The Auburn Hills Breakdown is the latest film to join the Popcorn Horror channel. The official synopsis reads –
The Auburn Hills Breakdown is a horror comedy about a Texas Chainsaw style family. It’s the story of Junior, the chainsaw wielding, but fiercely loyal son, who struggles to hold his family together, when they are forced to hide out in the terrifying country home of a deeply superficial, but very lonely yuppie couple. Anyone who’s seen a horror film will recognize our lead character, Junior– he’s the last guy you want to run into when you’re a horny teen lost on
the back roads. He’s the one with the bloody chainsaw.
Junior, his aging Ma and their Feral Girl are stalking wayward teens on the backroads, when their truck breaks down. In classic horror convention, they must approach and enter the creepiest, upscale country home imaginable. A Martha Stewart Special situated in the newly developed Auburn Hills Estates. Inside, they come face to face with the truly disturbing Louise and Dan, a yuppie couple who fled the rat race, renovated a farm house, are now bored out of their minds and constantly bickering. However, they are determined to make country living work for them, even if it means resorting to blind political correctness and inviting a family of killers into their home. Now, all they have to do is endure one night of horrifying hospitality.
At the age of seven, Geoff Redknap persuaded his parents to take him to a screening of Jaws. “Do you know what
this film is about?” asked the tickettaker of his parents. Geoff insisted he had to see this film and he’s never looked back. Growing up in isolated Northern British Columbia, Geoff found a library book on make-up effects. His ever-supportive parents took him to hardware stores and pharmacies in nearby towns to find the unusual materials for his creations.
Geoff soon became the most popular kid on Halloween, turning his friends into their favourite horror movie characters.
After University, Geoff began working in the make-up effects department on the Vancouver-shot series, The X-Files. While working 100 hour weeks, Geoff met his mentor, legendary TV director Kim Manners. Geoff watched Kim shape one of the most popular TV series of our times. Geoff has gone on to work on films such as Elysium, I Robot, Underworld: Evolution and Watchmen. Geoff also works in the areas of Visual Effects and Performance (Puppeteer and Actor).
Geoff has had the privilege of working with veteran Henson puppeteers on two Muppet TV movies and several features, including both Cats and Dogs films. Geoff has also taken onscreen roles in film and television. He had the opportunity to play “Mad March” in the mini-series “Alice,” Nick Willing’s reimagining of Alice in Wonderland.
Geoff has written and directed many short films and attended The National Screen Institute Drama Prize program. His short, “The Auburn Hills Breakdown” played at festivals worldwide, and won many awards, including being named best Horror Comedy of the year by Horror.com. Geoff also attended the NSI’s Features First program with his script, “Heaven’s Door.” This project won The Jim Murphy Marketing Bursary as well as a place in The Praxis 2011 Fall Workshop. He was a finalist in the 2012 Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition and received an Honorable Mention in The Superchannel Market Accelerator. His CFC Screenplay Giveaway Contest short film, “Last Christmas” is currently playing in festivals.
We caught up with Geoff and asked him a few questions about the film.
A lot of your work is in makeup and FX, what made you jump to directing?
When I was twelve, I wanted to make monsters. By the time I was seventeen, I had decided I wanted to make films. Makeup was a hobby which became an inroad into filmmaking. I call it my day job, but really it is my private film school. I have shadowed some amazingly talented directors and technicians on the job. The goal of directing has been there from the start. I directed a couple of short films before I worked as a professional special makeup effects artist. I wouldn’t call it a “jump to directing,” but in recent years, I have definitely shifted my focus to directing. This has led to the creation of this film, as well as “Trash,” “Protection,” and “Last Christmas.”
Did Junior’s character come from identifying with the monsters rather than the heroes in horror? What are your favourite horror monsters?
Yes. Working with movie monsters, I noticed how on camera, they were rarely given their due. Even if they were the biggest draw in the film. Similarly, I found that on set, I was often “eating lunch with the monsters.” The rest of the cast and crew didn’t treat them poorly, but come lunch time, no one seemed to want to sit with the guy wearing half a face.
As a kid, I always rooted for the monsters. Jaws, Alien, Frankenstein, Michael Myers, Pumpkinhead. I literally dreamed up The Auburn Hills Breakdown. I woke up one morning thinking, “What if the Leatherface character was the hero?” “What if the roles were reversed?”
What message were you trying to achieve with the film – I loved the elements of social satire – was this something that you really wanted to convey?
I don’t think I set out to share a message with the film, but from the choice of antagonists grew a sort of statement about this type of extreme consumerism. The Martha Stewart lifestyle, where crafty is good, but expensive is better. I’m certainly not an expert on it, but the more I wrote, the more Louise and Dan felt like the right villians for our time. They also allowed me to hold up a mirror and create unique parallels and oppositions between the families and their values. As the tagline says, “Horror is relative.”
Reading the press pack, I saw that you are expanding the film into a feature. What else are we likely to see from this dysfunctional family?
We have several features in development. I’m not sure if Auburn will be a feature soon, but it is still something I hope to bring to the screen someday. The feature will likely expand on both families. We will see more of Junior’s family, including its origin and some extended, more extreme, relations. As for Louise, the current script has her not just being a disciple of a Martha Stewart like culture, but actually being the figurehead of such an empire.
Tell us about your plans should zombies invade?
I live in an earthquake zone, so I have a stash of survival provisions. If zombies invade, I think I will “Dawn of the Dead” it. (Romero, not Snyder) and wall up the door to my apartment. After the initial chaos dies down, I’ll go full Mad Max.