Christmas Bloody Christmas Star Riley Dandy on Breaking into Horror
When Riley Dandy (That's Amor, Kappa Crypto) heard about Christmas Bloody Christmas, it was a breath of fresh air as a departure from her regular work on romcoms, comedies, Christmas movies, and dramas as a holiday slasher horror film. In the film, she plays Tori, who, on Christmas Eve, wants to drink and party, but when a robotic Santa Claus at a nearby toy store goes haywire and begins a rampant killing spree through her small town, she's forced into a battle for survival. Dandy spoke to Bleeding Cool about how the project was unique, how it differs from her warm and fuzzier Christmas films, growing up on horror, and doing her stunts.
Playing Against Type in 'Christmas Bloody Christmas'
Bleeding Cool: What intrigued you about 'Christmas Bloody Christmas?'
Dandy: A couple of things: it's shot on 18-millimeter film was incredible, and I'd be getting to work every day with an animatronic Santa robot. Those are two big factors, along with working with Joe Begos, the director.
It's a darker contrast compared to your other Christmas films; how did it feel to have that change of pace?
I love it personally, and it's great to keep doing different things. It's fun to have people see a different side of me as well. I didn't even know that there was a side of me that loves doing action. As much as I loved finding that about myself, I think people also like seeing that.
Was horror something you wanted to do, and coincidentally, this Christmas-themed came along?
Yes. [laughs] It's something I've wanted to do for a long time. It's a rite of passage for a lot of actors, especially women. If you get to be a final girl, that's a huge bucket list check for me, and then the fact it happened to take place on Christmas is great. Why not?
Did you grow up watching horror?
I did. It's funny. I don't watch much of it now because my fiancé is scared of horror movies. So the only way I get to watch them is during the daytime, like on my iPad when I'm making lunch or something, so it doesn't scare him. Growing up, I watched a lot of it.
What are your favorites?
I have a couple of new favorites because I had to study a lot of the older horror movies I hadn't seen for this movie. I watched 'Child's Play' for the first time before filming this, and I fell in love with it [laughs]. It's such a good time, and [unfortunately] not many people in my circle talk about how good it is. I had such a great time, and I've re-watched it since then.
Have you watched SyFy's 'Chucky?'
No, I want to. Is it good?
It's a good follow-up. It's a nod to the earlier films as well, but you won't lose too much out because they do provide backstory into the existing lore of 'Child's Play.' Check it out. How do you describe the set Joe ran?
Anything that Joe has his hand in is improper, impromptu, passionate, and impulsive. There's a streamline of what we're trying to get done that day. We're open and gelling with it being any given way as long as we get the goal done. He set up such a great safe space for us to like play, fuck around, and figure out what was going to work. I would work with him 100 times over. He had so much trust in me as a professional, and that was a mutually respectful work environment for both of us. At the end of the day, we're making movies, which is the coolest thing ever. It's showing up to work and having fun.
So what were your castmates like, and did you hang out with any of them during filming?
We only had each other to hang out with because we were in this tiny town. There was one bar in the entire town on the main street, and I felt really bad because our entire crew took up that entire bar every single weekend. We were doing overnight shoots, so we would get to work at like 6:30 p.m. and work at eight in the morning. We had to keep that schedule on the weekends so that we kept our sleeping schedule. Sam Delich, who plays Robbie, and I stayed up until like four or five in the morning just hanging out, which describes our relationship well. We all hung out a lot, probably too much. They were probably so sick of me by the end of it.
Did you have to do any physical prep compared to what you normally do, or is it something kind of right up your alley?
I've never done any action before, and these guys were incredible. Any time I asked if I could do one of my stunts, they would ensure that everything was safe and that I could do it. I want to do more of it in the future because I had so much fun. My favorite days on set were the action days.
Was there a particular stunt that stood out for you or took a little more time than usual?
There's this one where I must fall off a counter backward and break a bone. I've never done that before, so my heart was pounding the first time, and this is probably such a novice stunt to actual stunt workers. This has made me appreciate them and respect them so much more because I was scared to do this one little fall, but it's so fun. Any time I got to drive a car, I loved. I drove this cop car with no windshield down this mountain road. The wind's whipping me in the face, and I got to swerve this ambulance. The driving sequences made me feel like a badass.
Were there any other genres you hope to do in the future that you haven't gone to yet?
I would love to do sci-fi more than anything. I'm watching ['The Lord of the Rings:] Rings of Power' right now. Fantasy and sci-fi would be so incredible. That's the one where I want to play a fairy, an elf, or anything. It would be so much fun.
It's a wonderful show on the show, and they are casting for next season. Put yourself out there.
I'm working on my English accent. We'll see.
RLJE Films Christmas Bloody Christmas, which also stars Jonah Ray Rodrigues, Dora Madison, Jeremy Gardner, Jeff Daniel Phillips, and Abraham Benrubi, comes to theaters and streams on Shudder on December 9th.