Arriving in theaters this weekend, and subsequently on Blu-ray/DVD/VOD next week is writer/director Tommy Stovall’s unique vampire tale, Aaron’s Blood, which follows a struggling single father (James Martinez) who will stop at nothing to try and help his son Tate (Trevor Stovall), who has begun to exhibit signs of vampirism after an accident sends him to the hospital.

During the interview, Stovall chatted about what inspired him to take such an unusual approach to creating a new cinematic vampire story, how Aaron’s Blood became something of an allegory for the struggles all parents face when raising their children—especially as they get older and begin to slip away—and what he took away from his experiences working on the film.

Look for Aaron’s Blood in theaters this Friday, as well as on VOD, Blu-ray, and DVD on Tuesday, June 6th, courtesy of Gravitas Ventures.

Great to chat with you today, Tommy. We’ve had a lot of vampire movies throughout the last few decades, but I’d love to hear about what your approach to the material was for this, and what inspired you to take a much different approach to vampires than we’ve seen before.

Tommy Stovall: Yeah, it’s really, really hard to do something different when everything’s been done, but that’s what our goal was. I kept thinking, Do we really want to do another vampire movie? I knew that if we were, we had to do something different, or at least try to. I just thought, What kind of really compelling story can we come up with to tell? It just developed then, and I thought the most interesting part for me was the father/son relationship, and how it must be for a parent when a child becomes a vampire. I just wanted to explore that.

The story with Aaron [the father], especially, almost becomes this parable for the difficulties that a lot of parents face in keeping their kids safe, and what if your kid becomes a threat, and ideas like that. Was that on your mind as you were approaching the script, and crafting these issues that James’ character faces throughout the film?

Tommy Stovall: Oh yeah, especially with the age of his son. At 12 years old, they’re starting to change. They’re about to become this moody teenager, and so you have that already going on. We treated the vampire portion as just another disease. This child is sick, it just happens to be that he’s a vampire, and how are we going to fix this? How are we going to help him? He just does whatever he can, whatever it is, to help his son.

Absolutely, and also, what’s interesting to me, too, is that this is a vampire story that takes place in a setting, Arizona, that’s very unforgiving to certain conditions that vampires have. You can’t escape the sun there. Was it conscious in your mind that you were using this kind of dangerous landscape? It’s almost like the ultimate threat to Tate as he’s dealing with all of his issues.

Tommy Stovall: Yeah, that’s interesting that you say that. The town, to me, not just the landscape and everything, but the fact that it’s a small town, also adds a lot to their kind of claustrophobic feeling in the story. The small town, it almost seems like this could happen anywhere, if it happens in this little small town in Arizona. And yeah, the sun; if you become a vampire, Arizona’s probably not the place you want to do it.

Was it an interesting process for you in this film in particular, having a son sort of that age, going through the things that his character is going through, but in real life, he is your son as well? I’m curious if it was your own subconscious way of saying to him, as Trevor’s father—not his director—that you’re going to be there for him as he gets older?

Tommy Stovall: I’d never actually really thought about that, but I guess maybe unconsciously that was the case. I just tried to identify with the character as a father, with Aaron, and until you have kids, you really don’t know what that feeling is like, that you would do anything, including giving up your life, for your child. You really don’t know, until you actually have a child. I’d really put a lot of that into it. Now, whether Trevor picks up on that, I don’t know. I’ll have to ask him.

Looking back at this whole experience of making the film, and now it’s coming out, what would you say is the biggest thing that you took away from your whole experience with this project, whether it was something personal or something that affected you on a professional level?

Tommy Stovall: It was just a lot of fun. Really, making movies is fun, and that’s why I want to do it, and I think that’s probably why most people want to do it. We just had a really great group of people. I consider ourselves beyond lucky to have gotten James for the lead part, and I’ve gotten to know him a lot better since the film was finished, at festivals and stuff like that. He’s just a great guy.

It’s just something that, when you have such a good experience, you want to duplicate that again. You hope that the next time you do this, it’ll be just as great as this. Really, we had no idea what this movie was going to be. We went into it really quickly, and like I said, just had fun, so whatever ended up happening, happened. It ended up being a better movie than I even thought it could be, and I think people have been hopefully picking up on what we were trying to do about the father/son relationship, and so that’s really the best part.

  • 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.