Blumhouse Production’s twelve month holiday horror series, Into The Dark, has caught fire among horror fans quicker than pumpkins have been replaced with Christmas lights. It’s hit the ground running with the release of October’s The Body and has recently sunk its relentless fangs a little deeper with November’s Flesh and Blood starring Dermot Mulroney (My Best Friend’s Wedding), Tembi Locke (EUReKA), and Diana Silvers (Glass).
I was fortunate enough to discuss Into The Dark’s latest episode with Tembi Locke, expanding my appreciation for not only Blumhouse’s creations, but those selected to be part of their craft. The integral role of Dr. Saunders, played by Locke, acts as a link between a frightened teenager and the outside world, as well as our third-party interest intent on freeing her from not only her mental bonds, but those indirectly imposed on her. Locke was happy to share all about her experience working with director Patrick Lussier (My Bloody Valentine 3D) and her co-stars as well as express her thoughts on Flesh and Blood’s intriguing multilayered premise and how it works.
Caution: The content below does contain spoilers!
Silvers plays a young woman, Kimberly, suffering from agoraphobia following the unsolved murder of her mother the year prior and the ongoing disappearances and deaths of local teenage girls. As her and her father, Henry (Mulroney), prepare for their Thanksgiving dinner, she is served a cold dish, one that’s made of a hard realization: her father is a murderer. As Henry renovates their home and Kimberly remains mentally and physically trapped inside, her uncertainty quickly grows to confident suspicion. Her at-home therapist, Dr. Saunders, played by the talented Locke, becomes her only bridge to the outside world and her last outlet of help. What begins as deniable doubt escalates into an intense showdown in the space Kimberly once held sacred, one that holds deep, dark family secrets.
Locke is no stranger to intense scenes and heavy subject matter as she’s continuously starred in shows like EUReKA, Sliders, The Mentalist, Castle, and Bones. Although Locke is admittedly someone who needs to be “dragged to the theater” to see a horror film, but “rolls hard for Stephen King” (a girl after my own heart), she isn’t afraid to look terror in the eyes and get a little bloody in the process… well, very bloody.
Jessica Rose for Nightmare on Film Street: I am so excited to talk to you because I was able to watch the episode last night and it is so great!
Tembi Locke: What do you think? Isn’t it so great?
NOFS: It is. It is so great. I was on board with [Into the Dark] when we first heard about it coming out. It’s horror all year round!
TL: First of all, the idea and it was one of the reasons why I was drawn to the project. One, I’d worked with Blumhouse before, but also the idea of sort of “a horror film a month for a year” and on Hulu. I was like “Sign me up, I’m there. That sounds amazing.”
NOFS: And then they add Dermot Mulroney on top of it.
TL: Which is like “OK yeah, how can I pass up?”, you know? It’s my first opportunity to… I sort of jokingly say “[You] earn your SAG card once you’ve had a death scene”, you know?
NOFS: Yes! I was going to ask about that.
TL: Yes, it was my first time dying! So I was like, “Okay, I get to have a death scene!” ..I’m in a very violent death scene all right.
NOFS: It is! I loved how violent it was because the movie is a nice sort of slow burn, but that death scene – it’s very tense and you know it’s going to happen. I think a lot of our fans now, and even me as an avid watcher – you expect the expected, but then you also expect the unexpected. So you never know if somebody is going to really get it or not.
TL: Yeah! Who it would be and what is it going to be like?
“ I could feel it when it was happening. It was horrific.”
NOFS: Yes! Was it hard to shoot?
TL: No. It was – so, okay – here’s the thing about shooting that moment: there was the build up to it. So, we had the whole piece for this the scene in the living room where we’re having a session. Henry has asked to sit in on it, which is a little bit unusual for Dr. Saunders. We’re in a different room from where we normally have our session, so I already sense – Dr. Saunders – already senses that something is amiss.
And she also knows that the police were called to the home a few days before, because she asked that toward the end of the session. And then the tea comes and of course, I’m sort of just trying to pay attention to my patient and observe what’s happening with the dad and the energy feels different. But I’m not quite sure. And then when I get to the door and Henry abruptly ends the session and I’m at the door and I’m about to leave. You go out the door and I looked out and see that [..] piece of paper that says “please help, call police”. And the way we shot it – Dermot was off camera and I have to say the face he was giving me, the eyes, I thought it was a new shade of Henry, that I – the character and me the actor – had never seen. And I was like “holy cow” it’s about to be on.
And then of course the piece that he yanked me into the room and then there’s the cut. We had to really choreograph that very specifically because we really only get one shot with the prosthesis because [of] all the blood and you have to reset the room. So, we shot it many times right up until the cut and then when it came time for the slash and then you just go all out and it was like “Oh my God!” I could feel it when it was happening. It was horrific.
NOFS: Like you know you’re safe, but that’s as close as you want to get to that situation as possible.
TL: Oh my God. Oh yeah. When you finish, you really do have to literally and figuratively shake it off. Like, “Okay. Get that thing off my neck. Get me out of these bloody clothes” because I was walking around looking like a zombie. I’m covered head to toe in blood and I had to walk down the street to go to my trailer and I literally I said, I was like “If anybody sees me they’re probably gonna think what the hell?”. And you just have to shake it all off. And then as an affirmation to just like shake all that energy off because you know it feels so real, but it’s not. You know, it’s obviously not, but it was done beautifully well.
“Like, “Okay. Get that thing off my neck. Get me out of these bloody clothes” because I was walking around looking like a zombie.”
NOFS: It really was.
TL: I’m glad you enjoyed it.
NOFS: I did. I really did. I was there in my bed, just curled up, watching it waiting for it and the intensity. And Diana Silvers is wonderful too and Dermot was not what I was expecting, for him to be as serious as he was with it. Was he like that on set? What was it like working with both of them on this? Because she is an up-and-coming actress?
TL: Yes, she’s up-and-coming. She’s fantastic. We had a lot of dislike being in that home, which can feel claustrophobic filming in a house like that, with all of the debris. And it was it was always dressed to be of a house in construction, so you really didn’t have a lot of places to move in the house. So, we used to go stand outside under the trees get some fresh air. You know, like talk, get some sunlight on our skin and laugh. And Diana is amazing. She was really wonderful to work with in-scene, and then as an actor, you know, and as a colleague, just great to talk to.
And Dermot was amazing. You know I’ve admired his career for a very, very long time and to work with him, he’s such a delight. He’s such a kind person. He really was very protective of me when he had to kill me…
NOFS: That’s great!
TL: Afterwards, I was like “Oh my God!”. He was like “We’ve got to get you cleaned up. Tell production they need to get you a massage, you’ve got to be sore from all of that” He’s a delight. He’s really a delightful person. Yeah. It was great. I loved working with them, it was an ideal cast. And Patrick was great. Our director, was really great.
NOFS: Yes, I was going to ask.
TL: He has this gentle way. He was amazing because what I loved about the way he worked was we would do the scene and then he might come in-between takes and whisper one thing in my ear, you know, go back and do it again, then come and whisper something into Dermot’s ear, you know, come back, give something to that and each time it would have a new layer of nuance.
TL: Yeah! It was really cool the way he directed the scenes and the whole film really. But the way he worked with the actors, really allowed us to play all the possibilities of colors and feelings and the ranges of what would be going on in a situation like that – because it’s what people are saying and then it’s what they’re thinking and what’s always happening in this movie is what’s being said, but what’s really going on?
NOFS: Exactly. I literally have it written down to touch on that because even though it’s just an hour and a half, there were so many layers to everybody involved. Not only just between Kimberly and the father, but with Kimberly and you, and even with him and you. I thought there was so much going on there.
TL: OH! The scene on the porch!
TL: Yeah, I thought so too, because if we go with the given conceit – which is that she has agoraphobia, she’s lost her mom a year ago, it’s the one year anniversary, it is also nearing her birthday, there’s a lot happening as her whole house is torn up in the middle of a construction zone. So their life is truly upended in the most literal and physical ways and also emotionally. And to step into that as a therapist, you know, charged with trying to help her at least take a step outside, walk to the driveway, make her feel safe enough in the world to leave her home. And yet when I get there I’m also confronted with the fact that “Oh I don’t know how much I could help her”. The dad is angry. He’s as probably disturbed from his grief, you know just from his grief alone, so there’s a lot happening there and a lot to take in.
Because, in other therapy sessions she would be coming to my office. But the fact that I’m going to her home adds a whole other layer. I’m both observing her father, I’m observing the setting, and I’m also trying to help her and take in what she’s saying and what she’s not saying. I know it’s a confrontational form of therapy, so you push the boundaries a little bit because you don’t know that you have a lot of time with them.
NOFS: Absolutely. It has this intensity and the feelings and the dynamics between all of them. It was very enjoyable and it comes off really well!
I’d say given the ferocity of her death scene, Tembi Locke has earned that SAG card for sure. Be sure to catch the fantastic Locke on an upcoming legal drama, Proven Innocent, premiering in February on FOX. If you have not already, be sure to catch up on Into The Dark on Hulu. There are only a few short weeks left before the Christmas season is in full swing and Into The Dark’s December episode, the mysterious, Pooka! comes to town.