Walkden Entertainment (aka Peter Walkden) had the honour and pleasure of chatting with Pierce Berolzheimer, director, writer and one of the producers of Crabs! (2021), which is Now Available on Screambox.
Are you a lover of all things relating to horror? If so, do you have favourites?
I’m a big fan of anything creature-related. Aliens, Jaws, An American Werewolf in London, Deep Blue Sea, Eight Legged Freaks, Jurassic Park… that sort of thing. I enjoy slashers too, but I’m not lining up opening weekend for them. But I’ll for sure be there day one for the new Godzilla.
Where did you get your inspiration to make this film about murderous crab monsters?
I’ve always wanted to see a movie about killer horseshoe crabs, but that movie was never made, so I decided I had to make it myself. I also think it’s hilarious that horseshoe crabs aren’t actually crabs, so there are no crabs in my movie called Crabs!
Where was Crabs filmed, and how long did it take to film the whole feature?
We filmed it in Fort Bragg and Mendocino [California] back in 2015, with some green screen scenes in 2016 and drone footage in 2017. I then spent the next five years working on editing, VFX, music, and sound.
What was your biggest challenge while making this film?
The VFX. Originally, I didn’t want to use any VFX in the film, but that quickly became impossible. Since I wasn’t planning on using VFX, we didn’t have a VFX supervisor on set, so we just shot everything how we thought it would work… and that was a terrible decision. It took us three years just to get the VFX to work. It was an absolute nightmare.
Tell me about the design of the murderous Crabs. Where did the design come from, and was making them easy?
The original idea was from Pokemon. I wanted them to look like nightmare versions of Pokemon. Jim Ojala was our creature designer on the film, and working with him was one of my favourite parts of the project. I imagine his work was quite difficult, but since he was in LA and I was in NYC, all of our pre-production was done remotely, so I only ever saw his successes.
Which do you prefer more: directing or writing?
Directing, for sure. I get lonely writing. I love being on set and working with the actors.
When it comes to the film’s dialogue, did you ever allow the leading cast to make lines up during production, or was the entire cast required to stick to the original script?
Oh yeah, we improvised a lot. It felt right for the tone of the film, and all of the actors were down to play around with the dialogue. My favourite lines in the film are the improvised ones, and my least favourite are some of the ones I wrote.
The leading actors looked like they enjoyed being part of such a fun film. What was it like working with such a cast, including the main lead, Dylan Riley Snyder?
If I am proud of any single aspect of the film, it’s the casting. I loved working with every single actor in this film, and they all trusted me enough to give their all to such a ridiculous project. They were all able to toe the line between sincere and outrageous, and that isn’t an easy balancing act. Dylan specifically, was a joy to work with. During pre-production, I was worried about how to direct him to appear convincingly paralyzed, but I didn’t need to give him a single note. He has such mastery of his body and his expressions I never even had to think about it.
Would you like to continue to work in the horror and comedy genre?
I’d love to make another horror-comedy, but for my next film, I’d like to lean more heavily into the horror and less into the comedy.
Do you have any upcoming projects that you can reveal?
As our interview ends, what would you like to say to horror buffs worldwide why they should check out Crabs!?
Crabs! is a mashup of Gremlins, Power Rangers, and Sixteen Candles. If that sounds like a good time, check it out on SCREAMBOX! And then buy our Blu-ray; it’s packed with bonus features. Hope you enjoy getting Crabs!
A big thank you to Pierce Berolzheimer for making himself available to chat about his new film! For more information, check out the link here: https://www.screambox.com/