You Only Die Once is a tale of 3 best friends and vampire hunters whose friendship is called into question when one of their boyfriends becomes a vamp-bride craving, Count Dracula voice mimicking, blood-sucker! It’s Buffy meets Hammer Horror and more.
Q&A With Director Amanda B Goodman
Amanda B. Goodman is a Queens NYC native Writer/Director/Actor whose goal is to change the way female roles are represented in the horror genre. Her first short film, the horror/comedy “Cori’s First Horror Movie” (2015) established her cinematic style of blending biting dialogue with creepy and often grotesque situations. She’s been writing horror stories and screenplays since she was a teenager, finding inspiration from great storytellers and genre filmmakers such as Stephen King, Wes Craven, Joss Whedon, Dario Argento, and Guillermo Del Toro just to name a few. Her latest film, the award-winning vampire comedy “You Only Die Once” was her love letter to the great Hammer Horror films of the late 60’s/early 70’s. She’s an actress who’s worked in the entertainment industry in voiceover, commercial, film, and TV (most recently she appeared in season 3 of Comedy Central’s Broad City). She hopes to continue telling the great and weird stories that are always stuck in her head, whether they be about female vampire hunters who love pie or killer cats from outer space…ok maybe not the killer cats.
How did you come up with the concept?
The concept for You Only Die Once came to me as I was watching a lot of the old Hammer films. Specifically the colors and the way the films approached fear was so interesting for me that I wanted to bring some of that out in a modern comedy that this generation could like.
How long did it take to film?
We shot over the course of two weeks for about four days….tight shoot but I had such an incredible cast and crew that incredibly we made it work!
How did you decide on the location?
We shot in Queens because I’m a lifelong Queens girl. The Hammer films had gothic settings, much like the classic stories they were based on, and to me my neighborhood of Astoria has so much gothic appeal than people realize, even if it’s set in modern day. And not too many vampire stories/shows are set in NYC. Many of my favorites take place in California and small towns, so it was time for the New York vamp suckers to have their time in the spotlight (or maybe avoid it if it’s too bright).
What was the highlight of making the film?
I think the highlight for me was when we shot the bloody finale. We shot in my friend Lyssa’s (Ann in the film) apartment. And I tried to take as many precautions as I could to cover her stuff so that when the super soakers filled with blood shot out at us, her stuff would be safe. I very much underestimated the power of those damn things because when we did it, unbeknownst to us (it was a great shot though) behind us, the blood had splattered onto her walls and even the ceiling. I nearly had a heart attack when I turned around. We stopped rolling and took about twenty minutes to clean everything up. But what makes me so emotional about it when I look back on it is how amazing everyone (cast and crew) were in pitching in without even saying anything or having to be asked to clean it up. That’s how close and hard working we all were and are. That moment wasn’t captured on screen, but it was a magical moment for me when I think of that shoot.
What was the most difficult moment of shooting the film?
Honestly, it was probably the scene in Linda’s living room with the entire gang hanging out. We had issues balancing the light because of the coloring of my living room walls, so many angles to tackle in a short time frame, and then Teegan (who plays Linda) and I were both so exhausted that during our fight scene, we just couldn’t stop laughing. It was tough, but it was another memory that for me, make the film what it was. And no one was bitten in the making of this film..so BONUS!
Any specific movies or stories that influenced the script?
I definitely crafted certain moments off of Hammer’s Dracula, specifically Lee’s gory reveal to Cecelia. And I think the idea of a close-knit group of friends fighting evil, without a doubt are very Buffy! I didn’t think of Buffy at all when I wrote it, but I think that show is just permanently ingrained into my brain no matter what I do. The charm and genius of that show always find a way to seep into my own work. It’s just that inspiring of a universe to me.
What makes this film stand out among others?
I think its point of view is what makes it stand out. The vampire stuff and the female hunters are not necessarily new tropes. But I think this idea of merging classic ideas of what vampires are (they can’t eat food) with modern times (they can tweet) make it stand out a bit. I’m a very strong advocate for female voices in the horror genre that go beyond just the female lead being a victim. The final girl trope is ok, often times they prove to be badass women to take the monster down (a la Ripley in Alien), but most final girls are just the ones who survive. What actions are they truly taking? I think my hunters are driven most by their friendship. It isn’t women fighting for the love of a guy, it’s their love for each other and their bond. It’s a family. In the end, Lee calls them “Bitches”, and Linda’s response to that isn’t to throw an insult back at him, but to pull her best friends close to her and reverse his label by embracing it and saying “best bitches.” And that’s what it’s really all about.
Looking back, is there anything you would change about the film?
I think I would’ve given myself more time with certain things, specifically on the technical side. But overall, I’m extremely proud of it and what it stands for. And on each film I do, I learn and I grow. So even the imperfections on this shoot will help me be better on the next, and so on.
Any other horror projects currently in the works?
I’m happy to announce that we are expanding You Only Die Once to a six episode web series to be shot this fall and released next year. New story, same characters, and more gore (maybe some pie) are all on the agenda! We are launching our fundraising campaign in August and are actively promoting the project. You can follow us on Twitter @YodoSeries and Instagram @YodoSeries
You know what they say….YODO!
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You Only Die Once – Vampire Horror Comedy (2016)