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Art&Seek Spotlight

Don’t Get Blood On The Carpet!

by Stephen Becker 6 Jun 2019 8:59 AM

The Oak Cliff Film Festival begins its four-day run tonight at the Texas Theatre.

Satanic Panic” screens Saturday night at 7:15 pm. See the festival’s full lineup here.

In this week’s Art&Seek spotlight, KERA’s Stephen Becker talks with Chelsea Stardust — the director of a new slasher film showing at the festival — about filming her gory story in some of North Texas’s nicest houses.

Photo: Deadline

Photo: Deadline

The film you’re showing at the Oak Cliff Film Festival this weekend is a horror film that has a little fun with some of the genre’s conventions. It’s called “Satanic Panic,” and it follows a young woman named Sam who delivers pizzas. She gets excited when she draws a delivery to a ritzy neighborhood, hoping for a big tip, and man, she’s disappointed when she arrives at the house only to run into a Satanic cult in the market for a young virgin to sacrifice

Listen to a clip from the movie by clicking the Play button on this player:

We should start by saying you’re actually not from North Texas, you live in Los Angeles, but the production company behind “Satanic Panic,” a company called Cinestate, is based here in Dallas. And so, first off, there are some really nice houses in the film; people familiar with Highland Park and Preston Hollow will recognize them. Do you just knock on the door and say: “Hi! I’m shooting a movie, and your house looks like a place a bunch of Satan worshippers might live.” How’s the process for getting people to lend you their homes?

CS Yeah, a lot of it was just knocking on doors or asking friends of friends, or if these places were open to having a film crew come. It was a lot of cold-calling, and knocking on doors, and seeing who was open to doing it, and luckily, a lot of people were, which was awesome. I feel like in Texas, they’re like, “Oh, you’re making a movie? That’s awesome! Yeah, come, please shoot here! We’d love to have you here.” Whereas In L.A., it’s sort of like, “Oh, another film crew’s here.” 

Photo: RLJE via Dread Central

There seems to be a bit of allegory at play here, with your story. The financially struggling pizza delivery person being literally the prey of the super wealthy. Am I reading too much into things there, or is that part of the idea?

CS Yeah, that’s definitely part of the idea. This movie’s definitely a little statement on classism, on white classism, and something I’ve always been interested in and the idea of doing, showing a Satanic cult that is upper-class, and sort of high fashion is something you don’t always see. Because, a lot of times, in these kind of horror movies, the Satanic rituals are taking place in a basement, or in the woods, or, y’know, in the back country, so you don’t ever see, “what is the high fashion version of that? How does the one percent throw a Satanic party? How does Martha Stewart throw a party with Satanists?” 

Photo: PromoteHorror

There’s a decent amount of gore here. There are characters who are killed in inventive ways, and the fake blood budget looks like it was significant. I’m curious: why do you think people like gory movies?

CS I think it’s a release for people. For me, personally, it’s cathartic, and the idea of being able to emotionally manipulate someone to be scared, I think is really fascinating, within a movie. Because you’re safe in the theater. That’s your protection. 

Transcription by Felix Kalvesmaki