An Interview with Keith Lansdale on the Making of “The Pale Door”

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Keith Lansdale can currently be found working as a co-writer on the set of the Western Horror film The Pale Door, which also features Joe R. Lansdale as executive producer alongside writer/director Aaron B.Koontz (Camera Obscura). Featuring Devin Druid (13 Reasons Why), Zachary Knighton(The Hitcher), Melora Walters(Magnolia), Bill Sage(We Are What We Are), Pat Healy(The Innkeepers), Natasha Bassett(Hail, Caesar!), Noah Segan(Looper), Tina Parker(Better Call Saul), and Stan Shaw(Rocky) the film features an eclectic mix of cowboys, wolves, and a coven of witches.

How did this particular project come about?

I met Aaron and Cameron on a panel in Beaumont. I was actually there meeting about a different project and after chatting with A & C we mentioned working together.

How have you enjoyed working from the set out in Oklahoma?

If by work, you mean wander around set and try not to get in anyone’s way. My part was done, but I got invited to set for a chance to meet some of the actors and see how it was looking. I’m happy to say it looked like it was going very well.

As far as Oklahoma, the shoots I was going to were night shoots so I didn’t really explore Oklahoma so much as I slept in and hung out on set all day.

Do you get the chance to enjoy the view on the long drives to the set or do they get tiresome?

I stayed at a hotel in Oklahoma, and the drive from home to set was actually 7 hours total, which is the limits of what is and isn’t enjoyable.

What has it been to work with your father on this project? What have you learned from working with him across the various projects?

Dad, Joe R. Lansdale, is a walking masterclass. But on this project his role has been completely separate from my own. He had more to do with his name allowing them to get some real star talent.

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What was it like to write alongside Aaron Koontz and Cameron Burns on the script?

They actually wrote the outline of what they wanted and I filled in the meat of the script sandwich. Writing with other people isn’t always a fun process, so I wasn’t sure how this would go, but after they saw my rewrite, they seemed pleased with the outcome.

Do you have any interesting stories from the set that you might be at liberty to share with our readers?

I got to meet some really great people. And not just the actors, but a lot of the people behind the scenes that you don’t always get to meet.

What are some of the most challenging issues you face when bringing a Western Horror film into existence?

Making it fun, scary, and worth the watcher’s time without getting stuck in any tropes. Which I don’t think it too different than most films.

Do you think the motley mix of cowboys, wolves, and witches is something that will appeal to today’s masses?

I think it’s safe to say we’re going to find out soon. At the end of the day, the setting is never as important as the story and the characters. But having a fun story sure doesn’t hurt.

Coming from Texas as you do, did you ever want to be a cowboy yourself growing up?

I think I sort of missed all that. I grew up playing Nintendo. Also, horses sort of terrify me. Not in an unreasonable way. I don’t run for it when I see them, but I have a constant fear of somehow being behind one and getting kicked in the head.

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Why do you think there are generally less Western themes in film and television today?

Just like anything else, they swing in and out. I’ve seen a bit of an uptick here of late. I don’t try to guess it. Just write what we write.

Do you feel privileged to have the chance to work on this one?

I feel privileged any time I’m asked to be a part of a project. I’m sure I always will.

Why do you think the genres of Western and Horror merge so well?

Things are scary anyways, but this wasn’t the time of cell phones and being able to just call the police. Something’s outside your house, you better hope it ain’t that hungry.

What can audiences expect from this one?

Dark humor and dark creatures.

When do you think the film will be released and available?

Not sure. I know the next stage is looking to get noticed at some film festivals. So fingers crossed.

What projects will you be working on next?

I’ve actually got several things going, but it’s a mystery what will get done next. I’ve got a new comic Red Range: Pirates of Fireworld that’s about to go on sale, the script I did, The Projectionist, that keeps making some noise, and a couple other heres and theres.

Anything to say before you go?

Thanks so much for taking the time.

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