember having since your youth, or did you just find yourself in this world one day?

It’s definitely been an aspiration for as long as I can remember. As a kid I always enjoyed creating things for fun. I would watch movies and wonder “how did they do that?”. So to a certain degree the interest was inherent, but the process of eventually turning those interests into a career has been many years of calculated decisions and hard work.

What was your first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any kind of lessons learned from this project that still affect your work today?

My first paid gig in entertainment was a haunted house park that I designed and ran from 2012 – 2014. That was a life-long dream come true for me. Unless you’re in the industry you don’t realize running a professional haunted house is a full time job, all year long. Especially when you have three main attractions like we did. We bought a six acre farm with an actual haunted farm house and old barn on it. I lived there for two years while I worked with my family and friends on turning it into the award winning destination it became. I ended up leaving that world to focus on filmmaking full time. That led to my first big paid filmmaking gig – the documentary I did on Rob Zombie’s 31. I’ve learned a lot from everything I’ve done. I think that’s one huge reason I’m still so excited about what I do. Each thing pushes the needle forward a little more. There’s always something new to learn, and it becomes a personal goal to try and use those lessons on the next thing I do. Everything you see in my most recent work is always going to be a reflection of the lessons I learned on the projects that came before it.

In your own personal opinion, what do you believe it is that makes the horror genre special? What sets it apart from other genres you have worked in?

The horror genre is special because of the people that love it. It’s as simple as that. I can get into the psychology of WHY horror fans love horror so much, but I don’t really think that’s what makes the genre special. What makes it special is the love the fans, myself included, have for the work that’s produced from it. Everything in horror is so much deeper and stickier than it is with other genres. When you hate something, you REALLY hate it. And when you see something you love, you get it tattooed on you for life. There’s no other genre that can say that. There will never be conventions all year long for romantic comedies. For instance, look at the actors that work in every genre across the board, but spend their downtime at horror conventions meeting fans and charging money for their autographs. You can’t get that anywhere else. Horror isn’t just a genre, it’s a lifestyle.

Can you tell us a bit about one of your most recent releases, the frightening film Candy Corn? What made you want to bring this tale to the screen?

Candy Corn was a passion project for me. After I did the Rob Zombie documentary, I was in a position to direct a film of my own with some of the people I had met on set of 31. We didn’t really have any money at all, but we wanted to make a movie together, simply for the love of making a movie. So I wrote the script around locations I knew I had access to, and with the help of some dedicated friends and family we spent about two and a half years making the film. It’s an homage to some of the slashers I grew up loving. It’s a simple love letter to those films, and to the season of Halloween.

We planned on just making this little project and hoping someone watches it, but it really took on a life of its own pretty quickly. After a couple weeks of shooting, I edited the footage together and started getting it out to some people I know. This ultimately led to us casting some big names in the genre, including Courtney Gains (Children of the Corn), P.J. Soles (Halloween, Carrie), and Tony Todd (Candyman). That took everything to a whole new level and Epic Pictures ended up buying the movie and releasing it world-wide last fall.

It’s been interesting because people see the poster everywhere, they see these big names attached, and they think it’s going to be a big Hollywood movie, but it’s not. In that way the film arguably got too big for its britches. But I’ll never complain or view that as a bad thing. Candy Corn has found its audience and it continues to gain traction and fans from around the world. It’s truly an amazing thing.

 

 

What is your favorite scary movie?

Rosemary’s Baby. I know that’s controversial because Polanski is a verified pervert, but I have strong feelings on separating the art from the artist, especially in film. Over a hundred good people worked on that film, and it shows in every corner of the finished project. Rosemary’s Baby is perfect in my opinion. I can, and do, watch it regularly and always find something new to love about it. But I love a lot of horror films. It would be easier to give you my top twenty and explain why each are my favorite in their own way.

I know this year may be a bit different, but I am curious to know if you have any sort of Halloween traditions? Anything you would normally do each year?

I really don’t. Of course as a kid growing up in Ohio, trick or treating was all I looked forward to. Then as I got a little older my brother and a few friends would set up a little haunted house in my dad’s garage for trick or treaters. Then in my early twenties I opened my haunted house, so for three years that was what I looked forward to. But in the last few years, Halloween has turned into something different for me. I’m usually working. Last year I got to spend the whole season on the road promoting Candy Corn in theaters. That was a dream I didn’t even know I had. This year I’ll be in development on my next feature film. And hopefully next Halloween I’ll be editing that film. As long as I can be dressed in layers and smell a bonfire, I’m happy.

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers? 

I’m currently in development on my next feature film. You can find out more about that by following me on Instagram at josh_hasty. This new film is the thing I’m most excited about. I’ve been wanting to make this movie since we started Candy Corn over four years ago, but the stars haven’t aligned until now. It’ll be the first project I do with a real budget, so I’m excited to be able to work with less restrictions than ever before. On top of that we’ve got some exciting stuff happening with Candy Corn right now. Trick or Treat Studios released the official merchandise and costume line, which you can find at Spirit Halloween, Party City and Hot Topic, to name a few. And Dread Presents put out a new collector’s edition Blu-ray with a beautiful slip case, designed by my friends at Fright Rags. I’m really excited to see the fans enjoying all of that.

What was the last thing that scared the hell out of you?

I was recently in the hospital, and they thought I had lymphoma. Fortunately it turned out to just be a very serious lung infection, which has been treated. But being hooked up to IV’s in a hospital for days and then being told you need to see a specialist for what might be cancer, was the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced. Nothing else compares.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Being told I don’t have cancer! Coming home from the hospital to my fiance and dogs, ready to move forward is the most I’ve smiled in a long time.

 

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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