Interview: Joe Begos (Christmas Bloody Christmas)
Riley Dandy, Sam Delich, Jonah Ray Rodrigues, Dora Madison, Jeremy Gardner, with Jeff Daniel Phillips, and Abraham Benrubi
Written & Directed By:
It’s Christmas Eve and fiery record store owner Tori Tooms just wants to get drunk and party, until the robotic Santa Claus at a nearby toy store goes haywire and makes her night more than a little complicated. Santa Claus begins a rampant killing spree through the neon drenched snowscape against a backdrop of drugs, sex, metal and violence, ultimately forcing Tori into a blood splattered battle for survival against the ruthless heavy metal Saint Nick himself.
Release Date: In Theaters and Streaming on Shudder – December 9, 2022
Hi Joe, Okay, I loved Christmas Bloody Christmas. It’s like Silent Night, Deadly Night had a party, and invited Die Hard and Robocop but you said, nope hold my beer. It’s a blast of a movie. How did this movie manifest for you?
Joe Begos- I love Christmas movies. I always thought the best movie to remake would be Silent Night, Deadly Night, just because I love the iconography of that movie. I was asked a couple of years ago to come up with an idea for a remake, and pitch the idea. This is what I came up with, and it wasn’t necessarily what they were looking for because it was so different from the original. I thought, yes, their right, it is pretty different, and that means I can just write it because it’s my idea so, I went and wrote it, and it got made as an original movie. I’m glad that it’s not a remake of Silent Night, Deadly Night, and it’s an original movie.
I love all the special effects and the cast is amazing. There are some incredible death scenes, and just wild scenes. How did you prepare the cast?
Joe Begos- A lot of the supporting roles are people that I worked with before, people that I’m friends with, and they know what it’s like working with me, and the world that I want to build. Riley Dandy and Sam Delich (Riley and Sam portray Tori Tooms and Robbie Reynolds) who play the two leads were new, I found them through casting. What spoke to me about them, was how they approached the material. I asked for a lot of improvisation when I’m working with people, and they were just so natural at riffing things that sounded like I would have written them. After going a step further and working with them directly before I cast them, it was like we were all extensions of the same tree. They know exactly what I want, and that grew and grew over the course of our working relationship. We shot the movie for like two months, and the were able to just sponge my personality. This movie was from my brain. This movie wasn’t developed, it was a committee, it wasn’t scripted. I wrote it, and this is my brain on film, and everybody was onboard for that ride. I have a specific outlook on life that I wanted to imprint on this movie.
One thing I loved a lot was all the locations. The record store, toy store, the houses. Did it take long to find all of these locations?
Joe Begos- I wanted to shoot in California because I made a couple of winter-set movies on the east coast of New Englund before, and it was just so goddamn cold. I didn’t want to deal with that again so, I wanted to know if there was a small town that would make it possible for us to stay on west coast? My producing partner Josh Ethier put together thirty plus towns all over California, and we went on a three- or four-day scouting trip.
I loved the record shop.
Joe Begos- The record shop and the locations were empty buildings that we went in, and built from the ground up. The toy store existed but we did our own thing with it, but that big toy store exist. It’s sad, I wish the record store lived through the movie.
What are you working on next? A sequel to Christmas Bloody Christmas, or would you do another Christmas movie?
Joe Begos- I’d love to do a sequel to this. I’ve got some ideas for where to bring this movie next. I’ve got a small movie that I was shooting during covid and it just became complicated, and out of control, and me trying to push the limits of what we had. We had to put it on pause to go and make Christmas Bloody Christmas, I’m actually getting back to that project next week. That will probably be the next thing that comes out for me because it’s almost completely shot, and cut. That’s kind of an experimental movie.
What do you want to say to everyone that will be watching Christmas Bloody Christmas?
Joe Begos- I’d love if people could go and see it on the big screen, we’re going to have a theatrical release along with our On Demand, and SHUDDER release. I would appreciate it if people could see it on the big screen but if that’s not possible, you know get some friends together, and have some drinks and food, and fucking have a blast, because that’s what the movie was built for.
Thank you so much, Joe. Happy Holidays, and thanks for making this awesome Christmas movie for all of us.
Joe Begos- Thank you.