Werewolf films are amongst the most beloved subgenres of horror, ranging from the iconic that shine under the light of the full moon and those that are long forgotten in the dark. As the second season of Blumhouse and Hulu’s holiday horror anthology, Into The Dark, comes to a close, the year’s total lunar eclipse aligns in perfect release with the final episode, Blood Moon.
Writers Simon Boyes and Adam Mason (Hangman) pen a significant transformation tale complete with a woman’s touch, that being of director Emma Tammi (The Wind), that introduces viewers to single mother Esme and her exceptionally lycanthropic son, Luna. In a conversation that comes full circle, Boyes and Mason graciously share their experience on ending this season with me and all the bite and heart that went into crafting the start of what is hopefully a modern werewolf renaissance.
“[Werewolves are] still a rich area in horror and there’s a lot of interesting things you could do with a werewolf as an analogy for other things.“
Jessica Rose For Nightmare On Film Street: Thank you Simon and Adam for talking with me about Blood Moon. I’ve been covering Into The Dark since it started and it keeps getting better and better. How does it feel to complete the second season?
Simon Boyes: It’s really cool. I think it’s kind of nice to be the last one and hopefully we finished strong. Adam directed two other episodes of the series so he has a bit of a history with it, but it’s definitely nice to be involved in the last one and kind of celebrating the whole series.
NOFS: I was impressed to see you two have such a different range of emotions in your writing. Where did you come up with the idea for writing Blood Moon?
Adam Mason: I think this time Simon came up with the idea of just doing a werewolf movie about a single mother where it’s really told from the point of view of, “What would you do to care for someone you love?” basically. Normally one of us will have the seed of an idea and pull up the other one to work on it. Sometimes we hate the other person’s idea and methods, but I just immediately loved that and we both knew it was something that we wanted to dedicate a couple of months to writing. I think it was the summer of 2019 summer when we wrote it.
SB: Yeah, I think that’s right. We obviously come from a horror background and we’ve always liked those old classic horror monsters and stuff but it just feels like they’ve been so done before between the werewolves, vampires, etc. all this kind of stuff. We thought, “How do you do a werewolf movie that maybe feels a little bit different?” and I think we hit upon the emotional core of having to look after someone who, once a month, becomes something out of their control. It’s really kind of a nice way into it and became something a lot more emotional than we expected.
AM: […] Simon and I always like to play with the audience’s expectation of a protagonist. In Hangman, the protagonist in the movie is the bad guy. The whole movie is told from his point of view; He’s the one in control of the narrative. With Blood Moon, Esme typically wouldn’t be the hero of the story because she is the mentor of, essentially, the bad guy For us, that was just a really interesting concept to play with, essentially if he’s a bad character or not.
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“I think a parent would do anything for their kid, so that was a really strong instinct when it came to us when writing Blood Moon.”
NOFS: I hope you don’t mind me asking, but are either of you children of single parents? You seem to have two fingers directly on the pulse there.
SB & AM: No, no.
AM: We’re probably the last people who should be writing a story of a single mom because we don’t have that experience. We felt very strongly that it could be this amazing relationship between mother and son and that she’s not just trying to protect her son, but also protect everyone else. There’s this incredible protector quality to Esme as a character just in general trying to keep everyone safe, but obviously, Luna is her priority. That was really exciting.
SB: She is this victim ultimately of circumstance where she didn’t deserve what happened. She fell in love with a guy who had a secret and then years later she’s still fighting against the consequences of that. I’m a parent, so for me it was very easy to imagine what I would do for my children. I think a parent would do anything for their kid, so that was a really strong instinct when it came to us when writing Blood Moon.
NOFS: I really liked that this story had so many interpretations, whether it be just caring for a child to caring for a child with special needs or some sort of affliction like so many parents do. It is a difficult job and it’s sometimes even horrific. Was there a specific intention or metaphor for Luna’s transformation?
SB: Well, we both have friends who have children with Autism and the thing is you see what the parents go through for the love of their child and being so strong, it’s kind of an incredible side of humanity. I think we just wanted to frame it within the metaphor of a werewolf movie. That’s where we were coming from with that. We were really excited that Blumhouse hired Emma Tammi to direct. We’re a couple of dudes from England creating this story and, like you said it’s about a single mom, so I think having a female director added so much more to it. Emma brought a lot to the equation.
NOFS: I can definitely see her being that special asset. I interviewed Emma just a few months ago for her episode Delivered and was really happy to see do more with something like this. It’s very on-brand for her storytelling style. What was it like as far as working with her and collaborating?
SB: That’s so great and she’s so great. We worked remotely because of COVID, so it was really nice that she instantly understood where we were coming from with the material and we understood what she wanted to do with that material so it was a perfect kind of collaboration. I think we just all saw it the same way. It’s always been true that when you write something and someone else directs it and you see it done right you’ll think, “This is what we imagined when we wrote it.” It was a really, really good experience. We have been on the other side with that, we’ve been involved in the making of a lot of movies and, unfortunately, that doesn’t happen every time. We’ve had directors destroy scripts of ours. She’s had nothing but respect for the material. I think it was the least we’ve ever done. Even the rewrites we did were purely because of the COVID restrictions. It was a really great experience for us.
“Emma [Tammi] brought a broader perspective to it that would have been hard for us to bring in terms of there being such a strong female lead, without Emma.”
NOFS: I can’t imagine. I know how quickly everybody has to work for these episodes to turn around before COVID and it always blew my mind that everyone involved with this kind of project was able to get these quality episodes. Did you all have Blood Moon planned for production before things went under lockdown?
SB: We were already in pre-production on it and in March last year, five days into pre-production, that was the week when the pandemic hit. On the fifth day we got shut down. We thought that was the end of it. Originally I was directing it and then they were able to get it up and running a few months later. By this time, Adam and I had unfortunately moved on to another project but we were still able to step in.
NOFS: That’s unfortunate but also fortunate that at the same time.
SB: Like you said earlier, Emma brought a broader perspective to it that would have been hard for us to bring in terms of there being such a strong female lead, without Emma. So that was a happy accident that worked out because it’s absolutely amazing stuff.
NOFS: I am glad that it all came together for this last episode for this season because it’s very powerful. Is there anything in particular that you’re hoping viewers take away from Blood Moon?
AM: Please, please like it.
SB: Hopefully we can start this werewolf comeback that apparently everyone is calling for. We can get that going again because it is still a rich area in horror and there’s a lot of interesting things you could do with a werewolf as an analogy for other things. Like Adam said, hopefully people will like it.
NOFS: They’re asking for it and it’s very well-timed! They’re making a comeback. Is there any particular like horror movie werewolf that inspired the concept for Blood Moon?
AM: We have always loved An American Werewolf In London, that is definitely a movie we talked about a lot.
SB: There’s The Howling werewolf with what Rob Bottin did there and then obviously the Rick Baker werewolf. I would also say that Ginger Snaps work was fantastic. I think it’s pretty obvious that we were very inspired by, it’s a vampire one, but Let The Right One In. I can’t think of a great werewolf movie since back in the day.
AM: It’s been a while. Underworld did the action-werewolf thing, but that’s certainly different from what we have here.
NOFS: We can start that revival here with Blood Moon, we can be a small part of that. It all starts somewhere. I don’t know if it was in the writing or if it was because of budget or anything else, but I liked that we didn’t see a full-blown transformation. I think that worked really well.
AM: It was indeed in the very original draft when we were writing it and it was a pretty big scene when Esme picks Luna up from the birthday party and he transforms in the back of the truck. But I agree with you, I think the subtlety of it now is really effective. Again, it’s all those things that worked out. It’s so hard to beat the ones we’ve seen before, like all the iconic ones. It’s always kind of cool to go a different way.
“It’s so hard to beat the [Werewolf movies] we’ve seen before, like all the iconic ones. It’s always kind of cool to go a different way.”
Blood Moon is currently streaming on Hulu along with all the other episodes of Into The Dark’s first and second seasons. Have you been streaming Blumhouse and Hulu’s Into The Dark series? Did you enjoy Simon Boyes and Adam Mason’s lycanthrope episode, Blood Moon? Let us know what you thought of the season’s premiere episode over on Twitter, in the Nightmare on Film Street Subreddit, and on Facebook in the Horror Movie Fiend Club!