Exclusive Interview : Rob Schmidt


I think it’s fair to say that filmmaker Rob Schmidt loves a good death sequence. From the inventive deaths (spears!) in his 2003 Deliverance-on-acid “Wrong Turn” to the numerous slaughtering in his new film “The Alphabet Killer” he’s clearly a director who knows how to structure a good demise.

CLINT MORRIS talks to the talented filmmaker about his latest flick.

Rob, how did this movie come about?

It was an offer situation. I’ve done a lot of reading on true crime and serial murder and I was interested in the case of the double letter murders or Alphabet Killings so I said yes. It’s appealing to make something that draws attention to the murders, since they remain unsolved.  For a long time a firefighter that died around the time of the last murder had been unofficially blamed for the murders.  Because of the attention around Alphabet Killer, officials exhumed his body to tie him by dna evidence.  What they discovered was that he did not commit the rape/murders, so his family has been freed from that shame.

Did you always envision Eliza Duhsku (from your film Wrong Turn) in the lead?

When I was offered the project I got really excited about making it with Eliza Dushku.  Eliza is at the point where she can play women and I thought it would be a great way for her to move forward playing an interesting character on a strange journey.

How had she grown as an actress since you last worked together?

Eliza, in addition to being beautiful, is very smart.  Whenever I see her she’s into something new and growing past what I expected of her.  She was in Iran this last year, she’s all over the place, learning and growing.

How close to the truth is the film’s storyline?

The film shifts away from the true facts of the case.  I didn’t want to make another police procedural about a serial killer, they’ve already been made well by folks with considerably more money than us.  Alphabet Killer is a more personal film about some little girls that were raped and murdered and how that impacted one woman played by Eliza.  It’s a supernatural thriller, a ghost story of sorts, I guess.

Was it any easy film to get up and get financed?

The movie was financed when I came on so, yes, for me anyway.  I suspect there was the usual struggle, I was just lucky enough to miss it this time.

What a support cast? Who jumped aboard first?

I did, then Eliza, then a number of my friends, Bill Mosely, Tom Noonan & Michael Ironside.  Timothy Hutton and Cary Elwes were towards the end of the casting process.

Off-topic… What did you think of the “Wrong Turn” sequel? Would you and Eliza ever consider coming back to do one of the sequels?

Joe’s sequel is good.  It’s a bit of a horror comedy, but it’s good.  I’m very pleased to be sequelized.  If there was a theatrical release for a Wrong Turn sequel I reckon Eliza and I would consider it but the industry is really into direct to consumer sequels right now.  It’s a little sad with Stan Winston having died.

What can you tell me about “Bad Meat”? Stars Dave Franco, right?

Dave Franco is the star of Bad Meat. Definitely a graphic horror unlike Alphabet Killer, which is a supernatural thriller without a lot of gore.  Bad Meat will be a very disturbing little movie, it’s loaded with gore, vomit, and even a bit of anal penetration.