Jason Kabolati The Final interview

The Final has been hotly anticipated by Love Horror since its inclusion in the ‘8 Films to Die For’ selection at the last After Dark Horrorfest.
No UK release date has been penned as yet, but with those involved in its production busy promoting it in Cannes, Zombie2 managed to catch up with writer, Jason Kabolati

Zombie2: How did you first get into script writing?

I grew up really poor in the Bronx, New York and for the couple hours I watched a movie, it provided an amazing escape.  I was always fascinated by film and after I read an article about some young writers who were making a mark in Hollywood, I thought, “Heck, I should take a shot at it.”  Little did I realize how difficult it was to write a good screenplay and how long it takes to develop the needed experience to write a viable project.

For those that don’t know, tell us about The Final.
The Final is about a group of kids who have been bullied for many years and finally reach their breaking point and put together a plan to exact revenge on the kids who emotionally and physically tormented them.

Where did you draw the inspiration for the controversial story? Did use any personal experiences of your childhood and school days for the film?
The idea came after I read some interesting, yet frightening articles about the Columbine and WV shootings.  I wanted to take a look at the events and understand them.  In The Final, I wanted the students to be specific about the students who tormented them and wanted their plot be more specific about their message.  Instead of just exacting rage at everyone, they focused their lesson on those who made sport of them.
I was not bullied in high school at all so I don’t have a personal reference.  Despite what has been said, I did not want to glorify their actions.  I simply wanted to tell a story and allow the audience to see how we landed on the horrific situation, where the antagonists become the protagonists.   Sometimes the lines of right and wrong are blurred.  The cool kids didn’t deserve what happened to them, but neither did the outcasts.

You produced the movie as well, did that mean you had a lot of involvement on the planning and the shooting of the movie and how did it all go?
I was involved in many aspects of the film.  Once I selected the director, Joey Stewart, I had to let him take the reigns and translate the film.  As a producer, you have to trust the people you pick to make the movie for you.  I was very happy with the decisions all the department heads made, and the success of the film speaks for itself.

I read that you and director Joey Stewart looked at Takashi Miike’s Audition as a stylistic model for the film. What other films influenced The Final?
I paid a tip of the hat to a couple of films that really don’t fall into the “horror” category. No Country for Old Men and Deliverance get a nod. Joey and I really wanted a cinematic feel to the film so we opted for wide shots and angles that we hoped brought the audience into the environment.  We knew we didn’t have a big enough budget to compete with big horror films like SAW, so we opted for more thriller elements than blood and gore.  Some fans were disappointed but we felt like there were plenty of films that magnified that element so we went a different direction.  Audition certainly gave us the most style elements we used.  Great film.

What was it like seeing your words translated from the page to the screen?
It’s always interesting to see the words you write onto a page come to life.  It has a God-like feel where people who didn’t exist say things that were not said in a story world you created… all in the world of your imagination. Every writer longs for that feeling and I feel blessed to get to live it.

What is your favourite horror movie and why?
To this day I think the Exorcist is the scariest film ever made.  I have only seen it once and will not watch it again. It terrified me.  Jaws has kept me out of the water til this day too.  Both films seemed so possible… and invasion of the devil into your soul and a great white shark bearing down on you for lunch.

You’ve been quoted as saying – “I was really moved by how little it takes to send some people over the edge and how far you have to push someone else to get over that same edge”.
Have you ever gone over ‘the edge’ before, and what pushes you there?

I am a pretty chill guy. If I see something so obviously wrong, I will take action but always keep things in perspective. I don’t think someone tormenting me deserves death.  And if anyone tells you different,  I will kill them.

The Final was selected for the 2010 After Dark Horrorfest which must have been a real honour. What was the festival like and how was the film received?
My distribution producer, Brad Keller put the deal together really quickly.  The movie was very well received by distributors and After Dark Films dropped another film to add us to their Horrorfest lineup.  We were really excited about being part such a prestigious festival and we had a great time meeting the other filmmakers.  Things could not have gone better.

What’s next for you?
After making The Final, I was ready for a film that allowed me to sport my odd sense of humor so I just completed my first comedy.  It was my directorial debut so this is the first time I translated my script exactly as I wrote it.  The film is called MIND OF ITS OWN, and its about a guy who has a talking penis… that sings as well.  Really crazy comedy we just wrapped up (no pun intended).
The screening went amazing and the reviews are stellar so we have big promise for this film as well.

Lastly I read you did the audio commentary with Joey Stewart while drinking Pinot Noir. Did the wine inspire any hilarious revelations while you where recording?
Lets just say Joey gets very handsy when he gets drunk.  I kid… I kid… the funny thing is I don’t drink and Joey likes his wine so we had a good time but for different reasons… like he was drunk and I stole his wallet without his knowledge.  To this day I charge all my lunches to his card, but don’t tell him.

Thank you.
Thank you for allowing me into your world.

We’ll be keeping you up-to-date on the UK release details for The Final



Tom Atkinson

Tom is one of the editors at Love Horror. He has been watching horror for a worryingly long time, starting on the Universal Monsters and progressing through the Carpenter classics. He has a soft-spot for eighties horror.More

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