The latest season of Slasher is scheduled to drop tomorrow on Shudder with the first two episodes of the season. Ahead of the Slasher Season 4 debut, or Slasher: Flesh & Blood as it is officially titled, we got to chat with show star Paula Brancati, who has appeared on several seasons of the anthology horror already; creator/executive producer Aaron Martin, showrunner/executive producer Ian Carpenter, and director Adam MacDonald.
From the very beginning of Slasher Season 4, you’ll discover that this season is not pulling any punches. It goes all out with the gore, shocking kills, and twisted family secrets. This season is focused on a wealthy dysfunctional family who gathers on a secluded island for a reunion and soon learns that the family patriarch has planned to reignite an old and dangerous family tradition.
We chatted with Slasher Season 4 star Paula Brancati, executive producers Aaron Martin and Ian Carpenter; and Adam MacDonald about the new season.
1428 Elm: This season is insane in the best way. Did being moved to Shudder give you guys more freedom to be more over-the-top with the kills? I don’t want to spoil it but especially that scene from Episode 2, which is like something straight out of a Saw movie. How did you guys come up with this season’s kills? Were you intentionally trying to go above and beyond previous seasons?
Aaron Martin: I think being on Shudder immediately let us just go to town with everything. We’re also always trying to one-up our own selves because at this point, we’ve done 24? Maybe more kills? Across the Slasher world, and we know how to do them better and grosser.
Ian Carpenter: You’re kind of pushing each other, one-upping it within our discussion. Sometimes, too, you get the point where you’re like, “we could never do that,” but then you’re like, “oh, we have to do that.”
1428 Elm: And a quick follow-up to that, do you guys come up with the kills first and then write around them or do you write it and then add them into the story?
Aaron: No, we create our kills by starting with the theme of the episode, and that usually leads to a good segue which is how we want to kill a character. If a character is jealous, we’ll try to find a way to make their kill about jealousy somehow. It’s the best way for us to dovetail the story into the kills, so they’re not just happening for shock value.
Ian: And I think the kill we’re talking about that we’re not talking about [from the second episode], yes, it is crazy and Saw-like, but I think the emotional impact that’s built into it—because we came up with it while we were really immersed in those characters—you can see all the ways it’s ten times worse because of who is there and how close they are.
Aaron: Even that [kill] that you’re talking about is a metaphor for what that poor character has had to go through.
1428 Elm: Because the show is about slashers, I feel like we should talk a little bit about the most iconic slashers in the genre. Do you guys have a favorite or any that have been really influential to you on the show or just in general?
Aaron: Michael Myers for me because that’s probably the first slasher I ever watched. He’s so disturbing when he walks calmly. The juxtaposition of the horror and brutality with his slow, menacing walk is terrifying.
Ian: Jason, for me, was a shocker. I remember seeing it, I think, on TV as a teenager. The shock of that first kill on camera, I didn’t know that that could happen. No one and nothing had prepared me for it. But I’m a huge Elm Street fan. The astounding smarts built into that first movie, the mythology of it, it’s so rich, so clever, that just blew my mind and is in my head all the time.
Adam MacDonald: Cornerstones, for me, was Halloween for sure, Evil Dead is always what I’m thinking about even though it’s not a slasher, and I remember seeing Friday the 13th Part III as a kid. That’s one movie that made me vomit. I never forgot it. For some reason, it really affected me. I couldn’t sleep that night.
I found a lot of inspiration from I Know What You Did Last Summer and The Strangers, and The Strangers: Prey at Night. I’m a big fan of that pool scene in Strangers: Prety At Night; they went all the way, they didn’t cut corners. But when we go to the gore, which is so extreme at times, and absolutely we look to Martyrs and the French extremity movement, not to pull back, and say we’re going to go there, these are the consequences, and we’re allowed to, so it’s fun.
Do you watch slashers, Paula?
Paula Brancati: Well… [Laughs (we’d already established that Paula is easily scared!)] I was thinking about how Criminal Minds scares me. That’s a horror for me! But…what’s the Scream guy?
Paula: Jason? Is he not…? [Laughs] The ghost guy! That’s a good one; end it there. I don’t think I’ve watched anything since Scream. It’s just our show, Criminal Minds, and my imagination.
1428 Elm: Paula, you’ve played several different characters on this show now. What makes Christy stand out to you from the others that you’ve portrayed?
Paula: I think Christy feels, for me, like the most adult. It’s the first time I’ve played a mother, and I think there is something inherently pure about her. She could not be more different from Violet and Dawn.
I was going to say it a challenge differentiating these women, but the writing is so clear it really just becomes about doing what’s there and leaning into that. I think Christy really feels like a grown woman, and I hadn’t really played somebody who’s actually my age in a very long time.
Slasher Season 4 premieres Thursday, August 12 exclusively on Shudder.