Perry Horton is the writer of two recent films from The Asylum, ”Shark Week” & “2-Headed Shark Attack”. Media Mikes had a chance with Perry about how he got started working with The Asylum and about his upcoming films.
Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about how you got involved working with The Asylum?
H. Perry Horton: In August 2010 I started my blog, Committed, dedicated entirely to Asylum films – news and reviews, interviews and profiles et cetera, as well as my own personal pitches. Basically, it was a shameless ploy to get their attention, and somehow it worked; in January 2011 they added me to their pool of writers. Three months after that, I was working on A Haunting in Salem.
MG: What was your biggest challenge working on “2-Headed Shark Attack”?
HPH: The sheer number of characters. I inherited the concept and basic set-up from the very talented Edward DeRuiter (3 Musketeers), and in my head, a semester-at-sea couldn’t just be 8 or 10 characters, there had to be enough people to justify the program, so I added a bunch more. Too many, perhaps, for development across the board, but on the bright side, it does yield possibly the highest death count in all of shark cinema history, at 26, I think.
MG: You work with sharks again with “Shark Week” also from The Asylum, tell us about working on this project?
HPH: The Asylum came to me with the concept, a sort of Hunger Games for the shark set. I thought it was a brilliant idea, and instantly wanted to get my hands on it. As far as the process went, it was quick – very, veryquick – and as such sort of a blur in my memory. I just remember throwing myself into it, wanting to satisfy what I think of as the two sides of being a shark fan – wanting to marvel at the sheer evolutionary superiority of the creatures, the genetic adaptations and instincts that make them such exceptional predators, and wanting to see them rip shit up. There are a lot of different species in the film, and I wanted to highlight each’s nefarious advantages, give each a different perilous personality.
MG: You are quite the shark expert, what do you enjoy most about working within that genre?
HPH: I don’t know that I’d consider myself a shark expert – maybe a shark-movie aficionado – I’ve just always been simultaneously fascinated and terrified by them. When I was a kid, eight or nine, I was surf fishing with an older friend in North Carolina, back where I’m from, and he got a bite on his line, big one, and started trying to reel it in but it was giving him trouble. When he tugged hard on the line, a hammerhead breached the surface not ten feet off shore. My buddy dropped the pole right there and it disappeared into the waves. Since then, I’ve been hooked (pardon the awful pun). Sharks are the pinnacle of evolution, the absolute fulfillment of biology’s potential, they’re consumption machines, it’s all they do, and they are well-equipped for the task. I can’t think of a more primal creature on the planet. And then there’s the sea: I could be making this up, but we know more about our solar system than we do the sea. It covers 3/4th of the planet and contains such a wide variety of hazards they’re practically innumerable. You put those elements together – a singled-minded killing machine with zero natural predators and the most unexplored and hostile environment on Earth – you’re gonna come up a winner every time.
MG: Tell us about why you created Committed, a fanblog about The Asylum?
HPH: I’m a fan, first and foremost, I just love whatthey do. I’ve always been a B-movie guy, and for my money, they’re making the best ones out there. I started the blog because I couldn’t believe there wasn’t one already, and because I wanted people to share in my enthusiasm for Asylum films. For all the general crap people may sling just because of the type of films they make, how inexpensively or quickly they make them or who’s in them or whatever, there’s at least twice as much to love about every single one of their films, and I wanted to share those things. And also I really, really wanted to write for them.
MG: What is your all-time favorite film from The Asylum and why?
HPH: Anything that reads “Screenplay by H. Perry Horton.” Other than that, Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus is the film that really ignited my love for The Asylum. But I come at the question from a couple different angles. As a fan, I dig the Mega Shark movies, the found-footage stuff like Alien Origin, certainly the sex comedies like Bikini Spring Break; while as a writer I’m drawn to stuff like Paul Bales’ Nazis at the Center of the Earth and Sherlock Holmes, Geoff Meed’s I Am Omega and 6 Guns, Jose Prendes’ Haunting of Whaley House and Jared Cohn’s Born Bad – I could go on for paragraphs – but basically stuff that I’ve been not only impressed by, but humbled. So I guess the short answer is, all of them?
MG: What do you have planned next?
HPH: ”Shark Week” premieres on SyFy Saturday, August 4th at 9 p.m. then bows on DVD a few weeks later on the 28th. I have a disaster film that’s in production at the moment, water-based, and an iron or two in the fire beyond that. I’m a superstitious sort of writer in that I don’t like to discuss projects before they’re in production. I’m a big believer in jinxes.