Drew, the film seems to somewhat of a throwback to the classic horror films. Which ones in particular were an influence?
Billy Club is definitely a homage to several classic horror films. We tried to create our own version of a killer that could hang out with Jason or Freddy or Mike Myers. The scene of our killer building his weapon in the beginning is an homage to Nightmare on Elm Street. Some of the kills are also nods to our favorite horror flicks from the 80s and 90s. The main difference is that we play with the familiar masked killer trope by giving him a backstory that humanizes him and makes you feel sorry for him. We tried to explore more of our killer’s past and why they became who they are we wanted to dive even deeper into that.
Is it fair to say the films of Kevin Williamson also were an influence?
Scream was the ultimate 90s slasher film. Our first film, Blood Junkie, was a throwback to the mid-80s so we wanted to try 90s with Billy Club. We decide on the baseball theme because it has so many great elements that lined up with the Slasher film format. Baseball gave us a great weapon, childhood memories and a great villain masked as the umpire controlling the rules of the game.
The film definitely has it’s tongue firmly planted in cheek. Do you think horror films can be too serious, and forget to have fun?
We always try to have fun with everything we do. First and foremost our films are passion projects. We’re not paying ourselves to make them so we really want to enjoy every aspect of process and make it an adventure. That said, we love humor and making fun of ourselves and horror is a perfect genre for that. We like to take the viewer on a little ride through several different genres. Billy Club has horror scenes, comedy scene and also some great dramatic performances.
Your cast is terrific. How did you find them?
We like to select actors that are passionate about investing themselves into a role and people that are excited about creating something together as a team. Half of the principal characters were cast out of LA and the other half were from Milwaukee. We made Blood Junkie in Wisconsin 2 years before and a lot of those character found their way into Billy Club. We also did a larger amount of craigslist and word-of-mouth casting calls.
Is a lot of your own money tied up in this? Or were you lucky enough to have it financed elsewhere?
We invested a good chunk of our own money and also raised a good portion through a Kickstarter campaign that our families, friends and fans were generous enough to donate to. However, our largest funds came from our Executive Producers Blaine Vess and Todd Clemens.
They say horror is such an easy sell, is that part of the reason you make horror movies?
Well it turns out nothing is an easy sell. Except Celebrities. If you plaster a star’s face on a poster and their name in the credits people will watch. However, horror is usually more marketable especially at the indie level. I think it’s because horror fans don’t judge the quality of a film based on who’s in it or what the budget is. They are die hard fans and more interested in story than production value. Most horror fans realize that by buying a DVD you are directly supporting the filmmakers who make them and helping us to make more films. Bottom line, we make movies for ourselves. These are passion projects not business models.
The film is getting both a digital and DVD release. Do you believe VOD is the way of the future? Has it opened more doors for filmmakers?
VOD opens some door and closes others. In the glory days of DVD, getting your film in Blockbuster would all but guaranteed profitable movie. In the age of VOD it could really go both ways. Discs are becoming a way of the past but a lot of horror fans still like to own the hard copy. The Internet opens doors for self distribution but new filmmaking technology is also flooding the online markets with more films and filmmakers than ever before. It’s hard to sift through what’s good and what’s bad and there isn’t many platforms to showcase standout low-budget movies. We don’t know what the future holds but were gonna keep doing what we love. For now, with the release of Billy Club slated for November 4th, we’re ready to sit back, have a beer and hopefully people will hop on and enjoy the ride.