Interview: Patrick Melton & Marcus Dunstan, Writers of PIRANHA 3DD

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Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunston are no strangers to the horror genre having collaborated on the hugely popular Feast and Saw series. With their latest film, Piranha 3DD now released on DVD/Blu-ray, we caught up with the duo to talk about the sequel, their careers, and their upcoming projects…

Starburst: Horror seems to be a genre the two of you know very well. Why do you think people are attracted to it?

Patrick Melton: Horror’s success comes from the desire to be scared. Say that you’re having a bad day, you go to the theater, pay your admission and sit down in a darkened room with your soda and popcorn to watch a horror movie. No matter how bad your day is, the character or group of characters day is a lot worse. 

Marcus Dunston: It’s a form of escapism. An emotional, boundless roller coaster when you’re watching these films. Everyone likes to be scared in one way or another.

PM: I have kids and they love the Bubbles show. They also love to be scared. My wife makes a tent in their room with blankets and tells scary stories with just a flashlight under the covers. They love every minute of it! In a movie theater, we have this group experience of fear. When we were kids, we would go see horror films when we could and when we were able to sneak in and see an R rated film, even more so.

SB: The Saw films you collaborated on, how did you come up with all those inventive torture set-pieces?

MD: A lot of it deals with the psyche of people that have everything and take it for granted. What if they had something they cherished, but deep down inside, didn’t actually care about? What would they do in a situation that was dependent or whether they lived or died? How would they choose?

PM: When I was going to the university of Iowa, there was a guy who had everything going for him, but went off on a racist rant at this taco stand I was at. I thought, what if someone like this was caught in the moment in a serious life or death horror situation and that scene was taken one step forward, exaggerated to the extreme, what kind of decisions would he make to get him out of it?

MD: So, we would create a character and create a mechanized horror for him or her in an exaggerated scenario.

SB: Tell us about The Outer Limits movie script you wrote.

MD: We wrote that during the old MGM regime. It consisted of five stories like Go or Pulp Fiction that were interwoven about a family during an alien invasion of Earth.

PM: Sadly, our script was shelved as the new MGM decided that they wanted a single story instead.

SB: Piranha 3DD. John (Gulager, director) told us about the original water park location that you had in Baton Rouge, Louisiana...

PM: Yes. We originally went down there and found this amazing water park called Blue Bayou. All kinds of slides and fun things like that that the piranha could swim through looking for their prey. We left there, wrote the script in Shreveport, Louisiana, then came back and presented it to the owners.

MD: They didn’t have a problem with the violence in Piranha 3DD, but we had to cut out all the swearing and nudity!

PM: But we said that was part of the story. The bottom line was, they didn’t go for it. Zombieland was to shoot there as well, but they had the same problem and they ending up shooting the amusement park scenes at Magic Mountain in Valencia. We ended up shooting at another location. We also wrote several celebrity lifeguard scenes in the film that were to feature Carmen Elektra and Rick Astley to name a few, but it got cut down to David ‘The Hoff’ Hasslehoff. A lot of people would have gotten the in-jokes with the casting, but the rest of the world probably wouldn’t have been aware of the other performers.

SB: You're also working on the video game adaptation God of War, how's that going?

PM: For first time visitors this will be extremely exciting for them to enter that world. We have a fresh powder keg of ideas and can’t wait to unleash them on this universe.

MD: Kratos is a Spartan warrior in the services of the Gods. He’s a man of action, but goes through his quest in fearful and life threatening situations. He knows he must prevail and the underlying horror elements that present themselves in those situations help the story.

PM: You understand what kind of man he is and how eventually he allows the beast inside him take over.

SB: The Collection is the upcoming sequel to your 2009 movie The Collector, what can you tell us about the that?

MD: The budget was five times the amount we filmed the first one, on so expect a lot of excitement. We’ll be showing it at Fantastic Fest and Scream Fest before its released. November 30th is when it hits US theatres.

PM: Arkin escapes, but a girl named Elena is captured. As Arkin recuperates in the hospital from his ordeal, he’s kidnapped by mercenaries hired by Elena’s wealthy father and blackmailed as he joins forces with the mercenaries to find the Collector’s booby-trapped warehouse and rescue her. The last film was a puppy. This is a wolf and it's coming!

Piranha 3DD is out now on DVD/Blu-ray.

To read our interview with Director John Gulager, go HERE.

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