Slasher: Ripper interview: the A, B and sCreams of season 5

Slasher: Ripper - Courtesy Shudder
Slasher: Ripper - Courtesy Shudder /

“What’s more fun: concocting the kills or crafting the whodunit?” was among the three questions we asked during our Slasher: Ripper interview. That one was directed toward the show’s executive producer/creator, Aaron Martin, and executive producer/showrunner, Ian Carpenter.

However, a couple of cast members were also present during the Slasher: Ripper interview, including Slasher alum Paula Brancati (who has been in every season of Slasher so far and plays Viviana Botticelli in Ripper), and Gabriel Darku (who was in Slasher: Solstice and plays Detective Kenneth Rijkers in Ripper.)

What else did we ask everybody? And who seemed to have read my mind about additional, yet unspoken, questions I had during the Slasher: Ripper interview and answered them anyway? Watch for the sidebars following a couple of their answers to find out.

Something to note before you forge ahead, though. I transcribed our chat word for word, with the exception of one little part where I couldn’t make out the name of a crew member Brancati referenced as I was listening back.

Slasher: Ripper interview with Aaron Martin, Ian Carpenter, Paula Brancati and Gabriel Darku

1428 Elm: I think this one is for maybe Aaron and Ian. How did you guys decide on a Jack the Ripper-inspired twist for this season?

Aaron Martin: Well, every season we start first with what our theme is going to be, and Ian and I were talking a lot about the current world we’re in where the rich, the one percent, are kind of really oppressing the 99%. And the last time in history that this was such a big thing was, of course, back at the turn of the 20th century. And we’ve always wanted to do a period piece, and we always were excited by trying to do our version of Jack the Ripper, and so all those three things combined and we were able to shoot on standing sets and a backlot that go to that period, so it was like this perfect combination of things that all came together for season 5.

Ian Carpenter: I think the only thing to add there, too, is it lets us play in such an expanded horror sandbox, right? You have seances as a part of the culture, you have what’s going on medically there, and….what’s the other thing? Uh, there’s something else there in the period that we were…oh, the Frankenstein of it, you know? Like we could sort of put all of that in there and suddenly riff on all these super important horror tropes.

1428 Elm: The trailer says Slasher: Ripper is “the most gruesome season of horror yet.” But what I like is how it has that Scream vibe, you know, where you get to try to figure out who did it. And I wondered what’s more fun for you guys as the creators. Is it concocting the kills or crafting the whodunit component?

Aaron Martin: Hmm. Well, they’re both fun. They’re just totally different ways of fun, though. Like the fun of the whodunnit is sitting together and (a) figuring out who the killer is, and (b) figuring out why they’re killing and then crafting all the red herrings, ’cause we need everybody to be a suspect. And then I’ll let Ian talk about the actual kills. I mean, the kills are fun because we, Ian and I, are sitting together, usually on his porch, talking about really horrible ways of killing people. And then actually executing them is a totally other matter.

Ian Carpenter: It’s such a treat. Like, you just feel so lucky, you know, and like it’s often shocking, right? Like you come up with something, and for you, ideally, edgy, and then once the incredible prosthetics team of Black Spot, which Alex Anger and Monica Pavez, deliver these phenomenal prosthetic pieces, it gets…sometimes it gets sobering on set. Where you’re just like, “Oh, man, that’s what it would look like.”

Sometimes, too, you’re wrapping an actor. Depends on the setup. But it’s like, “Oh, it’s a kill day.” We call them kill days, and they usually get a whole day. And, so, because of the kind of show we do, where, unlike features, you spend a lot more time with the characters, so you kind of fall in love with them more, and you see that gradation and nuisance and go, “Yeah, this person is a horrible piece of crap. BUT I can also see how they got there. So I also care about them.”

And I think we spend time with the aftereffects of it. Like, there’s a lot of crying in Slasher. So there’s like exciting and fun days, but like, you know, weirdly emotional and sobering and…yeah. It’s a mix. It’d be hard to choose one over the other, I think.

Slasher: Ripper interview sidebar #1: I didn’t say it then, but I couldn’t help but think of the line from A League of Their Own: “Are you crying? There’s no crying in baseball!” But, of course, making a horror show isn’t playing baseball. And I’ve actually often wondered how people who do make anthologies like Slasher or American Horror Story, or any horror movie even really, deal with the sobering side of the equation. It was great he addressed that.

1428 Elm: Was there anything, this is for whoever wants to answer it, that you enjoyed filming most being in a period piece?

Slasher Ripper
Gabriel Darku as Kenneth Rijkers and Lisa Berry as Dr. Melanda Israel in Slasher: Ripper (Season 5, Episode 2). Photo Credit: Cole Burston/Shudder /

Gabriel Darku: I enjoyed filming on the backlot a lot. I love being on sets that are super immersive. I have yet to work with green screens or anything like that. So I’ve been very fortunate and this being probably the most immersive set I’ve been on to date, where you just step in and you’re immediately…you feel like you’re immediately brought into the world. You know, Aaron’s talked about how great that backlot was and he’s not exaggerating. It is really, really well done. And, um, yeah, that was probably…just that general sense of not having to do a lot of work in terms of, like, mentally visualizing that you’re in a place because you are actually there. That was a great highlight for me.

Paula Brancati : And, yeah, just to add to that. You know, with the sets and the backlot and our amazing production design team, then comes the costumes and the hair and makeup and I think [didn’t catch the name] and Mel and Jess, who does our designing for our wardrobe, it really all comes together then. I think when you’re prepping as an actor, at least for me, I get a little nervous until I get…all those pieces come together because like you’re alone in your Timberlands and hoops, in my case, and I’m like, “How’s anyone going to believe me in this period?” (chuckling)

But you get the corset on, and, you know, we worked with wigs for my character and for Sabrina’s character…um, spoiler, that ponytail’s a wig. (laughing) But it was really like… it actually informed the whole thing. Like, we did a hair test, and Ray coming with those pieces, it sort of like changed how I stood, and how I responded to people and like how her ego, Viviana’s ego, like comes from how long she’s really built that hair up. And so all those details are a huge part of the period and what makes it all work. And I just think we have such an incredible crew. It really is one of the most hard-working crews in the city. And I think that’s also part of the fun, was seeing everybody step into and enjoy the period piece element this year.

Slasher: Ripper interview sidebar #2: Darku and Brancati’s answers were so very fun because I never considered the “immersive” aspect that Darku brought up and how that would help the actors better perform their roles. And while I was screening the first two episodes, I wondered if those were wigs Viviana (Brancati’s character) or her sister Venetia (played by Sabrina Grdevich) were wearing. It was like she read my mind and knew I had been trying to figure it out!

Slasher: Ripper premieres on Shudder and AMC+ with a two-episode premiere on Thursday, April 6.

Next. Ranking the villains from all four seasons of Slasher. dark

What questions would you have asked the executive producers and/or cast members during the Slasher: Ripper interview? Let us know in the comments!