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An Interview with Matt Jaissle, Director of 300 Killers

by Mike Haberfelner

December 2010

Films directed by Matt Jaissle on (re)Search my Trash

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Your new film is called 300 Killers. In a few words, what is it about?


I shot it under the title Drug Cult. It's basically about a group of lobotomized junkies that take over a city in the Pacific Northwest. They're controlled by a figure called The Pusher. They start taking over all the vices and killing all the cops, and it's basically a chase movie that takes place in this backdrop.


What were your inspirations for the film, and is its plot somehow rooted in reality?


Well, I live in the city, and I know a few junkies and see how things work in that world, so I just kind of fancified the reality a little bit.


The title of the film alone, 300 Killers, doesn't exactly suggest a feelgood movie with lots of women hugging each other. How far do you go in terms of violence and gore?


I actually wanted to be somewhat mainstream on this picture, So there is quite a bit of violence, but I don't linger on it too long. My plan actually worked out because Brain Damage Films put it out on their mainstream label, Midnight Releasing.


A few words about your main cast, and how easy/difficult was it to get the right ensemble?


At this level it's all luck. I actually cast this picture using people I know from around town. Most of the 300 Killers were actual junkies. Not so much for realism but because they work cheap (it's not funny but it's true).


The film has both horror- and action-motives to it. Did you favour one over the other, and what do you prefer to direct, what do you prefer to watch?


I always liked the mix of the two, Romero's Dead-films and such always felt to me as much action as they were horror.


300 Killers was your first feature film in about 10 years. Why the long hiatus, and what have you done in the meantime?


Well, back in the 90's I had three successful pictures in a row, and they kind of snowballed each other that way. My fourth movie was Anti-Hero, I financed that one myself and lost my ass. So I guess I became a bit afraid to start another one for a while.


How has indie-filmmaking changed in the years you were absent, and what got you back into the director's chair eventually?


Well, obviously, any kid can go to Best Buy and pick up a $100.00 camera that's probably better than the one I used on The Necro Files. And Final Cut Pro is so available. We had to cut The Necro Files in a linear editing bay that cost us $5,000.00 a week to rent!


Let's go to the very beginnings of your career as a filmmaker: What got you making movies in the first place, and did you have any formal education?


No formal education. I started making Super 8mm shorts when I was about 11. Super 8mm was such a great learning medium because it was so expensive; I really had to plan out whatever I was shooting. It was like a miniature version of a real film set. Then, 16mm was the obvious extension of that. I started shooting my first 16mm film in 1988. That became Back From Hell.


Back from Hell from 1993 - a few words about that one?

The only film ever made by drunk teenagers to get a world-wide release. It took me five years to make that thing, but I stuck with it. No computers anywhere back then. I had to cut the soundtracks together on mag stock and have the whole thing mixed on a real sound mixing stage. The sound mix alone on that picture took me over a year to piece together (with tape, literally). Anyway, you can find it on video & DVD in several Horror Comp boxed sets. It's got a lot of gore.


Back from Hell was followed by Legion of the Dead in 1995. What can you tell us about that one?


That was my "BIG" picture. By big I mean more than $20,000.00. The second and last time I used 16mm. I had a good cast, but again, was way, way underfunded. I wrote it as a kind of multi-million dollar summer blockbuster thing and had to do it for pennies. It got a huge release, though. The distributor made nearly $500,000.00 on foreign sales alone. That's about a ten times return on the production cost.

The film you are probably most famous/notorious for is the black comedy The Necro Files from 1997. You have to talk about that one for a bit!


Video was just becoming acceptable, and I wanted to do something smaller so I could just concentrate on style and have fun with it. We knew the best way to get attention is by shocking people. I thought if I could shock them (zombie rapist with 3' dick) but also make it look good at the same time, I might have something that stuck around for awhile. I guess it's managed to linger around for a little while anyway. Oh, and everyone seems to like the Floating Demon Baby.


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Writer/producer/director Todd Tjersland [Todd Tjersland interview - click here] has a hand in pretty much all of your early films. What can you tell us about him, and how did your association with him come into being?


He carried Back from Hell in his mail order catalog and did pretty well with it, so I got him to cough up some dough for another one. He ended up "mostly" financing Legion of the Night and The Necro Files. His involvement was purely financial.


Any future projects you'd like to talk about?


300 KIllers was an experiment in commercialism. The next picture will probably be something more like The Necro Files again! Why not, I'm still young!


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


You can check out 300 Killers on Facebook (I'm there too)!


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
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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




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