|The other major part of IAV's direct influence comes straight out of the Witchfinder General song titled 'Friends of Hell'|
| Some of you may know about Richard R. Anasky's upcoming film called I Am Vengeance (aka the Revenge Biography). Basically it's an independent horror/splatter/acid movie directed, shot and produced by Mr. Anasky. The most interesting part of the film is it's soundtrack - it consists of old school doom/heavy rock bands like Count Raven, Las Cruces, Blood Farmers, and Dan Fondelius (of Count Raven) composing songs exclusively for the film. I Am Vengeance's soundtrack volume one is out now on Meteorcity Records and the second volume will soon be released by Game Two Records (including bands such as Grief, Church of Misery, Pentagram and Mirror of Deception). In other words, I Am Vengeance is the very first doom metal movie!|
As I mentioned, the film is not released yet as it's entering the post-production now. The making of IAV has been a hard road for Mr. Anasky - not only it's the first movie he makes (he had no filming knowledge or experience prior to the making of IAV), but he had to shoot the movie time after time because the previous casts didn't have the motivation or commitment, or their egos were too big. Most of the actors of IAV are doing their first movie roles and since IAV is a no-budget movie, they're doing it for free or what's more important, for the love of it. Now it's the third version of IAV that's going to be edited soon and having seen the promos of the film, I can tell you it's something to look forward to.
That'll do for an intro babble. I interviewed Mr. Anasky via email about IAV. Enjoy the interview!
First of all Ritchie, how's the film processing? Last time I asked (it was around last year's December) you were starting to edit IAV.
"Well things seem to be pretty much "back on track" and looking UP again. I'm back into the whole pre post production phase (I got knocked off course for over a month due to a hard drive FREaK oUT) of watching raw footage, selecting the potentialy usable takes and then getting them labeled and stored into various drawers in my editing system. This is an incredibly tedious and time consuming part of the process and I can't wait for it to be DONE.
Anyway. I'm expecting to be into full time editing at some time late in March 2002. It all depends on how long it takes me to locate and decide on which dialouge takes are usable (all the remaining violence/action/charactor development footage should be completely in within a week or so). After that the first challenge will be to re-create the entire opening of the flick as I was never able to arrange the NEEDED re-shoots which would've allowed for the original opening to play out as it was written. It'll be interesting to see how things turn out since even I don't know (for sure) how the film will open at this moment. Not bad eh? The fun never ends.
Do you think this kind of cinema appeals to doom metal/heavy rock fans? Have people showed interest?
"All that matters to me is that Doom/Metal/Heavy Rock fans find IAV appealing. If that happens, then I'm happy :-)
In reallity I don't think that no budget "underground" cinema appeals to ANY select group as a "whole" (well outside of the people who are actually involved in making these type of flicks). In some ways I see it a lot like the Doom scene in that it's not readily accessable and it gets ZERO mainstream attention (or respect). The difference is that while bands putting out Doom are putting out completely professional sounding material that looks and sounds as good as anything being put out by the majors. The no budget filmmaker's work is generaly regulated to various forms of video or Super 8 film (you shoot on whatever format you can get your hands on or afford) which generally turns people off (they're so used to those glossy Hollywood mega budget flicks that anything less is generally viewed as cheap worthless shit). Beyond the format issues, not many people (talking of your basic mainstreamers/majority) are drawn to films that feature NO over-rated/hyped "name" actors/directors/overdone special effects or whatever. I do think that some of the fans of Doom (and underground metal) music could find a lot to enjoy in some underground flicks (at least those made between "93"-"97") simply because the artistic attitude is the same in some ways. The flicks (like the music) are being made outside of the mainstream and from the heart (for the most part). It's not about money (I don't think a person plays Doom or makes a z-grade film because they expect to get rich (though it would be nice if ya could obviously) because the artists pretty much go in knowing that the appeal will be very select and limited). It's that independent spirit/heart that initially drew me to the no budget film scene. I found honesty in the artists work (as I did in the music I liked) and I personally respected that. It's a shame that the whole indie film scene that drew me in has seemingly dried up and died. There were some really good Directors coming up and it's too bad none of them really got the break or recognition they deserved (much the same as with bands like Witchfinder General and too many others to even mention).
Anyway. I figure that my best case scenerio/hope is that IAV can be a good debut film (or at least show some potential for my future work) so that it can kind of create/find it's own audiance amongst people's who's tastes reside beyond the mainstream and who's interests are basically similar to my own (Old school Doom, Splatter and No budget flicks, exploitation films etc.).
Interest in IAV kind of comes in waves. Initially the majority of interest was coming from various Zines, magazines and some of the musicians involved. Lately the interest/support has been coming more from various individuals (who have heard about the flick via the 1st soundtracks release or have seen the 2 music video/promo trailers) which has been VERY cool. It's great (and always surprising) to hear from people who are behind the film and are looking forward to it's eventual release. It makes it all worthwile and definately keeps me motivated.
Interest/support on a local level (where you'd think it would/should be strong) remains the same absolute ZERO that it's always been."
Will there be a distributor or are you personally going to make and sell copies of IAV? How about a DVD version of the movie if people are really interested?
"I seriously HOPE I can hook up with and interest a worthwile distributor(s) (I have NO desire to self distribute). The thing is. As a first time "no name/nobody" Director, I don't have a lot of (actually I don't have ANY) promotable clout so I NEED the film to be able to speak for itself in regard to obtaining decent distribution. Hopefully it can be strong enough (or exploitable enough) to attract a worthwile distributor. One who can actually get the film out there on a decent scale. I'll start researching into various distributors about half way through IAV's final edit. There's a LOT that goes into it (selling various rights off to various countries etc.) Things that I have no clue about but luckilly I have the benefit of some people who've been through this process to guide me through the mazes.
Initially I "may" do a run of maybe 50-100 tapes that I'd sell directly as I think it would be kind of cool to have some contact with people who are actually interested (assuming that there will be some people interested!) in the 1st ever DOOM/Splatter film. Then again, if no decent (non rip off) distribution deals materialise I may be forced to follow the path that cult director Tim Ritter took when making his classic film KILLING SPREE and go deeper into self distribution then I'd ever want to. The problem with self distribution (besides the fact that I don't want to do it) is that it opens yet another realm of expenses (tape duplication, sleeve art, packaging etc.) that I can in NO way meet at this stage (meaning MORE delays on getting the film out there). Anyway, I just gotta hope (and PRAY) for favor to shine on me with that whole distribution deal. I'm into making flicks, not distributing them.
DVD is obviously the way to go these days but that'll fall directly into the hands of a distributor as I can't afford to handle that process on my own. It definately would be cool to have IAV released on that format though. I'm sure the commentary I could do about the making of the flick could be quite entertaining."
You obviously have learned a lot about film-making. Is there something you would like to tell someone who wants to make a small/no budget film?
"I'd say that anyone who has the dream of making a film should seek out ways to make it happen. It's a goal that's well within the grasp of ANYONE who's willing to put in the effort and make the sacrifices that'll be required. The time is definately right for some new creative minds to emerge and breathe life and enthusiasm (and films with actual purpose) back into the no budget/underground/SOV film scenes.
Second I'd say not to let in-expirience be a deterant (if that's a concern/excuse) in chasing the movie dream. I had ZERO film making expirience/knowledge prior to making IAV. I learned whatever I've learned (which is still VERY little on a grand filmmaking scale) by just going forward and making the flick. You'd be amazed at how quick you pick up the basics by just getting out there actually "living" it (Setting up and captureing your shots, Getting past the obstacles etc.). I think the key and maybe the greatest challenge (judging from what I've seen) is to just get beyond the whole "talking" and "dreaming" stages and into the realm of physically making the flick happen (writing it, casting, shooting it etc.).
Beyond those standard opinions I would say (sadly) to prepare for the WORST case scenerio in nearly EVERY circumstance. It's literally astounding how much ridiuclous bullshit an independent producer/dirctor will have to endure/accept and deal with (it could almost be comical if it wasn't so pathetic) in order to get their NO budget ("no budget" for everyone outside of the filmmaker that is) epic completed. (If anyone's interested, just do a search "on line" for tales of no budget film production hell by directors like Tim Ritter (check out his tales about film making at http://community-2.webtv.net/r-rsortor/Theressomethingtobe/ and http://www.b-independent.com/articles/timritterhistory.htm) and Ronnie Sortor for some great examples of what I'm talking about)
I think the best advice I could offer (as a 1st time director) out of gate would be to write a script that allows them to keep the cast/crew SMALL (trust me, the less people you have to "kiss up" to in order to get them to show up and honor their commitments to your film the BETTER). I'd also say "TRY". Really try (and take as MUCH time as you can) to find people who are "true" artistic souls (while they may exist in abundence in the indie metal/Doom scenes, they are nearly NON existent in the "wanna be" acting/filmmaking community). Someone making a film at this level NEEDS to surround themself with creative people who "know and understand" (without it having to be explained to them every time you see them) the value of learning and paying dues at this no budget/NO pay level. Anyone who doesn't grasp and ENJOY the whole "do it because you love it" concept (while working in NO budget land) needs to be politely told to go FUCK themselves (before they have a chance to start back stabbing ya and sabotaging your flick). Those type people are what ruins the whole "us against the world" vibe that belongs (and is SO needed) on the set of a no budget flick. Without the proper "team" effort your project is just as good as dead. Know that people will be everything (either your greatest asset or your greatest source of aggravation and disgust). They can make or break your project so choose them WISELY and then basically hope for the BEST.
I'd also say to prepare for the LONG haul. Most of these no budget projects take YEARS to get completed. Make sure you really love and believe in your flick because there's a good chance you'll be working on it a lot longer then you ever anticipated.
Beyond all the warnings that I would mention (based entirely on my own and other's negative no budget movie making experiences) to someone wanting to make a film, I'd still say to go for it and make it happen at any cost. The odd's are stacked WAY against ya (as they are in any artistic pursuit) but I'd say let that be motivation. The times when I was actually "writing", "shooting" and "directing" IAV were easily some of my BEST times of my life. There was nothing like seeing the figments of my own imagination come to life in front of me and I can't wait to do it all again with the benefit of some expirience behind me."
OK, back to doom. I know you're obsessed with old skool doom and NWOBHM. drop us a couple of names from those genres, please.
"Drop some names eh, Ok. From the NWOBHM I'd say Witchfinder General (my favorite band and also the first band that I EVER saw labeled as being a Doom band). Other fav NWOBHM bands: Legend, Buffalo, A2Z, Demon, Diamond Head, Witchfynde, Soldier and Venom. That's just a small sampling from what was an excellent music scene. I miss the NWOBHM days. It was a great time to be a Metal freak.
Old School Doom. Witchfinder General (again) since outside of Black Sabbath, they should probably be considered the founders of the traditional and classic Doom sound. You also have to look at Count Raven who I persoanlly think were AMAZING. Northwinds is another great band.. They mix a lot of progressive elements into their music and I think it makes for an excellent combination. Pentagram is another all time favorite from the old school."
How about other genres and are you digging any new doom bands?
"New Doom bands? Northwinds and Abdullah are probably the best for me personally. I also really like what I've heard from Reverend Bizarre. Mirror of Deception (while not being a "new" Doom band) also put out an excellent CD in 2001 as well. I can't wait to hear what comes next from these bands.
Beyond the heavier stuff I've always gotten into a band called Concrete Blonde (they're my favorite non metal band). Lately I've also been digging a newer band called "OURS". I think that band might actually appeal to some Doom fans (at least in terms of lyrical content). I also really like the psychedelic sounds of Liquid Sound Company. Listening to them is like taking a trip straight into the 60's. They've captured that sound/vibe to perfection."
Let's talk about the soundtrack of IAV. A lot of doom bands (including Count Raven, Las Cruces, Eternal Elysium, etc) have contributed their songs to the IAV soundtrack. How's the response been?
"The response to the 1st Volume of the soundtrack has been better BEYOND expectations! It's been cool to see so many positive reviews/responses (ALL of which I'm very appreciative of) and I'm especially proud of the review that appeared in the Jan 2002 issue of Metal Maniacs (by Perry Grayson). It was great exposure for IAV in general.
Yeah, there's a lot of old school type Doom on the soundtrack(s). I'm a lifelong fan of the sound and it's always been part of my filmmaking dream to be able to physically do something (beyond buying the albums/CD's) to show support (and hopefully help gain some added exposure) for the bands and the music I'm into. I can't state my appreciation enough in regard to those bands (and record labels) for making the dream happen BIGGER then I ever thought possible at this stage (I NEVER expected that I'd be working with so many of my favorite bands on my 1st film). Anyway, I hope to carry the Doomonic tradition into any/every flick I do. Maybe eventually one of my flicks will catch on and give the old school sound of Doom the exposure it deserves. That would be nice. :-)"
And the 2nd soundtrack is on it's way?
"Yes it is. It's coming from Game Two Records and will include tracks from bands like Solitude Aeturnis, Church of Misery, Northwinds, Pentagram, sHEAVY, Mirror of Deception, Eternal Elysium, Grief etc. Good stuff. :-)"
Your film has been influenced by horror, splatter, acid, slasher, B-movies, etc. It's probably impossible to name them all, but could you name some of the CRUCIAL flicks that have been an influence in the making of IAV.
"The "crucial" influence came from a classic film titled "The Wicker Man". That's the film that made me want to make a film (s) of my own. I saw TWM at a young age and it pretty much freaked me out (I'm sure I was the only kid on the block who went through everyday life terrified of animal mask wearing cultists). Anyway, my story of a guy named David William Hughes (IAV) is basically the culmination of all the feelings/impressions/visual ideas which TWM left in me throughout the years.
Other definate "film" influences are "Shock Em Dead" and "Angel Hunter" (Excellent Hong Kong cultist movie that also pays a small tribute to The Wicker Man). I'm sure that nearly every film I've liked has had some sort of an influence but those mentioned prior are the ones that come to mind as films that made a direct influence as opposed to maybe a "theme", "genre" or "style" influence.
Underground films such as Killing Spree (and it's Excellent "making of" documentary "BLINDED BY THE BLOOD"), Ravage and Darkness were also very influential because through those indie/underground films I'd get the inspiration to go forward and try to make my own film. Without those films (and their respective Directors advice etc.) I doubt I ever would've had the initial confidence/knowledge/motivation needed to pursue the goal.
The other major part of IAV's direct influence comes straight out of the Witchfinder General song titled "Friends of Hell" (from the classic album of the same name)."
Any new underground films that kick ass?
"I personally haven't heard of or "SEEN" anything cool coming out on the underground since the "Dirty Cop" mock/shock-umentaries (They came out a couple years back). If there are some cool underground films happening right now, they've managed to elude me (the whole no budget/SOV film scene seems to have deteriorated into dust over the last few years).
The underground/no budget films I WOULD recommend checking out are those made by Tim Ritter (the modern day Godfather of Gore himself). Tim made flicks like "Truth or Dare", "Killing Spree", "Dirty Cop No Doughnut", "Creep" and a bunch of others (including 2 EXCELLENT behind the scenes video's titled "Blinded By the Blood 1&2" which showed and tells exactly what goes into making a film at the no budget/indie level). Hopefully he'll get to work on a new flick in the near future (Killing Spree 2 would be my request!). Another filmmaker who's work I'd recommend is Ronnie Sortor. He did a couple of small budget but HIGH energy action/horror flicks ("Ravage" and "Sinyster") that I'd definately recommend checking out .
Also, while they're not underground flicks. I'd also like to recommend Asian cinema to anyone reading this. There's some GREAT flicks (of all genres) coming out of Korea ("Say Yes" and "Attack the Gas Station"), Hong Kong ("Red To Kill" and "The Untold Story") (these two films would be for fans of more extreme horror flicks) and Japan ("Versus" and "Audition")."
So what does an upcoming cult film director do for a living?
"Life is made up of raising my daughter, post production on IAV and lately I've been doing some TV commercial work for local businesses. Beyond that I tend to do a lot of day dreaming about the day when IAV is behind me and I can begin work on a new flick."
That's it, man, I'm finished. Anything you'd like to say?
"I'd like to say thanks for the interest, support and belief and for giving me an oppurtunity to introduce my first film to anyone out there who might have an interest in it. I'd also like to thank actors Greg Freeman and Chuck Gallagher for their IAV saving contributions. Both went "beyond the call" for me/IAV and I wish them all the success this world can provide. I also want to mention my good friends, Chrissy Proulx (who also happens to be an up and coming scream queen actress) and Tim Turban. They've more then made up for the lack of local support by being the most enthusiastic people (they take a 4 hour ride just to be here and part of the process) I've come into contact with regarding this project and I can't stress my appreciation enough. They're what's been missing since IAV began and I look forward to working with them during the editing process and in the post IAV future. Thanks also go to Joy Patricoski and Brian Angeloff for an FX job completed and always handled to perfection... Thanks to ALLLLLL LLLLLLLLL who've been a TRUE help! If anyone wants more info about the flick, feel free to drop an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org"
Thanks to Ritchie and Aldo for the chance! More info on IAV soundtrack volume one at www.meteorcity.com and volume two at www.gametwo.com and for another informative interview on IAV check out the latest issue of Psychedelic Fanzine (at http://www.psychedelicfanzine.de/)
A few shots from the movie: