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Artsploitation Films: "Red Christmas"...

Horror legend Dee Wallace (The Hills Have Eyes, The Howling, E.T., Cujo, Critters) stars as the stressed-out mother of a squabbling family, gathered together in a remote Outback estate on Christmas Eve. When a mysterious, deformed young man named Cletus appears at their door, things soon change from petty insults to bloody, imaginatively orchestrated violence as Wallace attempts to protect her family from the vengeful intruder. The film deliriously infuses comedy, dark family secrets with outlandish gore and adds the always controversial subject of abortion in its bloodstained mix.

From its inception the script took a couple of years to write. Abortion is a subject that hasn't been explored widely in horror film, despite the genre’s ability to tackle challenging subjects. At first I wrote a screwball horror; a fetus who attacks its mother (think Larry Cohen, Frank Henenlotter, or early Peter Jackson). But after many stilted redrafts and viewing of many documentaries on the subject the tone shifted. I did a lot of research both academically and in person with women of all ages and backgrounds who had varying experiences and opinions on abortion. What I've tried to present is a question rather than an answer. Interestingly, some people read this script and think it's pro-choice and others are just as adamant it's pro-life. I do accept that in personifying the fetus, turning it into a human, I have made a pro-life statement, which in turn murders nine people.

During the writing process I enlisted the help of another writer, Belinda King, who was script editor on the film as well as a producer. She trained in screenwriting at UCLA and brought to the script an international sensibility. Wanting a scream queen to play Diane, I knew the women I’d be approaching would have read infinitely more horror scripts than me. So, Belinda and I worked tirelessly to make sure the script was funny as well as horrific, character-driven, engaging and visceral.

By the end of the writing process I had a script that drew people to the project. Dee Wallace plays the lead and the film was made by some of Australia's best talent, both in front of and behind the camera. Armed with a lean, mean 92-page script, we hit the Southern Highlands of NSW in late 2015 and made RED CHRISTMAS.

Jeremy [Six Strings]

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