Hell Of A Summer: Finn Wolfhard Says Slasher Directorial Debut Is His ‘First Evolution Of Growth’ Beyond Stranger Things – Exclusive Image

Hell Of A Summer BTS

by Jordan King |
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It would be fair to say that Finn Wolfhard knows a thing or two about what it takes to scare viewers. From his breakout role as Mike Wheeler in Stranger Things, to starring appearances in Andy Muschietti’s IT duology and recent supernatural sci-fi reboot Ghostbusters: Afterlife, the 20-year-old actor has held his own against his fair share of monsters, murderers, and other such spooky sorts. But now, the Canadian star is set to move behind the camera with feature directorial debut Hell Of A Summer, which he’s co-written, co-directed, and co-stars in with fellow Ghostbusters: Afterlife actor Billy Bryk. A summer-camp slasher with oozing blood and guts aplenty, it’s safe to say Wolfhard sure ain’t in Hawkins no more.

Talking exclusively in the new December issue of Empire, Wolfhard reflects on his experience making the movie at the same time his time at Stranger Things prepares to wrap up. “It’s weird to think about it as being such a personal film — but it is, because it’s such a time capsule of where we were when we wrote it, and when we were making it,” he shares. “I would say it’s the first evolution of growth for me, and for Billy [Bryk] as well. It was something that we talked about a ton.”

Something else Wolfhard and Bryk talked about a lot in the process of making this movie was their shared love of horror. In terms of influences for Hell Of A Summer, Bryk envisioned an old-school slasher, something “with a little bit of gore in it”. Wolfhard on the other hand – who cites Scream as a formative cinematic experience (“It really changed everything for me”) – brought to the table a love for genre greats Greg Nicotero and George Romero.  “I was a big fan of Evil Dead II, Night Of The Living Dead — anything that Greg Nicotero did,” Wolfhard explains to Empire. ““My mom showed me this documentary called Nightmare Factory. It starts with [Nicotero] as a kid making movies by himself, and then goes into him meeting George Romero. I’m very inspired by that era of horror.”

That blend of classic horror influences and slasher aspirations leads to some pretty gnarly kills in the finished film. “We had a lot of fun,” Wolfhard says of coming up with new ways to rack up a body-count, “It was years of going over what should be the ones to go in the film.” At its heart though, Hell Of A Summer is the product of two talented pals just having a hell of a time. “The whole film was just us trying to make each other laugh over Zoom as we were writing,” Bryk shares. “It’s a horror-comedy, or comedy-horror, depending how you spin it.” However you describe it, it sounds like a killer time at the movies to us.

Empire's Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom Covers

Read Empire’s full Hell Of A Summer story, including an interview with co-directors Finn Wolfhard and Billy Bryk from Toronto International Film Festival, in the new Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom issue. On sale Thursday 26 October – pre-order a copy here. Hell Of A Summer does not yet have a UK release date.

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