We chat with American Guinea Pig mastermind, founder of Unearthed Films, and cult horror icon Stephen Biro about his latest film, “Song of Solomon”.
Beginning this with the phrase, “in case you’ve been living under a rock,” would be a foolish thing to do, since even horror fans who live under rocks have smartphones and laptops. And most of them live under rocks that are big enough for TVs and DVD players. Therefore, I’m sure everyone is keenly aware Stephen Biro’s American Guinea Pig: Song of Solomon has hit the mailboxes and shelves of the world and is enjoying almost unanimous critical acclaim.
Writer/producer/director Stephen Biro was generous enough to spend some of his valuable free time doing a little interview with me. Though short, it is a very revealing conversation, and I think everyone will agree that he said some very eye-opening things.
INTERVIEW WITH STEPHEN BIRO
1. If you didn’t already have an Unearthed Films fan cult, you certainly do now. Can you briefly explain to your new fans how Unearthed Films came into being?
Long story short, I used to be a video pirate in the 90s. I was approached by the agent who handled the Guinea Pig Films and we decided to start Unearthed Films. Those were our first releases. It was an interesting time.
2.You like to think big when you write. Are there any gore scenes or set pieces that you wanted to put in Song of Solomon that were just too impractical, or impossible to film?
Well, we tried to have each priest foresee their own deaths, but actually different deaths, so we could add another layer to the story and to the gore quotient. But we didn’t have time for it on set. We had another eyeball gag, but we were running at full speed, and we couldn’t make the FX in time. It’s in there, but it was supposed to be juicier.
3. If you had to cut some material from Song of Solomon to be carried by Redbox, what would it be?
Ha ha! I already know… 15 seconds from the eye gag, 3 minutes from the vomit scene, and one minute from the end. Mind you, these cuts would have been in different places. But I was also told Redbox would take it as is. Hopefully, my reps are still trying to get it in there.
4. Did you get any inspiration for Song of Solomon from music? Do you write while listening to music?
I used to write to Slayer on loop… now it’s epic sort of music in the likes of techno mixed with orchestra music. Think playing a crazy video game, and it’s the music for the end boss. Very emotional and high energy.
My inspiration was from my experiences when I was taking a ton of LSD trying to find the Lord. I’ve had people possessed around me at different times, dealt with demons masquerading as angels. It’s all in my memoir, “Hellucination”, and “Dialogue with The Devil.” I know… I may sound perfectly insane, but it’s my reality.
5. Can you think of anyone who you’ve lost contact with over the years that you wish you could watch Song of Solomon with?
Yeah, a ton of people. High school friends, ex wives . . . yes, that was plural. My mom, RIP… my comic book friends who I knew at my old comic book store. Tons of people, actually. Some people disappear.
6. Imagine the following scenario: after your passing, when you approach the pearly gates, God looks upon you sternly and says, “I just saw Song of Solomon. What do you have to say for yourself?” What do you say?
I would say, “What do you mean? We talked about It the whole time. You even gave me the idea for the song. You’re St. Peter, right? . . . get the Lord on the phone, ‘cause He was there when we shot it.”
7. If someone wanted to research the material in Song of Solomon, what would you suggest they read, and where would they find it?
KJV (King James Version) Bible… and I don’t want to give up the title to the sequel that is planned, but fuck it, The Key of Solomon.
8. If you could program a triple-feature screening with Song of Solomon as the main attraction, what would the other two films be?
Let’s go with The Exorcist, Antichristo aka The Tempter and Solomon…
9. You have mentioned in the past that Opera is one of your favorite movies. What do you like about it?
Needles taped to the eyes so they can’t close. It’s glorious, the killings are on point, and the camera work in the opera house is wonderful. The ending, though, rolling around in the grass…
10. If you could change anything about The Exorcist, what would it be?
It’s a phenomenal movie, one of a kind, so not much. I would have loved to have given more back story on my priests, but we were indie and could only afford so much. I wish I could have blown off a shotgun and bitch slapped some of my actors like Friedkin did to keep them on their toes, but that was the 70s, and it was more of a wild west sort of thing.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my strange questions. I, along with countless other people, eagerly anticipate what will be coming next from you both as a filmmaker and a distributor.
Thanks Jamie for taking the time to do this for me. There is lots in the works. That’s why I am behind a lot. But I think it’s going to grow, both Unearthed Films and myself. I think excitement is going to kick into high gear now.