I first heard of Hayden when I was at a filmmaking bootcamp, and someone told me of a short film that was recently made. The film was called “Final Girl” and was about a girl being chased by a killer through the different eras of horror. An incredible idea that instantly made me jealous. Now over a year later, Hayden is in the final stages of creating a revenge horror film called Tommy. After watching this film, I can safely say it has one of the most unique and refreshing styles I have seen in a while. Hearing his passion and love for this project showed me how dedicated he was to filmmaking. Read on for more.
What is Tommy?
“It’s Kill Bill meets Carrie. It’s a 70s style revenge horror about a group of friends who are hunted by someone who they have done wrong. He hunts them down one by one, getting answers about what happened the night before.”
How did this idea come to you?
“I will give you the dark and light version. The dark version is that I thought of this idea about 2-3 years ago. My Mum had passed away when I was about 18. Originally, it was about Tommy going after a group of friends who had something to do with his mother’s death. I wanted to play on the idea of toxic friendships and grief. The idea stemmed from me dealing with the death of my mother and projecting my emotions.
There was also a song I liked called Tommy and there’s an outro where there is a girl screaming an outro. I loved it and combined the two.”
What has been the biggest challenge so far of making an Indie short film?
“The biggest thing for me personally was delegating the tasks to other people and not just doing all the work by myself. I have learnt this year to start trusting other people with my vision. I try to make what I want to do as a filmmaker known to everyone so they can work with me. Also, as a director differentiating your focus towards style and performances. I could have spent more time getting those performances as intense as I wanted them to be.”
When you’re on set is there a specific way you talk with actors?
“Leading up to shoots, I build more of a person relationship with them. I want to make sure they are comfortable with me because there is a big theme of the sexual assault. I am very collaborative in the way that I want the actors to feel like they have written the dialogue. I also like to put more emphasis on their personal experience in their past to come to an agreeance to bring this certain moment to life.”
When you were writing this script, what was your structure and plan writing it?
“The way that I worked through was that I focused on how I wanted each character to die. I had the grand death scene for each character written first and worked backwards from there. It had to feel like a fluid sequence of events.”
I can see your love for horror in Final Girl and Tommy. So who are your favourite horror filmmakers and favourite horror films?
“Tommy is a Giallo inspired film. I love films like Suspiria, it is so over the top with colours and becomes this neon nightmare. Also, Mario Bava was a big horror Giallo director – Blood and Black Lace are amazing. More modern horror directors are Mike Flannagan. He is great at making horrifying sequences without sound. Not necessarily a horror filmmaker but Nicholas Wendig Refn for the Neon Demon which is a stunning horror film. Gaspar Noe is a big influence, I have been watching his films a bunch recently. Before I started writing Tommy as well, I watched I Spit on Your Grave. I would also say Wes Craven as well.
“My favourite movie of all time is Brides Maids. I have watched it 100 times.”
The worst thing that people do in the cinema?
“Take off their shoes and socks and put their feet on the seat. It’s absolutely feral. Put the dogs away we don’t want to see it.”
Where do you want to see the Australian film scene move?
“I love so many old Australian films and TV shows. I just watched the old Heartbreak High. The depiction of Australia was so real back then. We have just had a 20-year gap where we have been a little bit westernised. Our country has so much culture that people just aren’t exploring. We are rapidly modernising everything around us that we are forgetting the stories we need to tell.”
Is there an Australian horror movie that you think needs to be made?
“I would love to do Australian Horror Story. I have actually thought of at least four seasons that could be done and I want to focus on that once I’m finished. Especially the outback and how terrifying it is. Australian Horror Story needs to happen and I’m going to make it happen.”
If a film genie gave you one wish to do anything you want, what would it be?
“I would make a TV show based on Dead by Daylight. One thing it has is their lore. Especially about the characters and the killers. If you made this show it would outweigh all the old horror villains because there is so much depth to these killers.”
What is next for you?
“I am hoping to get into being a first AD to try and get some first-hand experience from directors and on bigger films. Also just writing a heap of shit and hopefully in the next five years I can make another couple of films. Hopefully try to establish Australia as a horror scene. My end goal is to be known as one of the best Australian horror directors.”
“I need to shoutout my entire crew and every other director of all the grad slates. I am so excited to see these new experimental films.”
Make sure to follow Tommy on Instagram and pay attention for it’s festival release!