For Scott Philip Goergens, the road to filmmaking was long and winding with more than a few stops along the way.
The 46 year old writer and director learned to love horror as a kid, as so many of us do, thanks in part to his aunt and cousins who were all horror fans.
“Whenever we would go over to visit our cousins, we would always rent something from the local video store,” he said as we sat down for an interview for Horror Pride Month. “I was exposed to all kinds of wonderful, bizarre movies at an early age and I just ate it up. I loved it.”
By the time he was a senior in high school, he had a healthy appetite for the macabre and had begun to wonder if he could make movies himself. His parents had begun a tradition with his older brother of offering their sons a trip to anywhere they wanted to go as a graduation gift. His brother went on a cruise, but when the time came, Goergens had another idea in mind.
“I was like, ‘I don’t want to do that. Would you buy me a camcorder?’ So they got a camcorder for me and I just started playing around with it. I liked horror movies already so I started doing and learning on my own seeing what I could do.”
His initial “movies” were rough. He could only do in-camera editing and so he shot everything in sequence, piecing the stories together as he went along. His friends and family joined in helping him tell his stories and he was having the time of his life.
Goergens is also an artist and he as he began to pursue that side of his creativity more, filmmaking fell to the wayside.
He met the man who would become his husband at 19 years old and they’ve now been together 27 years. They moved around quite a lot in those early years. The filmmaker pursued his art and his husband went on to become a lawyer.
When they came to Boston, Goergens decided he needed to give film another try. He began taking classes at the Boston Film Video Foundation where he learned to shoot and edit film. He took jobs as a production assistant learning the business on set. Eventually, he went to work for a film/video company that rented and sold equipment where he eventually purchased his own and prepared to make his first feature.
Soon, 29 Needles was born.
“I had a camera with limited resources and funds, but I didn’t want to jump into the found footage pool,” he explained. “You can hide a lot of budget issues in found footage. This film was kind of a launching pad to try to make some more money for another film to follow.”
Goergens began searching for talent for the film by posting ads in local newspapers and on Craigslist and found his star, Brooke Berry, on MySpace.
The film’s more extreme elements grew out of this casting process as well as from the initial idea that began the journey.
“I kind of played with this serial killer idea,” he explained. “What turns a serial killer on and what turns someone in the bondage, domination, S&M community on and kind of tried to cross-breed that into a psychopath to seek out what’s driving them.”
The film created an electric response in audiences on the festival circuit and because of that, Goergens has been reconsidering the path forward saying he thought he would need to “reel things in” for a second film but the positive response he’s received changed his mind.
The way ahead also includes representation and casting within in the LGBTQ+ community. 29 Needles included four trans actors including Brooke who began their transition after filming ended.
“I thought, being a gay male I was just like, when I make my movies there has to be representation,” Goergens said. “Whether there be one or many characters, I want it to be there. I wanted to put more of that out there in the world for that experience and not shy away from it. It was purposeful; that was an intention of mine.”
When he’s not making films, the director continues to work as an artist and devotes plenty of time to his family which has grown to include a pair of adopted twin sons.
He also devotes plenty of time to watching movies when he can, often playing them while he is writing or painting.
“I’m a huge Cronenberg fan and I also really love Ingmar Bergman. For whatever reason, I love them both. Cries and Whispers and Dead Ringers. Whenever I’m writing or drawing or painting I put a movie on in the background. Fede Alvarez’s Evil Dead is one that I go to a lot and Annihilation that I can repeat and repeat and repeat.”
The Cronenberg influence is definitely present in the trailer for 29 Needles which you can check out below.