INTERVIEW: Mike Thompson on “Iris,” Aerosmith, and Halloween Candy

It’s hard to believe that Halloween is less than two weeks away now. As you probably already know, we at Never Nervous are in full Halloween mode. We’re talking candy, costumes, Rob Zombie and The Misfits and our favorite thing of all, horror movies. Recently our buddy Mike Thompson dropped the trailer for his short horror film “Iris,” which you can peep below. We caught up with him to get the skinny on what this short is about and what else he has coming up in the future.

Never-Nervous: The trailer for “Iris” just dropped on the interwebs. Give us the scoop! 

Mike Thompson: Iris is a short horror film, written and directed by myself and shot (beautifully) by Thomas Johns. It stars local actors Shelby Taylor Mullins, Chris Petty, Tory Beckham and Romell Weaver (RMLLW2LLZ). The premise is that a young girl who is the only survivor of a house fire that killed the rest of her family is brought in by the police to be questioned by the precinct’s psychologist in an effort to figure out what exactly happened. I’m kind of reluctant to say anything else until its released, haha.

NN: What was your inspiration in making this film? 

MT: I’m kind of obsessed with police procedural shows and movies, like the Killing, True Detective, Se7en, Silence of the Lambs, etc. and I always really get into the interrogation sequences, because that’s when a lot of the revelations for the show/film come to light about the identity of the killer and things of that nature. The only issue is, I wasn’t sure what the interrogation looked like for a short and how to make it into something that had a story that was solitary, without having to be part of a bigger story to be important.

“I’m kind of obsessed with police procedural shows and movies.”

Tommy pitched the idea to me of doing something horror related and it kind of clicked after that and I think I figured it out in a day or two. I’m a big fan of movies like Carrie, Firestarter, and The Fury, so I thought it would be interesting to do something like that. It basically feels like an alternate ending to Carrie where she’s picked up by the police before returning home I guess?

NN: What’s your favorite horror film? 

MT: If I REALLY have to choose one, I think its probably The Changeling. Its a movie from 1980 with George C. Scott, where he moves into an old mansion and it turns into a really amazing ghost story/mystery. There’s a lot of really creepy sequences in it and the story is flawless. It’s one of those movies that not a lot of people have scene but its been incredibly inspirational in modern horror movies like The Others & Insidious and more. Highly recommend it.

NN: What is Missingreels? 

MT: I’m not really sure, haha. It started as an instagram name then has sort of evolved into this moniker I guess, I don’t really know, it just kind of makes sense. I could make up some spiel about how that phrase applies to my work, but that would be really pretentious and I kind of feel silly even typing or thinking about it. I just really dug the name and sort of the history of film that the phrase evokes, so…yeah.

NN: What’s your background in film and how long have you been working in that medium? 

MT: I’ve been a movie nerd since I was a kid. Both of my parents love movies so they were a huge part of my life whether it was renting movies at Blockbuster (yeah, remember those?) or double features at the dollar theater. I started with film/photography when I was around 12 or 13 I guess, basically when I started skateboarding. I’ve never been a strong skater so I just enjoyed taking photos of my friends.

“I’ve been a movie nerd since I was a kid.”

Eventually I went to college for graphic design and got a job at an advertising firm called Engine, and I helped concept a commercial for a condo building or something but I really enjoyed it and it felt like making a movie to me, obviously on a smaller level. About a year after that I started doing editing work for a record label called Rusty Knuckles and when I started to make suggestions of shot ideas for videos and things of that nature, the label owner let me take the camera out and start learning to shoot on my own and that’s kind of where the directing bug bit.

Since then I’ve started working on a regular basic with my friend Tommy Johns, who is an amazing cinematographer, and we’ve been crafting music videos, ads and now a short film together.

NN: Your music videos were popular in the LEO reader’s choice poll this year (taking 1st and 3rd), what were your favorite videos from this city that you weren’t a part of?

MT: I think there’s a lot of talented artists and great videos being made in the city. Directors like Max Moore, Chris Smith and Roman Lane are doing really cool things, its hard to narrow down their work because its all really cool and very different stylistically. Its awesome to see that amount of creativity flowing around.

NN: What’s your favorite music video of all time?

MT: I think, and this is a weird one because I’m not a huge fan of the band, that the video for Aerosmith’s Janie’s Got A Gun might be my favorite of all time. It’s directed by David Fincher and you can see a lot of really cool shots and a style that would end up in movies like Seven and Zodiac. It’s definitely the video I remember most from my childhood and it does what I want to try to do with music videos which is tell a story and have almost a short film running alongside the song.

NN: What do you have planned in the coming months?

MT: Right now we’re in post production on Iris which is really taxing because certain aspects of it are fairly ambitious in terms of visual effects and such. Its also the first time we’ve worked with a composer (Tyler Thurman of Dizzy Wolfe & Local Haunt) so thats been a really interesting process, watching all of these things fit together. After this I really want to continue working on short films and music videos. I really enjoy utilizing music videos as a conduit to tell a story beyond just filming the band or artist performing. There’s several shorts written that are just hanging out in PDF form waiting to be made so hopefully we’ll have another one before the year is over and just try and keep going.

NN: What will be the most popular Halloween costume this year and what will be the best?

MT: I’d be willing to put money down and say that everyone and their mom is going to dress up as Pennywise, I feel like its going to be like the year The Dark Knight came out and everyone was the joker. As far as the best costume, if someone pulls Pennywise off it would be cool, but I’m a nerd and I’d like to see someone pull off a Blade Runner costume, I don’t really care necessarily what it is, but it would just be awesome, I think at least.

“I’m a nerd and I’d like to see someone pull off a Blade Runner costume, I don’t really care necessarily what it is, but it would just be awesome.”

NN: Finally, and most importantly, what’s the best Halloween candy?

MT: Best Halloween candy….anything that’s a combination of peanut butter and chocolate I guess…oh wait! So a friend of mine recently showed me this thing where if you eat candy corn and peanuts together it tastes like a payday candy bar, seriously try it, its bizarre but awesome. So yeah, that.