Your new movie The
Rise & Fall of an American Scumbag - in a few words, what is
is a dark and nihilistic drug/crime film that revolves around several
scumbags including Billy, a sociopathic convict with a scheme to murder
his father for his life insurance policy, and a drug addicted hitman named
Johnny who wants to kill his boss and take control while he is fighting a
drug addiction and slowly self-destructing.
What were your inspirations when writing The
Rise & Fall of an American Scumbag?
actually found a lot of inspiration for The
Rise & Fall of an American Scumbag from my last full length feature
The Acid Sorcerer.
The Acid Sorcerer
dealt with themes that were similar to my first two features (My
Master Satan & American
Scumbags), but it was stylistically different,
more cinematic, artistic and darker than anything I had ever done before,
and I wanted to continue that style with The
Rise & Fall of an American Scumbag. The
Rise & Fall of an American Scumbag features
three characters from the film American
Scumbags -but this film is not a
sequel to American
Scumbags. I wanted The
Rise & Fall of an American Scumbag to be its own film -
meaning that the viewer can watch,
understand and enjoy it without having watched American
As far as how the film looked visually, I wanted the film to kind of have
a dark 90's film vibe to it. The look of the film and color correction was
very important to me for this time around. The coloring and visuals of the
film really amplified the griminess of the film in my opinion.
the scumbags in your movie, who could you identify with the most (if any),
who the least, and why?
identify with Johnny the most because he is very ambitious and wants to
make it to the top but at the same time he is slowly self destructing, but
I can identify with some of the aspects of Billy such as the lawlessness
and anti-authoritarianism of the character. I also enjoyed the fact that
the character Wheeling Deals is kind of a lowlife but he has some morality
such as the scene when he shoots and kills the dealer selling drugs to
kids at the playground, but to be honest I can probably find something to
identify with in all the characters in the film.
Your movies are usually
populated primarily with scumbags, and The
Rise & Fall of an American Scumbag is no exception - does this
in any form or way have to do with your view of the real world?
some extent, and I also think that my anti-authoritative personality kind
of creeps into my films as well, but from an artistic/filmmaking standpoint I love making films and portraying low life characters as opposed to
heroes and good guys.
Rise & Fall of an American Scumbag does push the envelope
regarding scumbaggery quite a bit - so honestly, how much fun is to think
these things up, and is there ever a red line you refuse to cross?
is fun, but sometimes challenging as I occasionally have writer's block,
but that is just part of the process. I wanted this film to be very
sleazy, scum-baggy, angry, hateful and nihilistic and I think this
definitely shows and the film comes across as more extreme and scum-baggy
than my earlier films. And no - there is never a line that I refuse to
cross - I will do anything as long as I have the resources to pull it off.
can you tell us about your directorial approach to your story at hand?
used the same approach that I used on The Acid
Sorcerer, which was to put
more attention to detail and try to employ more symbolism and/or double
meanings in the film, the only thing that was different was the fact that
I didn't allow the actors to have as much liberty and freedom with
dialogue as my past films. Everything was a lot more scripted and
carefully planned out such as the several voiceovers throughout the film
that help drive the story along. Another benefit of the voiceovers is that
they allow the viewer to kind of get inside the mind and psyche of the
characters which was exactly what I was aiming for.
also play a lead character, Johnny, in The
Rise & Fall of an American Scumbag - so have you written him
with yourself in mind, what did you draw upon to bring him to life, and
how much Dakota Bailey can we find in Johnny?
one of the first characters I ever created (back in 2012) and I have
always played him. He made his first appearance in my first short film
called Scumbags: A Day in The Life of a Drug Dealer (2014), he was one of
the main characters in American
Scumbags (2016), and I was left with no
option but to play him since I was resurrecting the character in The
Rise & Fall of an American Scumbag. Plus I do kind of have a connection
with the character since he was one of the first characters I ever created
and as I progress as an actor I have the ability to portray the character
better each time, but I find it is a little bizarre how I have grown and
aged through the years and so does the character Johnny.
about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?
worked with Darien Fox now for quite a while (three films to be exact) so
once I was bringing the character Billy from American
Scumbags into this
film there was nobody but Fawkes to play him. L.B. (Wheeling Deals) is
actually my father and I've been fortunate that he helps and plays a
character in almost every film I make, but the rest of the cast I had
never worked with before. I met Alaskan Cinder and Marla Rose online. The
hardest part about making this film was finding the right actress to play
Candy, Billy's girlfriend. A lot of actresses were interested in being in
the film but didn't like the final scene where Candy overdoses and Billy
takes advantage of her body, but fortunately we met Marla Rose online and
she did a great job of playing the role. Then there is Alasken Cinder who
contacted me online and was interested in acting in a film. I designed the
character Pat specifically for her and she did a great job as well.
few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
was always unpredictable and this film was sporadically filmed from July
2017 - January 2018. The film was filmed in several different places such as
my garage, the industrial areas of Denver, West Denver - just all over the
was complex - or as I heard Darien Fawkes once remark, 'chaotic'. It was very
challenging with all the voiceovers and the kind of complex storyline but
in the end I was able to put it all together to make a coherent film and
story. So I would say that the on set atmosphere was stressful, intense
and sometimes uncomfortable.
$64-question, where can your movie be seen?
It is available
on DVD through our storenvy site but will soon be available through
and once the film has played at some film festivals (hopefully Shock Stock
in Canada & Cinema Wasteland in Ohio and a few other film festivals)
then it will probably be streamed online for free on the Kings Of Horror
YouTube channel. They actually have all three of my previous full length
features available for viewing on their channel.
can tell us about audience and critical reception of The
Rise & Fall of an American Scumbag?
great - I think it may be our best film yet - I am very proud of The
Rise & Fall of an American Scumbag.
future projects you'd like to share?
Yes - I am currently
writing the script for a film that will feature Smoke from The Acid
Sorcerer as its main character, along with some other new and twisted
characters - I think it will be my best and darkest film yet. We will
probably film it in the mid to late summer 2018 and have it released later
Feeling lucky ?
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Anything else you're
dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
but thanks for covering our films, the festivals that play our films and
the fans for their continued support.
for the interview!