If you’re looking for a source of light and positivity right now, you need not look further than writer, web producer, actress, and all-around lovely human, Felicia Day. With dozens of appearances in shows and series across television, film, and the world-wide web, Day is a familiar presence amongst the gaming and fantasy community. From Buffy The Vampire Slayer to Supernatural to her own web series, The Guild, Day is no stranger to the fantasy world and brings her tremendous personality to the latest installment of Blumhouse and Hulu’s holiday horror anthology, Into The Dark.
Episode seven, Pooka Lives, sees a group of adult friends conjuring up and sharing their own urban myth about the popular, but dangerous teddy bear to the internet resulting in deadly consequences. With social media and online content being such a large part of both the premise and her career, I, a true fangirl, was curious to know what Day’s thoughts were on the subjects.
“It’s super goofy, but it’s still scary. I think it’s just the right amount of “scarity” for quarantine time.”
Jessica Rose for Nightmare On Film Street: I am a day one Supernatural fan. I’ll tell you. Since Charlie, I have just been in love with everything you do. I was really excited to see that you were working with Into the Dark. I love all of the episodes and Pooka is such a big deal.
Felicia Day: It’s definitely one of the iconic episodes. Pooka Lives is not 100% related. You don’t have to watch the first one to watch this second one, but if you watch the first one, you’ll get a lot of insight and have a lot more fun with it as well.
NOFS: And get more Pooka. Who wouldn’t want that? Now, how did you become involved with the Into the Dark series? What drew you to Pooka Lives in particular?
FD: My producing partner, Ryan Copple, actually wrote the script to this, and I loved the idea of it. He asked if I wanted to be involved. I read the treatment and he kind of created the role for me. He really kind of loaded it. It was such along the vibe that I love. I’m not a huge, hardcore horror person, but I’m a supernatural person. This episode has the vibe of one of the darker Supernatural episodes for sure. It has sort of a fun, horror-comedy tone to it. That definitely is in my wheelhouse. When I read it, I was so excited about it and I wanted to be involved.
NOFS: I noticed while I was watching it that Pooka is sort of being turned into this culty icon in his own little realm. I think that was really cool. It had a little bit of camp in it that made it extra special. You don’t usually get that a lot of the time, campy while being super original. I thought that they did a really good job with that here.
FD: Yeah, it does. I think there’s sort of a tonality that not a lot of people nail as far as like Joss Whedon-Supernatural kind of self-awareness, but also still scary, but also sometimes funny. It’s a hard tone to nail and Ryan did it and Alejandro Brugués, the director, is a Sam Raimi kind of guy. The combo of those two things, I think, went really far in making this really special.
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NOFS: It worked really well. Pooka Lives is really fun, it’s self-aware. It’s got that humor, but it also tackles some pretty heavy subject matter, especially with social media. What you’re really involved with, with your fans and being online and putting so much content out there, is just amazing. Was there any kind of challenge that you all faced with making the episode or that you personally might face when it comes to social media? Do you think that there is anything that we as a society struggle with when it comes to putting content online?
FD: For sure, there are a lot of things about online bullying and cancel culture, but it’s a fun movie. It’s not something that’s going to be like a Sundance deconstructive drama, but at the same time, you’re right. The themes of being bullied online is kind of pervasive in the industry. Of course, I’ve experienced that a lot in my career, my long career on the internet. I think sometimes it’s an abusive relationship with a following, not your fans. Your fans are always loyal and supportive. That’s what’s wonderful about the online world. Of course, there are some people who just want to take you down because they’re bored or you are popular with other people. Being able to infuse that into this movie, it was kind of a treat in that, you’re talking about something personal, something personal for me at least, but also for everybody. I think everyone has experienced being shamed on the internet and having a component like that really made it more realistic in a way.
NOFS: On the other end of that spectrum, what are the positive things you see in what you do and putting online content out there? How do you combat the negatives with the positives?
FD: Years ago there were a lot of incidents where I was very much bullied and attacked on the internet for certain things in the gamer world. Right now, you see everybody in quarantine and everybody doing positive things and connecting in a positive way online and I feel like it’s just come full circle. I started making content ten years ago. That’s what I got into the internet for, because I was kind of a lonely, homeschooled kid and I connected with people online. That’s before a lot of other people and now everyone’s connecting online by force and they’re kind of rediscovering what the internet can be. I think that’s kind of great. I think the theme for Pooka Lives, of somebody returning home and reconnecting with his roots, is almost particularly impactful right now because I think we’re all finding that the close relationships we have are the ones that are most meaningful. The ones that we maintain because we wanted to be busy or just for business have disappeared. Those aren’t really important to us anyway.
“I think the theme for Pooka Lives, of somebody returning home and reconnecting with his roots, is almost particularly impactful right now…”
NOFS: Yes, well said. Now, when it comes to your character, Molly, in Pooka Lives, she’s kind of a different character than the others. What did you like about her? Did you relate to her at all, especially that you’re a mom now yourself?
FD: This is the first time I’ve had an older kid and I didn’t know how to play the mom. This was my first time, except for my very first job ever. I was an extra in Pearl Harbor, that crazy old movie, the Michael Bay movie. I was like 20 years old or something and I had like a 10-year-old and I was so upset. They were like, “It doesn’t matter. We’re never going to see your face.” This is the first time since then that I’ve had a child. So this is a kind of novel, to be a mom. I’ve kind of resisted it because as a single person, you’re like, “I don’t want to be a mom”, but having that dynamic was really good because she’s a cool mom, in a sense.
She’s really into New Age stuff. She really is a free spirit. I think that Ryan probably tailored the role to me, he knew me, where I would not feel like a standard mom, but also be a good mom and also be myself, which is always the struggle of motherhood: how do I retain who I am without giving myself up to really take care of this child in a proper way? I loved it. Being able to have Jonah Ray as my husband, I’ve worked with him on many projects including a Mystery Science Theater, and being able to get him into the projects and having this perfect kid in the movie was actually a treat.
NOFS: It’s always rewarding to enjoy what you’re working on and who you’re working with, especially working with people that you’ve worked before. When it comes to Pooka Lives, what are you hoping that audiences take away from it? Whether it’s meaning or just entertainment, what are you hoping everybody kind of sees the episode for?
FD: I hope they see it for the spirit. It’s genre, it’s horror, but it’s also kind of fantasy. It really does have the vibe of a Supernatural or a Buffy The Vampire Slayer episode versus hard-core horror, which I think right now is not really the thing all of us want to see. We’re already living in a horror film right now. This is a fun romp. The action is really fun and it doesn’t take itself seriously. It’s super goofy, but it’s still scary. I think it’s just the right amount of “scarity” for quarantine time. I really hope that people consider a fun couple of hours to spend in isolation. I really enjoy it. As a fan, I would enjoy this movie.
NOFS: I was thinking it was perfectly timed! Pooka Lives is a fun one to recommend.
FD: Yeah, you don’t want to recommend anything bleak or awful. It’s sort of like the Scooby gang going on an adventure in a sense. I love that.
NOFS: I really love that. I loved the ending too because I wanted to see what happens with all of the Pooka dolls. When the credits rolled, I was like, “Oh, wow! Clever! Creative!”
FD: I know. Alejandro, as a director, did the best with our budget because these are lower budget films, so considering our budget and our timing, I feel like everything was accomplished to the best degree. I’m excited for people to see it and I hope people have fun watching.
“It really does have the vibe of a Supernatural or a Buffy The Vampire Slayer episode versus hard-core horror”
While she has a few upcoming projects in the works, Felicia Day is also working on a writing project that should see a release sometime this year. Alejandro Brugues’ Pooka Lives and Nacho Vigalondo’s Pooka episodes are currently streaming on Hulu. Watch them both to get your fill of the iconic Toy Of The Year.
What do you think of April’s Into The Dark episode, Pooka Lives? What is your favorite Felicia Day role? Let us know your thoughts over on Twitter, Reddit, or in the Horror Movie Fiend Club on Facebook!