Sam Fox Q&A "WOWZERS"
Sam Fox is a young actress and filmmaker who has spent the last decade studying theatre, acting in indie films, and creating her own travel show, "Adventures of Sam Sam." She recently collaborated with director Ace Thor to create her debut short film, Wowzers. It’s a dark, surreal horror film that follows an exploration of the human psyche and duality. Wowzers screens tonight, June 21st, 11:45pm at the Chinese Theater. Watch the trailer below.
FLAUNT had the opportunity to talk to Fox about her project over the phone.
Could you talk about Wowzers? What is it?
It’s is my debut reel. Wowzers is a project with Ace Thor, who is the director, editor, and sound designer, while I am the producer and lead actress. We wrote it together, and at 38 minutes like to call Wowzers a novella. It’s a psychedelic, surreal dreamscape horror-thriller about a woman suffering from an internal conflict, the duality that exists within her. To explore her true self she goes on this journey through her subconscious. It’s a psychedelic, surreal dreamscape horror-thriller about a woman suffering from an internal conflict, the duality that exists within her. To explore her true self she goes on this journey through her subconscious. It’s wacky, it’s weird, it’s wonderful.
How did this project come into being?
Ace and I attend the same acting school. It’s actually his parents’ acting school that they have had for about twenty years. So I’ve known Ace for a while, and I had just come back from a summer stint at RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) in London doing classical and Shakespearean acting. I had never written before, just acted, but I thought, “Well, if Shakespeare can do it, so can I.” I came back home with just a name, “Wowzers.” I talked to Ace and we tried to put together a script, but we couldn’t get anything past the title of the film.
I had always heard people say, “write what you know.” At the time I was going through my own internal conflict. I had this person that I wanted to be, that I wanted to become, but I was insecure, self-conscious, codependent, and unable to be the inner butterfly I know I had inside me. I talked to Ace about this--I appear to live this perfect life, yet I am so unsatisfied with everything that I am doing. It was driving me insane. That was the basis of this character Jaqueline. She has a beautiful house, a doting boyfriend who buys her Tiffany’s jewelry. She cooks and she cleans, everything is peachy keen, but she is in search for something that challenges her, something deeper to find her true voice and who she actually is.
You could easily make Wowzers a one-off thing, but you’ve already planned on trying to make it an anthology series.
Ace and I felt that we had something cool, but that nobody would like it or understand it, or they would think it’s too weird. But after we saw reactions of people really enjoying it, we thought that we could extend this world we had created and the character of Mr. Dimms, the antagonist. Each episode is different, interchanging character roles and settings, but all revolving around coming to terms with one’s own personal woe. Ace has a vision of a Brazil, Terry Gilliam-type atmosphere, and with dreams, subconscious, and the darkness in Wowzers, you can have so much fun. We aren’t sure if we are ready to put it to bed.
From the trailer and what you’ve said about the film, it seems very David Lynch-inspired and tilted. What was the conversation like with Ace when you were figuring out how to thematically structure the film.
It changed so much. When you are working in independent film with not a lot of money, what you get is what you get and you have to make the most out of it. We were fortunate enough to get proper equipment from Panavision, and we had greats grips and an excellent DP who created the rich lighting for the Wowzers environment.” Ace had a vision of using unnatural lighting and surrealistic colors. There’s a three minute long homemade psychedelic visual section, and that was shot because we lost our set location and couldn’t film a transition scene of Jaqueline going from the real world to the dream world. When we were going through all our footage, Ace called me up and said, “I need you to go to Petco and get me a fishtank.” I was like, “Why?” He said, “Don’t ask me, do it.” So I’m at Petco, getting a fish tank and telling the salespeople that I just got a new fish. I don’t know why I didn’t just tell them the truth. He created that segment through, “What the fuck do we do, we don’t have what we need.” It just falls into place, a lot of it was just what we had in our heads and what we could get our hands on.
I’m also impressed that Ace did the sound design too.
Yeah, Ace killed it with the music.
What’s his background in that, and how would you describe the soundtrack?
Ace knows how to play every instrument, he knows how to build computers--he’s an enigma, or maybe just a big nerd. He knows how to do everything. He set stuff up in his office with a keyboard and an old, out of tune violin whose strings were about ready to break. He made something really awful and jarring--perfect for Wowzers. We wanted to make the audience uncomfortable. The journey Jaqueline takes is not a pleasant one, it is very uncomfortable. It’s a life or death journey. Wowzers might look magical but the tone is very dark. But we also have to change it up; for example, Mr. Dimms is obsessed with Japanese culture so we have lighter, bizarre Japanese music that Ace found. I gave him some things that I wanted, but in this project left most of it up to him, and I love everything that he did.
You have a background in theater, but it seems like you have a strong preference for horror. Are theater and horror more alike than people think?
I grew up in an insane household. When most kids were watching The Lion King, my favorite movie was Rosemary’s Baby. My sister is eight years older than me and my mom was highly inappropriate with our movie selection. We would watch The Hand That Rocks the Cradle and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, so I grew up with this affinity from a very young age. I would get in trouble for drawing pictures in Kindergarten from the movie Pet Semetery. My teacher wrote, “Too scary.”
I love Hamlet and Macbeth, and it was just another way of exploring my morbid fascinations. I love true crime and am obsessed with serial killers- it’s all in the same vain. I like Bauhaus and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. I guess you could call me a goth.
Are you going to stick to horror, or do you have plans to branch out in the future?
I am currently developing a screenplay. My mom and my sister wrote my mother’s memoir together, about three years ago. It mended their relationship, which was really broken when they began to write the book together. It’s a drama, with a lot of dark comedy. It might be pretty damn scary, too.
Where can we watch Wowzers?
The best place to watch it is the Chinese Theater, this Friday. We have another film festival showing in July at We Make Movies International in L.A., and in August we have a screening at Sick N’ Wrong Film Festival in Orlando. We are working on a potential distribution deal with DirecTV, or possibly Amazon or Shudder.
Anything else you want to tell the world?
Come see Wowzers this Friday!
Purchase tickets for Wowzers Friday, Jun 21, 11:45 PM at TCL Chinese Theatres + IMAX 6925 Hollywood Blvd Hollywood, CA 90028 HERE