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'Studio 666': Dave Grohl talks buckets of blood, rock 'n roll making-of Foo Fighters horror film

How many containers of fake blood do you need to make a fake blood river? Studio 666 director BJ McDonnell has the answer. 

By Vanessa Armstrong
Studio 666 PRESS

The Foo Fighters weren’t planning to make a horror-comedy feature. Really, they weren't. But sometimes these things just happen, especially if you’re Foo Fighters founder and modern rock god Dave Grohl.

"The idea for the movie came years ago, when a friend of mine texted me and said, 'Hey, I just came out of a meeting and these people want to make a horror film of the Foo Fighters' and I was like, That's the stupidest s**t I've ever heard in my life. Why would we ever do that?'" Grohl shared in a Q&A discussion with SYFY WIRE and a few other select outlets. 

"And then we moved into this house to make the album and we thought, 'Well, we're here we're in a creepy old house — we might as well finish the record, take a couple of weeks off, and then make this movie." 

The end result is the horrific joy that is Studio 666, a full feature film starring the Foo Fighters trying to record an album in a demonically possessed house in Encino. 

In addition to hearing from Grohl and other Foo Fighter members Taylor Hawkins, Nate Mendel and Rami Jaffee, SYFY WIRE had the chance to talk one-on-one with Studio 666 director BJ McDonnell about his experience on the film, including what it was like shooting in a supposedly haunted house, how many barrels of blood the production used, and what scene ended up on the bloody cutting room floor. 

Studio 666 PRESS

Studio 666 isn’t the first time McDonnell had worked with the Foo Fighters. Before we made his way to Encino, McDonnell worked on the band’s video for their Grammy-winning song “Run,” from the group’s 2017 album, Concrete and Gold

The large mansion where they shot Studio 666 (and also where the Foo Fighters recorded their 2021 album Medicine at Midnight), however, presented McDonnell with a unique set of challenges.  

“The house is very strange,” McDonnell told SYFY WIRE. “It's not your typical house, it's Encino, and it's built on this weird hill. Nothing's easy to get to. It's like, one level has a pool and then there's a fake river that they built that doesn't work anymore with a statue of a dragon with a crystal ball … this is actually what the house was built with, and it has all this crazy overgrowth. It was just a weird house.”

McDonnell first visited the strange and logistically challenging mansion when Grohl and the rest of the band were still recording Medicine at Midnight there. “It was cool because I could see where they would put all their instruments in a real recording situation and how they actually would do it,” he said. 

Once the Foo Fighters were done recording, they moved their equipment out (except for their instruments, of course) and McDonnell got to work getting the space film-ready. And for Studio 666, being "film-ready" meant getting the stage set for a lot of kill scenes. "Tony Gardner, who did all the special effects is the most kind, gentle, warm, polite, sweetest dude you've ever met in your entire life," Grohl shred. "But what goes on inside that motherf***ers head? Like he could come up with a list of 100 different ways to impale you."

One of the scenes was so gory that McDonnell and the crew had to take extra precautions. 

Studio 666 PRESS

“We had to get all these huge containers just filled with blood for this one scene, to the point where once we filmed, we had to build a whole set because we knew that if we did the scene in the house, it would completely destroy that room,” McDonnell shared. “We shot part of the scene inside the house in a real room, and then we had to go to the parking lot and build a whole facade set to do what we did. At the end of the day, I remember walking to my car and there was a river of blood from how much blood we used rolling down the streets of Encino …  I was like, ‘Oh boy, hope that doesn't get us kicked out this location!’”

While most of what McDonnell shot made its way into the movie, there was one scene that didn’t make it for pacing reasons that McDonnell was especially sad to see go. “There's a scene where Dave is at the wood chipper [that we see in the trailer] and his daughter calls him. He answers the phone and he's in this weird mode and she sees blood on his face, and there's a very strange conversation between him and his daughter while he's at this wood chipper. It was crazy but pacing-wise, it just didn't really work out and we had to just keep it flowing.”

And while folks won’t see that scene in the feature film, there are lots of very memorable moments from Studio 666 to tickle their band horror comedy itch. And who knows? Maybe that cut scene will make its way to the DVD version, along with a blooper reel that McDonnell and Grohl have said exists. 

In the meantime, we can see a demonic Dave Grohl along with bandmates Taylor Hawkins, Nate Mendel, Pat Smear, Chris Shiflett, and Rami Jaffee when Studio 666 hits theaters on Feb. 25. You can pick up your tickets here

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