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An Interview with Travis Legge, Director of M is for Mayhem

by Mike Haberfelner

October 2013

Films directed by Travis Legge on (re)Search my Trash


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Your short M is for Mayhem - in a few words, what is it about?


It's basically about a school shooting. When I heard about the contest, the first word that popped into my mind was "mayhem", which in my mind is chaos, confusion, and remorseless brutality. School shootings encompass all those things, so if you'll forgive the terrible pun, the thought process was a very a to b to c path for me to come up with the story for M is for Mayhem.

M is for Mayhem can be viewed (and liked... click "Like"!!!!) at


The ABCs of Death - what do you find so appealing about the series you want to be a part of it?


I wanted to share a screen credit with Jen and Sylvia Soska ;) [Soska Twins interview - click here]

Well, that IS true, but the thing that really drew me to the ABCs of Death was the way that the first film was never afraid to get right in the audience's face with uncomfortable, taboo, thought-provoking material. I love that kind of storytelling. Now, I'm not saying every story in the first film was a highbrow thinkpiece. In fact, some were precisely the opposite, but that dichotomy just made me want to be involved more. I like the idea of going to a very dark, serious, emotional place, then following directly with a joke about toxic farts. That appeals to me on just so many levels.

And let's not gloss over the fact that while I have some very awesome and dedicated fans, that fan base is pretty small. The exposure of being involved in The ABCs of Death 2 wouldn't suck.


M is for Mayhem deals with a rather sensitive subject, high school shootings - so what made you pick the subject, and basically, what were your inspirations for the short?


I thought the situation of a school shooting was a perfect example of mayhem. School shootings are senseless, pointless violence. One broken person takes all their pain and rage and hate and inflicts it on everyone in their vicinity. It's deplorable and disgusting, and it is total mayhem.

As far as inspirations, I drew pretty heavily from Christian Slater's character in Heathers when creating the look of the shooter (played brilliantly by Andrew DeHart), but then I scraped away any witty dialogue and charming personality, leaving the raw nerve of a monster beneath. Nodding to the template of Slater's J.D. while totally subverting everything that made the character "cool."

I also threw in a nod to Scanners. Because Scanners is fucking awesome.

In terms of real world inspiration, I think the biggest element I drew from was the very human response we all have to this sort of event, which is the need to ask "why?" In the real world, we are often left wondering what motivated an act like this. We are left scratching our heads wondering what went wrong. I wanted to capture that in the film.


How would you describe your directorial approach to your subject at hand?


I made this short with the hopes that the film would compel the audience to provide their own answers to the shooter's motives, whether they did it consciously or subconsciously.  This was kind of an experimental approach and it has definitely not worked for some viewers. Others have really dug it. I knew going in that it wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea.

I also wanted to stay with the shooter as much as possible and really make the audience ride his shoulder through this uncomfortable experience. This has led some viewers to think that the film makes some statement in support of this kind of inhuman act and nothing could be further from my intent. The idea is, rather than to paint the shooter as some kind of anti-hero or protagonist, instead to force the audience into a front-row seat for a very uncomfortable 90 second event.


What can you tell us about your cast, and why exactly these people?


I was first introduced to Andrew DeHart's work by Jessica Cameron, if I remember correctly [Jessica Cameron interview - click here]. This was a while back, possibly even when I was casting Raymond Did It. I've wanted to work with Andrew ever since, but we had just failed to connect. We wound up meeting up at a film festival and we immediately hit it off, not only as artists with a mutual respect for each other's work, but as friends. When the idea came to me for M is for Mayhem, I knew he would be perfect for it, as much of his work showcases a broad emotional range while remaining real. I knew the shooter would be demanding and difficult to pull off believably, but I was confident Andrew was the man for the job. I offered him the role and he accepted. We are now working together on Bloom.

Jenna Larson, the young lady who is on the phone with the police in the short, I met on a Rock Valley College student film called Hack'd Together (about hackeysack, not murders) that I was acting in. She has wonderful talent, a true star quality and is a dream to work with. I cast her right away in Mayhem and in a cyberpunk short I am working on called Cakewalk. Andrew and Jenna brought most of the rest of the cast with them, as I didn't know a whole lot of people who could pass as high school students. The remainder of the cast came from crew members who I had met on the Hack'd Together shoot and were students at RVC. They ponied up and stepped in to help boost the body count, and I am ever grateful.


Do talk about the actual shoot for a bit, and the on-set atmosphere!


I've often said that horror movie sets tend to be a laugh riot. The heavier the material, the more people seem compelled to crack jokes and screw around between takes. M is for Mayhem is pretty heavy material, so naturally, we were all having a blast. Gallows humor is a coping mechanism, and we were all in heavy-duty coping mode.

Having said that, the mood shifted on a dime when the camera started rolling. Everyone involved knew that the material is serious and that several people have been emotionally wrecked by events like the one we were portraying. Everyone on set handled the material 100% respectfully and with a somber dedication that was admirable.


Any future projects beyond M is for Mayhem you'd like to share?


I am currently working on my next feature length horror film, titled Bloom, which is a body horror/transformation piece. The film follows Lily (Deann Baker) as she tries to piece together the events of a night she cannot remember while her body goes through bizarre changes. The Facebook page for Bloom is Filming is scheduled to wrap at the end of October and I am aiming for a summer or fall 2014 release date.


I am also getting ready  to make some big announcements regarding my romantic comedy, Dry Spell (starring Suzi Lorraine [Suzi Lorraine interview - click here], Kyle Hoskins [Kyle Hoskins interview - click here], Amanda-Elizabeth Sawyer [Amanda-Elizabeth Sawyer interview - click here] and Heather Dorff [Heather Dorff interview - click here]), which should see a wide digital release early 2014. I'd encourage your readers to check out for details on that.


Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?


My official website is

My Twitter is @TravisLegge

and M is for Mayhem can be viewed (and liked... click "Like"!!!!) at


Anything else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


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x-rated  find Travis Legge at

My modern horror/urban fantasy roleplaying game, Contagion Second Edition, is available for purchase at

The world of Contagion is a dark and terrifying place. On the surface it is no different than the world you and I live in. Most people go on about their lives never realizing the terrors that walk among them.

Despite humanity’s vast ignorance, the horrors are there. Angels, demons, Gods and Hellspawn make war in the shadows. Clergy and Slayers rise from the human flock to protect their brethren and work God's will. Magi and Witches wield powerful magics in their pursuit of enlightenment.

There's a war in the shadows. Choose a side. 

Contagion Second Edition utilizes a highly modified version of the 3.5 OGL. Contagion Second Edition provides a self-contained game system, unique in approach and design. The updated, streamlined system is familiar enough that seasoned OGL players and Gamemasters should be able to jump right in, while being simple enough for even novice gamers to quickly grasp.

The Contagion Second Edition corebook updates the Contagion game setting, with expanded information on the history of the setting, exposing the secrets of the universe and opening the setting up to entirely new worlds and worldviews.

I'd love it if your readers would check it out!


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
content of sites from a third party.

Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD