When it comes to films concerning father-daughter bonding, Blood Relatives stand out due to its genre of choice as a horror comedy. Noah Segan, who wrote, directed, and stars in the film, plays Francis, a 115-year-old Yiddish vampire, but retains his youthful 35-year-old looks. He's been roaming American backroads in his beat-up muscle car for decades, keeping to himself and liking it that way. One day, a teenage kid, Jane (Victoria Moroles), shows up. She says she's his daughter and has the fangs to prove it. They go on the road, deciding whether to sink their teeth into family life. Segan spoke to Bleeding Cool on the film's inspiration, his chemistry with Moroles, and parenthood.
How Parenthood Drove "Blood Relatives"
Bleeding Cool: What inspired you to write Blood Relatives?
Segan: I was with becoming a dad and feeling like I was in my little horror movie as I discovered how to grapple with parenthood.
What made you think of having the main characters vampires?
Looking back on my life before I became a parent, I thought vampires were the coolest. Is my life a little bit like a vampire's? I stay up all night, go out, and do cool stuff. I also like to wear cool jackets, flip my hair back and have sunglasses on when I'm inside. I was a suave [laughs], cool, swaggering guy. When I became a dad and was up all night with a baby, I thought, "I feel like this vampire thing is a throughline." It became a bit of a daydream as I started thinking about this story, and it became a vampire movie.
How do you make it work so well with Victoria?
It's all Vick. She is simply the best actor I've ever worked with, and her ability to show up with a take that both encompassed Jane, the character. This idea of when we're teenagers, how do we wish we acted? What do we wish we had said? Looking back, who do we think we were to be able to combine that with her humor and her filling in the gaps? Every single thing she did was honest and fun. Part of the film's tone when we got into the editing room, not only did I see she was like, at times, making this funny impression of this guy playing her dad, which was an incredible gift and connection between the two of us. She also never let up. When you're working with somebody opposite them as an actor, who motivates and makes you a better actor, it's a gift.
What was the most challenging aspect of doing this horror comedy?
We had all the normal challenges you have on a small-budget movie. There's not a lot of time or a ton of resources, but what solidified me is something I saw the great directors who I worked with do. Every single day, try to make the people who are showing up to make the movie happy to be there and feel like they are appreciated. As soon as you can do that and start that contagious energy, all of a sudden, they're going to show up the next day to go to work and want to be there [laughs]. There were days a lot of people had challenges they met, but because they believed in the movie, gratitude keeps you going when you're challenged.
We were in the middle of a pandemic. We had a lot of safety concerns and obligations to keep everybody safe, comfortable, and able to do their jobs. There were a lot of choices I had made early on that turned out to be beneficial with stuff, like shooting the car on a stage with rear LED projection was something I wanted to do because I love real projection, and I love it in movies like 'Paper Moon' and 'Taxi Driver.' Both felt cinematic and fun. The same thing with the days and night sequences we had throughout the film, which a lot of people connect with a classic cinematic fun experience. Those were challenges that existed before we shot that turned out to be benefits to making the movie a little different and more fun than expected.
Blood Relatives streams on Shudder on November 22nd.