Barry Wernick and Matthew Spradlin’s Bad Kids Go To Hell opens in theaters this Friday. Earlier this year, writer David Hopkins previewed the film and wrote about the Dallas-natives’ film’s unlikely journey to the screen.
Next to the Angelika in Mockingbird Station, a secret side door leads to a nightclub used for special events. A red carpet unrolled at its doorstep in March after the new horror comedy Bad Kids Go to Hell had a private screening. Inside, the room pulsed with music, but no one danced—save for one guy. He was all over the place. A few girls in tight dresses swayed to the beat, which was all their attire would allow. The DJ performed his task in an animated fashion to disguise the simplicity of his job. Everyone else shifted through the dark room, moving from one conversation cluster to another on a seven-minute rotation. Speaking over the noise, they talked politely about the movie they had just seen. “I think it’s going to be a huge hit. I really do.” “I just loved it.”
At the entrance, filmmakers Matthew Spradlin and Barry Wernick stood on the red carpet, framed by a Bad Kids backdrop. It was their movie and their night. Both had their arms around a star from the film while the cameras flashed. (One actor had been in Degrassi and White Oleander; the other was a pretty girl who had played bit parts in a smattering of lesser-known films.) Spradlin and Wernick each wore a mischievous smile—as if they had planned everything to go precisely this way. . . .
These two may have the Hollywood look and attitude, but not everything ran smoothly at first. With Bad Kids Go to Hell, we may have a first—a movie idea that turned into an independent comic book that turned back into a movie.