Your upcoming movie Hell Town - in a few words, what's it
going to be about?
is a soap-opera slasher film set in a
small American town. Two families clash over love,
fortune, and betrayal; all the while a serial killer offs the football
team one-by-one in gruesome and horrifying scenes. Imagine
the love child of Heathers and Nightmare
on Elm Street.
How did the project come together in
the first place - and perhaps connected to that, what can you tell us
about your co-director Elizabeth Spear, and how did you first hook up?
and I first met at a very surreal lunch with Rutger Hauer at a film
festival in Texas. We instantly bonded over our shared
love of melodrama and murder, backstabbing and betrayal, over-the-top
storylines and horrifying death scenes.
is described as "part soap opera, part slasher film" -
quite obviously, you have to elaborate on that!
this era of Netflix TV-series binge watching, we thought it would be a fun
concept to treat the film as if it were three episodes in the middle of an
already established TV show. Weíre billing the film
as episodes 7, 8 and 9 from Season Two of Hell Town. Complete
with cliffhangers at the end of each episode.
would you describe your film's approach to horror (as in atmospheric vs
all-out gore, suspense vs sudden shocks, dead serious vs tongue-in-cheek
and the like)?
say weíre doing a mix of all of the above. There are
moments of totally disgusting images, while other times itís more
suggestive and atmospheric. Likewise, there are
sequences that will build some great tension and suspense, and then some
awesome surprise/shock moments.
What can you tell us about your film's
intended look and feel as such?
the overall tone is slightly tongue-in-cheek, it isnít parody at all.
Weíre treating Hell Town
very seriously. The
blacks will be inky black, with vivid colors, and top-notch cinematography
by Daniel Stephens.
Do talk about your
tentative cast for a bit, and why exactly these people?
worked with Oscar winners and Golden Globe winners like Karen Black, music
icons like Mike Patton (Faith No More), Kevin Richardson (Backstreet Boys)
and Jane Wiedlin (The Go-Goís), cult icons like Mink Stole, and paired
them against total unknowns discovered in small-town USA. For Hell Town,
Elizabeth and I wanted to form a group of fresh faces for the
primary cast and then add cult performers like Pleasant Gehman or Betti O.
in the special guest parts.I'm thrilled to be working with relative
unknowns fresh on the scene. These performers are incredible.
far as I know, Hell Town
is currently in its fundraising stages -
so what can you tell us about your fundraising efforts?
going great so far! In addition to Indiegogo weíre
also gathering a nice group of outside sponsors who will help make Hell Town
a community event. So that everyone involved is
part of the team and will really feel included in the project.
your funds are raised, how do you plan to proceed, and any idea (however
tentative) yet when and where the film might be released onto the general
Filming takes place end of
May and beginning of June 2014. In my experience
releasing previous movies, it usually takes about a year from the time of
the shoot before someone can hold a DVD or stream VOD. But,
sometimes it happens sooner.
Any future projects beyond Hell Town
you'd like to share?
Iím working on
a top-secret project with Susan Traylor, so I canít really talk about
that. But, I can tell you Iíve recently made my first
mainstream film Firecracker (starring Karen Black) available on Vimeo On
Demand. Even though it was released globally in 2005
and the late Roger Ebert named it on his list of that yearís best films,
itís impossible to find. And the Vimeo platform is
What got you into filmmaking in the
first place, and did you receive any formal education on the subject?
a kid, Iíve always been doing it. But it wasnít
until after I went to CalArts film school that I started to take it
seriously. I'm not a huge fan of film school. I think I
learned more by actually making films than I did studying them.
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Hell Town?
Pep Squad was my first film, which was a satire about American school
violence. We were in talks with a major studio to
release the film when the Columbine high school massacre happened, and
then it got shelved and no one would touch it. It ended
up coming out two years later in 2001. In the years
since, Iíve made 11 movies. Firecracker , which I
mentioned before, Watch Out was a festival favorite; Casserole
invited by the US Library of Congress for its permanent collection; and Culture
Shock and Far Flung Star were filmed in London and Paris, and Hong
Kong, illegally without permits!
would you describe yourself as a director?
working, easy going, driven, organized, focused; yet fun? I
hope Iím fun. (laughs)
who inspire you?
Hitchcock is my
favorite. I also love all of Kubrickís movies.
Your favourite movies?
a toss up between Vertigo (Hitchcock) and Night of the Iguana (John
and of course, films you really deplore?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
donít like movies that are treated like music videos. You
know, the ones that have hardly any storyline and are just made up of
montage scenes set to various songs that seem to start as soon as the
previous song ends.
movie's website, Facebook, IndieGoGo, whatever else?
has articles on filmmaking posted every Wednesday.
Culture Shock on www.Vimeo.com/ondemand/cultureshock
Far Flung Star on www.Vimeo.com/ondemand/farflungstar
else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
I guess Iíll close by saying, ďBe a #hellion for #helltown!Ē
for the interview!
My pleasure! Thank you!