Rob Savage Talks ‘The Boogeyman’, Stephen King Movies, Using ‘The Last of Us’ As Inspiration & More – Interview
The Boogeyman has arrived! Horror has unquestionably thrived in recent years, with a slew of box office heavy hitters. In 2023 alone, films like M3GAN, Knock At The Cabin, and Scream 6 have captivated audiences. Most recently, the revival of the iconic Evil Dead franchise, spearheaded by Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell, through Lee Cronin’s Evil Dead Rise, had horror fans raving.
I’m happy to say that Rob Savage’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Boogeyman is shaping up to be another win for horror this year! Leading up to the release, Geeks of Color had a chance to sit down with the director to discuss the project and get insight on the process of bringing this short story to life.
If you’re not familiar with The Boogeyman (outside of the childhood stories), the story is about Sadie Harper and her younger sister Sawyer who are reeling from the recent death of their mother. The sisters aren’t getting the support they need from their father, Will, a therapist who is dealing with his own pain. When a desperate patient unexpectedly shows up at their home seeking help, he leaves behind a terrifying supernatural entity that preys on families and feeds on the suffering of its victims.
Check out the interview with Rob Savage for The Boogeyman below:
Originally slated for a Hulu release, The Boogeyman fortunately secured the theatrical bag. When asked about his reaction to this news, Savage said, “It was amazing. And I always kind of hoped in the back of my head that this would end up on the big screen. I knew that we had a great team. I don’t think any filmmaker makes a film for TV; you make it for a cinema full of people.”
He added, “I knew that The Boogeyman with Stephen King’s name floating above it, there was a good chance that if we did a good job with this movie, it might get bumped up just like Smile, just like Barbarian. There’s been a kind of trend of this happening with horror movies. So it was great! And I’m so happy that people are gonna get to watch this movie as it was intended, with a crowd of people.”
Despite having worked on lower-budget projects in the past, the quality of Savage’s work remained exceptional. I highly recommend watching his film, Host, a found-footage horror masterpiece entirely shot during the pandemic. I asked about Savage’s experience of having full studio support. He said, “It was surreal, like, you know, with all the low-budget stuff that I’ve done before, we’ve always come at it in this way of like, ‘Well, what can we get for free? Whose house can we shoot in? What scares can we pull off with no money?’
“Whereas on this one, we had the resources that I could plan everything in advance. I storyboarded the whole movie, and then we were able to do things like build the sets for the movie based on my storyboard. So everything was designed to be exactly as I had it in my head, which is something that I’ve never got to do before. And it just gave me that level of control to be able to pull off these bigger set pieces and, you know, play in the realm of CG creatures and all that fun stuff.”
*Please note: very light spoiler ahead. In this film, there is a sequence that involves a PS5, so I asked Savage if he had a favorite video game. Savage said, “Both of The Last of Us (Part 1 & 2).”
Naturally, I followed up to get his thoughts on Max’s adaptation of the game. He said, “I thought they did a good job. There are so many ways that could have gone wrong, and I was really, really pleased that they managed to pull it off to where I loved it.”
Having played both games, I noticed the subtle influence of The Last of Us in the film, particularly in its depiction of darkness and silence. When discussing the video game scene in his film, Savage explained, “I wanted that to feel like a kind of hide and seek sequence. There are so many great sequences in The Last of Us games where you have to creep around or there’s something stalking you like one of the clickers.”
Savage went on to praise the film’s cinematographer and said, “Eli Born, who shot the movie, is also a big gamer and a big The Last of Us fan. He would send me game references, and we would discuss moments from The Last of Us as inspiration for the film’s visual aesthetics.”
I couldn’t resist asking Savage about his favorite Stephen King movie. He said, “I think my favorite movie is Carrie. I would have said The Shining until a couple of weeks ago. But I watched Carrie again on the big screen a couple of weeks ago and it just blew my mind. Like, I remember it being good. I don’t remember it being that good. It’s so funny. So scary. It’s so well done. It’s so stylish, and it’s so compassionate. You really feel for Sissy Spacek throughout that movie. And it feels so true to the book, which I love. The first novel of King’s that I read was Carrie.”
Savage playfully concluded, “I love all of his short stories. I mean, that was my first introduction to King. I would just go and read all of his short stories far too young, and they completely fucked me up.”
Knowing Savage’s appreciation for drama, fantasy, and video games, I asked if there were any other IPs, be it comics or video games, that he would like to adapt. I mistakenly thought his Evil Dead shirt was a Mortal Kombat shirt, but to be fair, Ash was rumored for MK11, it he said, “I’d love to play in that world. Evil Dead is a huge, huge influence. And there are other King’s stories as well that I’d like to do, and a couple of great video games.”
Savage continued with, “BioShock! I was playing recently online, saying, ‘It’s amazing nobody’s made this.’ I mean, I’m sure somebody’s already this close to getting it made.”
Savage’s prediction is accurate, as Francis Lawrence is currently in the process of writing the script for a Netflix movie adaptation. Although there haven’t been many updates since last year, there remains a glimmer of hope for Savage’s involvement.
At the end of the interview, Savage said, “I’ve got a big long bucket List of horror properties I want to do. I don’t think I’m the guy to go and do a Marvel movie. I respect the hell out of what they’re doing but there’s lots of stuff in the horror space that I want to take off my list.”
Although Savage was done with the interview, the Boogeyman wasn’t…