You have only recently released Gutterballs. Why don't you tell us a
little bit about that film?
Gutterballs is my love letter to the kind of horror movies I grew up
watching. Slasher films, giallo movies and gorefests that my friends and
I would trade one another for. This was all before DVD of course.
Gutterballs is very much a whodunnit. It's like
a gory adult version of Scooby Doo, only without the dog! Even though
the set is a multi-million dollar bowling center, the movie isn't about
bowling. It's moreso the violent act that occurs in the alley and then the
revenge dished out in handfuls the next night.
As it is, the film mixes extreme violence with quite a bit of
humour. Which aspect do
you enjoy more, and why do you think the two aspects blend?
enjoy humourous violence! Comedy plays a huge part in all my movies.
You cannot take them seriously. They're done on the cheap and are
very campy. I think
Gutterballs hits people over the
head with a sledgehammer, but it's like a foam one, you can't get hurt, you
just laugh instead ... perhaps a nervous giggle? Movies that take
themselves too seriously set themselves up for disaster. The fans
rip into filmmakers that make glorified crap. I don't take what I do
very seriously. It's all about having fun and hoping others will see
it as that and have fun watching it.
film was obviously inspired by old-school slasher movies. Is this a genre
especially dear to your heart?
Very much so. I
remember so much of my childhood based on trailers of slasher movies
coming on the TV and birthday parties where one of us would get to watch a
horror movie ... it was a real treat and it's odd how I relate to times and
places based solely on movies. I was and am truly obsessed with
horror. I remember Pieces' "You don't have to go to Texas
for a Chainsaw Massacre" blaring out over the small TV speaker like
it was yesterday ... or trying to peek over the fence to see the drive-in
playing Friday the 13th Part 3. Man those were the days.
You did go to quite some
length to give the film an authentic 1980's flair. Why and how did you do
The wardrobe was a huge part of the look of
Gutterballs. I wanted to bring back looks that I had
grown up with.Fashion from the eighties is still around, only now retro and costly to assemble. The lighting also played
big into the theme. You can see some Joe Dante influence in there
and some Cronenberg. I really wanted to pay homage to the masters.
I thought that the bowling alley would be perfect to time-warp a group of
misfits to and kill them off one by one. It makes things more
interesting that these characters look so outlandish. Is it nowadays
or some other decade? The viewer can decide. That's the fun of
the retro look. It plays either way really.
How did you come up with the
film's bowling alley-theme?
Creative death scenes in a
bowling alley were just far too cool to pass up. I also thought that
such a modern facility would lend so much production value to our very low
budget, it was just a given to shoot there. It really could've been
any sports related arena. The idea of a slasher film in a bowling
alley though appealed to me, moreso than table tennis or billards, although I haven't ruled those out for a sequel!
The 64 Dollar question is of
course, where can one get the movie?
Gutterballs is being officially released in North America UNCUT in January 2009 on the
Danger After Dark label. It will be chock full of
goodies and it also has a totally new soundtrack that kicks even more ass
than the temp tracks on the bootleg that was leaked. The movie has
already come out in Germany, cut to ribbons though. It's coming out in
Japan soon and is due out in France in October, Uncut.
Before Gutterballs, you
directed Live Feed in 2006, which was to my understanding your
first feature film. What can you tell us about that movie?
Live Feed is a fun little movie. The set is a porno theatre
where unsuspecting patrons get murdered and their death transmitted to the big
screen for all to see via a Live Feed. It's a very strong nod
to all the Cat III movies I love so much. The Untold Story,
Red to Kill, Ebola Virus ... it's got a huge
Asian cast and has some karate action in it as well. It's very much a
campy, exploitation movie that is not meant to be taken seriously. It
wasn't received as well as
Gutterballs. I don't know, the
marketing perhaps led people to think it was Hostel all over again,
but it's not like Hostel. It's more like
They Call Me
Bruce but with gore and sex.
2004 you released the featurette Torched. A few words about that one?
was a fun 4 day shoot. I wanted to see if I could stay on time and
budget with Torched and if so, it would be my first step
towards making a feature film. I chose the rape/revenge theme, added
a twist and had some insanely wicked music from my buddies Macabre and
Necrophagia playing throughout.
I'm releasing it this fall officially with some killer extras, a new sound
leave the past behind and look into the future: What can you tell us about
your upcoming film Hanger?
Hanger is a
very dark film. It's not as funny as
Gutterballs and Live Feed. It's more so a kill em and let God sort
em out kind of movie. There is no good guy, no bad guy ... just
everyday life told from the end of a twisted bloody coat-hanger.
It's an abortion/revenge movie. I'm about pro-choice. If a
woman wants an abortion, it's her own choice, no one else's to make.
This tale is very much about someone who makes that choice for an
unwilling Mother to be and the rest is a non-stop assualt on the senses
kind of movie.
And the upcoming Star
Star Vehicle is a little bit
lighter than my previous stuff but it's also a stab at the film industry
and the dipshits I've had to work with and for during my time in the biz.
If I had a penny for every egocentric bastard I've had to work with ... I
hope to get on it right after wrapping Hanger.Star Vehicle is about a driver for the
stars ... he's treated
like an asshole his whole life and aspires to write and direct his own
movie. He meets the star of his dreams and gets to drive her ... mad
to say the least!
Any other upcoming projects?
re-releasing Live Feed as the Live Feed: CAT III
Edition. It will be a ltd. ed, signed and numbered DVD with
all new features, etc ... I also have a Live Feed sequel in mind
and will perhaps have a teaser on the CAT III release. Torched: The Director's Cut is coming out. And I have a
couple of other scripts I'm gearing up to write ... one of which may be Gutterballs II: Slip, Slide and Die. Yes, it's at a
waterpark! I'm working on getting the www.plotdigger.com
webstore up and running where there will be shirts, hoodies, hats, signed
stuff, etc ... I have the official
Gutterballs soundtrack in the works ... and I am even thinking about
comics ... the possibilites for the
horror of it all is endless.
are all horror films featuring some in-your-face violence. How do you
defend yourself (or do you defend yourself at all) against accusations
that the violence in your films is gratuitous?
is very cartoony, very campy. I think that most people get that with
Gutterballs. I mean getting strangled to death by
bowling shoes!? There is a definite style to the bloodshed in my
movies, overkill is the word. I think people really can't say the
overkill in my movies is offensive ... it's too silly to be offensive.
Where does your
fascination with horror come from?
It all started with The Hilarious House of Frightenstein, a Canadian horror comedy
show that had a wacky guy named Billy Vann making himself up as all these
horror characters. I was fixated on this show when I was a little
kid. It influenced all my work for sure! It's out on DVD ...
pick it up!
What do you think about the
current state of the horror genre?
It's hit and miss ...
miss I think. I haven't seen too much lately that captures the feel
of the horror I like. I watch the same stuff over again simply
because there's not much new that I can say I really enjoy. After Saw V
where do you go? After Saw where do
you go? They keep making the same movie over and over again.
People go and see them ... they love to see the gore, watch between their
fingers. I'd rather watch an old laserdisc or something.
You left your mark on films
not only as a writer/director but also as a special effects and special
makeup artist. Could you talk about your career in effects a little bit?
had a great run as an FX artist. I still do FX from time to time and
I also teach FX to aspiring students. I guess I just found my
passion in writing and directing to be more fufilling artistically.
Plus the chemicals are a killer to work with ... I've had enough fiber glass
fumes to last a lifetime. It was a good time for the most part.
I met some great people and made some awesome friends. But in the
end, I'd rather do FX for my own movies ... it's just more satisfying and I
can shed all the blood I want until I yell cut!
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
and how did you take the step from effects man to director?
just got tired of maintaining a fulltime shop and supporting people. It was too much on my
shoulders ... doing my own stuff for me is a better feeling ... I enjoy sculpting and painting but on my own time. I got
tired of going to filmsets at 4 in the morning putting prosthetics on
grumpy actors.It takes it's toll. I'd rather devote my
time and energy to my own movies that will be my retirement fund when I'm
an old dude.
You produce your films in
Vancouver, so what can you tell us about the Canadian indy and horror film
Canadian horror was legendary from Cronenberg
to all the tax shelter movies of the early 80's like My Bloody
Valentine and Prom Night. Nowadays, there's not
too many people making horror movies in Canada. Getting funding for
a gory movie is hard here. There's so many filmmakers, most making
high brow artsy fartsy fare, that's the kind of stuff the Canadian
government funds. It's hard to get your product out there. For
instance, Blockbuster in Canada wouldn't put out Live
Feed. So it missed a huge DVD market. But the other big
video chain Rogers Video put it out, so it's hit and miss
really. I hope
Gutterballs sees a wide DVD release in
Canada. I think it will. As for the horror scene, there really
isn't much of one. There's one magazine that is based out of Toronto
that is horror but I get way more press South of the border and in the UK.
Canada really sucks at supporting it's own art. It's moreso a
door-mat for other film production companies to use and abuse at their own
Some directors who have really influenced you?
Fulci [Lucio Fulci bio - click
here], John Carpenter, Ken Russell, Tobe Hooper, David Cronenberg, Martin
Scorsese, Brian De Palma, Oliver Stone, Dario Argento, Sergio Leone,
you really liked (both recent and all-time favourites)?
The Thing (1981), I Spit On Your Grave,
Better Off Dead,
The Untold Story,
Wild At Heart.
some films you deplored?
Lost Boys 2 and the new April Fools
Day. I had to turn both off shortly after the
Anything else I have forgotten to ask
and you are just dying to share?
No more remakes! And no more J-horror, period! Go Canucks Go!
Thanks for the interview.