I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Bob Clark and Bruce Kilroy, co-founders of the successful horror review and promotion site Reel Bloody Films, to talk about their upcoming indie horror film STRIP CLUB MASSACRE. This film, currently in pre-production, is about a young girl (played by stunning newcomer Alicia Watson) starting a new life who is forced to take extreme measures when things go violently awry. In our interview, Bob and Bruce talk about their love for the genre, their passion for indie filmmaking and why their first feature film promises to be a smart and sexy homage to classic slasher films that fans of indie horror are sure to love.
First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me. I’m a huge indie horror fan, and I’ve been excited about this film from the moment I first heard about it. This is Reel Bloody Films’ first full-length independent horror film. What was the origin of this project?
BC: It is quite funny actually. I was on set working on another project and just started chatting with our head film guy, Nik Uttam, who is also the owner and President of Top Ticket Productions. We talked about random movie ideas and he threw out the title Strip Club Massacre. Nik didn’t have a story in mind, but the title alone was enough to inspire me. I immediately agreed to write, promote, and direct. Now here we are about 6 months later in pre-production! To be honest, this has been a dream of Bruce and I since we were young. We grew up together and always shared a love of film and horror. After meeting so many industry insiders over the past couple of years, the timing finally felt right for us to pursue our passion.
BK: First and foremost, we’re horror fans at the heart of it all. We’ve marketed for indie horror and we’ve been running a film review/interview site the past year. We’ve really enjoyed what we’ve been doing, but it was like being thirsty and nothing we did quenched our thirst. We’re hoping making an actual film quenches that thirst by allowing us to be in the horror industry more than we ever have been before. The origin of the SCM was all about taking a simple and direct story and writing it differently (smarter) than has been done before. That, and great practical effects are what we’re after.
Tell us about STRIP CLUB MASSACRE. Can you give me a brief plot synopsis?
BC: I’d be happy to. In a nutshell, our main character Megan is a disturbed girl with a very rough past. Because of her past, she has some serious anger issues. The movie opens with her dealing with a series of unfortunate events that lead her to take a job at a seedy strip club out of desperation. The club ends up being EXTREMELY messed up. Murder, sex, drugs, rape, and other sordid details. The film culminates with a very satisfying bloodbath. It’s a very dark, gritty and disturbing story that I think people will love.
Amazing! So more specifically, what kind of film can horror fans expect from SCM? Would you describe it as a slasher film? Can we expect lots of blood and gore?
BC: It will be a little bit of everything to be honest, and that’s exactly how we want it. Some scenes will take you back to the good ol’ slasher days, while other scenes are going to make you cringe. We also plan to have some killer practical effects.
BK: We took our inspiration from things we love: blood and boobies! The film will definitely have its share of gore and disturbing scenes, but it’s also written to be very smart and even comical at times. There is such great chemistry between our main characters that separates it from many other films out there. It’s visually pleasing AND well written.
I know the horror fans out there are salivating right about now. You’re both clearly hardcore horror fans yourselves. What’s your favorite horror subgenre?
BC: It is not a particular genre, but I love horror films that feel realistic…films like Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects. Those are the ones that make you look at the world around you and realize just how fucked people can be. And that style of film definitely inspired me when writing SCM.
BK: I’m a straight up lover of the classic slasher genre. Jason Voorhees is my favorite. The slasher flick in general encompasses a lot of what made the 80s such a defining era for horror, and I love the 80s!
Men after my own heart! So, Bob, you mentioned the films of Rob Zombie, who I’m a huge fan of too. Who is your biggest filmmaker influence? And same question for you, Bruce.
BC: That is a really good question and to be honest, there really is not one person that I can point to. Of course, Wes Craven was a genius, and I was so sad to hear about his recent passing. But if I had to choose just one, I would seriously say Zombie. As we discussed earlier, I love how he uses real people who are totally screwed in the head. To me, that’s so much scarier than paranormal or super human villains.
BK: Neil Marshall is definitely one of my inspirations ever since I saw Dog Soldiers. His horror always incorporates good action and in that film specifically, the effects are fantastic…just a great reflection on screen of his writing. Ti West does a wicked good slow burn. I’m a fan for sure. House of the Devil sold it for me. The Innkeeper’s is a close 2nd.
Oh, wow. Great films. Ok, let’s get back to Strip Club Massacre. What if you only had three words to describe the film?
BC: FUN. DISTURBING. SEXY
BK: I agree with sexy and fun, and I’d also add bloody. This film will definitely appeal to the gore fans.
Yes! Speaking of sexy, tell us about the casting for the film and how you discovered your knockout lead actress, Alicia Watson?
BC: When I was casting this film, I did not want to just get a cast that had acting experience, I wanted people who had a true passion for the horror genre itself. Each character in my and Bruce’s mind had a certain look and demeanor, and I am 100% sure we nailed it with our cast. Alicia was a great find. During our initial meeting to discuss the role, the first comment she made to me about the treatment is something I cannot disclose until the film’s release…but IMMEDIATELY I said, okay you are hired!
BK: We knew we wanted to use fresh, local talent. We actually met Alicia through a mutual business associate, and we knew she had the look and motivation that we wanted. When she read a few sides, she explained how she’d approach the scenes. It was EXACTLY how Bob and I had imagined, so we just didn’t even question it. She made a believer out of us right away, and we’re excited to see her work on SCM.
So, the two of you wrote this script together. Bob, you’ll also be taking on the role of Director with Bruce acting as Producer. Are there any other key players helping make this film a reality?
BC: We have a rather small crew to be honest. But there is no one person more important than the other. Besides our awesome cast, we have our other producers…Justin Hoffman and Brett Lee Clark (my brother). both have major film experience in the industry and are going to be a huge help on set. Nik Uttam will be the man in charge of the cameras of course. And he will have his crew in place too.
Where are you at with the production of the film? What are the next steps?
BC: The screenplay is complete. We are about 97% cast and are locking down some last minute locations as we speak. However, the most important thing right now is funding. We have an Indiegogo campaign up right now to raise the funds for the practical effects. That is what is going to bring this whole project together.
BK: We’re in pre-production now. If all goes well, we’re hoping to go into production towards the end of November, after the holidays. We set out to do a micro-budget horror film, and we’re going to shoot it in much the same fashion…basically, crunching everything into the smallest window of time possible to get our final product, which should be done March 2016. We’re handling distribution internally, and we’ll basically attack everything ourselves. This is definitely a passion project.
You mentioned you’re crowdfunding now on Indiegogo. What’s the goal of the campaign and why do you think horror fans should contribute to this film?
BC: We are just looking to raise $8000, which is actually not much at all. We know the indie horror genre is a very tight community, and we are hopeful our fans, friends and family will come through for us and allow us to make a film we can be truly proud…and one we know you will love. To be honest, this film is going to kick ass! I have kept the script locked away, and there are even cast members who have yet to be given their lines. However, I have let three close and BRUTALLY honest friends read it, and all three have given it a huge thumbs up. I am confident that if the fans help us get this thing done, they will not be disappointed.
BK: I think for Bob and I, we’re using everything we know and love about horror and about being FANS of horror to bring this film to life. There are things in the film we just honestly wanted to see that we hadn’t before. We wanted to write it how we’d want to see it as a fan, and that’s been our motivation since starting the process. So cliché, but this film is by fans and intended for fans. We really want the fans to be a part of this, and we’ve included some great perks for donating. For only $25, you can own an autographed copy of the finished DVD.
I love that you seem to have so much respect for the genre and, most importantly, for true fans of indie horror. So let me end by asking a tough question. What does being indie mean to you?
BC: For myself personally, I prefer to stay indie for my entire career. I love knowing that the screenplay that Bruce and I spent many hours writing and collaborating over will not be re-written by some studio exec who doesn’t share or understand my vision or passion. Of course money is important to us all, but I prefer to do my film my way. I might make a lot less, but I won’t have to sell out. I can make the film I want to make and something I can be truly proud of. The money is not that important in the long run, especially when reputation is on the line. To me this is an art form. SCM was written with a specific purpose, story, and end result in mind. I love the fact that when released it will be done just as Bruce and I intended.
As for the fans, wow, they are of the utmost importance. One thing I have learned over the last couple of years is that many of the fans of indie horror are ruthless in their reviews and opinions, but they are also extremely loyal as well. Bruce and I both hope and pray that SCM entertains them. They deserve it.
BK: Great answer! I’ll just add this. At the heart of it, I think independent horror gives a voice to people who wouldn’t have the chance otherwise, and more times than not, that voice is loud and beautiful. That’s why Bob and I support indie horror and why others should too. It is absolutely a fantastic way to create something never before thought of or seen on big film lots or a bunch of suits sitting around a table. I think the beauty of indie horror lies in the ability to not just THINK of an idea, but to do whatever it takes to see the idea come to life. I mean, it worked in Frankenstein, right? The concept is the same, and that’s probably why indie horror fans and filmmakers are 100% the most passionate I’ve ever met. Bob and I had that fan passion, and we knew we had to take it further to express what we knew we had.
Gentlemen, those are such great answers and, if I wasn’t already sold on being a part of this awesome film, I definitely am now! I can’t thank you enough for your time. Before we wrap up, is there anything else you want to add or want our readers to know about?
BC: I think we covered it all Stephanie, but I just wanna say that I cannot wait to get this thing done and let the fans decide for themselves if it is a hit or not. I have faith that we have a good thing here.
BK: Just, please contribute if you’re able. If you’re broke, that doesn’t mean you can’t contribute. Even a page “Like” or share does wonders. Word of mouth is sometimes more valuable than a dollar, so while we definitely need the budget, we also need people to believe in us and help us spread the word.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to support indie horror and help make it happen for Strip Club Massacre. Keep up with all the latest SCM news and updates or contribute to the campaign using the links below.