INTERVIEW: Horror and ‘DeadTectives’ with Director and Writer Tony West

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Tony West - DeadTectives

DeadTectives, the newest Shudder Original horror-comedy premiered last week. Funny, nostalgic, and filled to the brim with paranormal lore, the ghost hunting parody offers up more than just great humor, it also provides a supernatural world filled great practical effects and characters that pull you in. Over the weekend I also got a chance to speak with the film’s writer and director Tony West about the horror genre, DeadTectives, and the Mexican folklore that inspired the setting.

Reality TV stars with a knack for faking hauntings for ratings, DeadTectives – also the name of the in-movie show – follows a team of hapless paranormal investigators on a quest to Mexico’s most haunted house at the behest of their ratings hungry producer. However, the secrets of the mansion begin to reveal themselves, and the reality stars begin to discover that this house is no hoax and the events are anything but scripted.

As a fan of the paranormal but not necessarily the scares of horror, West explained how the purpose of DeadTectives was to serve as an entry point for fans of ghosts, hauntings, and more without giving them the hardcore horror nightmares and imagery that most associate with the genre. Easily scared as a kid, West aimed to channel his love for films like The Frighteners and his fond memories of Scooby-Doo and Ghostbusters to build out a world that was spooky but authentically welcoming to every viewer, not just the hardcore genre fans.

While balancing tone in horror comedies is no easy feat, West was able to do exceptionally well. With deep characters like Jose (José María de Tavira) who learns to accept his identity and push back to the hilarious opening of the film in which the ghost hunting team fakes a haunting, everything feels like it fits and navigates that line well. Something West was proud of, thanks to his wonderful team of actors which included: José María de Tavira (El Vato), Martha Higareda (Altered Carbon, Culture Shock), Chris Geere (Pokémon Detective Pikachu, Modern Family), Tina Ivlev (Queen of the South), and David Newman (A Discovery of Witches).

DeadTectives is available to stream on Shudder.