Your company Icon Film Studios - how did it come into being,
and what's the philosophy behind it? And what can you tell us about its The
Well, Icon Film Studios
in some shape or form (under many different company names)
for twenty-two years. It was originally created by myself and long-time
back in Upstate New York. I wanted to make horror movies since I was 14
tried to figure out how I was going to do that at such a young age. It
wasnít until I was in
early twenties is when I started making shot-on-video movies in my
backyard in New
and later made them when I was a college student in Tampa, FL. Throughout
into the 2000ís I made several short films and a few feature length
movies with Lynx
banner. Towards the end of that decade I was mostly a film editor
working on a few short films here and there. In the 2010ís I teamed up
with friend, John
and together we started The
Sleaze Box in 2012, which started off as a web
we counted down Top 5 lists on horror or exploitation topics. When we
Amerikan Holokaust later that year, we wanted The
Sleaze Box to be the new
the film and future films that we were going to producer and release.
From what I know, the first
feature film released under the Sleaze Box
Amerikan Holokaust - so what is it about, what was the idea behind it, and what
can you tell us about your approach to the story at hand?
was a lot in the origin of
Amerikan Holokaustt. Both myself and John were doing the web series and making short
but wanted to make a feature film. We figured it would cost tons of money
to make a
film, so we had no idea when we would make a feature and what it would be
being at a baseball game in the summer of 2012 with John and friend and
Shelby McIntyre and we were talking about movies. Shelby had said that
movies were the hot thing at the time and were cheap to make. After that I
decide to try to make a found footage movie, but what would it be about?
a documentary on serial killers Leonard Lake and Charles Ng where they
of their victims being videotaped, I got an idea to do a found footage
movie on a
killer. We loosely based it on Lake and Ng, but changed the names and
also made the film our own type of found footage movie without following
the rules of that
and making it more a surreal video journal of these killers.
can you tell us about critical and audience reception of
film has gotten an awesome reception since its release in August 2013 from
fans. We self-distribute the movie on our own website and when we first
it sold very well in its first month and continues to be our best seller
almost two years
The movie came out at a perfect time when the underground cinema scene was
hot. It has become very popular all over the world. Being played in
and even being featured in a full article in Fangoriaís Gorezone
Amerikan Holokaust has become a benchmark film in the underground cinema scene.
A few words about the anthology Make
Them Die Sleazy!, and were the segments all shot specifically for the
movie or is it a collection of separate shorts?
of separate short films that we made into an anthology feature. It was
Amerikan Holokaust that we wanted to release another film. So, we
some of our short films we made and make them into an anthology. We did
segments for the film and I just edited it all together and there you have
latest film Naughty Dirty Nasty - now what's that one about?
one started as
an idea to shoot something fun and sexy. I wanted to do something that was
a mix of
Playboy Centerfold videos that were done in the 90ís, the Misty Mundae
films of the
2000ís [Misty Mundae bio - click
here] and the nudie cuties of the 50ís and 60ís with a touch of Bettie Page
stag films. The
was just going to be different segments featuring beautiful women in sexy
time when I was thinking of making the movie I met Krystal ďPixieĒ
Adams and Ashley
Caputo, who later became stars of the film. It was pretty much a two day
shoot in one
two locations with a cast of five, so it was very easy to make. Then I
just took some music
started editing it making it a sleazy masterpiece.
Naughty Dirty Nasty
features its fair share of nudity and sex - now how far
does the film actually go, and is there a line you refuse to cross?
Naughty Dirty Nasty
far as a softcore porn you would see on Skinemax. Tons of nudity and
and simulated sex. We try to push the envelope as much as we can as far as
gore is concerned. I think the only line I wouldnít cross is I would
never want to put any
the cast or crew in any dangerous situations where they would get hurt and
anyone to feel uncomfortable about what they were doing in the film. Also,
harm any animals in a film. Most of the actors we worked with have been
and willing to go the extra mile in the role as far as nudity and sexual
In our latest film $kumbagz, we have a girl-on-girl scene that trumps the
ones in Naughty Dirty Nasty
as far as being more hardcore than softcore.
Naughty Dirty Nasty
stars Krystal Pixie Adams, who seems to have become some
kind of a fixture in the
Sleaze Box universe - so what can you tell
us about her, what makes her perfect for your movies, and what's it like
working with her?
is wonderful to
with and we are very lucky we found her. I think she is perfect for our
is very fearless and is not afraid to be nude or be in our films whatever
are. She also has the right look and style for our films. She knows how to
act in front
a camera and the camera loves her. She is also willing to go the extra
mile in her
She is also a very good person and very talented not only as an actress,
a model and an artist. She is a very talented painter in which we included
some of her
and art pieces in an extra feature on the Naughty Dirty Nasty
Any future projects you'd like to talk
our latest release came out this past
called $kumbagz, which is a modern day exploitation film about a young
by Krystal ďPixieĒ Adams, who falls into the world of prostitution and
you see the rise
fall of her in that world. The film is written and directed by John Miller
and features many
Sleaze Box such as Ashley Lynn Caputo, Joe Makowski, Bob Glazier,
and Joel D. Wynkoop [Joel D.
Wynkoop interview - click here]. We also have a slasher film coming out later this
Death-scort Service, which is kind of a throwback to the classic slasher
films of the
but set to modern day times and is about a killer targeting call girls in
Las Vegas. The
is a collaboration with Sean Donohue of Gatorblade Films. Sean directed
the film and
of us wrote and produced it. It also stars Krystal and Ashley plus many
talented actresses. I am also working on a screenplay right now for the
next film I want
direct which is called Chaos A.D. and hopefully Iíll be shooting that
one in early 2016.
Please do talk about your partners-in-crime at Icon Film Studios
for a bit, and what does each of them bring to the table?
company is very small and throughout the
there has only been two people as major players. In the pre-Sleaze Box
days it was
Lynx and I. Now it is myself and John Miller. Both of us write, produce
Throughout the years both Simon and John brought a lot to the table as far
with ideas and writing scripts. A supporting player I would like to
mention is Zach Short,
has scored a lot of our music to our films throughout the years. I would
also like to
people that I have collaborated through the years on different projects.
effects artist and filmmaker Marcus Koch [Marcus
Koch interview - click here] who I worked with many times and
the effects on
Amerikan Holokaust. Shelby McIntyre, who directed the
Club King, which I co-produced with him. I also at times worked with
Allan who both run Cult Movie Mania, where I done some editing for them on
and also Cult Movie Mania has released
Amerikan Holokaust and
Naughty Dirty Nasty
both on VHS. Iíve also been working with Sean Donohue on Death-scort
was also a producer on Naughty Dirty Nasty.
from films you produced yourselves, Icon Film Studios
distributes movies by other producers these days - so do talk about some
of the movies you carry for a bit, and what are some of the requirements
to be released by Icon Film Studios?
to make The
Sleaze Box our brand to release hard-to-find out there movies.
only requirements is that it fits in our genre which is horror, sci-fi or
exploitation and it has
be somehow weird and sleazy in some type of way. Some of the films we
classic shot-on-video movies from the 1990ís like Phil Hermanís
Burglar From Hell and
Till The End [Phil Herman
interview - click here]. We will also be releasing another gem from him called
Jacker 2, both will be in a double disc set. Phil is a great filmmaker from that
age of shot-on-video
and his films are just great entertainment and fun to watch. The
of the 80ís, 90ís and 2000ís are our version of the B-movies of the
50ís, 60ís and 70ís.
films that we released are Terence Muncyís zombie epic Hell Walks The
D. Wynkoopís Slasher Weekend [Joel
D. Wynkoop interview - click here]. Slasher Weekend will be out this July and
brand new release. Joel originally shot half the movie ten years ago but
finished the film
How did you get into filmmaking in the first place, and did you
recieve any formal training on the subject?
got into filmmaking as a teenager. Night of the Living Dead was
inspiration to me. Once I saw that film I was hooked on horror. As I
mentioned before, I
some films with my friends at home in New York in my backyard. I pretty
much had no
at that time and just used two VCRs to edit my films. When I went away to
the mid-90ís to Tampa, FL is when I learned film and television
production. There I got to
edit on real video equipment and I got to shoot on 16mm film and edit on a
they had some of the first non-linear computer editing equipment there, so
I got to learn
too. After college, I was able to get my hands on a copy of Final Cut
new at the time and mastered that program.
What can you
tell us about your filmwork prior to Amerikan Holokaust?
in college I had a show called Creeping Death, which was basically a cross
Twilight Zone and Tales From The Crypt. It was broadcast on our campus TV
on public access. My first, Iíll call it, mini-feature was called Chameleon, which was
a creature that can transform into anything that it touches. I shot and
produced that as
senior project in college and it actually got released on VHS from a small
company for a
time. After that I made my first full feature film called Bleed which I
Then throughout the 2000s I made several short films, mostly horror
related. I coproduced
edited the documentary Strip Club King: The Story of Joe Redner about the
and times of strip club owner Redner who owns the world famous strip club
I also edited a few feature films including Herschell Gordon Lewisís The
Uh-Oh! Show [Herschell
Gordon Lewis bio - click here].
through your filmography, you seem to never stray too far from the horror
genre - so is horror a genre at all dear to you, and why (not)?
horror is my all-time
genre and Iíve been a fan of horror films since I was a teenager. My
come from the 60ís, 70ís and 80ís. With the horror genre you always
different and unpredictable at times. I do like other film genres, but
with horror you can
in different directions as far as storytelling. Watching horror films is
like going on a roller
or entering a haunted house at a theme park. It is one big thrill ride.
Horror is also a
language. It doesnít matter where you come from and what side of the
on, we all get scared and jump at the same things in movies.
made indie movies for quite some time now - how did the independent
filmworld change/evolve over the years?
has changed dramatically throughout the
and mostly in the last decade. In the 90ís when I was finished with
college and ready
make movies it really wasnít accepted to just shoot a film on a VHS
camcorder. You had
use film, which a production on film would cost thousands of dollars and
even in the low
for just a low budget film. Now with affordable HD cameras that shoot in
24p to give
that film look and editing software that you can have on any desktop or
can make an affordable film. Plus also with the software they have out now
your own films and sell them on your own web site. And with the help of
like Facebook and Twitter you can reach people from all over the world and
get the word out about your films.
How would you
describe yourself as a director?
would describe myself as a hands-on
and what I mean by that is when I direct a film and the actors in it I try
to describe to
exactly what I want and what I envision. I often act out the scene myself
before we roll
show the actors what I want from them. I also work with the actors a lot
and give them
story to their characters and tell them what emotion their character is
dealing with at the
I also try to give my films a unique style and look from the camera
angles, to the
style, to the lighting set up and even the set design and wardrobe. I want
my films to
out whether it is in story or style.
Filmmakers who inspire
filmmakers that inspire me are Alfred Hitchcock,
A. Romero, Dario Argento, Herschell Gordon Lewis [Herschell
Gordon Lewis bio - click here], John Carpenter, Martin
just to name a few. All of them are different types of directors, but all
have a style
vision that I admire. I have watched all of them for years and have
adapted some of
style into my way of filmmaking.
Your favourite movies?
all-time favorite film is Star Wars. I was four years old when it
out and was in love with it ever since. Those films were my childhood.
Other films that
my favorite starting with the horror genre are Night of the Living Dead
(1968), Dawn of
Dead (1978), Psycho (1960),
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974),
Halloween (1978), Tenebre,
Two Thousand Maniacs,
Dementia 13 and the
would be Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Goodfellas,
Taxi Driver, Shawshank Redemption, Boogie
Nights, Goonies, Back to the Future,
- just to name a few.
... and of
course, films you really deplore?
Blair Witch Project, Boondock Saints,
and the awful remake to Psycho. Lots of the films that I hate I try to
they're so bad.
website, Facebook, whatever else?
us out at www.thesleazebox.com,
and on Twitter @sleazebox
Anything else you're
dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
thank (re)Search my Trash for interviewing me and just want to thank all
the fans out there
support us and keep checking out The
Sleaze Box for more insane,
terrifying and sleazy
coming your way in the near future.
for the interview!