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Salem Horror Fest 2023: Saint Drogo Interview with Michael J Ahern and Brandon Perras

Like most festivals, Salem Horror Fest moved online back in 2020, serving a banquet of indie horror titles from the comfort of our homes. While it was a bright spot for film fans to be given the ability to still experience the festival, films such as Michael J Ahern and Brandon Perras’ Death Drop Gorgeous didn’t get the kind of festival experience they deserved. Their 2020 drag-queen slasher cult-hit feature was one of the absolute highlights of that year’s program, and the team would have likely been showered with praise by its fans in person. While nothing can make up for Covid spoiling Death Drop Gorgeous‘ debut, attending the sold-out world premiere of their follow-up film, Saint Drogo, may help ease the sting. Saint Drogo is maybe the most anticipated film in Salem Horror Fest history. Even their encore showing set for Sunday has very few tickets remaining.

Saint Drogo is a captivating slow burn about a Gay couple, Caleb (Perras) and Adrian (Ahern), whose strained relationship pushes them to take a winter vacation in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Both begin suffering from nightmarish visions involving Caleb’s ex, who has gone missing in the Cape Cod region. Determined to discover what happened to him, Caleb falls into a rabbit hole of hallucinatory visions that convince him something sinister is afoot, stumbling onto a dangerous cabal operating just beneath the town’s surface.

I admit I was more than a little excited to talk about Saint Drogo with two of its three creators (Ryan Miller, the third writer-director, was unfortunately unable to attend). The folktale slow-burn the group has created is a rapturous journey with an almost psychedelic allure. Saint Drogo transfixes you with its gorgeous cinematography, then sucker-punches you with the panic of a bad trip. In the interview, we discuss the look and style of the film’s cinematography and the creepy locations throughout Saint Drogo. Ahern and Perras give insight into the thematic qualities of the film that focus on commitment, co-dependency, and personal identity within Gay culture.

Ahern says, “A lot of what we’re talking about is co-dependency and the pressures that Gay culture put on relationships, at least in regards to the dynamic between the two characters.” He continues, “The concepts of […] losing your identity within a relationship and losing your sense of self, but then also losing your sense of self because a hive-mind culture is telling you to be a certain way. Obviously, we have a metaphor for that, that I don’t want to give away.”

Perras also explains,

“There’s co-dependency on Gay culture too as kind of this ‘safety-in-numbers’ thing where you’re kind of losing yourself along the way, and this relationship is like a microcosm of that as well. So there’s themes of that. Themes of gentrification of Queer spaces, which is happening not just in P-Town but in any kind of prominent Queer portion of major cities. And also a sort of mental gentrification and elitism that we find in mainstream Gay culture that is, for some reason, celebrated. I think we’ve kind of been destroying ourselves because of these kinds of phenomenons happening.”

Watch the full interview with Michael J Ahern and Brandon Perras right here.

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Written by Sean Parker

Living just outside of Boston, Sean has always been facinated by what horror can tell us about contemporary society. He started writing music reviews for a local newspaper in his twenties and found a love for the art of thematic and symbolic analysis. Sean joined Horror Obsessive at it's inception, and is currently the site's Creative Director. He produces and edits the weekly Horror Obsessive podcast for the site as well as his interviews with guests. He has recently started his foray into feature film production as well, his credits include Alice Maio Mackay's Bad Girl Boogey, Michelle Iannantuono's Livescreamers, and Ricky Glore's upcoming Troma picture, Sweet Meats.

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