Something is stirring in Chepachet this holiday season, but it is not quite what you would expect; it’s a film crew producing a horror, comedy, Christmas short titled Scary Little Fuckers. You might expect a film crew taking advantage of the holiday season and its decorations to craft a heartfelt family drama, but there aren’t usually any tiny monsters running amuck in a heartfelt drama. Local filmmaker Nathan Suher is hard at work directing his new short film, which pays homage to the tiny monster subgenre popularized by the movie Gremlins.
The film has garnered some internet buzz through its social media presence and crowdfunding campaign, and Suher and producer Richard Griffin were kind enough to provide more info on the project. Suher summarized the story as “a story of a father and a son, but the father is a functioning alcoholic who has a faltering relationship with his 15-year-old son. He brings home a Christmas present hoping to mend their relationship and it’s a terrible present. Very similar to Gremlins, it gets out and starts wreaking havoc on their lives. In the end it’s a simple story about how they overcome this obstacle.”
Naturally Suher wanted to keep as much descriptive info as possible about the film’s creatures, Fookas, secret. But I did find out that the Fookas will be an amalgam of movie monster influences with a decidedly Critters-esque quality. The important thing is that all of the film’s effects will be practical. Nathan explained, “The puppets will be hand-operated; we’ll be able to give them a lot of personality with head and mouth movements.” Although the practical effects will be the film’s biggest obstacle, they will also be its largest achievement, considering the project’s small budget. Griffin explained, “The most challenging aspect of the movie has been the Fooka puppets. I did the design of the creature, and we were very fortunate to have Margaret Wolf come in and create them. Margaret has, within a very limited schedule and budget, created some truly fantastic looking beasts!”
Suher, who has directed numerous short films, will be tackling new genres with Scary Little Fuckers since his previous films are mostly dramatic or straight comedies, such as the comedic homage to silent cinema Right There. This project allows him to not only explore new themes, but to work with other filmmakers. When asked about the make-up of the cast and crew, Suher explained, “Its actually a good mix. Richard is one of the most prolific filmmakers in the area and he knows pretty much everybody and I had my favorites from previous productions. I did let him (Griffin) handle production design and the effects. This is probably the 10th short I’ve done in the new England area. With every one, I find favorite crew members that I try to bring to the next one, but there are a lot of new people I’m working with as well. It’s also great cast.”
Although the film did have a well-publicized crowdfunding campaign, it failed to meet its goal. I inquired as to the possible negative impact this could have on the production, but was given a positive response from Suher. “It won’t affect the actual production at all. We were shooting for $5,000, and that was a lofty goal so we could pay for everything including post-production, scoring, film festival submissions and marketing. But we have what we need to put it in the can. So there may be a fundraiser event to raise another $1,000 to $1,500 for post-production.”
Given the multigenre concoction that Scary Little Fuckers aims to be, I was curious what the overall feel would be. Griffin described it. “The tone of Scary Little Fuckers is very dark, with extremely brutal humor in the mix. It’s not a satire or a parody, but more an alternate reality version of Gremlins where the writer and director just had complete contempt for the human race. I think people are going to really enjoy it!”
Scary Little Fuckers will shoot in Chepachet over the course of two weekends in December, with post-production to follow early in the new year. Suher and company plan to have the finished short festival-ready for next fall with a definite eye on screening it in October. Beyond Scary Little Fuckers, Suher has plans to continue making short films, tackling new themes and genres. For up-to-date information and news on the film’s progress, check them out on Facebook at facebook.com/pages/Scary-Little-Fuckers-A-Christmas-Movie