I was recently made aware of a Kickstarter campaign for a short horror comedy, entitled Ranger Danger, from up-and-coming filmmaker Jaz Moore. I really enjoyed the fun introduction video that Moore and crew made and thought the Cabin-in-the-Woods-esque synopsis sounded pretty entertaining. It’s obvious that Moore has a deep affinity for the horror genre and, as someone who shares that affinity myself, I want to see Ranger Danger completed so I can see what Moore can bring to the genre. As a result, I’m letting all of you know about the movie and hope you can show some support for a burgeoning filmmaker and help make her project become a reality.
Ranger Danger is a short stylized horror/comedy that pays homage to slasher flicks, creature features and everything in between! After an uneventful first week at his new job, naive Forest Ranger Johnny is ready for some valiant action. Unfortunately, his indifferent boss Charlie wants less to do with heroics and more to do with nursing a permanent hangover. Johnny is banished to smoke scanning duty and begins to notice odd things in the forest. But, it isn’t until a raving Final Girl barrels into his cabin that it dawns on him: he’s working in a universe swarming with horror cliches. Everyone and every thing has a part to play whether they like it or not!
The Kickstarter campaign for Ranger Danger runs until December 19 with a goal set at $30,000 to fund production. I highly recommend checking out their Kickstarter page (here) and be sure to donate to their campaign if you can spare it.
I was able to ask Jaz Moore a few questions, which you can read below:
Monster Popcorn: On your Kickstarter page, you state that Ranger Danger pays homage to various horror films. Are there any specific movies that you drew inspiration from?
Jaz Moore: I would say the biggest inspiration was Scream. I remember being 8 years old. I watched the film every single day and probably around the 7th time I watched it I specifically remember the janitor scene. Henry Winkler is the principal who’s just about to be murdered and he suspiciously looks out into the hallway. There’s the janitor dressed just like Freddy Kreuger and he say’s something like “Oh, sorry Fred” and goes back into his office. Then it hit me! You could make references to other movies IN movies. I later learned that Wes Craven had directed both Nightmare on Elmstreet and Scream and my mind was blown. Now as an adult, and a person much better versed in horror cinema, I can truly appreciate the collaboration he had with the amazingly talented screenwriter Kevin Willamsen. That movie really changed it all for me. I also wanted to be Neve Campbell.
Monster Popcorn: I’m all for more female voices in the horror genre (and movies in general), what do you hope to bring to the genre as a woman filmmaker?
Jaz Moore: Well as a film-maker in general, I’m all for giving under-represented people a chance to shine. In Ranger Danger, our lead actor Steven Low is of chinese descent, which is rare in the horror world outside of Asian cinema. I can’t really think of any American horror films with an Asian lead actually. Also our lead actress Tamara Fernandez is this incredibly gifted actress and lovely woman of Cuban and Spanish heritage. Not to mention, half of our cast identifies as LGBTQ. The interesting thing is I never intentionally wrote the parts for any specific type of person, I just offered them to people I trust and they happened to be a “Minority” in one way or another. But it totally works because the entire project is about deconstructing the genre and turning it on it’s head. I’ve also noticed a trend with women in horror. Female characters usually fall into one of two roles, the maternal figure or the sexual fantasy. I made a conscious effort to avoid falling into those tropes while still recognizing them.
Monster Popcorn: What writers and/or directors do you consider to be most influential to you?
Jaz Moore: Joss Whedon is definitely at the top of my list. I love the way he balances the macabre with comedy. Cabin in the Woods is one of my all time favorite films and it’s definitely in the style of something I would hope to write one day. I’m also deeply and madly in love with American Horror Story: Asylum especially the episodes Tim Minear wrote. I’ve never gone through a season of television so quickly in my life. Of course I had to reference the show in my project so all I’ll say is pay special attention to the production design. James Wan can also do no wrong in my book.I love everything he’s done.
Monster Popcorn: After you make Ranger Danger, what would you like to see happen with the short?
Jaz Moore: My goal is to get Ranger Danger into the Toronto After Dark Film Festival and SXSW and really get it out there for horror fans to see. This is a vehicle to show people what me and my team are capable of and ultimately I’d love to turn it into a feature as well. I have an entire feature outlined including pages and pages of notes about this supernatural national park, it’s history, it’s inhabitants…. The possibilities are endless.
Monter Popcorn: What are your top three favorite horror films of all time?
Jaz Moore: This question is evil…I like your style! I can’t choose just three though here are my top 20. In no particular order 1) Cabin in the Woods 2) Scream 3) Dawn of the Dead (2004) 4) Insidious 5) The Conjuring 6) Halloween 7) Freaks 8) Texas Chainsaw Massacre 9) Nightmare on Elmstreet 3: Dream Warriors 10) Night of the Comet 11) Let the Right One In 12) Wolf Creek 12) Night of the Living Dead 13) Poltergeist 14) Evil Dead 2 15) Rosemary’s Baby 16) What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? 17) Trick R Treat 18) Alien 19) The Shining 20) The Exorcist
Many thanks to Jaz Moore for taking the time to answer a few questions. I think Moore has some excellent taste in horror movies and I like that she wants to give the under-represented some representation.
by Ben McBride
Follow Ben on Twitter @monsterpopcorn