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An Interview with Christian Ackerman, Director of Karpenter

by Mike Haberfelner

November 2017

Films directed by Christian Ackerman on (re)Search my Trash


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Your upcoming movie Karpenter - in a few words, what is it about?


Karpenter is about a serial killer who escapes asylum and starts killing everyone in the small town of Hamilton, Montana.


Now I might be taking a wild guess here, but the film being a slasher movie, its title being somewhat similar to John Carpenter's last name isn't a complete coincidence, right?


Right! Ha ha! We love John Carpenter's films and they totally inspired us to make this movie. I mean, I always wanted to make a Halloween-like movie!


With Karpenter being a slasher movie, is that a genre at all dear to you, and what do you think makes your film stick out of the crowd?


I do enjoy the good old fashion slasher movies like Halloween, Friday the 13th and so on. I especially love the 1980's and some 90's films' style and look. I wanted to design my film after those films from that time. Our film isn't a period film, but has that feel of a 1980's slasher movie. I made sure to keep out all computer special effects and stick to the good old fashion practical special effects and gore.


(Other) sources of inspiration when writing Karpenter?


I love a number of the Elm Street films and Terminator and T2 that have that slasher feel to it. I watched a number of 80's horror films that fueled my excitement when making this movie.


Now slasher movies tend to have their fair share of gore almost by definition - so what can you tell us about the gruesome bits in your movie, and how were they achieved?


Well yes, I began with doing the special effects myself utilizing my low-budget-no-budget gore tricks. My pals Tim Nydell (Karpenter) and Will Ponder (Boon) and I got together to shoot the first kill scene. I made a dummy upper torso rig with a blood pump for this decapatation gag we did. I used a lot of chocolate and strawberry syrup ha ha. But, when I posted my vlog videos about making this film, Sandra Stuckey of Siren Studio FX contacted me and said she would love to help us out. Sandra and her daughter Casey Lynn Stuckey (Monica) came on board and did all our makeup special effects and hair and makeup styles, too. That helped us out on the film so much and they did a great job. I made sure all our gore gags were not going to be CGI or hybrid CGI special effects. I kept all the special effects practical so it would keep that feel of the horror films from the 80's. I just love that stuff so much.


Do talk about overall directorial approach to your story at hand!


Well, I knew I needed to keep the feel and tone of a 80's horror film. Plus, I was going to shoot this movie in only a month. I wanted to challenge myself to make a film on a strict schedule and on a $0 budget. We did it! I did it! Ha ha! I still can't believe it.


What can you tell us about Karpenter's key cast, and why exactly these people?


I used local actors from my hometown of Hamilton, Montana. We have a local community theater here called the Hamilton Players. The playhouse is ran by Denise Rose (Theater Director in Karpenter) and I utilized a number of actors from there. My friend Tim Nydell told me that if I made a slasher film, he totally wanted to play the killer since he loved the Halloween films and Friday the 13th movies. So, I cast him to play the character and he helped come up with the name for our killer. Then, I cast myself and my wife (Danielle Ackerman who plays Winnie) and Tim's wife Becky Nydell (Debrah). Our lead is played by Lydia Jessop (Sara) - I saw her perform with Tim in a play at the theater and contacted her after that about the movie and she came on board. Then, we grabbed D.J. Sherwood (Mark) who had acted before on film and said yes to the part. Don Earl (Nugent) I know through my day job at the television station and he auditioned and was cast. Will Ponder (Boon) was cast after I bumped into him while I was out and about and told him about the movie and he was happy to help out and I cast him in a part. I went around, asked local buisnesses if they'd like to be featured in the fim in cameos as a victims in the movie. So, we got the Hamilton Players, Chapter One Bookstore, Adore' Hair and Design Salon, and River Rising Bakery to be in the film. I cast the film with friends and family and locals.


A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?


So, I kept an open mind to changes that may occure or need to happen while on set due to lack of budget and schedule. Plus, I knew it would in fact create a look and feel to our film no matter what. The other thing I made sure that every shoot day or night was fun for us all. And we had a blast!


The $64 question of course, when and where will Karpenter be released?


We are currently working on that. I've entered the film into a number of festivals and had a festival contact me about the film already. We are currently looking for distribution, too. But very very soon.


Slasher films are for some reason especially prone to sequels - so is there at all a possibility there will ever be a Karpenter 2 ... and/or other future projects you'd like to share?


There could very well be a Karpenter sequel or prequel. My friend Tim Nydell (Karpenter) already wants to see a number of Karpenters made. In fact he told me he started developing a Karpenter 2 script already, ha ha. My wife even said after seeing our character Nugent talk about Karpenter's past that there is for sure a prequel there. We will see what happens. And yes, as of now, I have a noir black and white miniseries called Grid Street coming out soon this next month on our YouTube Channel and Amazon Prime/Amazon Video Streaming it's like Dick Tracy and Sin City meets the Batman Animated Series kind of show. And I'm developing a new science fiction horror feature film called Spacelock that will be coming out soon this next year. Will Ponder (Boon) and I are developing a project near this summer to shoot that he and a friend have been writing, too. So, a lot of cool fun things are coming soon, ha ha.


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


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Your shop for all things Thai

My website: - and Karpenter site is and Facebook page and IMDb page is and a BTS is at

FastCoast Productions YouTube channel:


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


Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to keep up to date on Karpenter news and upcoming new projects. Please visit our site and contact us if you would like to get involved with our films by donating or volunteering and so on. Thanks so much!


Thanks for the interview!


Thank you for getting us out there! My pleasure!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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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