Following in the footsteps of fellow hard rocker Rob Zombie, Slash is taking his love of horror movies to the next level. The guitar god has produced and written the score and closing theme song for his first horror film, Nothing Left to Fear, opening this Friday, October 4th.
The film, directed by Anthony Leonardi III, stars Clancy Brown, Anne Heche, Jennifer Stone and more in what Slash describes as a "slow-burning" story. The day after a screening in his hometown of L.A. Slash spoke to us about the differences between music and film, the scariest movie he's ever seen and what he'd like to do next.
You're primarily known as a guitarist. How has making a movie challenged you?
Everything about doing this is exciting to me, a lot because I've had a passion for movies, and especially horror movies, for as long as I can remember. So at this stage of the game, to have the opportunity to be able to produce horror movies is great, and to be hands-on behind the scenes and getting to finally be involved where you can influence the outcome of what the picture is gonna be and what it's gonna look like is very exciting.
What is the scariest movie you've ever seen?
The most scared I've been in a movie that I can remember was when I was a kid and I saw Night of the Living Dead in the backseat of my mom's Volkswagen at a drive-in. I was like seven or eight years old, and it was a double feature with the Exorcist. And the Exorcist, because I love monsters and those kind of practical effects, I was more fascinated and developed a crush on Linda Blair. But Night of the Living Dead was a very ominous, haunting and brutal movie, and I remember specific scenes that have stayed with me all these years. Since then I'm more fascinated in – I love creepy stuff. I don't go for psycho movies or people that run around killing each other.
Do you see movies as a continuing venture, not just a one-time thing?
I'm hunting down the next story. It's not an easy proposition. It's a very slow and tedious part of the gig, going through whatever stuff is presented. You have to look at as much possible to find the gem in the midst of all the other stuff, and I think that's the hard part of the job, just reading a lot of dreck and finding that one thing is the gold ticket. So that's where I am right now.
Who's on the wish list of people you'd love to work with in the horror genre?
That's a tricky question, because it really almost all depends on the story. It's almost pointless to think about directors and actors that you want to work with until you actually have a story in hand that you go, "Who would be right for this?" When I was doing my first solo record, I couldn't think of the singers I wanted to use until I had the songs. That dictated me who to call, and so it's gonna be the same case on this next film. But at the same time, one name that comes to mind I would love to work with is Sam Raimi. I think he's an amazing horror director.
How did you approach writing the score?
The score is a big deal for me, because that's the one thing where I actually know what I'm doing. The rest of it is just me using my wits and sensibilities and going to what I think I should do. But with the music, it's something I have a grasp on, and one of the reasons that becoming a producer for horror flicks was enticing was the fact that I could be responsible for the music. So in this film, it was understood from the very get-go that we wanted to do something orchestral. So I wrote a bunch of different music and played it for the director to see which one he thought fit his sort of cinematic vision for this thing. Then he introduced me to an old friend of his, Nicholas O'Toole, who's a scoring composer and sound designer, and so the music that we picked I gave to him and he interpreted it to an orchestral application. Then we just sort of worked hand in hand through the whole movie. It was great. It was really sort of a combination of people, but it was a lot of fun to do and I was really happy with the end result. Then Myles [Kennedy] and I have the theme song at the end.
What reactions do you anticipate from moviegoers?
Seeing it last night, I realized that I'll never be able to watch a movie like an outsider again. This movie, whatever mood that you're in, every single time that I've seen it I get different things out of it. There's nothing like the experience of playing a movie that you just put together for an audience of people that have never seen it. It's not like doing it with a record – it's way different. But it's fun, it's exciting. I learned a lot from it and I'm excited about getting into the next one, because it's going to be completely different. The next one that I want to do is gonna be something that I have in my mind as being very ominous, and I want to keep focusing on the creature-feature deal, because that's really what turned me on to horror movies in the first place.
Any plans for a new record?
Next year. We're working on it now.