This Friday, Mark H. Young’s Feral arrives in select theaters and on VOD platforms everywhere. Co-written by Young and Adam Frazier, Feral follows a group of med students (led by Scout Taylor-Compton) who get more than they bargained for when they head out to the woods for what is supposed o be a relaxing vacation, but instead becomes a waking nightmare.

Daily Dead recently had the opportunity to chat with Compton about her involvement with Feral, her experiences collaborating with her co-stars and with Young, and what initially drew her into the project. Compton also discussed how growing up around a mortuary helped shape her own horror-loving sensibilities, and her favorite scene that she’s ever done.

Look for Feral to run wild this weekend, courtesy of IFC Midnight.

When you were approached for Feral and to take on the character of Alice, what was it about her that you really wanted to dig into? You don't normally see a bunch of kids who are coming through med school together, so I thought it made for a really interesting camaraderie between everyone.

Scout Taylor-Compton: I initially thought that too, especially when I first got the offer and I read the script. I thought that was very interesting, because normally it's either younger teens or whatnot, and the fact that these kids are very smart, and they're established, and they know what they're talking about, was different. It just makes the script flow better, where people know what they're dealing with and what they're talking about.

I tended to, when I was younger, go towards roles that were very much like myself at the time—very vulnerable, or they were coming into themselves and trying to find this inner strength. As I have gotten older, I'm definitely past that and much more like an Alice character. She is very much well aware of who she is and the strength that she has. Even when things hit the fan, she's definitely in control, and she doesn't hesitate—kind of like a mom, and I've been called that by friends a few times in my life. But I just noticed a lot of myself in Alice, and I was really stoked to play her.

You have a lot of very intense scenes with Lew [Temple] in this, who in real life, literally could not be a nicer guy. How was it building up that back and forth with him? I liked seeing him in this role where you don't really know where it's going, so it keeps you guessing.

Scout Taylor-Compton: I think Lew and I are very similar. We are probably two of the nicest human being that you will ever meet in your entire life. He’s the biggest goofball, super sweet—he's like a cowboy and I'm like a little country girl at heart. So, it's so interesting that we always play these roles that are demonic or dark, where they have this heavy twist to them. I don't know what it is. I think it's just more fun playing characters like that. They're so different from you that you can go so many different ways with it, and you can build on it. But Lew is definitely one of the sweetest human beings I've ever met in my entire life, so it was a real treat to just see his talent shine in this.

Did Mark give you guys a lot of prep time to come together as a group before shooting Feral, or were you able to just work on that rapport once you guys got to location?

Scout Taylor-Compton: Honestly, I had known a few of my castmates through my entire acting career, especially Olivia [Luccardi] and Renee [Olstead]. So, I was already very familiar with them and their acting choices and all of that stuff. Honestly, though, it felt like there was this instant connection when we first arrived on set. We all have different personalities, and the characters are all completely different from one another, so it just made the banter and that chemistry between all of us just fit. And thank God it did, because when you have such a big ensemble, if one thing is missing, the ship could go down. But we never had that problem on this.

This film poses some questions about moral compasses, and how far we would go for the people that we love. Did this story open up anything for you personally, in terms of how you might handle this situation in real life? Obviously not feral creatures or anything, but more so the parallels there are between this story and folks caring for others with long-term illnesses and things of that nature.

Scout Taylor-Compton: Yeah, completely. I am definitely that person that will stay until the very, very end. And I will keep on fighting, especially for someone that I absolutely am in love with. I'm definitely a lot like Alice in that way. I did a short film for a friend where I played a zombie that her boyfriend keeps around because he can't kill her. He keeps her chained up, and reads to her and does all this stuff. I was like, "Oh my God, this would be me. I would be that person." For sure.

I know your career broke open with Rob Zombie's Halloween, and you've been able to enjoy a really great career both inside the horror genre and outside of it as well. I'm just curious if there is something about this genre that you really enjoy coming back to again and again? Also, I know Rob Zombie's movies get a lot of flak, but I think one of the best scenes ever in a horror movie in the last 10 years is the scene with you and Danielle [Harris] in the bathroom. I still sob every single time I watch it.

Scout Taylor-Compton: That scene gets me so much. It’s the only scene that I've ever done in my career, of any of my horror movies, that I wasn't able to handle. I had to walk off set after my close-ups, because I just couldn't stop crying. It just felt so real to me, because Danielle is like a sister, so just seeing her like that was absolutely heart-wrenching. That was definitely my favorite scene that I have ever done, and it was the hardest. I gravitate towards these films probably because of my upbringing, with my dad being a mortician and a coroner. Growing up in a mortuary, I was introduced to it at a young age, where horror was shown in a light sense, rather than showing it as this dark thing. It was just always tastefully shown to me as a kid, so that might be why.

I know it sounds pretty strange, but whenever I tell my stories, I always tell them like a comedy, because it was. It was funny for me growing up in that world. It wasn’t scary to me at all. So, it's interesting to see everybody's interest in horror and finding out where it stems from. Everyone is so different in this community of horror, it's such a cool community and I dig it. Every time I go to a convention, I have the time of my life. I have such a blast whenever I'm in that setting with people that love horror movies as much as I do.

  • Heather Wixson
    About the Author - Heather Wixson

    Heather A. Wixson was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, until she followed her dreams and moved to Los Angeles in 2009. A 14-year veteran in the world of horror entertainment journalism, Wixson fell in love with genre films at a very early age, and has spent more than a decade as a writer and supporter of preserving the history of horror and science fiction cinema. Throughout her career, Wixson has contributed to several notable websites, including Fangoria, Dread Central, Terror Tube, and FEARnet, and she currently serves as the Managing Editor for Daily Dead, which has been her home since 2013. She's also written for both Fangoria Magazine & ReMind Magazine, and her latest book project, Monsters, Makeup & Effects: Volume One will be released on October 20, 2021.