Going In Deep w Chad Ferrin on Lovecraft and One Filmmaker’s Vision…

Jeff Billings and Chad Ferrin filming The Deep OnesBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

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Coming to DVD, Digital, Video On Demand, and Redbox Kiosks on June 15

Chad Ferrin‘s The Deep Ones will soon get a limited theatrical release in the United States beginning April 23rd and for fans of H.P. Lovecraft, the themes this film dives into are faithful to the ideas this seminal author conceived long ago. I spoke to this filmmaker, and he said he grew up watching the classics–namely The Twilight Zone, Hitchcock Presents and The Outer Limits. He studied theatre in college; the passion to make movies was a natural evolution and he knew the proverbial move to Los Angeles was required.

He was lucky to be connected. Mike Leahy of Phantoms and Pulse fame gave him his break, and when the call came, he was ready! Ferrin worked hard to get to where he is now. He’s been involved in every aspect of the movie making business, and he was everywhere. On the list includes working as a production assistant in Back to Back with Michael Rooker and being a “double” in No Way Back with Russell Crowe. He noted how his hands look similar to his, so he did it all–including becoming a fall guy (stunts). 

I’d have a smile and be wide-eyed every day. Knowing the right people will help you out down the road,” acknowledged Ferrin. His hands on learning showed him how other departments work. By the time he was ready to produce his own material and direct, he knew how to expertly manage everything. 

Everyone knows Hollywood is its own beast, and to survive here can be harsh. The independent scene is even tougher, and he came close to working with Full Moon Pictures‘ founder Charles Band. Instead he worked with Richard Band to score Exorcism at 60,000 Feet. Eventually, he earned his reputation with horror genre favourites like The Ghouls and Parasites. Flash forward to recent years, the partnership with Richard was fortuitous when it came time to assembling a team to work on The Deep OnesRichard remembered and enjoyed working with Chad. A few favours were asked, and the timing was right. 

There’s an irony to the fact Ferrin’s company is known as Crappy World Films. It’s not meant to be self-depreciating, but rather be a reminder to fans of horror films know that not all small studios can afford the high budget makeup or special effects that bigger studios like Blumhouse or Atomic Monster can create.

Deep Ones Movie Poster

Essentially, The Deep Ones was developed after Ferrin sat down with a bunch of his creative friends and realized they got use of a beach house to film at. Chad said, “Let’s crank out a cheap little slasher-type film and have fun with it. I saw photos of the ocean and the house being offered and Lovecraft was the first thing that came to mind. I had the idea of making a film of a cult that worships H.P. Lovecraft’s writings.”

Of course, a lot of thought is required before setting words and ideas to paper. I chatted with this movie maker and had to ask:

Was it difficult to adapt H.P. Lovecraft‘s works to cinema?

I hadn’t read a lot of his stuff since I was a kid, but rereading it now showed why he’s been around so long. You don’t want to mess the material up too much because he’s so revered. I was more afraid that someone might point out that Cthulhu or Dagon is supposed to be 300 feet tall when they’re not in my adaptation.

True that. I wasn’t sure if the creature coming out of the ocean was the god or a Deep One. Were there other challenges that go beyond costume design or filming? (i.e. not concerning spfx all the time)

One thing I’ve learned to embrace with low-budget filmmaking is to let those random things decide where you’re going to go with that movie production. Whether it be an actor dropping out or being a pain in the ass by saying you can’t get 15 pages in one day, you just go with the flow. We shot The Deep Ones in six days for about ten thousand dollars. 


Was it difficult to not make your story like Shadows over Innsmouth? 

It was important to pull elements out of the original because it’s such a great story. That’s more enjoyable not only to the filmmaker adapting the material but also the viewer to understand what’s happening. What they’re seeing is not a complete take. 

I told the director of photography and the crew this film is Shadow over Innsmouth meets Rosemary’s Baby. Replicate the latter [in camera] with two lenses to give it that claustrophobic symmetry throughout, and we’re good.

Author: Ed Sum

I'm a freelance videographer and entertainment journalist (Absolute Underground Magazine, Two Hungry Blokes, and Otaku no Culture) with a wide range of interests. From archaeology to popular culture to paranormal studies, there's no stone unturned. Digging for the past and embracing "The Future" is my mantra.

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