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An Interview with Jason Horton, Producer of Hitchhiker Massacre

by Mike Haberfelner

October 2013

Jason Horton on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new movie Hitchhiker Massacre - in a few words, what is it about?

 

Hitchhikers and Massacres.

 

How did the project come together in the first place, and how did you get involved as a producer?

 

The writer/director (James L. Bills) has had the script kicking around for a few years. While he was busy working on big TV shows like Revolutions and Sleepy Hollow, I was directing and producing a long string of very low budget features. When it came time to make his first low budget narrative feature, he came to me to produce.

 

Do talk about Hitchhiker Massacre's director James L. Bills for a bit, and what was your collaboration like - and since you're a director yourself first and foremost, how on- or off-hands have you been during production?

 

It was 100 percent his movie. I simply brought it into being. James L. Bills is probably the most enthusiastic filmmaker I've ever met. He's about 10 years older than me and I'm in awe of his energy. The really cool thing about working with him on something like Hitchhiker Massacre is in other hands this could easily be a mean-spirited exploitive piece of work. But with James' childlike enthusiasm the exploitation and gore is almost cute.  There were points during production where it was difficult for me not to speak up as a director, but James is super collaborative and while he does have a specific vision, he's always open to suggestions.

 

To what extent could you identify with the 80's grindhouse style of the movie?

 

I grew up in the 80's. That aesthetic is firmly engrained in my psyche, as it is in James. Visually and tonally, I think we captured it pretty well.

 

What can you tell us about your cast, and did you have any say in that matter?

 

The cast was great. James had most of them in mind before auditions. I brought in Allen Perada (Trap and Monsters in the Woods) as the sheriff. And would like to think Stephanie Gerard was my pick. But James gets 100% credit for the others, especially Ely LaMay, she was a great find.

 

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

 

The first third of the shoot was on location in the main 666 house. It was miserable, physically. While it was perfect for the movie, the place was absolutely disgusting. However, it kind of brought the cast in crew together in an "us against nature" kind of way. It ended up working nicely for the movie. The rest of the shoot was all cherries after that.

 

The $64-question of course, when and where will the film be released onto the general public?

 

I'd say summer to spring 2014.

 

Any future projects beyond Hitchhiker Massacre you'd like to share?

 

The next up for Retrofocus Pictures is Chophouse. I wrote and will direct/produce that one. It's a pretty gruesome urban cannibal flick. Then right after that we're doing a crazy vampire flick called Worm. I wrote that one as well, James will direct. The plan is to complete another two movies after that, before summer.

 




As mentioned above, you're first and foremost a director - so what got you into filmmaking to begin with, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?

 

I never loved anything as much as I loved movies. Instead of playing sports, I watched movies. I got a BA in film production from the University of New Orleans. But I learned most everything I know from actually watching and making movies.

 

What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Hitchhiker Massacre?

 

I wrote and directed my first feature, Rise of the Undead, in 2003. I followed that up with Edges of Darkness in 2007. Between the two I edited a string of low budget, faith movies. Then I wrote and directed Trap in 2009 and Monsters in the Woods in 2010. Because of my ability to complete work on schedule and on very low budgets, I was hired by a couple of companies as a director and editor. Between 2011 and present, I directed another ten low budget flicks, mostly faith, comedy and drama. But I'm very happy to be back working in horror.

 

One can't help but notice you do return to the horror genre time and again - a genre at all dear to you, and why (not)?

 

Horror is just fun. I love all kinds of movies and like to work in other genres, but time and time again, I'm just amazed at the overall enthusiasm of the cast and crew while working on horror flicks, as opposed to other genres. It's infectious.

 

How would you describe yourself as a director?

 

Collaborative. Story first. Good with visual composition.

 

Filmmakers who inspire you?

 

John Carpenter. John Woo. John Ford. (That’s it for the Johns.) Tarantino. Walter Hill. Curon. Del Toro.

 

Your favourite movies?

 

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Aliens. World According to Garp. John Carpenter's The Thing. Children of Men. Reservoir Dogs. The Killer.

 

... and of course, films you really deplore?

 

The Baby Genius-saga.

 

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

 

https://www.facebook.com/hitchhikermassacre

https://www.jasonhorton.biz

 

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

 

Nope.

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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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
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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
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

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

out now on DVD