CALIFORNIA SCREAMING
SFX|April 2021
THEM CREATOR LITTLE MARVIN INVITES SFX TO JOIN HIM ON A LEAFY ’50S STREET TO EXPERIENCE HIS NEW HORROR ANTHOLOGY SERIES
DARREN SCOTTER

JANUARY, 2020. YOUR FRIENDLY neighbourhood sci-fi magazine is in Burbank, California to visit the set of a new horror anthology series.

Set in the fall of 1953, Them (previously announced as Them: Covenant), is the story of the Emory family who move from North Carolina to the then all-white suburb of Compton in Los Angeles. The unrelenting horrors they’re subjected to by their new neighbours aren’t the only ones they endure – as supernatural forces within their home threaten to destroy them.

In the studios, the Them offices sprawl across the top floor – rooms full of folders, walls covered in photos of houses, sets and props. Office dog Finn is oblivious, chewing on a bone in the middle of the corridor.

“It has to have drool!” someone exclaims in the distance, and they’re not talking about Finn. The costume department whisk past, hands full of beautiful vintage women’s clothing – all covered in white paint…

While the commitment to the show is evident, it truly makes sense the moment we step into the office of writer and creator Little Marvin – also an executive producer, alongside others including Lena Waithe. There are framed Hitchcock posters, a Hitchcock action figure – still sealed, natch – plus retro-style lunchboxes for every horror film imaginable.

“It all comes from my lunchboxes!” Marvin laughs loudly. “Yes, I am a fan.” In fact, it all comes from the Master Of Horror himself.

“I grew up reading only Stephen King. It was all I read. I was a big nerd. So I was the kid in the library by myself, reading,” he laughs again. “I just loved disappearing into scary things. Once I was able to see scary movies, The Shining was the first thing I remember vividly going, ‘What is that?’ It just touched me in a place that I was like, ‘This is beyond’. And so I was hooked forever, a lifelong fan of horror.”

REAL HORRORS

So how has that 12-year-old in the library eventually led us to Them?

“If you’re even paying peripheral attention to the political landscape and where we’re at, as a country,” he explains. “Certainly ideas of division and community and how we exclude – and how there’s a history of exclusion for some, and inclusion for others. All of those things were in my head. At the same time, just as a straight-up horror buff, I’ve always wanted to centre a family, a black family in particular, in the kinds of stories I’ve always loved. I love domestic horror, I love things that are family-driven and oriented and psychological and that the horrors maybe bubble up from that place.

“I’ve never just been a big fan of empty jump scares and just things that pop out. I mean, I love a good jump scare, but I tend to like things that roll and kind of feel unmooring and uncomfortable. Our show lives a bit more in that space. It kind of just told me what it wanted to be and I listened to it,” he adds.

DEBORAH AYORINDE

Lucky Emory

What can you tell us about Lucky?

She’s a firecracker. She’s a fighter. She’s a free spirit. She’s a teacher, a mother. She was the backbone of her North Carolina Community. She’s one of those people who have a light about her, and after the terrible tragedy happens in North Carolina, that light is threatened to say the least. You just see her show up and fight every single day, and just show up and show up and show up. I’m so passionate about her because she reminds me of so many women in my life who show up every single day, no matter what they’ve been through, no matter what they’re going through. They show up and they fight. That’s Lucky, for me.

Was there anything in particular that really freaked you out?

Oh yes, but I don’t even think I can say… When people see it they will know what I’m talking about, but I think on this show I experienced doing the hardest scene I’ve ever had to do to date. I can’t say what it is, but they could probably guess when they see what it is and it was literally the hardest to date that I’ve ever had to do. And funnily enough, after I did it I felt very empowered. I felt like I accomplished something, and not much scares me now.

What was it about the script that made you want to be in Them?

When I read it, and I’m not exaggerating, it is one of the most beautiful pieces of writing that I have ever read. It’s literally written like poetry. And it wasn’t hard for me to understand. It was tragic, it was beautiful. That’s the best way I can describe it. And even though it’s a period piece, I didn’t feel disconnected from it, I felt like I just understood it right away. Also what attracted me to it is that it scared me. I feel like whenever I take on roles that scare me, I discover that I’m way more capable than I previously thought I was and so this has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I really hope that it sparks a lot of conversation. I think a lot of people are going to watch it and feel seen.

Would you like to do more in the horror genre?

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

RELATED STORIES

TOP GUN FAVORITE MARK CHAPMAN'S 1/3-SCALE ALBATROS D.VA

When I told Model Airplane News executive editor Debra Cleghorn that I was attending the Top Gun Scale Invitational for the first time, she asked me if I would interview the pilot of one of my favorite planes at the event. As a WW I fan (and a Balsa USA builder), I chose Mark Chapman’s beautifully detailed 1/3-scale Balsa USA Albatros D.Va, flown by Marvin Alvarez in Team Scale.

2 mins read
Model Airplane News
February 2021

Michael Des Barres' Longevity

MICHAEL DES BARRES AND THE MISTAKES’ NEW RELEASE, LIVE!, SHOWS HOW ENERGETIC THE 73-YEAR-OLD FRONTMAN IS AFTER A LIFETIME OF ROCK AND ROLL.

10+ mins read
GOLDMINE
February 2021

WINTER OF DISCONTENT

The hot stove could quickly turn to deep freeze

4 mins read
Baseball America
December 2020

SWIMMING IN Riches

Teddy Swims and his amazing singing voice forced the world to do a double-take. Now he’s ready to put it all out there and never be “Broke” again.

7 mins read
Inked
January 2021

Instrumentless circumnavigator passes

MARVIN CREAMER, A sailor who PerforMed a seemingly miraculous circumnavigation in the mid-1980s, has crossed the bar for the last time.

2 mins read
Ocean Navigator
November - December 2020

“What's Going On”

MY BACK PAGES

4 mins read
Stereophile
September 2020

FAVE ROCKER REVEALS YOUR PERSONALITY!

Are you disagreeable, open or NEUROTIC?

1 min read
Globe
July 27, 2020

Byron J. Abron civil trial Attorney

Throughout the course of our lives, we are continuously faced with decisions to choose a path, a choice that can impact the rest of our lives.

10+ mins read
The Boss Mann
February 2020

When Surfing Isn't Enough

Surfing seems like it should be a salve for mental health problems, so what happens when it isn’t?

5 mins read
Surfer
Volume 60, Issue 4

STAMP OUT RACISM OR A PLAYER WILL KILL HIMSELF

Marvin Bartley hits out at social media giants. Footballer in warning over abuse

2 mins read
Daily Record
April 30, 2021