13 Fanboy director Deborah Voorhees on her new Friday the 13th-inspired film
This week, I had the pleasure of chatting once again with actress/writer/director/editor Deborah Voorhees (read our previous interview here). Her latest upcoming work, entitled 13 Fanboy, centers on a deranged Friday the 13th fan who targets actresses who have appeared in the franchise. The film stars Dee Wallace, along with several people who appeared in the Friday films, such as Kane Hodder and C.J. Graham, both of whom played Jason in different entries in the series.
Deborah, what gave you the idea for 13 Fanboy?
My producer partner was curious about horror conventions because he hadn’t been to one and was wondering what horror fans are like. I said that they are like big kids who dress up and play Halloween. They are a lot of fun. They are really into SFX. That sort of thing excites them. He asked if had a bad experience. I said no but I had a few weird things happen. For instance, I had a weird message on Facebook Messenger from someone commenting, “Wouldn’t it be cool if you died in real life like in Friday the 13th.” I didn’t respond and blocked him. Another text message bothered me more because it was a text to my phone. This guy said he was watching me in my office at night. He said he knew me from Friday the 13th and meant me harm. I blocked both of those people and didn’t hear back from them. It may have been a joke, but it’s not very funny. My producing partner said, “That’s our story. That’s our script.” I said, “Hell no!” However, after a few days, I realized that this is something that can scare people. We spent the next 90 days passing out the full plot, so I had a 30-page outline from beginning to end of everything that would happen. Then I fleshed the 90-something page script out.
13 Fanboy has a great cast. Among them is Dee Wallace, who I’ve always known as the mother from E.T. What’s it like directing her?
It was fantastic. She’s an incredibly talented actress. Every scene she’s in, she works the camera. Even when the scene is over, she stayed in character until I call cut, which I love. I give it a few seconds before calling cut just to see what happens. You never know when you’ll get something special. She’s amazingly nuanced in her performances, which I really appreciate. There was never a moment when you thought she wasn’t the character she was playing. She’s an amazingly kind person. I was impressed with her.
The film also has other alumni from the Friday the 13th. Was it surreal directing them in a project like this?
It was like having a huge family reunion with people you are related to but don’t always know personally.
Post-production on the film is currently underway. I’m happy to hear that the pandemic isn’t disrupting things on that front.
It hasn’t done too much. It is mostly distribution that is trickier with COVID, since theaters aren’t open right now. We are looking at a theatrical release, so we have to figure out what to do.
In the past, you’ve cited Alfred Hitchcock as one of your favorite filmmakers and you’ve obviously made an impact in the horror genre yourself. What’s it like directing terrifying scenes rather than acting in them?
It’s quite a lot of fun. The camera becomes an agent of sleight of hand like a magic show. The camera captures images and clips that turn something perfectly safe into something that looks violent and scary. It’s a lot of fun to see it all come together once the visual edits, sound effects, and music are in place.
Is there anything you can tells us about your future projects?
I do want to do a sequel to this. I also want to do a ghost story. I’ve always liked ghost stories.
Watch the teaser for 13 Fanboy: