is a former child actor turned real-grown-man actor. A veteran of the Los Angeles improv and sketch comedy world, he can currently be seen on select-city big screens (and at home on screens the size of your choosing) in the slasher comedy, Deep Murder, which he also co-wrote.
The film, set within the reality of a late-night-cable softcore porn flick, is a delightful genre parody with an ensemble cast that includes Jerry O’Connell, Christopher McDonald, Katie Aselton, Chris Redd, Jessica Parker Kennedy, Stephanie Drake, and Josh Margolin. (For more thoughts on Deep Murder, check out this PCB mini-review. Spoiler alert: it’s a lot of fun.)
Beswick took some time out from traveling to promote the new flick at its New York premiere, to promote the flick here in interview form.
Pop Culture Beast: Deep Murder is an extremely funny send-up of both softcore sex flicks and slasher movies, but there are also some genuine scares in there too. Are you a big horror buff?
Quinn Beswick: I’m so happy to hear when the scares really land for people. We really wanted the movie to be a comedy first and foremost, but we also wanted it to be a love letter to horror. I grew up being so afraid of horror movies. I saw Psycho at far too young an age, and I had to sleep in my parents’ room for weeks. When Mrs. Bates comes out of nowhere to stab the investigator coming up the stairs… oh man. But as I got older, I really saw the fun of them when I discovered John Carpenter. Now, I just want a room filled with Shout! Factory Blu-rays. That’s my dream.
PCB: It’s a tricky balancing act between the different tones. Were there any particular horror flicks or horror comedies that you and your collaborators looked to for inspiration?
QB: We were most inspired by Clue. One big house with a ton of rooms, filled with people forced together. But in our movie, instead of a smart butler taking control, we have a dumb “private dick” thinking he should be calling the shots. Vincent Price and Theatre of Blood was also on my brain a lot, because of how much fun he was clearly having, playing with genre and the rules of his world. His was Shakespeare. Ours is softcore pornography. Then we have shout-outs to Halloween and The Thing.
PCB: The movie has a great ensemble cast. How did they come together?
QB: The cast is way beyond my wildest dreams. We set out to find people who “got” the tone of the movie. The characters in this movie don’t find it funny. They aren’t in on the joke. It’s deathly serious. So what ended up happening is we found great actors who are effortlessly funny.
Katie Aselton was the first person who signed on, and when that happened, we knew we were going to get to make this movie. She legitimized it. Then Christopher McDonald came aboard and that was insane, because obviously he’s played some iconic roles. He’s the man. And Jerry O’Connell?! Come on! Stephanie Drake‘s audition tape should be mandatory homework for anyone trying to act. That’s how you do it.
And since filming the movie, it’s been so fun to see Jessica Parker Kennedy become a superhero on The Flash and Chris Redd on SNL. I’ve known Josh Margolin since middle school, so the most rewarding part of this has been seeing one of my best friends in the world steal scene after scene. Luckily, everyone of them is a great person too, so it was a blast to make.
PCB: The film pulls off a nifty trick. In the midst of all the gore and gags, it finds the untapped humanity of ostensibly two-dimensional softcore porn characters. Do you see yourself in your character — or any of the characters?
QB: The movie has a big through-line of “preconceived notions.” All of these characters are told they are one thing and always will be only that. You’ll never break out of it. I love that idea being played out with two genres (horror and porn) that everyone has preconceived notions about. And as for my character, I look shockingly like I did in middle school and high school. Big glasses, hair combed forward, shoulders slumped. So afraid of someone really looking at me and having to be vulnerable. I remember being that way. It’s nice to see that guy open up and go nuts in this movie.
PCB: Do you have a favorite kill, or alternatively a favorite character arc, in the flick?
QB: Without giving too much away, there is a scene in a shower that I love. And with “babysitter porn” being a really popular online search — SO I’M TOLD! — I think the Babysitter’s arc is weirdly heartwarming. Almost all of that is thanks to Jessica, but I hope people congratulate me on it.
PCB: Were there any scrapped story ideas that you wish made it into the film?
QB: For one draft leading up to filming, we had a whole introduction at the beginning of the movie by a fake director. We wrote it with one specific actor in mind and when we couldn’t get him, we threw it out. It was like a Hitchcock opening, where our director talks about what it takes to make a movie like this and stuff. I also think we had a post-credits scene, where the director is left brutally murdered in his chair. It would have been way too much.
QB: Before Deep Murder, Josh Margolin (one of the writers and Detective Brock Cross in the movie) and I made a short called New Partner. It was our comedic take on the world of Michael Mann. It won Best Comedy at the New York Television Festival a few years back, and I’m hoping we can build that world out in the future.
PCB: Final question. Would you rather: be trapped in a horror movie universe where you live forever, but have to watch your best friends killed by a slasher every day, or a softcore movie universe where you are an untouched virgin forever and are forced to watch your best friends hump each other every day?
QB: I’m glad someone finally asked me this. I’d take my chances in the softcore. At least I’d know my friends are having fun.
Justin Remer makes movies, directs music videos, and plays in the bands Duck the Piano Wire and Elastic No-No Band when he is not writing movie reviews. His folk-rock documentary MAKING LOVERS & DOLLARS is currently streaming on Amazon.