INTERVIEW: Marcus Dunstan & Patrick Melton

Recently I got to talk with two of horrors biggest up and coming talents, writer/director Marcus Dunstan and writer Patrick Melton. You might know some of their work from the Feast series, Saw IV, V and soon to be released Saw VI and The Collector. Check out this interview to learn some more about them and their upcoming movies, The Collector and Saw VI.

You guys both wrote The Collector together but Marcus was the one who actually directed it. Any reason why you two didn’t direct together?

Patrick: I do not want to direct, that is Marcus’ thing. When I met Marcus at University of Iowa he was the big directing hot shot. He was doing his own movies and stuff like that so that has always been sort of the plan, for him to direct while I don’t have those ambitions. It’s a lifestyle and you have to put everything into it and he is more of apt to do that than me.

And Marcus how did you enjoy directing?

Marcus: The first few weeks I was flat out terrified but then I thought ‘wait this is the exact emotion I’m looking to instill’ so I used the second chuck of shooting to work that in. So the movie is based off the first reaction we had and a poor couple ran crying from the theater in the first ten minutes of this one at Comic Con and I thought ‘Ok that’s about right’.

So I’ve heard that The Collector was originally going to be written as a Saw Prequel. Is there any truth to that?

Patrick: That’s not true. What happened was that The Collector was written and we were going to make it and the company didn’t have enough money. So they were like “Ok we have half the money lets get another company in to go halfsies with us.” So one of the companies they approached was Twisted Pictures who do the SAW movies. At that point they had just done Saw III and Leigh Whannell wasn’t coming back to do IV and they were looking for ideas and people to do IV. So someone over there read The Collector and said “Oh this could be a good origin story”, you know rewrite it and make it to the origin story of John Kramer. That got squashed pretty quickly but the script got us the job to do Saw IV, V and VI. So yeah it was written on its on.

What can fans of the genre expect from The Collector?

Marcus: Well at this point what we wanted to do was give a sustained, terrifying situation its full due. There are no cut away scenes to relieve the tension, once this machine starts it doesn’t stop until the movie is dragged away from you. We have an extended suspense sequence that’s about 45 minutes in real time and we just in coupled with its score contributed by former Nine Inch Nails drummer Jerome Dillon, it really comes together and creates a bombardment of suspense and action and terror that we are really proud of.

: It’s probably the most intense horror movie you’ll see this year.

I’ve been hearing some positive buzz lately, might we be seeing a Collector 2 in the future?

: Well the nice thing about this is particular entry is that it completes it theme, it sets out with an idea and comes full circle. However, we’ve learned that from previous films we’ve worked on that should a certain success or desire merit another visit to this terrain, we can return. Ideally yeah there might be another story or two that could evolve from this film but thematically this one has closure.

Speaking of sequels in just three months from now Saw VI is going to hit theaters. Seeing as you two have been the writers of the saw series since part 4, what is it that you love about SAW and keeps bringing you back to the universe?

Marcus: I love how SAW takes advantage of dependable release date and this year there is some timely topics addressed in the film that director Kevin Greutert took and ran with. This is definitely the SAW film we are most proud of just to be associated with. They have a canon that they follow to keep the rules in check, they have a rabid fan base that we bust our asses for to reward the finest and nastiest ideas that we can come up with and I am very proud of Kevin and thrilled for SAW fans because Saw VI is right up there. We’ve seen it three times and are kinda going nuts for it ourselves.

Recently it was announced Saw VII was a go with director David Hackl from part V returning, have you began scripting Saw VII yet?

Marcus: yeah we are in the outlining and treatment stage on that but I heard you take a breath Pat go for it.

Patrick: Just this morning we were talking with David Hackl about just the outline and we start the actual script in a few weeks. Right now we are just honing the story and all that fun stuff.

And how many Saw films do you feel you guys can actually make?

Marcus: Really when it comes down to the story engine behind Saw, it comes from a very feral source. The idea that each of us, every single person on this planet, has a vice and what Saw invites is what if you were to trap that vice, a timer was placed on it, could you survive the worst in yourself? I think that is timeless and has a feel you can keep going back and back to.

The last question of the day is, what is next for you two? Is there any more directing in either of your futures?

Marcus: Well you know fortunately we had so much fun on The Collector that it would be nice to do it again. There is a couple of properties we are eyeing, I’d love to tell you about 8 things we’d love to do but I don’t want to jinx it either!

Thank you both very much and I have to say am very excited to see both The Collector and Saw 6 and I’ll being seeing The Collector on Friday.

Marcus: Please please do and if you like what you see tell one million people!