This Halloween, SpareFoot wants to remind you just how spooky self-storage can be. So we spoke with filmmaker Patrick Hasson, whose upcoming movie, “BLOOD SHED,” has 24-hour access to our climate-controlled facility of fear. And the climate, dear readers, is chilling.
The film follows jobless and homeless Gabriel, who obtains the key to a mysterious storage unit filled with secrets of his past. Deciding to call the storage unit home, he discovers a small community of storage-dwellers along with a terrifying paranormal entity terrorizing the facility halls.
The script was selected as a quarterfinalist in the 2010 Nicholl Fellowship for Screenwriting, run by the Academy Awards. Now, the film is on the verge of entering production. We can’t wait to finally see it, and deal with the consequent trauma of being scared of our own industry.
SpareFoot: When did you start writing “BLOOD SHED?”
Patrick Hasson: Early 2009. Once the idea outline was solid in my head, I would go to my storage unit each day (I’ve rented one ever since I moved to L.A.) and write. The entire script was written in my storage shed. With most scripts, I can write in my office, but for some reason, I needed to be in that physical space to write the script effectively.
SF: What inspired the storyline?
PH: It’s kind of a long story, but I’ll give you the gist of it. The creature of the Jezebel came to me in a very vivid dream one night. Not her backstory, just her physical look and presence… I awoke very disturbed the next morning. I never knew what to do with this character until two things happened to me since moving to L.A.
The first was when I was helping a friend move some furniture into a large self-storage facility in a sketchy part of Hollywood. It was early in the morning, and as I turned down a hallway, I watched as two transvestite prostitutes came walking in. My curiosity got the best of me as I followed them down the hallway, their sheds wide open. As I looked in, I saw they had both converted their units into makeshift apartments. I remember this striking me in such a big way. I began to wonder how rampant this was in a city as transient as L.A.
Several years later, I was unemployed and living with a girlfriend. We broke up and she asked me to leave— the problem was I had no family out here, and I felt really weird about imposing on my friends, so I moved my stuff into a storage shed and began sleeping in the car. After a few bad nights, I thought about those prostitutes and how they had decked out their storage sheds. Why couldn’t I give it a try until I got back on my feet? So, I did.
The first few nights I slept in the unit were pretty freaky, as I soon realized I was not alone. I kept hearing footsteps, things moving late at night, and then, a typewriter. On the fourth night of incessant tapping, I went looking for the source of the noise. Several hallways over, I found an old man sitting in front of a typewriter perched on a small table, typing away in front of an open storage unit. It was such a haunting image: The unit packed with the contents of his entire life, and I could only imagine what he was typing. He didn’t say a word to me, so I continued on, but in that moment, I realized every self-storage unit is a story unto itself, filled with forgotten and discarded pieces of people’s lives. I decided to incorporate this theme into the film— Gabriel has been discarded from society and takes refuge in a storage unit containing his entire life.
SF: What is compelling about self-storage? What makes it an entertaining setting?
PH: I think a self-storage facility is such an intriguing backdrop for a horror film because it is such a creepy place. All those hundreds and thousands of sheds, filled with the lives and belongings of so many people. Items that they don’t really need, but can’t quite let go of. Thematically, it parallels the main character’s story.
SF: How does “BLOOD SHED” address the issue of homelessness in L.A? What interested you in shedding (no pun intended) light on this subject?
PH: When I was living in my storage shed for that three-month stint, it really opened my eyes to how many people and families are actually homeless in L.A. I don’t think the average person has any idea how many homeless people are living among them. Given the current state of our country, I thought homelessness would be an interest theme to focus on given the story.
SF: What makes “BLOOD SHED” scarier than other films in the genre?
PH: What “Jaws” did for people going into the water, “BLOOD SHED” will do for anyone having to visit that long-lost self-storage unit. “BLOOD SHED” is set in a totally new horror arena with a never-before-seen creature. I am often disappointed in the new wave of horror films that have come out in the last decade. They’re often too slick or polished or just too gory for the sake of being gory. I believe a great horror film needs an intimacy, a grittiness, and a glimpse into the evil that humans can do to one another.
My directing mantra when it comes to horror is to show the audience just enough to seep into their psyche, then let their imaginations run wild with what lies beyond the frame. Like the great horror films of the 70s, “BLOOD SHED” is going to break new ground in the genre and scare audiences in ways they’ve never been scared before. Honestly, we’re going to scare the s#@t out of people.