Writers Simon Rumley and Cory Goodman on horror and sci-fi

The writers behind The ABC's of Death and Apollo 18 talk about screenwriting.

CraveOnlineby CraveOnline

Apollo 18

Summer is prime time for cinematic sci-fi and horror. While your romantic comedies and animated features also mop up ticket sales, speculative and scary movies put butts in seats and sell popcorn by the bucketful.


To celebrate the summer movie season, CraveOnline had the opportunity to talk to two busy genre writers driving modern horror and sci-fi Simon Rumley and Cory Goodman.


Horror writer Rumley is the scribe behind The Living and the Dead, the upcoming The ABCs of Death and Red, White and Blue. Goodman penned this spring’s Priest and the upcoming Apollo 18. CraveOnline asked both men how they go about crafting their stories for an audience that thinks it’s seen it all.


CraveOnline: When writing horror or sci-fi material like Priest or Apollo 18, while you’re trying to put together the best possible story, how do you deal with the expectations and demands of the diehard purists and the fanboys?

Cory Goodman: I think you have to let go of fanboy expectations when it comes to approaching material. Otherwise it would be crippling. You need to be true to the original work and certainly respectful. But if you second guess every single decision, I think it can be pretty harmful to the process.


CraveOnline: Intense sexuality often goes hand in hand with horror films these days. Is it simply about establishing the characters and a certain mood or are you consciously trying to challenge viewers and show something rarely seen in the genre?

Simon Rumley: I guess the sex in these stories grows out of the fact that they’re about relationships. Sex can be show us quite extensively about how the relationship is faring within the story. I try to keep my horror stories as realistic as possible, and I think it would be a falsification of the characters lives not to show intimate moments. In horror films, most sex is concluded with some kind of death.


CraveOnline: In terms of the maturity level of your material – sex, violence, etc. – can you place any boundaries on your work when genre material can appeal to younger fans?

Cory Goodman: iIt's all about whatever genre you're working in.  For my movie, The Brood, I feel it's impossible to be true to the story without getting into some truly disturbing areas. If I were to start censoring the material based on ratings the story would lose a lot of its teeth. 


On the other hand, if I'm working on something that is meant to have broader appeal, I consciously work to make sure that I'm within the limits that the situation requires.  For example, on Kung-Fu, I knew there were certain boundaries in place.  In that case, Shaolin Monks, the old West and dripping gore do not go hand-in-hand.  


CraveOnline: Modern horror films – like yours – lack traditional villains and focus on damaged people and the horrific things they do to one another. Where do you draw inspiration from? What appeals to you about writing these types of characters? 

Simon Rumley: I think it comes from seeing the world not so much as black and white, but grey. My main inspiration for these characters is watching more obvious narratives where you a very defined good guy and a very defined bad guy, which is fine, but in reality, I’m not convinced that anyone is 100% good or 100% bad.


Personally, I like the fact that it isn’t so obvious who’s really the villain and the good guy – in a day when most movies are designed to get people eating as much popcorn as possible while challenging the braincells as little as possible. Anything that counteracts this, in my opinion is a good thing. Film is an art, and art shouldn’t be decorative – at least not all the time, anyway.