Joston Theney (INTERVIEW)
Growing up in Atlanta, Georgia in the early '80s, filmmaker Joston Theney he raided his aunt's movie collection at every chance and enjoyed such gems as The Kindred, Friday the 13th, Evil Dead, Nightmare on Elm Street, The Mutilator and Happy Birthday To Me, just to name a few.
Now he's had the chance to make a similar-themed film of his own, 'Axeman', hitting DVD and VOD on May 6th, 2014.
So, how much Blood and Guts can we expect from Axeman?
Tons! We've got beheadings and impalements and bludgeonings, oh my [Laughs]
The film pays homage to some classic horror films. Was that deliberate?
Definitely! Christopher Otiko at Blood Red Films and I set out to make a true love letter to 80s slashers. 80s slashers came along at a time when we were exiting 70s grindhouse films and were far removed from the Golden Era of filmmaking. Filmmakers were trying to revive horror, without reinventing the wheel. They were experimenting and trying new things – throwing tons of things at the wall and seeing what stuck. Thats why films then were so fun and entertaining. You never knew what you were gonna get but you always knew it would stick with you and be something you'd talk about for some time. And we set out to make a film that was in the true spirit of 80s slashers.
How did you come up with the character of Axeman? Fear of Axes, yourself?
You know, all horror flicks stem initially from the filmmakers fear of something. My problem was that Im probably the least fearful guy you'll ever meet. And that's a bad thing, believe it or not. I had to dig deep to think of what makes my heart pound and my pulse race. And the thought that made me shudder was watching my friends and family hacked to pieces by a guy who was doing it simply for the joy of doing so. You can't rationalize with him. You can bargain. Your blood and your tears are all he wants. What do you do with someone like that? Especially when he's a towering 7 feet tall and 300 pounds of muscle? And wielding a massive axe!
What did you use for blood in the film?
Oooh, you would have to ask our special effects wizard Super Suzi Hale that question. I told her what I needed for many of the scenes and each concoction was different and specific to that portion. But the one thing you can count on is lots of it!
Is sound as important to vision in your opinion?
Sound is just as important as the visuals, if not more so. The wrong sound effect, or lack there of, can make scenes feel empty or out of wack. Poor sound recording can lead to difficulty making sense of scenes and cause frustration. And the wrong music can kill your scene quickly. Film is a collaborative medium and requires everyone to be at their best, especially in horror. Horror requires setting a mood and building suspense and poor sound can stop the train before it's even left the station.
How hard was it to find distribution for the movie?
Believe it or not, finding distribution was the easy part – finding the right distributor was hard. We were looking to set the film up somewhere that understood what we were trying to accomplish and could market that. So many saw the film as a straightforward slasher and wanted to promote it as “the best modern slasher in recent years!” But it's not that. It's an homage to 80s slashers – a love letter to an era of filmmaking long past that horror fans can embrace and add to their collection of retro films. We take a trip back to 1983 in a sense, but keep many of the modern conventions of storytelling. It's a great juxtaposition and gives you lots to play with, but if marketed wrong, could leave the audience feeling out of place. Dustin and the guys over at Acort International and Midnight Releasing really understood what we were doing. They loved the film, but more importantly they 'got' the film. The artwork and the marketing has been consistent with the theme of the film. We've been very happy so far and are looking forward to the May 6th release.
When's the Axeman action-figure coming?
Oh man, that would be awesome if we had one. We had a company speak with us about creating one but we haven't finalized anything yet. We'll keep you informed! What's next for you? Well, Blood Red Films just greenlit AXEMAN 2: OVERKILL so I'm super excited about that! We've got our Axeman Scot Pollard coming back and, because I can't mention the survivor that returns without spoiling the climax, I'll mention new cast members Jessica Cameron and Monique Parent who I'm very amped to work with.
Also, I'm finishing post production on a deeply dark and gory tale of nature versus nurture in ADAM K. It stars genre vets and AXEMAN alumni Brinke Stevens, Nihilist Gelo and Arielle Brachfeld, as well as AXEMAN's upcoming sequel's Jessica Cameron and Graham Denman, and Kristin Wall Wheatley and Sarah Nicklin. It's a disturbing film and delves deep into the psyche of a cold-blooded murderer who is trying hard to fight the urges within – trying with great difficulty to just be a good man. And there is tons of blood and guts! TONS!
Follow AXEMAN on Facebook at @AxemanAtCuttersCreek
Twitter at @AxemanTheMovie.