If you’re new to Left Hand Horror, you might have missed the ongoing love affair I have with a webseries called “The Flowers of Fantastico“. In a nutshell, this was first described to me as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Seinfeld.”
And that was all I needed to curiously begin my Flowers binge-watching. So, today, in the spirit of October, hot girl-on-girl action, and purple insanity, I give you THE OFFICIAL Fister Interview with series creator (and great mix CD creator), Rachel Kerry.* Kids, make sure you read all the way to the bottom, because you, sure, YOU, can contribute to the new, upcoming Flowers episodes through 10/17!
*Not affiliated with John Kerry
Describe The Flowers of Fantastico for those people hearing about it for the first time.
Ok. Here we go: One fateful evening, Tara, her best friend Gary, and his go-go dancing boyfriend Billi, discover a mysterious VHS tape that harbors a dark secret. Little do they know, they are about to enter a world of supernatural assassins, demon-fighting nuns, and an eternally young, possibly evil, but definitely gay hollywood celebrity… who casts a seductive spell over Tara. Make no mistake, The Flowers of Fantastico is the best bisexual romantic horror comedy web series ever made!
What elements came together to create Flowers?
A lot of alcohol and tears. But mostly alcohol.
Did you go to film school knowing Flowers was already lurking in your head?
Aw, that’s so sweet, you actually think I went to film school. I actually went to theatre school, which pretty much taught me how to base all my art on alcohol and tears…
Kidding aside, Fantastico was inspired by something that happened my senior year of college. I was really sad and drunk and heartbroken on Christmas and decided to watch Godspell the movie musical (because I was feeling self-destructive). As I was watching it, I noticed that Jennifer Beals was in the film! Except, the movie was too old for it to really be her. Now, a normal person would’ve just assumed it was a similar looking actor and moved on. But for months I was convinced Jennifer Beals was lying about her age because she was supernatural. I would call up my best friend and say, “What if Jennifer Beals is some eternally young vampire. Wouldn’t that be hot?” A year later I decided that would be a really funny premise for a play.
Two years later, I staged a full-length play version of The Flowers of Fantastico in the New York International Fringe Festival. It didn’t feel quite right on stage though. So despite having a theatre background, I set out to turn it into a series. Now we have six episodes out there and another twelve to make.
What films, series, artists, random weirdness made the biggest impact on your career?
I’ve loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer since I was 12. It taught me that horror comedy can be both smart and sincere. Xena: Warrior Princess taught me that something really dumb and cheesy can also be fun and hot. David Lynch and John Waters inspired me to be as weird and filthy as I like. And Evil Dead and Street Trash taught me that large quantities of multicolored body fluids improve everything, no matter what.
I also have to spotlight the New York-based theatre company The Vampire Cowboys. They produce plays that have a comic book aesthetic. They do lots of scifi, horror, fight choreography, puppets, and more! When I saw their production of Soul Samurai (a queer vampire blaxploitation play set in a dystopian future), I was so inspired. I realized that you can combine B-movie nerdery AND theatre-nerdery! I would not have been brave enough to write Fantastico if not for them.
Some of the best Flowers scenes were between Tara (Victoria Longwell) and Gary (David Mangiamele) just sitting around the apartment. How did you cast these guys? They’re uniquely perfect for their roles and made the series for me.
I met Victoria through someone who broke my heart actually! When I was preparing the original stage version of Fantastico, I contacted one of my exes (who inspired the Jake Collins gag in Episode 3) and I was like, “hey, so I make fun of you in a script i wrote… Is that ok?” They asked to read the script and afterward said, “Oh, I know the perfect girl to play Tara!” To this day I still say meeting Victoria was the only good thing to come out of that train wreck of a relationship… David I met while working at the Harry Potter exhibit. I thought he was delightful and he ended up having great chemistry with Victoria. There you go!
What was the weirdest unplanned occurrence during the filming?
Hands down, acquiring the Nun’s habit. During preproduction, I texted a buddy of mine who is a stripper and I was asked, “Do you own a sexy Nuns outfit by any chance?” A few days she replied with, “I have secured you a habit.” She was dating a professional dominatrix who had a fetish Nun’s habit made of latex. Because Sister Contentious needed to get splattered with demon guts in Episode 4, it couldn’t have been more ideal!
Later, I met the dominatrix and asked her about the habit. Apparently her ex-boyfriend bought it and never used it. When they broke up, he left the habit but took her best dildo and all her butter knives. I don’t know what that was all about, but hey I got a latex nun’s habit out of it!
I assume the Catholic Church didn’t invite you to the Canonization VIP Room?
Is that a thing? Can I steal that and put it in an episode of Fantastico?
The puppet from Saw, and Chucky from Child’s Play take a shitload of mescaline and go to a concert. What concert do they choose?
Dolly Parton. Jolene would begin and they’d start weeping, then they’d fist fight, then they’d start making out, then Chucky would unbutton his… Wait, you didn’t want my erotic puppet fantasy?
What’s next for this crazy series?
We need money! So badly! We have SO many crazy amazing things in store for the next twelve episodes. Bigger dance fights! Chinchilla ghosts! Demonic baked goods! More girls kissing! But we cant get started until funding is in place. Everything is hinging on our IndieGoGo campaign. Luckily, you have until October 17th to donate.