Nathan Faudree is a man who wears many hats in the entertainment industry, and his work isn’t limited to genre films. He started in theatre and appeared in many performances of William Shakespeare’s plays, like Hamlet. And from there, worked his way into appearing in films to eventually became Fangoria Radio’s Scream King of 2006! From there, he’s had a blast playing cult heroes, terrifying monsters and even did monster noises for Troma’s Poultrygeist. This New York based actor has done a lot.
But to know him also means getting to talk to him, and chatting with him about why he wanted to revisit Site 13, a movie that was filmed two decades ago which never got finished. What he did to make it contemporary is a good thriller, which is Blair Witch meets H.P. Lovecraft.
For our readers who haven’t seen your past work, what can you recommend?
I’m a co-writer of A Wounded Fawn, which came out last year on Shutter, and we were nominated for Fangoria’s Chainsaw Award and made the top 20 list. Prior to that, I was in Kottontail, where I played a killer Easter Bunny.
About your theatre days, did you leave it all behind to work on film?
Actually, I knew that if I didn’t have something lined up to do after playing Macbeth that, I would be catastrophically depressed because that’s the role everyone wants to play. That’s when Site 13 came in. It’s been a few years now, and I miss that world. I’ve appeared in Hamlet, Alls Well, etc., Here, you have this automatic response with the audience and whether that night’s show went off well. You don’t get that with making movies. It’s only just now I’m seeing what people are thinking about my latest.
With Site 13, it is a found footage movie, and we made it back in 2003. It was an improvised movie and was more inspired by Blair Witch than what I came up with later. With this type of method acting, it’s one of the hardest things to do and make it seem natural.
Tony Urban, the director, came up with the concept and simply told us who we are playing and what our motivations are. We filmed it over the course of three days, and we had to make stuff up as we went along. Thankfully, we (the cast) all knew each other well and tried stuff out. Some of it was stupid, and it all got cut out, of course. All we had was this circle that was burned into the ground, a campsite, and that’s all we got to work with.
But when he retired a year later, that was it. He moved on to become an author, and he didn’t need this movie to get made. But I just couldn’t let it go. Ten years later, it was still on my mind; I got in touch with him and asked whether he still had the footage. I had this idea to film a contemporary version and use that old footage as flashback material. He thought it was a great idea and while he searched for the hard drive in the attic; I started writing the script based on what I can remember. I wanted to make sense out of what happened with a present-day script.
By then, I had worked on enough indie films and had enough people who owed me favours. I knew it’s possible for me to do this. I had just enough hubris to tackle the project, only to realise how out of my depth that really was. Furthermore, I learned an awful lot during this process and can’t wait to do another one that hopefully won’t take 17 years to make, but 3 to 5 instead.
How many years were actually spent filming and editing?
We filmed the contemporary portion in 2016 and the whole idea is that we thought half the movie was all done. But when it came time for post-production, editing and putting it together, that was when I realised we got to edit three movies. The old, new, and then those two together.
That alone took five or six years because we also had our day jobs too. And when the pandemic hit, everything slowed down. It actually gave us time to put some perspective into what we’re doing.
What was the original movie title called?
Oh, it’s been Site 13 since the very beginning. There had been a few times when people had suggested we change the title, but the thought never crossed my mind.
What about people who might think that your work is a UFO movie instead of horror?
I didn’t think about that until it was too late. So, in my movie, we’re investigating these devil’s circles where people disappear. That has a bit of that science fiction-y element, but I’m presenting in more of a H.P. Lovecraft style rather than other approaches.
I can’t help but think of alien abductions, but such is not the case. Even then, Site 13, and Area 51. Some people want to connect the dots even though they don’t know enough about the film.
So for the continuation, was it always in your head to bring in the styling from this master of the macabre?
I was reading Lovecraft at the time and when it came to writing the present-day portion of the story, I wanted to have a little more of a theme to what this movie is about. Most of his ideas stem from his nihilistic attitude that we as Humanity are completely insignificant in the universe and there’s no meaning—that’s where the horror comes in.
I wanted to respond to the idea that if nothing has meaning, then it’s up to us to make that meaning. And I give it a bit of heart. So it does kind of go against Lovecraft at the same time. And one of the things that I wanted to show in Site 13 is the idea that what we do with our time here is more important than anything else.
In closing, what would you say to people who are still unsure about checking out Site 13?
The funny thing is that a lot of people who are not necessarily into horror like my movie. The horror fans, I don’t need to sell it to. It’s interesting as most of our awards are from non genre film festivals. There’s the Montreal independent film festival, the London New Wave festival. And so I think I would suggest that you should look at it for the heart and humour that I’ve put in. There’s some underlying dread and there’s a bit of a thriller going on. Quite simply, the story here is not about why people are getting chopped up.