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Slasher’s creator details the long road to creating killer TV

Slasher‘s filming may have completed just a few months ago, but the series has been in the works for several years. The idea? It came even further back than that for creator Aaron Martin.

“When I was a teenager, we’d go to each other’s houses for sleepovers and watch those movies,” he says. “I always liked them and thought they were fun.” That fun has evolved into Super Channel’s newest series—debuting Friday—an eight-part, blood-soaked horror tale about Sarah Bennett (Katie McGrath), a young woman who returns to Waterbury, the small town where she was born under horrific circumstances. Part mystery, part thriller, Slasher features a who’s-who of cast, including Brandon Jay McLaren as Sarah’s husband, Dylan; Steve Byers as local cop Cam Henry; Patrick Garrow as Tom Winston; Dean McDermott as Police Chief Iain Vaughn; and Erin Karpluk as Heather Peterson.

With Slasher‘s debut nigh, we spoke to Martin about the series, the cast and what sets his series apart from others in the genre.

The long, long road to Slasher
“I had spoken to both of my agents, here and in the U.S., about doing a Scream, slasher-type series but also an Agatha Christie-type series. This is really a mix of a slasher film and an Agatha Christie novel. Everyone told me it would be a really tough sell, ‘That’s not in your background.’ And all of that made sense. I worked on Saving Hope and learning all of that medical stuff was great because I learned how the human body works. When I finished Saving Hope, I decided to just write Slasher because I had some time on my hands. I decided that if I wrote it, then I could pitch it. I wrote it on spec and it was floating around and everyone liked it, but this was before American Horror Story, so horror hadn’t really hit and there wasn’t really a home for it.”

“Then Shaftesbury optioned it and we took it around and Super Channel jumped on board and said, ‘Let’s do eight episodes.’ Chiller came on board after that, followed by international sales and all of a sudden we were able to go up north and film.”

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Steve Byers

A fascination with frights
“I find serial killers fascinating and creepy because they’re actually real. They actually exist out there. There are serial killers out there, right now, actively killing people. For me, the fear—and I think that’s why it attracts me—is that it’s something that could actually happen to you.”

That super channel
“SuperChannel supported us from Day 1—and by that I mean, they supported our unconventional way of shooting this series.  Everything from the fact we only have one writer and one director, to the look that we’re going for, the fact we’re shooting entirely on location, and that the season is self-contained and highly, highly serialized. We’re approaching Slasher like it’s one long movie broken up into eight parts—which is a very different way of making a TV show.  Super Channel have been not only great cheerleaders, but they’ve provided thoughtful, intelligent, and supportive feedback every step of the process. It’s really been a dream, working with them.”

Killer Katie (McGrath)
“Katie has a great, gothic look that really fits with the genre. We sent her the script and she really responded to it. She liked the pilot and by that point, when we approached her, we had another three or four scripts written, so we kept sending them and she kept liking them. It was sort of perfect for her, because she had a break in shooting and didn’t have to come back for Season 2 because it’s a new storyline every season.”

“Our whole cast is incredible and we were able to get them because we’re block shooting and they can come in and really concentrate without this interfering with their other projects.”

Caring for the characters
“All of the characters, including Sarah, have dark sides and good sides. A lot of the people who die in the show aren’t just evil, bad people. I’m hoping they are three-dimensional people who have done bad things and good things. In that way, you care more when they die. We were watching one of our actresses be killed and she was so great I thought, ‘Don’t kill her! Wait I minute, I wrote that, she has to die, that’s ridiculous.'”

All about the atmosphere
“When [director] Craig [David Wallace] came in for his interview he said, ‘For me, this show lives between the day and the night.’ What is beautiful during the day can, when the right lighting is put on it, can be terrifying at night.”

Slasher airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on Super Channel.

Greg David
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Greg David

Prior to becoming a television critic and partner at TV, Eh?, Greg David was a critic for TV Guide Canada, the country's most trusted source for TV news. He has interviewed television actors, actresses and behind-the-scenes folks from countless programs. Survivor winners, Donald Trump, Jerry Bruckheimer ... he has interviewed (literally) hundreds of TV people over the course of his career. He is a past member of the Television Critics Association.
Greg David
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