Having shot a 16mm feature called “Polterchrist” about an undead Messiah going on a murderous rampage in a bowling alley, Seattle Filmmakers Brady Hall and Calvin Reeder are no strangers to no-budget filmmaking. After a public-access show of theirs found late-night success and garnered a cult following, the guys decided to turn the show into a feature film. The result is “Jerkbeast,” and co-directors Brady and Calvin took a moment to talk about the film, the history and “Marmaduke.”
How did you two meet?
We both work at Alpha Cine Labs in Seattle. It’s THE movie film processor for the Pacific Northwest. Brady used to be the Vault Manager, but then was shifted over to the Viewmaster department, where I also worked. Splicing together film for Viewmaster discs rules!
Why filmmaking? Sick of processing other filmmakers’ Viewmasters?
We both think it’s super tons of fun and it’s way better than collecting beanie babies or watching competitive kite flying.
“Jerkbeast” isn’t your first feature, tell me about your other films.
We have made one previous feature film, “Polterchrist”., It was about how Jesus Christ comes back to life and cannibalizes a bunch of people in a bowling alley. It’s not out on video, YET. We have also made a bunch of shorts none of which have won any awards at all. But they have played around here and there. “The Unnatural Patriot”, “The Practical Butt Cutter”, “Missed Opportunities” and the Jerkbeast cartoon.
Now, which came first, the idea of “Jerkbeast” as a film or the public access show?
We had the public access show well before the idea for the movie, so the characters were already familiar to us. We decided to make a movie in early 2002. Shot most of it in the summer of 2002, then shot the rest over the fall and winter. Edited and did all the post by June of 2003 when we had the premiere in Seattle.
How much did the film cost to make?
We spent probably about $6,000 all together.
$6,000!?! That beats Robert Rodriguez. Was it shot on video then?
We shot Super 16mm because we couldn’t afford 35mm and our friend owns a super 16mm camera, which is a step above my regular 16mm camera. We didn’t even consider video cus it looks really stupid when you do a movie with it.
How’d you go about casting the film?
We used a lot of friends and some people from our first feature, “Polterchrist.” The rest we got from a local online film callboard.
Was anyone put off by the subject matter?
It was a gig. I don’t think anybody we cast was not our friend or had any idea what the movie was about.
Now, the film stars a monster that hates everyone, rabbit smashing for fun, punk rock… what was the message you were trying to impart with the film?
The movie is just supposed to be funny. Funny to people who think creative swearing and violence is funny. It’s not for the “Marmaduke” set or any kind of thinking man. It’s base humor but done in an original way, with a monster on drums.
Now, “Jerkbeast” is getting a major DVD retail release. How was the process of putting the DVD together?
We’ve seen the process as just another step in the movie. We spent so much time in front of the computer dorking around with the film that spending more time dorking around with the DVD was not really any different.
The disk boasts a commentary with underground comic legends Tony Millionaire, Coop, Johnny Ryan and Tim Maloney. What else does the disk have, special features-wise? Lots of deleted scenes?
We didn’t cut anything. We are either efficient writers or have no editorial standards!
Thanks for your time, guys.
“Jerkbeast” is available for sale now at the Film Threat Shop.