"Red Christmas" is an Australian horror movie created by television actor and director Craig Anderson. The movie chronicles a dysfunctional family get-together that goes even worse when a deformed stranger appears, set on revenge. Craig recently discussed his work on the film, his experiences working in movies, and more via an exclusive interview.

Television, movies, and inspirations

Meagan Meehan (MM): When did you know that you were destined to work in film and television and how did you break into the fields?

Craig Anderson (CA): I grew up wanting to work in film and television, after studying theater at college I did everything I could to move into the industry.

After making several comedic short films, one of them called “Life in a Datsun” won Australia's biggest short film festival. That was inspiring to me, and I was able to start making small things for TV.

MM: What projects have you worked on and did you enjoy working in TV or film more?

CA: I've been lucky enough to work on lots of different TV comedy projects, my favorite being “Double The Fist” which I got to do everything- write/direct/perform. TV allows you to that kind of thing, whereas film is harder to find (and have people trust you when you want to do everything yourself). So, TV has been the most fun, but my horror film is the work I am most proud of.

MM: When did you decide to create "Red Christmas" and what most interests you about the film?

CA: I decided about three years ago to make “Red Christmas” since I wanted to make the stupidest movie that I could think of, and a fetus surviving its own abortion and taking revenge seemed like it. As I wrote more drafts and really delved into reproductive rights, I realized the issues weren't so black and white, so I was really interested in showing a few sides to the abortion debate.

This made the film less stupid and more considered.

Actors, projects, and genres

MM: What was it like to work with an industry legend like Dee Wallace?

CA: Working with Dee was like collaborating with an encyclopedia of horror, she had so many references from her years of experience that helped me to write, produce and finish the film.

She is also an amazing actor and her ability to approach a scene methodically and from her character's POV, made so much of my writing better. Also, she's the mom from “ET, ” and that came out when I was a kid, so it was very special!

MM: Of all the projects that you have worked on, do you consider any to be special favorites?

CA: I loved getting to co-direct an Australian TV series called “Black Comedy.” It was a sketch show, written and performed by very funny Indigenous Australians. After one of their planned directors had to pull out at the last minute, I was given the privileged position of working on the show, the first of its kind in Australia which doesn't have a great (white) history of first nation relations.

There was so much humor, and political revolt inherits in the show, and I was lucky to use my directing talents to facilitate the message.

MM: What most appeals to you about horror and do you work with other genres?

CA: I love comedy and horror equally, I think they are two different genres that come from the same place. I think they both titillate, engage in taboo, and I can't tell you a number of times a horror audience has laughed at a gruesome event. I also think that both genres can be lazy and service conservative audiences. Although, horror doesn't cop as much criticism when it is being lazy. Comedians get in trouble when they make a crappy rape joke, but no one ever complains when a horror film thinks the most 'taboo' thing in the world is a man killing a woman (which unfortunately is the most common form of murder).

MM: What do you think are some of the biggest challenges associated with working in entertainment?

CA: Stability, perseverance, and the value that society puts on the entertainment industry, all adds up to a rather stressful, sporadic existence. It's definitely not a traditional lifestyle, and I'm always amazed (and a little suspicious) when an entertainer still has a traditional POV.

MM: What exciting new projects are you working on at present and is there anything more that you would like to mention?

CA: I love writing horror films that deal with taboo subjects and am working on a few projects right now. So, I'm writing one about disability and basing it around “The Elevator Game” and another one about women dealing with men's right's advocates at college. I've also written an action comedy about a group of terrorists who are caught in the middle of a terrorist situation!