Your new film Bloody
Christmas - in a few words, what is it about?
on the outside is about a sad clown Santa kicking the shit
out of a child murdering killer Priest. On the inside the film represents a
chaotic America, a country divided by perceptions. And what better way to show
America in chaos than Christmas? Overall, with lunacy and drama happening,
the film comes off comedic as intended.
Very basic question: Why Christmas, and what does the holiday mean to you?
Christmas doesn't really mean that much to me to be honest. I actually hate
Christmas. I hate the dumb ass holiday consumers, people wasting there money
on useless material items. Families pretending that they get along, and
expressing "love" by giving each other gifts. From a religious stand
point Christians don't even know the exact date Jesus was born. Christmas
sucks. It's just stupidity, and wasteful spending at its best.
Your sources of inspiration when writing Bloody
Well, I really like the sad clown characters a lot. I unintentionally bit off
of the Twilight
Zone. I think the episode was called Night of the Meek. I
remember watching this episode and feeling so bad for the Santa character. I
also remember how heart warming the story was too.
Your washed-out ex-action star turned mall Santa Rich Tague is
such a rich character - who or what was he based on, and to what extent do
you identify with him yourself?
Rich Tague, is just a
person that anybody could relate to and feel bad for. So no matter how
much he fantasizes about doing ruthless acts, or how much violence he
commits you still love him. I also made him with "What if Charles
Bronson went to shit before the 80's"? I always imagined that Rich,
had a happy wife and lovely daughter. That at one time he purchased that
Chevy Caprice brand new right off the lot. Then one day, his daughter got
hooked on junk, prostituted herself, died, his wife committed suicide, and
his brand new car was dieing inside such as him. Make sense?
How would you describe
your directorial approach to your subject matter?
perfectly honest, at the time I had only made three short films. The first
was really good, the second was terrible, and third was ok. So I began
as yet another short to experiment with comedy. I cast it, then sent out the scripts. Next thing I know, I had all of the
actors calling me up saying "Mike, this script is really good, make it
into a feature!" But at the time I wasn't sure if I had the
confidence to actually make a feature. All I had was 2,500 dollars, and a
camera that only shot HDV (mini HDV). Eventually I decided to do it with
only that. I got to really say thank you to Robert Youngren for helping me
build my confidence.
times, Bloody Christmas
is pretty gory - so what can you tell us about your effects-work, and was
there ever a line you refused to cross (for other than budgetary reasons)?
This is a really tuff question to answer. I really like violence in
cinema, there is something about it that draws me into the movie. I love
the ultra gory Lucio Fulci films [Lucio
Fulci bio - click here], and am greatly inspired by 1970's
Italian horror. But I was really trying to make most of the violence
comedic and over the top. Most of the violence is in Santa's head and is
how he perceives violence from a filmmaking point of view. And the real
violence that he acts out is less climactic due to the reality of the
matter. I express this after Rich kills the abusive father, soon after the
murder he sits on the couch and has a sober realization of "what have
I done?". I feel it is an amazing contrast from a phoney campastic
candy cane to the head to silent painful act of violence.
James Balsamo, Geretta Geretta
just have to talk about your cast a little bit!
I love them
all, everyone did an amazing job! Robert Youngren and Steve Montague are
two actors that will literally rip out their hearts and bleed for any filmmaker's project. Geretta Geretta I was always a big fan of, I remember
watching her in Demons, and Fulci's
Murder Rock. She was also fantastic to
work with. Great personality. Mary Arden from Blood and Black Lace was
cool as hell too. She had no censor button on her, she always said what
she felt, a very strong willed and talented woman. I remember her telling
my special effects guy that his shirt looked stupid and he was dumb. Mary
was funny as fuck. But honestly I think I can go on and on about how much
I loved everyone involved, so I just want to take this moment to say thank
you to everyone who acted in the film. I couldn't have made it with out
you. You were all amazing, and I very much appreciate all of you time and
effort - this movie wouldn't be shit without you guys.
you tell us about the actual shoot and the on-set atmosphere?
day was a long 12-16 hour day. But it was fun, the atmosphere was really
laid back when the cops weren't trying to arrest me. We ate sushi, pasta,
drank, and cracked jokes. Good times.
can you tell us about critical and audience reception of Bloody
The general population loved Bloody Christmas. Matter of fact I
remember selling out the Demented Film Fest. Everyone loved it. I think
3/5 critics really enjoyed our film. The other critics hated it. But hey,
it's a movie made with a budget of only 2,500 dollars with one guy
directing, editing, casting, location scouting, producing, writing, on
camera, lighting, story boarding, financing, picking people up from the
train, helping out with effects, creating the music, acting, and whatever else you can think of. Matter of fact all of the names in the
opening credits and ending credits are fake. You think I want to type
Shershenovich over and over again for all of those credits? Haha!
Let's go back to the beginnings of
your career: What got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you
receive any formal education on the subject?
As a kid
I was a musician, I floated around in a few bands, then became a rapper. I
met this one guy who owned a wedding video company, and also did
commercials. He needed a recording booth to do VO's, I needed a recording
booth to do songs. So we worked shit out. I would help him with the camera
equipment, and he would let me record. Eventually he taught me how to
rebuild the old JVC's from scratch and taught me the basics to editing
and filming. On my down time I was playing chess with Big John Thorburn
and we became really tight, that guy was like a second father to me. He
really looked out for me and kept me out of so much trouble. This guy was
super smart, and wise as hell. Funny, sarcastic and really good people. I
got mad love for this dude. Anyway... he linked me and R.A up and got me
involved in Bad Biology. That's how I met Nicholas Muserilli the Executive
Christmas. We both got the movie making bug on that
As far as I
know, one of your first assignments in the movieworld was working on Frank
Henenlotter's Bad Biology
- now what was that experience like?
Bad Biology was fucking crazy! I remember me and R.A sleeping in the box
truck, hitting the mayor's car with the box truck, waking up sick
because all we ate was white castles, exploding toilets, stories of the
mansion being lit on fire during filming, and getting shit faced drunk.
I remember the lead actress hating me and tried telling R that I punched
her in the vagina. Overall it was a really fun shoot, and I think that
movie came out amazing. Frank Henenlotter is a fantastic director, and
R.A is an incredible producer. Those two taught me so much. I really
wouldn't be doing shit if it wasn't for R.A, Big John, and Frank.
Any other filmwork
of yours prior to Bloody Christmas
you want to talk about?
Christmas is the
first feature I directed, and had a speaking role in.
Any future projects
you'd like to share?
I am currently in production of my
second feature... I am trying to keep it as hush hush as possible. But all
I can say is: think Death Wish meets Dario Argento's Tenebre. So far we
got 30 percent of the script shot, and are shooting with some of the best
equipment. Schooly D is in it too. Ok, that's enough about that...
How would you describe yourself as
I don't know. Ask me that when I have a budget
to just be the director.
Filmmakers who inspire you?
shit were do I start? Mario Bava [Mario
Bava bio - click here], Lucio Fulci [Lucio
Fulci bio - click here], Federico Fellini, Stanley
Kubrick, Alenjandro Jodorowsky, David Lynch, Michael Winner, Enzo G.
Castellari [Enzo G.
Castellari bio - click here], George Romero, Frank Henenlotter, John Carpenter, and
Park Chan-wook .
I think my favorite flicks are: Old
Boy, Once Upon a Time in the West,
The Good The Bad The Ugly, Keoma,
Death Wish, The Shining, and The
Beyond. That's not in any order, just off the top of the head.
... and of course, films you really
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Oh shit, there are some really bad fucking movies
out there. From what genre? What decade? Was I in them? Hahaha. Umm...
Let's just go with a top three crappy films from talented directors? I
mean we all know Zombie Chronicles is garbage, and almost everything from
the 90's is pure shit. So yeah, we'll go with directors I really love, but
the films I really hate by them. 1: Season of the Witch by George Romero
2: Lolita by Stanley Kubrick 3: Muholland Drive by David Lynch.
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever
Buy Bloody Christmas at http://mvdb2b.com/s/BloodyChristmas/MVD5477D -
and check out the FB for updates and news.
Anything else you are dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
No you pretty much got it covered.
I just want to give thanks to everyone, for really giving Bloody
Christmas your all. All the Bob's, Steve, Vinny, Nova, Brooke, my b queen b Geretta,
Mary Arden, everyone. Thank you so much. And a big thanks to Big John
Thorburn, thank you for looking out from above and thank you for keeping me
out of trouble.
Thanks for the interview!