Interview: Spencer Gray – Director (The Border)

Spencer-Gray-The-Border-movie-1Spencer Gray, Writer and Director of THE BORDER starring

Bill Oberst Jr, Richard O. Ryan, Lynn Lowry, Dave Vescio, Eileen Dietz, Noel Guglielmi, Katrina Matusek-Ryan, Melantha Blackthorne, Amanda Marie, Troy Johnson, hip hop artist Wyzae, Sebrina Bedard, Tamara Glynn.

First and foremost, please tell us a little about yourself?

I’m just a boy standing in front of the Cannes Film Festival asking it to love him.

There is a photo of you sitting at a typewriter that you posted recently? Did you know in your heart you would grow up and write?

As far back as I can remember. My grandfather, God rest his soul, gave me a typewriter when I was ten and off I went! I probably banged out one short story per week.

How did the film THE BORDER come to fruition?

Spencer-I dreamed the ending and built a story around it. What I saw behind the door was so disturbing to me it actually woke me up. I grabbed my laptop and started writing like a madman while I was inspired. It was a very Lovecraftian moment.

Name three books you could read over and over?

Spencer-Bukowski’s Notes of a Dirty Old Man, The Diaries of Anais Nin, Cracked by John Waters.

What direction would you like to see films go in? Horror etc.

Tell some original stories! The role of a true artist is not to look away! (I forget who said that last part) The end.

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If you were chosen to write an episode for a television show? Which show would it be and where would you take the characters?

The only shows I watch are Hannibal, SOA, Big Bang Theory, Bill Maher, Colbert and boxing so that’s a hard one. Everything is perfect the way it is. If I wrote an episode it would ruin it for me. Ummmm, they are bringing back 24! I would jump on that in a second. I have plenty of ideas about what Bauer has been up to and where the season could/should go.

Your work has always been different, unique and well written. Is there a particular way that you think up the stories?

Spencer- Aw shucks, thank you so much for the kind compliment. I really do try to be fresh and original and that makes it incredibly hard to find financing. People with money always want to copy what is trending and I want to smack em. I get inspired by different things. It could be a news story, something crazy one of my kids say, a dark life story. For example, I came up with the idea for Bible John while reading The Divine Comedy sitting atop a mesa in Sedona, Arizona.

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What other types of films would you like to make?

I’m glad you asked that. Horror films are not the only stories I want to tell. I wrote a drama called Some Choose Hell with my friend Richard O. Ryan and I just finished one called Kaiowas. Since the beginning of the 80s, the Guarani-Kaiowá tribe has been gradually forced to leave their traditional settlements as a consequence of the deforestation to get soy, corn and cane plantations. The brutal attacks this community has received have their root on the high profitability of the lands they inhabit for the growing of agri-businesses and the biofuel industry.

In October 2012, a group of 170 Kaiowás declared they were ready to accept their extinction via mass suicide. They would rather die than leave their land. Such a powerful story and it exposes what pieces of shit politicians and corporations are.

Could you elaborate on your next project?

The Border, It’s very unique and shocking. Crazy brutal as well. No slashers, no ghosts, no zombies, no found footage, no bullshit. The plot of The Border is quite cool. When the granddaughter of a U.S. Senator goes missing near the border of Mexico, former Black Ops agent Jack Barrabas is forced out of retirement to find her. Every path he takes, secret he uncovers and body he drops leads to a secret, mysterious door in a small border town. What he finds behind this door will forever change the world, and who he thinks he is, for the worse. You will never recover from what lies beyond THE BORDER. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-border–2#home

What motivates you and why?

I am a strong believer that definition is just another word for reinvention. To be yourself even if people hate you for it.

When I was young I had no sense of myself. I was a product of the fear and humiliation I suffered. Fear of my abusive dad. The humiliation of teachers telling me I’d be digging ditches for a living. And the very real terror of my fellow students. Most of them were absolute horrors. I was threatened and beaten up for liking things like literature and art. For being intellectual instead of religious. (Funny how religious people will throw you a beating for not believing exactly what they do) I was labeled a Satanist etc.

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They made me hate myself all the time.

As stupid at it seems now, I wanted to talk like them, dress like them, walk with the ease of knowing that I wasn’t going to get my ass kicked after school.

Then came Nick.

He walked into the video store I worked at one day and saw how awkward I was and that I had a busted lip. He started talking to me. Really talking to me. He gave me his card and invited me to come to his gym free of charge. He worked with me every day, defining my body and teaching me to fight. I quickly went from being a victim to somebody people didn’t fuck with.  I found out quick that I was not only good at boxing and martial arts, but I loved physical combat. I applied it to my creative process and philosophy about life. A fight never lies to you. Combat will always kick you the real deal. A fight is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver.

So, I would say what motivates me is to stand up for people, encourage people to learn and think, to strike down stereotypes, to have at least shouted at injustice and bullies. I don’t care if it’s a tribe being kicked off their land so people can get rich or a kid at school who gets pounded or made fun of everyday because they’re gay or simply different.  I have flown my middle finger in the face of assholes and convention my whole life. I don’t see it changing.

THE BORDER promises no Zombies, no ghosts, no gimmicks. What makes it different from other Horror films?

The Border doesn’t give a shit about target audiences and all that studio nonsense. I am not somebody who is interested in great wealth. I want to make savage art that has something to say. Oh yeah, and if it’s not fun and strange I don’t want to do it.

Do you believe the cliché that most writers are “strange” and “write at night” (and yes I am writing this interview at 2 in the morning ;)  Stereotypes are stupid.

THE BORDER is featured on www.indiegogo.com. A lot of great independent films never receive the viewing audience a big budget film receives. How can fans change this and welcome independent films?

Support and action. People complain but do nothing to change it. Be the strange you want to see in the world people! I love you all but get involved!

You can have dinner with three people, living or deceased and they had to write the ending to your new movie? Who are you having dinner with and who is writing the ending? (This one is random)

Hitchcock, Jesus and Joseph Carey Merrick. I would let Hitchcock write it of course haha. I would just like to hang with Jesus and Merrick.

What are some of the challenges you face being a screenwriter or just as a writer in general?

Spencer-Getting past The Suits and their cookie cutter ideas. Everything that is considered “commercial” was once considered “trash” so please drive your Bentley off a cliff. Thank you.

Janel- If you could offer advice to future and current writers, artists, screen writers, actors, anyone in the world? What would you say?

Spencer- Go be a scientist or something. This is a nearly impossible business.

You have released some amazing work and artwork specifically for The Border, it takes you back to when Horror was meant to be watched in the dark and the fear sets in quickly? Were your intentions to go out all and just scare the shit out of people? (I sure hope so)

Of corpse! I want to bring back the fear factor. The Goosebumps. The hairs on the back of your neck standing on end. The heart racing with anticipation. The gore. As Alfred Hitchcock, the Master of Suspense, so eloquently put it, ‘There is no terror in the bang, only the anticipation of it.’ That’s what is missing in today’s horror films.

You have acted in a few films, any chance we will see you on screen again?

Spencer- I hope not.

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 Who are some of your favorite actors to work with?

Spencer- Michael Pare, Danny Trejo, Eileen Dietz, martial arts master Richard O. Ryan, Katrina Matusek-Ryan.

You are a Director, writer and producer – a jack of all trades. Do you love them all equally or do you prefer to mix it up?

I would love it if I could just write and direct. That’s the only thing I envy about Michael Bay hehe.

Okay, the door is featured in quite a few of the videos introducing The Border? Can you talk about the significance since in films a door is often a terrifying prop that can either lead to a way out or a nightmare?

People have a basic fear of the unknown and are fascinated by it at the same time. I’ve been on several paranormal investigations and people, no matter how seasoned, always have a little anxiety when opening some door that is shut in a spooky house.

Janel-Okay, not to put you on the spot but top five random favorite films? (any genre)

1.) Man from Nowhere

2.) John Carpenter’s Halloween

3.)John Carpenter’s The Thing

4.) Barfly

5.) The Elephant Man

You have worked with the incredibly talented Eileen Dietz quite a few times, she always portrays her characters with ease. Did you think of her right away for this film?

Indeed. We’ve been friends for a decade now and I just love her. Thank you for reaching out to me and covering The Border! Means a lot! My best to everybody at HorrorNews.Net

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