Your new movie Murdaritaville
- in a few words, what is it about?
Itís about a small orphan boy who learns the true meaning of Christmas. No, in
all seriousness itís about a group of friends that start getting killed
by a half-man, half parrot.
has a certain Jimmy Buffet-theme to it - so to the uninitiated like me,
could you explain Jimmy Buffett as such, your fascination with the man and
his music, and what inspired you to have of all things a horror movie
revolving around him and his work?
BuffettÖ the man, the myth, the pop of trop rock. He was a singer who
really created his own genre of music, a sort of country/rock/tropical
hybrid that took on a life of its own. He was a tremendous businessman in
addition to being a singer/songwriter. Thereís Margaritaville branded
booze, cruise lines, a casino on the Vegas strip, even old folks homes and
trailer parks. This sort of ďbeach-lifeĒ lifestyle cropped up around
him and his music. The reason I made the film was primarily because Iím
a fan and I wanted to combine my two great loves, bad movies and cheesy
being a slasher movie, is this at all a genre dear to you, and some of
your genre favourites?
I was around 10 my dad brought the first Friday the 13th movie home from
the local video store and it scared the shit out of me. Between Kevin
Bacon getting the throat jab to baby Jason jumping out of the water, it
was the most terrified Iíve ever been, before or since. After that I was
hooked and I had a steady diet of 80s/90s horror and Mel Brooks/Monty
Python, all of which has led me to being the very well adjusted person I
Other sources of inspiration when
two things that come to mind are: You Canít Kill Stephen King which is a
very similar kind of movie, admittedly that one makes much more sense
being a horror film, but itís this weird homage comedy that I think is
very underrated. The other one is this American Express ad with Martin
Scorsese that I re-watch before I make anything. It's basically him
critiquing family photos he took at his nephewís birthday party and it
hits much harder than it should - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0VQ4NwjW1E
together with one of your leads, Dylan McGovern - so what was your
collaboration like when writing your movie?
actually wasnít supposed to act in the film at all, the original actor
had to drop out at the very last minute because of a death in the family
and so we plugged Dylan in there at the last minute, which explains why
heís so badÖ Every film is different, for this one, I wrote a great
script that I loved, but it was only 30 pages long, so I reached out to
Dylan about punching it up, so
he put some meat into it and then we went back and forth till we had a
draft that we both didnít hate.
What can you
tell us about Murdaritaville's
approach to both horror and comedy?
the comedy side, Iím a big believer in the idea that the best joke wins.
There are scripted bits, but usually on set an actor will say a line and
then Iíll throw out an alternate joke, or weíll let them improv, Iím
very un-precious about it, I just want the funniest thing to win. Having
said that, sometimes I will keep jokes that are painfully unfunny because
that also makes me laugh. In terms of the horror, I have a thing about
birds, they freak me out. For a more douchey answer, comedy and horror
function in a similar way in that itís tension rising and then
releasing. So the longer you can hold the tension, the greater the release
isÖ that sounded much more sexual than I meant it to, letís move on.
A few words about
your directorial approach to your story at hand?
drunk, edit sober. I find that it keeps the horrors of the universe at
key cast, and why exactly these people?
Duvic [Jenna-Francis Duvic
interview - click here] - met her through a director friend who had worked with her, she was
just beautiful, charming and talented.
Campos - Iíve known her for years, she and I did a commercial together
and had a great time. Iíve wanted to work with her again, but never had
a part that really worked for her, and when this one came up I was able to
finally get her into one of these movies.
Naulty - is a very sexual man.
McGovern - has information on me that I canít have come out as it would
ruin my career, so Iím forced to work with him as he blackmails me
Simoneaux - cost me $6,000 in Key West one time and now works for free in
all my films in an effort to pay off that debt.
What can you
tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
shot at a family friendís fishing camp in Southern Mississippi, so
youíre out there in this gorgeous location blasting Jimmy Buffett music,
drinking beer and making a movie about a birdman. In short, it was hell.
The main downside was that we were shooting in July/August, so every day
was 38 degrees Celsius or more, which sucksÖ
$64-question of course, where can Murdaritaville
can get Murdaritaville
on our website bythehorns.store
on digital and
physical media versions. Itís available right now for pre-order and
itíll go onto Amazon on March 1. But if youíre going to get it, just
go direct, Jeff Bezos doesnít need another rocket.
Anything you can tell us about audience and
critical reception of Murdaritaville?
my mother hated it, which is always a good sign. The overwhelming majority
of people who have actually watched the damned thing seem to like it.
Weíve gotten some very upset articles of folks who think the thing is in
bad taste given that Jimmy Buffett died so recently. Two things about that:
1. We were in post on the film when he died.
2. If you feel that way, go
F#@K yourself. In all honesty, I think itís a nice send off to a singer
who I loved so much.
future projects you'd like to share?
have a movie that I really want to make called When Igor Met Sally: A
romantic-horror-comedy, sing-along, drinking-game film. That Iím hoping
to make this year. Itís the best thing Iíve ever written, but thatís
got a lot of moving pieces.
What got you into
directing in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on
pissed in the family camcorder when I was 3 and after that my
psycho-sexual Fruedian obsession with cinema began. On the weekends as a
kid my brother and I would make movies and that never really stopped.
Technically, I studied film in college, and in hind-sight I shouldíve
been a plumber. Film school is not a place to go if you want to make
movies. But it was a great place to hook up with weird artsy chicks, so I
got that goin' for me, which is nice.
What can you tell us about your filmwork
prior to Murdaritaville?
made my first feature, while still in college, I figured they werenít
going to teach me how to make a film, so Iíd better make one myself. I
took my savings and made a movie. Itís a bad film with great actors and
some great moments, but I learned a lot. After that, I decided I needed to
make films faster, so I made Silent But Deadly, a killer mime
horror/comedy. It was less polished, but a lot more fun. From there I
tried to branch out and do something different, I made a picture called
Fast Food and Cigarettes Again. It was an interesting picture that
didnít really work, in spite of some really great people being involved.
Then I made Sewer Gators, on which I really figured out how to make a film
at this level. Then Killer
Kites, the less said about that one the better
and then this. Jesus, that was a long answer, Iím sorry Iíll try to go
back to being funny again.
would you describe yourself as a director?
well-hung and charming, but your mileage may vary.
who inspire you?
Scorsese is the GOAT. But I think anyone who works outside the Hollywood
system and is able to push that Sysyphian boulder up the hill is an
inspiration. I donít care how shit the film is, I think a crap movie
that exists is more impressive than the greatest movie ever thatís stuck
in someoneís head.
Your favourite movies?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results?
The links below
will take you
Too many to count, it changes day to day. Iíll just go in terms of horror
and comedy. Hereditary, Bride of
Frankenstein, Behind the Mask: The Rise of
Leslie Vernon. Comedy: Blazing Saddles, Naked Gun, Life of Brian.
and of course, films you really deplore?
canít stand Terrence Mallick movies. They look beautiful, but I can only
handle so much of actors whispering nonsense at curtains.
movie's website, social media, whatever else?
or @bythehornstv on Instagram and Twitter, or whatever the hell itís
Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
once ran from a pack of rabid dogs in Cuba, but thatís a story for
for the interview!