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

21 Apr

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

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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’s revealed that 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 for his career, 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. I loved every second. 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 be a director. 

While Hollywood is its own beast, the independent scene was where he earned his reputation–he made horror genre favourites like The Ghouls and Parasites. He’s almost come close to working with Full Moon Pictures‘ founder Charles Band; instead he worked with Richard Band to score Exorcism at 60,000 Feet–which ended up being fortuitous when it came time to assembling a team to work on The Deep OnesRichard enjoyed working with Chad, and it really worked out for this budget film since this director’s production company is known as Crappy World Films. There’s an irony to the concept and knowing this detail is half the battle in whether hardcore enthusiasts of Lovecratian style films will accept it or not.

THE-DEEP-ONES

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 pitched–Lovecraft was the first thing that came to mind, and I love the idea of making a film with this cult that worships H.P. Lovecraft’s writings. The wheels started turning.”

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 now rereading it definitely was a timeless experience. You can see why he’s been around so long. You don’t want to mess the material up 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 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 and instead of getting freaked out about 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 and 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 of that because it’s such a great story, but not necessarily try to follow. That’s more enjoyable not only to the filmmaker but also the viewer. What they’re seeing is not a complete take. 

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

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