Have you had trouble getting Killer Me seen?
I’m still having trouble getting the film seen! A couple months ago I got into an argument with my distributor about the financial viability of sending a few dozen extra screeners out to potential critics. After the argument, I walked out of my apartment and a green Los Angeles City bus drove by with a giant image of The Hulk on the side. True independents just don’t play in the same field as the big corporate movies.
Early on there was no interest in the film at all. I hosted a screening at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art where I was working at the time. I invited 347 distributors and agents to the screening, not a single one showed up. I spent nearly a year sending to festivals with not a single acceptance. I was even rejected by little local festivals. Then, out of the blue, the Telluride Film Festival decided to screen the film. It changed everything. Suddenly major distributors approached me wanting to see the film and other festivals were requesting copies and waiving their fees. The distributors backed off when they found out it was an odd, dark film with no name actors, but I still have all their personal phone numbers (muwah ha ha!).
For the past several years I’ve tried to create as much of an internet buzz as I can for the film without resorting to paying a publicist $12,000 a month to help me promote. My DP, Neal Fredericks has been invaluable in helping me. He’s made a lot of great contacts in the horror community through his involvement with The Blair Witch Project. Neal has gone way above and beyond the duty of a Cinematographer in helping to promote the film. Our first major success was to get Film Threat to review Killer Me. You literally wrote the first review.
The score for Killer Me is definitely very unique. How was it created?
The score was created with a PXL Camera that I stole from my little sister. I’m sure most FT readers are familiar with the PXL Camera, but for those who aren’t, it’s a Fisher Price toy from the 80s that records a grainy black & white video image on an audiocassette. I shot a few short films with the PXL camera at CalArts, and one night very late (I used to be kind of a Vampire) I decided to take the audiocassette and listen to it on my stereo. It sounded awful, this high-pitched electrical hiss, but with an interesting low-end sound as well. I quickly figured out that the two sounds were on separate channels so I removed the right channel and only listened to the left. I cranked the speakers and heard this wonderful low-end repetitious lum-luming noise. I re-recorded this to mono and then used it for a short film. Fast forward several years and I decided to see if I could expand on those sounds to fit into a feature film. I experimented with putting the camera directly into bare bulbs to see if the bright light would affect the noise on the audiocassette. I discovered the primary phenomena is that the camera picks up its own camera noise, slows down recorded sounds by about 8-9 times, creating these great repetitive sonic assaults. If you overload the microphone with other noises you can completely manipulate the sound. I recorded bells, rubber duckies, old albums, banging pots, anything that had a high pitch and would register once the camera slowed it down. Then my sound designer helped me layer multiple PXL tracks together and place it in the film. We were able to make about 90% of the sound score using the camera.
I notice you have a link to John Borowski’s H.H. Holmes documentary. Have you seen the film?
No, I haven’t seen it yet. I keep meaning to harass John about sending me a copy. He and I traded links awhile back. I sent him a copy of Killer Me and he sent me a promotional T-shirt that says “Who is H.H. Holmes?”. I wear it sometimes when I work out at my martial arts dojo. It’s funny to see people’s reactions when they ask “Well, who is he?” I respond with a cold, serious expression, “He was America’s first serial killer.” Several cops at my dojo say they’re keeping their eye on me.
Any new projects coming up for you?
I’ve just finished up a new script. It’s a martial arts comedy called “Dojo,” something like “Karate Kid” meets Rushmore, featuring what I hope will be the greatest arm-breaking sequence ever seen on film. I’ve had some advance interest, but I keep getting the “but you don’t know how to direct a comedy” line. That’s a load of crap. I’ll find completely independent financing and make the film for no money if I have to, because I’m directing this one myself.
I also have a brutal slasher and a second comedy about two underage boys in rural Arizona who start a brewing company.