Directors Mitchell Altieri and Phil Flores discuss their sequel The Thompsons, ariving on Blu-ray and DVD January 1
Back in 2006, directors Mitchell Altieri and Phil Flores teamed up to direct The Hamiltons, which gave way to their new moniker The Butcher Brothers. They continued to work together with the thrillers April Fool's Day and The Violent Kind in the years that followed. Now they have come back to their vampire family with the sequel The Thompsons, which is currently available on VOD formats before debuting on Blu-ray and DVD January 1. This follow-up features the vampire family (now dubbed The Thompsons) fleeing from the United States after their true identities are uncovered. They head to England in search of an ancient clan of vampires, where the family is put to their biggest test yet.
I actually watched The Hamiltons and The Thompsons back-to back. It was fun to see how this family has evolved. Did you always have a follow-up in mind? Can you talk about when you first started working on the script?
Mitchell Altieri: Not really. The Hamiltons was kind of our first voyage into horror filmmaking. We came up with this moniker, The Butcher Brothers, and we wanted to make this film we wanted to see, a coming-of-age survival tale, where if you had to kill in order to survive, what would you do? That's how The Hamiltons was born. We grew up in a suburban background, so it was fun to use that setting for The Hamiltons, seeing what's going on in people's backyards. Once we did that, we got Adam Weis, the writer on the first film, and put together The Hamiltons. After we finished it, and it took off and did really well, we kind of started to have a few other ideas. We really wanted to shift the first film and not tread in the same area. We had the idea to shoot in England, and that opened up the story and showed where The Hamiltons came from, their lineage and their origin story.
(Co-writer/star) Cory Knauf starred in both films as Francis, but can you talk about his contributions as a writer on the sequel? I know he's written a few shorts and features. Can you talk about what he brought to the table as a writer?
Phil Flores: It was interesting because he's obviously very close to the character. He could really get in there and get really deep, almost how Francis has grown, it's like how Cory has grown as well as a creative writer. Cory was able to bring out a lot more in The Thompsons. They're not this young teenage family anymore. They're young adults. That was great.
In watching both of these back-to-back, I had to remind myself there was a six-year time span between the movies. It was interesting to see this jarring transformation that Cory had between the films. It was really cool to watch.
Mitchell Altieri: Yeah. You probably went into The Hamiltons knowing that they were vampires, but when it came out in 2006, nobody knew what the movie was about. It was a horror film, but nobody knew they were vampires. Now, it's a big draw. That's the only part we're a little pissed off about, that a lot of people are going to go back and see it and know this twist ending. It is what it is. When it first came out, nobody knew they were vampires. It was never sold as a vampire movie.
Yeah. It's amazing how much the landscape of that vampire market has changed in those few years. We obviously get a sense that they aren't your ordinary vampires. Did you come up with certain rules, about how they survive? In the first movie, we see the box, and I assume that is some sort of incubation period. Can you elaborate on the rules you created?
Phil Flores: It's kind of about telling our own story. For us, it was about what's it like for characters who have this disease, and if you have this disease, what's it like to kill in order to survive? How does that affect who you are? Going back to the original, they are these outcasts and there's an interesting reflection in that story. We used that as our base to create this family. We thought it would be a perfect setting for vampires, and an orphan family at that. You have this dynamic of this family trying to grow up, with no one to help them grow up, and then they have this kid in the box they're trying to raise. If you have a little brother, how are you going to stop him from eating people? That's they're instinct. It's pushing the boundaries.
Can you talk about bringing in new cast members like Elizabeth Henstridge, who has recently been cast in a lot of different things. Can you talk about what you were looking for in actors to play the Stuart family?
Mitchell Altieri: Once we knew we were going to shoot in London, we knew we wanted this family that would be a good counterpart to The Thompsons. Elizabeth auditioned in London. With everybody else, the brothers, Sean (Browne) and Tom (Holloway), seeing them together, again, they were a great counterpart for the twins. Mother and Father Stuart was a tougher one. We kind of pictured them as a little bit older for the story. Then Selina (Giles) came in, who played Mother Stuart, and she had such presence that we decided to make the parents a little bit younger. A lot of the fathers we had seen just weren't right. It took us awhile before we found Daniel (O'Meara). We were already shooting for a couple of days. They showed his reel and we got him on set the next day. This family, the Stuarts, they embodied what we were looking for.
After I watched this, I kept wondering where this family will head next. Would you like to take them back to America, if this is successful and you want to make a third movie? Would you like to take them elsewhere into Europe?
Phil Flores: Maybe Europe, maybe Eastern Europe. Go back to the original roots of where they all come from.
Great. That's my time. Thanks so much. It was great talking to you.
Mitchell Altieri: Thank you.