Later Girl on the third floor, director Travis Stevens releases another horror movie that is a bit more gory. Jakob’s wife follows Anne (Barbara Crampton) on a journey of self-discovery. After being married to small town minister Jakob (Larry Fessenden) for 30 years, she feels like her life is shrinking. But an unexpected encounter with “The Master” gives him a new sense of power and the desire to make his own decisions. The only downside: it involves a lot of blood.
Jakob’s wife is a feminist story that offers dramatic performances combined with comedy and a good dose of blood. CBR had the opportunity to speak with Travis Stevens about the upcoming movie, working with horror icon Barbara Crampton and the most important messages hidden within the vampire movie.
CBR: Do you want to talk a bit about how the idea of Jakob’s wife Did I come into being?
Travis Stevens: The original script was written by Mark Steensland and he won a script contest at Screech Fest several years ago. And the festival director and Mark had thought it might be perfect for Barbara Crampton. They got her and Barbara fell in love with the character. Then he spent a few years developing it, nurturing it, working with different writers, and one of the writers, Kathy Charles, with whom he had a good experience.
I was promoting Girl on the third floor – my first film as a writer / director – and Barbara said, “Hey, I have an exciting project. Would you be interested in reading it?” And I said, “Of course.” I read it and fell in love too.
Barbara Crampton is a horror legend. What was it like working with her, especially given her status as a producer on the film?
Stevens: That was one of the main reasons I wanted to make the movie. Of course, the movie itself is a work of art. But as an artist, there is also value in the process of making it. He had known Barbara for years. We had done We are still here together. And the fact that he was taking such a proactive step by making a movie and redefining his career and saying, “Hey, this is what I want to start doing, and this is the first step in that process,” to be a part of that. . , for me, it was so exciting. I wanted to support her. He wanted to do everything he could to make this next phase of his career a great success.
So working with someone who has such a well-known, almost iconic status in horror is a fun challenge because you can start to play against what they’re known a little bit. I think with Barbara Crampton and her co-star Larry Fessenden, Barbara is known for these very, very glamorous horror looks, and Larry is known for his wild man looks. So, it was a lot of fun playing against that in the beginning.
So the movie transforms around Anne, the character. I also wanted it to be a transformative experience for both Barbara and Larry, where they could show audiences some aspects of their performance that audiences may not have seen before.
One of my favorite parts of the movie was the reveal of The Master. Do you want to talk about your thought process behind making a female Master or perhaps more androgynous than most male audiences probably expected?
Yes, I think the movie plays against our assumptions that the character will be male. It was certainly a look that I could understand how a bit ambiguous, but the intention is that The Master is a woman.
Thinking with that is what Anne’s journey in this film is about regaining the confidence to have a more active ownership over the life she wants. And if that’s the point of the movie, it seemed to make sense to remove one aspect of one or the other of the vampire coming into her life, meaning she didn’t want Anne’s choice to be about being with her husband or being with The Master. . I wanted it to be exclusively about Anne and what she wants for herself. Changing the genre of The Master removed that aspect and really opened it up.
I like to think of it as if The Master is a rich old divorcee who says, “Come on, honey. We can go have a few drinks and have a little fun, like what are you doing?” In this particular case, the allegory of the vampire is really about rediscovering your lust for life and all the things that can be unconsciously strangled over time: your relationships, your jobs, your world. Your life may start to feel more and more restricted. I wanted this to be a movie about realizing that and having a strong enough relationship that you can make the necessary adjustments so that things flourish again, so that your own life expands again.
This is very much Anne’s story, but one thing I noticed was Jakob’s “savior complex”, which is a psychological construct often seen in men. Did you intentionally try to touch on some of Jakob’s identity issues as well?
Yes, because so that it doesn’t feel binary, good or bad, [Jakob] it also needed its own kind of transformation. [Anne and Jakob] they don’t successfully solve all their problems by the end of this movie. And Jakob’s actions in the third act, he’s still taking some wrong steps in what he thinks is right. “I will save my wife and then everything will go back to normal.” It’s as if he hadn’t heard what she was saying yet. I think that happens a lot, especially, well, I can only speak from the male perspective, if your partner raises a problem, you think you understand. You think, “Oh, okay. I know what to do to fix this,” but you might not actually be listening to what the person is saying, and that’s basically what Jakob is going through.
For so long he has thought of himself as the pastor that when this fantastic event occurs and his wife goes through this transformation, that is still his reaction to take action and fix it. What you really need to do is stop and listen more and do nothing. Let Anne do more [laughs].
Jakob’s wife focuses on women’s issues by exploring issues ranging from victim’s guilt to gender roles. What is the big message that you hope audiences will take with them after seeing the movie?
I’m thinking how honest it should be because it’s, you know, a vulnerable question. [laughs]. I mean, this is a movie about getting your voice back. Even though it’s a horror movie and it gets wild and crazy and over the top, and I want people to enjoy that look, I hope your life can be whatever you want it to be, plant a seed and that people can take that with them.
For both Anne’s character and Barbara Crampton, it’s an empowering film. We just spent a year carrying the anxiety, stress, and weight of the pandemic, and it would be amazing as we’re getting to the other side of that, drop that weight, let go, and maybe dance a bit like Anne does. in the movie.
It’s funny that you say that. That scene has already become very iconic among early critics. The people love it.
Amazing [laughs]. I mean, that’s good. I think of art; there is a value beyond just entertainment. And this idea of rediscovering our lust for life and regaining confidence in the life you want and having fun, stretching, and standing tall are beautiful things. That’s where happiness comes from, and this is what Anne is looking for. You are trying to regain your happiness and are beginning to identify some of the reasons why it disappeared. And maybe we can all use that in our lives.
Since you could explore so many topics with this story, is it possible that we will ever see Jakob’s wife as a miniseries?
We look forward to exploring what will happen next with these characters, and the format of the series would be amazing. So yes. We love these characters. We love this movie and are definitely doing our best to explore where they are going next.
Directed by Travis Stevens and starring Barbara Crampton and Larry Fessenden, Jakob’s Wife is available in select theaters, VOD and digital on April 16, 2021.
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