Dead of Summer: Who survived the deadly summer?
Warning: This story contains major spoilers from the season finale of Dead of Summer. Read at your own risk!
Evil did not prevail in the Dead of Summer finale.
Though it appeared the possessed Amy (Elizabeth Lail) would escape Camp Stillwater and wreak havoc on the world, Holyoke (Tony Todd) had one final trick up his sleeve, hiding a piece of his soul within Jessie (Paulina Singer).
Ultimately that meant meant neither of them could leave the camp without killing the other. After Amy systematically killed off pretty much everyone else, Jessie was able to trap her within the last of the purified water, destroying the demon within and allowing everyone who had died — even last-minute loss Garrett (Alberto Frezza) — to achieve peace. The only survivors? Jessie, Blair (Mark Indelicato), and Drew (Zelda Williams). EW turned to executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis to get the scoop on what could be next if the show is renewed for season 2:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Is Camp Stillwater really no longer plagued by evil forces?
ADAM HOROWITZ: I’d say it’s not that it’s not plagued by it, but the lake has been restored to balance. When the series began, the lake was in balance, and it got tipped out of balance, and that’s what allowed the evil the rear its head and try to escape. By the end of season 1, the balance has been restored, which is not to say that it can’t tip again.
If it’s a fight between light and dark, would you call the lake a cork?
EDWARD KITSIS: I would not say the lake is like a cork, what I would say is the lake is like a portal. Like any portal to the other side, you can let in both good spirits and bad spirits. It just depends on who is opening the door.
Now that we know what’s been haunting the camp all these decades, what would surprise us about going back to the ’70s, as you guys previously teased?
KITSIS: What’s going on with the lake is all it’s doing is providing either good or evil; it can manifest itself in many different ways. The scares, the horror, and the ’80s vibe you saw in this will be much different in 1970. It won’t be people trying to bring a demon back. It will be different horror. It will give you much more of an insight, also, into this season as well.
You previously talked about bringing back some of the actors in different roles. Is that still your plan?
KITSIS: That is absolutely still an option. Right now, we’re just trying to get out of this season. We have a lot of plans for season 2, but absolutely. Some of these actors are fantastic and we’d love to work with them again.
Why did you choose Jessie, Blair, and Drew to be the only ones to survive?
KITSIS: Well, Jessie we wanted to twist it. We wanted to have what you thought was a love triangle, what you thought was going to be the mean girl dies, the virgin wins, and we wanted to twist it all on its head. As far as Blair and Drew, we wanted them to survive because it was just a punk rock love story that we rooted for. At the end of the day, we still believe in hope. We don’t like to end things bleakly.
Though we see an immediate happy future for that trio, if you were to revisit them down the line, would that stick?
KITSIS: Boy, they’re fine right now, and they’re heading into the ’90s with a smile on their face. Now, what happens to them in the 2000s is a whole other story.
Does that light stay within Jessie?
KITSIS: I think that light absolutely stays within Jessie. I think that’s why she was picked to begin with. We realize that everything she did this summer was an act, because she was very hurt. She had the hope, she had her future taken from her, and she had to make some tough choices, but what we realize at the end of the day is Jessie was a hero. Jessie was a great person, who was willing to do what it took to save everybody else. That’s why she was chosen. We see on the other side is Amy presented herself as the classic ’80s horror movie heroine — final girl, as they would say — and we realize she was actually the psycho killer.
You said you sprinkled Easter eggs throughout the season that pointed to this. Were there any fans that figured it out early on?
HOROWITZ: I haven’t done a deep dive into Tumblr, but I imagine someone guessed.
KITSIS: A lot of fans figured out Holyoke was warning us and that he was good. I haven’t seen anyone guess the Amy twist. If people go back and rewatch it, they can see that from the beginning Dave the gardener told Amy, “You don’t belong here.” We saw Joel’s camera, and at first it presents itself as just, “Oh, here’s the cliché guy with the camera,” but then in episode 5 we realize he needs it for his sanity. So when he says early on, “Everything looks better through the camera,” everything that we did, all the twists that we did, are absolutely set up.
Looking back at the season as a whole, what was your biggest point of pride?
KITSIS: Personally, it was the montage to “Home Sweet Home.” To be able to use Mötley Crüe and watch Amy go on a montage of slashing was, for me personally, the most gratifying.
HOROWITZ: I would say it’s that, and the episode 9 unveiling of the true nature of Amy, which is what we’ve been building to all season.
KITSIS: I was also very excited about the Blair and Drew episode, and the Bowie of it all. It’s funny, each episode became our new favorite. This show really started out one way, and then it just kept building and building for us. As a writer, that’s the most gratifying, when each episode is better than the one before it.
If you could go back, is there anything you would change about season 1?
KITSIS: Listen, I think that perhaps knowing the twist, we might’ve spent a little too much time in the beginning setting up and maybe not being as clear as we could be. In today’s world, where dramas are bloodsport, you have to come out of the gate absolutely perfect, or everyone comes at you with pitchforks. But whatever the early finding itself may be, we think we found ourselves and we think the show becomes pretty kickass.
As you guys are planning a potential season 2, what themes do you hope to explore next season?
KITSIS: The show’s theme overall is about identity. What we would like to do is if this year was inspired by — as we like to say, our show was late night cable-inspired. It’s like mom and dad are asleep, turn on cable, and you’d see movies that you don’t remember coming to the movie theater, but they stayed with you forever. That was this summer. I would say the 1970s summer will be inspired by things like Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby. It’ll be in the vibe of the late ’60s, ’70s. That could be Russ Meyer, that could be Roman Polanski. I can tell you it’s going to be the summer of 1970 and that during that winter break, those kids decided — because they all missed Woodstock, because they were at Stillwater the year before — they decided to go to Altamont. If you know anything about the Altamont in 1969, maybe they found something there that followed them back.
Has there been any word on the renewal yet?
KITSIS: No, not at all, and to be honest, we’re too tired to think about it today. Let’s just enjoy this moment together. If there’s a season 2, we’re ready for it.