Guttings and slaughtertations my horror loving fiends. Today we have a special guest guaranteed to chill your skin. Please introduce yourself and tell us where you’re from?
My name is Dexter Williams, and I'm a screenwriter from Durham, North Carolina.
How long have you’ve been writing horror scripts?
I have been writing horror scripts for a decade (ten years)
What draws you to the genre?
What draws me to the genre is the concept of having the living daylights scared out of me. Fear of the unknown is very appealing to me, and I love to write screenplays that explore that concept in a most unique way.
Tell us about your “Enslavement” series?
"Enslavement" is a trilogy of scripts about a group of Goth girls who form a dangerous cult that worships a pagan goddess, and they use hypnosis and mind control to make their victims perform bloody ritual sacrifices to please their goddess and bring her into our world. The first screenplay, and the entire trilogy for that matter, was inspired by five amazing performances: Fairuza Balk in "The Craft", Kim Director in "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2", Parker Posey in "Blade: Trinity", Sophia Bush in "Stay Alive", and Dakota Fanning in "The Twilight Saga: New Moon".
What is “Demon Crystal” about?
"Demon Crystal" is about a naïve teen occultist who is desperate to contact her recently deceased father. One day a gypsy, who knows of the teen's predicament, stops by the occult shop our main character works at and gives her a mysterious crystal ball that could aid the teen in contacting the dead. However, when she uses the crystal ball she unknowingly opens a gateway for releasing the otherworldly demons she must vanquish in order to save her mother and friends.
How about “Mistresses of Sleep?”
"Mistresses of Sleep" is about a young lady who is plagued by recurring nightmares of death and destruction. One day she is given an unusual invitation to visit one of three mysterious hypnotists to unlock the secret of those nightmares. This script was inspired by Italian actress Monica Bellucci after seeing her as the villainess in "The Brothers Grimm". I created a pivotal role in the script specifically for Monica.
What are your goals for your screenplays?
My goals for the scripts I have written is to have them made into memorable feature films, and to bring to an audience stories that are unique, otherworldly, and (of course) scary.
Have you won any festivals for them?
I have had the good fortune to have a few of my scripts receive recognition from some major film festivals. "Demon Crystal" was a Semi-Finalist in the Southeastern International Film Festival and the Sacramento International Film Festival, as well an Official Selection in the Fright Night Film Fest. "Mistresses of Sleep" was also an Official Selection in the Fright Night Film Fest and a Semi-Finalist in the Sacramento International Film Festival. And it not only was an Official Selection in the Oaxaca Filmfest in Mexico, it was even nominated for three awards: Best Original Concept, Best Horror Script, and the top prize -- Best Overall Script. And "Enslavement" became an Official Selection in the Underground Indie Film Festival.
Are any of them produced or in production?
"Demon Crystal" and the entire "Enslavement" trilogy were recently optioned by an up-and-coming production company called Pulse Pounding Productions. They will be shopped to some major studios and indie companies specializing in the horror genre in the hope that they will be produced one day.
Tell me about some of your short scripts?
My short scripts all have hypnosis playing a pivotal role in the stories: "Curse of the Scorpion Ring" is about a young lady who steals an ancient Egyptian ring from a local museum and pays a horrible price for it. "Fear the Clowns" is about a lady who visits a hypnotherapist to get to the root of her nightmares of being chased by sadistic clowns. "Slave in the Spotlight" is about two best friends whose night-out-on-the-town takes a dark turn when they go to a nightclub to see an alluring hypnotist's act. And "The Hypnotic Trap" is about a teenage girl who gets hypnotized by a mysterious woman-in-black into staying at her mansion, where a terrible fate awaits the teen.
Love the titles you choose…What is your inspiration for your scripts?
The inspiration for my scripts comes from horror movies of the supernatural kind, mainly "The Craft" and "A Nightmare on Elm Street", the latter being the film that made me a horror fan for life and inspired me to write my very first horror feature script ("Demon Crystal").
Are you currently working on any new projects?
I'm currently working on my fifth short film script called "Zombie Killer", about a girl who gets hypnotized into killing in the most horrific ways possible.
If someone is interested in reading or producing your pieces, how can they find you?
Anyone interested in reading or producing my scripts can reach me at Oyou78020@hotmail.com.
What’s your favorite horror movie?
I have many favorite horror movies, but my all-time favorite horror franchise is "Saw".
If you can choose a horror character, who would it be?
The horror character I would choose is Freddy Krueger, because "A Nightmare on Elm Street" changed the direction of my screenwriting career forever and made me fall in love with the horror genre.
Tune in next week my fellow fear freaks for another fangtastic interview. Thank you for joining us Dexter. Now…Let’s eat.
THE CAREER THAT FREDDY BUILT: How “A Nightmare on Elm Street” took my screenwriting career to the next level
By Dexter Williams
When I was just starting my career as a screenwriter, I had absolutely no desire to tackle the horror genre. No desire whatsoever. Scary movies were okay, but they were nothing to write home about. The first few scripts I did were different kinds of stories: a teen comedy, a psychological thriller, and a romantic fantasy. I didn’t want to add horror to my resume, not in a million years. One film changed all that…
In the summer of 1998, I rented a horror film from 1984 called “A Nightmare on Elm Street”. It was about a group of teens who are haunted by recurring nightmares dominated by an acid-faced killer named Freddy Krueger, who uses his gloved razor-sharp knives to kill them. I was riveted to my seat from the get-go. It was unlike any film I have ever watched – horror or otherwise. I give a tremendous amount of credit to writer/director Wes Craven for taking the slasher movie and giving it a fresh and surreal spin. New Line Cinema took the ultimate gamble by spending 1.8 million dollars on a script that was turned down by all the major Hollywood studios, and the result is nothing short of spectacular. It is the film that changed my life in more ways than one.
“A Nightmare on Elm Street” not only made me a horror fan for life, it also did something even more unexpected…it changed the course of my screenwriting career forever. The film inspired me so much that I decided to take my ultimate gamble and do something I thought I would never, ever do: write my very own feature-length horror “screamplay”.
The opening shot of the 1996 horror film “The Craft” showed a large crystal ball. I was so intrigued by that image that I thought to myself: why hasn’t anyone made a horror film with a crystal ball as the centerpiece? That would be the starting point for the screenplay called “Demon Crystal”.
“Demon Crystal” tells the story of Destiny Benson, a naïve teen occultist who is desperate to contact the spirit of her late father. One day at the occult shop where she works, she is visited by a European gypsy who somehow knows of Destiny’s predicament. The gypsy offers Destiny a mysterious crystal ball that could aid the teen in contacting the dead. However, by using the crystal ball, Destiny unknowingly opens a gateway for releasing the otherworldly demons she must vanquish in order to save her mother and friends.
The climatic third act of “Demon Crystal” was inspired by “A Nightmare on Elm Street” when Destiny enters the crystal ball’s realm to save the people she cares about the most. “The Craft” was a major influence on the script as well. I didn’t think “Demon Crystal” would go very far, but writing that script would be the start of a very wild ride for me. In a shocking twist, “Demon Crystal” became the first of my scripts to place in screenwriting contests: a Quarterfinalist in the PAGE International Screenwriting Awards and the StoryPros Awards. It was also the first of my scripts to become an Official Selection (and a Semifinalist) in a major film festival – the Southeastern International Film Festival. It has also gotten Official Selection status from the Fright Night Film Fest and the Sacramento International Film Festival. “Demon Crystal” had taken my screenwriting career to the next level, and it would launch my regular dive into the world of horror.
I have written five feature film scripts and five short film scripts that are in the best genre in the world, and four of the feature scripts (including “Demon Crystal”, now titled “Crystal Ball”) have been optioned by an up-and-coming production company called Pulse Pounding Productions.
New Line Cinema was known at one time as “The House that Freddy Built”. I believe I owe a huge debt of gratitude to “A Nightmare on Elm Street”. It has changed the direction of my screenwriting career for the better, and I’m so honored and thrilled to have “The Career that Freddy Built”.