Interview with Terence Krey, filmmaker behind GRAVES. GRAVES is a lo-fi, VHS-style, horror-dramedy web series in the vein of “Buffy: The Vampire Slayer.” Recently nominated for Best Indie Series at the 2017 Streamy Awards, GRAVES has been called “strangely charming” by AV Club, “a mumblecore-y mash-up of Spaced and Buffy” by Paste Magazine, and “lo-fi comic horror” by SyFy, “GRAVES” is an indie gothic throwback, about facing your past, present, and future: one demon at a time.
Arthur Glover: So let’s start with the style of your series, what was it filmed on, and what was the inspiration for the lofi, vhs look?
Terence Krey: GRAVES is shot digitally, and then affected in post-production to look like VHS. The lo-fi VHS look was motivated by a few things. First, it was a stylized way to lean into the fact GRAVES is a low-budget, DIY production. We couldn’t visually compete with what you see on television or streaming, but at least we could stand out in our own way. Secondly, the show is an homage to supernatural teen shows of the 1990s, “Buffy: The Vampire Slayer” most specifically, so it felt appropriate for the series to look as if it were found on a VHS taped off the TV 20 years ago. And lastly, the characters in the show are grappling with their past, in both a traumatic and nostalgic way, and having the VHS-look was a perfect way to visualize that.
How about your blending of the horror and mumblecore genres? How did that come about when writing the show originally.
Terence: I have always been a fan of using horror and the supernatural as a metaphor for everyday life, so blending the macabre and the mundane always seemed natural. Like the show, the characters’ lives and problems are decidedly lo-fi: their jobs, getting older, unfulfilling relationships, and missing a past that was probably not that great to begin with. GRAVES works best when it is showing you human characters that are immediately relatable, and yet have to deal with a blue horned-demon in their bedroom.
Is demonology something you have extensive knowledge of?
Terence: I think only the demons have extensive knowledge of demonology. But seriously, I would not call myself an expert of anything, but I am a huge fan of mythology and folklore, and that does inform the series. Astaroth originates from the medieval Lesser Key of Solomon, and The Morrigan is based on a character from Irish Mythology. So I’ll let you be the judge on whether that’s extensive or not, ha ha.
What’s your favorite demon based movies/tv shows?
Terence:Aside from the aforementioned Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, I am also a huge fan of the Evil Dead series. That was a huge influence when I was starting out making horror films in middle school or so. Anything that had the right mix of horror and absurdity was right up my alley.
Why do you prefer the web series format? Did you ever pitch to a studio?
Terence: GRAVES has not been pitched to a studio. I don’t know any studios, ha ha. Are any studios reading this? Give me a call. We chose the web series format because first of all, I knew GRAVES was episodic, and secondly, it just felt like the right move for something as strange as this. With web series, you are able to immediately release you work, and most importantly, start building and engaging with an audience. Finding and talking with people who like the show has been the most rewarding aspect of making it.
What artistic aspects are important to you when creating a project?
Terence: Specificity and consistency is always important to me, in terms of theme, tone, and style, in addition to being relatable. As crazy and bizarre as GRAVES is, it always stays true to itself, along with having a cast of characters that feel real.
What are you most proud of with GRAVES?
Terence: I am proud that we pulled it off, ha ha. GRAVES was a multi-season, 21-episode, ensemble starring, huge undertaking of a show that I think we managed to delivered on. Things pay off, characters complete their arcs, and demons are finally faced, and I think that’s the best thing you can ask for.
Can you talk a bit about your upcoming series, titled Maiden?
Terence: “Maiden” is actually a feature film that I am currently co-writing and developing with Christine Nyland, who played Jane on GRAVES. We are hoping for that to be our next project, with the intent to go into production sometime in 2019. “Maiden” is a supernatural horror film about a modern-day witch who must fight her way through a cult of men to find a young woman who’s disappeared. It’s definitely heavier and more of a straight horror than GRAVES, and we are really excited to start making it.
After the first two seasons of GRAVES creating a cult buzz online for this spooky, vintage-looking teen horror drama web series, Terence Krey and Christine Nyland are excited to announce Season 3: The Final Season.
About Terence Krey:
Terence Krey is a NYC-based independent filmmaker and overall great guy to have on your team for Buffy trivia. In 2010, he created the black and white sci-fi web series “Oh, Inverted World,” which was called an amusing “allegory of 20-something angst and aimlessness” by The New York Times. In 2016, he created the web series “GRAVES,” a lo-fi VHS-style horror comedy, which has been called “strangely charming” by AV Club, and “a mumblecore-y mash-up of Spaced and Buffy” by Paste Magazine. Nominated for “Best Indie Series” at the 2017 Streamy Awards, “GRAVES” is about to enter its third and final season in 2018. After that, he will be moving on to the supernatural horror film “Maiden,” which he will be writing and developing with Christine Nyland.