Ex-Guns N’ Roses member Slash is wearing a couple of hats these days — and that’s not a reference to his fondness for stylish but outsized headgear. While continuing to maintain his status as a rock guitar legend with albums and tours, the man born Saul Hudson has also recently picked up the metaphorical stogie of the film producer. He was one of the people behind the 2014 Anne Heche-starring horror movie Nothing Left To Fear and is today launching a campaign via the crowdfunding platform FanBacked in support of another terror tale, The Hell Within, which is written by Jeff Buhler (Midnight Meat Train) and will be directed by Dennison Ramalho (ABC’s of Death).
So what the hell is The Hell Within about? “Well, Jeff wanted to keep the basic story under wraps,” says the guitarist and diehard horror movie fan, who is producing the film under his SlashFiction banner in partnership with Benito Mueller and Wolfgang Mueller of Barry Films. “I said ‘What am I going to tell people?’ He says, ‘Tell them it’s Rosemary’s Baby in the jungle.’ I thought, Yeah, that’s actually pretty good.”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did the script for The Hell Within come across your desk — assuming you have a desk?
SLASH: Yeah, right. [Laughs] It came my way through somebody that I work with who was given the script. We get lots of scripts from here and there. I’m always looking for a good story and this script just happened to be really great. I was actually pinching myself, it was so good.
What else can you tell us about the film?
It basically starts out with a young, professional couple in New York. [The woman] raises funds for impoverished children in third world countries. She gets this phone call in the middle of the night from a young girl saying ‘Help me!’ And she starts to put it together that this might be this girl from Brazil that was kidnapped. So she goes into the jungle to talk to the family and then it turns into a very dark and scary horrific situation, deep in the heart of the jungle of Brazil.
Where are you in the production process?
We’re casting right now. We’re planning on going, starting in January.
Are you actually filming in the jungle?
We are. We’re going to do Chile and Colombia. It’s cheap and it’s got the right atmosphere.
Tell us about the FanBacked campaign for the film.
Well, I have a big fanbase and we have very similar tastes — obviously in music, but also in horror. The reason I got into the whole production thing in the first place was to try to bring back story-driven and character-driven scary movies that weren’t reliant on blood and guts to get all their shock and awe. I thought it would be great if we brought fans on board and developed the movie, in a sense, together.
Obviously, I’m making the movie, but you actually feed fans bits of what’s happened, you get some opinions, and build this army, you know? [Laughs] I thought it would be fun and at the same time if anybody wanted to contribute finances we would be able to give them rewards, anything from the script of the movie to being an extra. Becasue the other thing that I want to do is to be able to finance the movie, raise as much equity myself, so I don’t have anybody looking over my shoulder. I want artistic control over the final product.
This is your second producing project. What did you learn from Nothing Left To Fear?
I learned a lot. I feel [producing] is something that speaks to me. It’s in my comfort zone. Getting the components together, as well as the finances, to make the right kind of movie. That intrigures me. But I think if there was ever a time when I could be intimidated out of wanting to do that [it was making] Nothing Left To Fear. I mean, I learned how many cooks in the kitchen there are, how many people you wind up having to answer to, and how hard it [is] to raise the money, and how hard it is to keep artistic control over the entire film during the entire process.
Is making a movie easier or harder than it was to make a Guns N’ Roses record?
[Laughs] That’s a really good question. I’d say it is definitely easier than making another Guns N’ Roses would have been.
You can see exclusive The Hell Within promo footage, below.