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Writer/Director Chris Moore talks Children of Sin

We got the chance to recently see the LGBT slasher Children of Sin, from creative Chris Moore.

Bloody Flicks got the chance to quiz the Writer/Director/Actor of the feature, here’s what he had to say –

Can you tell us the origins of the story?

This was an idea I’d been holding onto since high school. I’d heard mention of places like this and the idea terrified me. I knew a few kids whose parents had sent them to these camps that were usually sponsored by some sort of religious organization where they had to get up at dawn and work all day doing all kinds of horrible things, so I used a bit of that as well. Places like this are already scary as hell without a homicidal maniac, but once you add that, it just raises the stakes a lot. Plus, I always love the idea of a secluded location with a bunch of characters brought together for a common reason.

You don’t pull your punches with the themes of Children of Sin, why does it feel like the best time to tell this story?

Just look at the news. Every day, some nutcase somewhere is trying to take away the rights of LGBT people. It’s horrifying! I can’t believe stuff like this is still happening. Every time we make a little bit of progress, the ones against us get angrier and strike back even harder. It never seems to end. We’ll have a few good years where things seem to be going ok and then the hate gets stirred up again. Looking at history, it seems like this will just keep happening over and over again, so it’s best to stay vigilant. Never get too comfortable.

What can you tell us about the research for the film, I’m guessing it meant going to some dark places?

Being a gay teen myself back in the day, I could access a lot of those feelings that many of the characters were having. All that uncertainty and self-loathing was something I’d felt when I was that age. As for what goes on in Abraham House, I read a lot of articles and watched a lot of interviews with people who’d been taken to places like this. I’d known someone once who was sent to a place like this as well and I tried to remember a few of the things they told me as well.

Tell us about the process of putting together our main set of characters?

I wrote the role of Emma for Meredith and she was the first person who signed on for the film. I’d loved working with her on Triggered and A Stranger Among the Living, so I wanted to make sure she was a part of this one as well. Everyone else came from a traditional casting call and I was so taken by how different and unique each actor was and their chemistry on set was fantastic. I’ve never worked with such a fun group of actors who all understood the assignment 100% and were working together to tell the same story. Sometimes, certain actors will think the film is about something totally different than what you’d intended and it can cause friction, but no one was like that on this set.

This feels like a socially aware slasher, is that a fair term?

That sounds like a new genre. Is that this year’s “elevated horror?” I’ll take it! It definitely has a lot of the traditional trappings of slasher films – the isolated location, homicidal maniac, and cast of characters ripe for the picking. I have no shame in it. I love a lot of slasher movies. I hope we were able to bring something a little bit different to it, because that’s always the trick with these movies. You don’t want to see the same group of drunk college kids renting a cabin in the woods and getting killed one by one by some hulking guy in the mask. That’s old hat now and most of those movies don’t really have much to say about anything and you wonder why anyone got inspired to make it in the first place. I always liked the slashers that had a little extra meat on their bones where you got to know the characters a bit first. It feels weird to me to make a movie that’s just people getting killed one by one. I’m not sure I’d be inspired to get up every morning and go to the set of a film like that. I think the best ones do have something to say even if they didn’t intend it. Just by who lives, who dies, and who ends up being the killer and why, you’re saying something about the world we live in.

The character of Mary Esther is fascinating to me, plus what a performance from Jo-Ann Robinson, what can you tell us about the casting process here?

She’s definitely my favourite character. I love a good female maniac! There’s just something more fun about it than some buff wrestler under 20 lbs of prosthetics. Jo-Ann’s audition scene was played pretty much the exact same way as it was in the movie which goes to show how great she was from the get-go. So game and funny and got that the film had a sense of humour. We had so much fun together. I can’t wait to work with her again and see what we can come up with. I’m thrilled by all the great reviews she’s been getting because she deserves every single one. I think she’s created a character people are going to remember for years to come.

I’m guessing you filmed during the height of the pandemic, how challenging was this?

We started right after the vaccines were out and things were starting to open back up a bit, so there was an excitement on set, because most of us hadn’t done anything creative in a long time. Since everyone was safe and vaccinated and the crew was small, we felt really comfortable and there weren’t any major issues related to COVID.

How important is it to raise awareness of the barbaric practice of conversion therapy?

It’s still going on in most places. I believe Canada just outlawed it, thank God, but we have a lot of work to do here in the States. It’s hard to even know how many of these places there are, because they’re really sneaky about it. They can always find a way around it. It’s all about making money, too. They promise all these big changes to the people who believe they can be cured and they get nothing out of it in the end. None of these people end up better or happier people. It just doesn’t work.

You also got to play a prominent role in the film, was this always the plan?

It wasn’t part of the plan at all. I’d written the role of Andrew Aiken, the televangelist, for myself. It seemed like a fun role to play and I could shoot for one day during pre or post-production without having to worry about acting on set and wasting anyone’s time. Then I couldn’t find anyone to play Hank. He was originally written as Mary Esther’s husband who was going to be in his 50’s or 60’s and we came close to casting a few people in that role, but they took one look at the script, especially the “sin stick” scene, and said they couldn’t do it. The scene must have come across as much more explicit in written form, because my plan on how to shoot it was always the same from the beginning. It was cutting down to the wire and we still didn’t have a Hank and my friend, Will, had expressed interest in playing Andrew, so it seemed logical to give him that role and step into Hank with a few changes to the script to make him Mary Esther’s nephew instead of husband. I think it worked out even better, because it makes their whole relationship even creepier and I had a ton of fun acting with everyone.

What is the next project you are working on?

This is the question that’s been plaguing me for the past month. I’m getting ideas all the time, but I never know which one’s going to grab me. I’ll be working on one for a month or two and then another will demand my attention for a few weeks and then I’ll get a brand new idea that excites me and I’ll focus on that for awhile. I really have no idea what I’ll be doing next, but I’ve got 4 or 5 solid ideas that could be awesome. I’m just not sure which one will be finished first and ready to go in front of the camera, but I’m excited to find out which one it’ll be.

Children of Sin is available to stream on Amazon Prime.

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