Having grown-up loving the gore-filled early films of Sam Raimi, Peter Jackson, John Carpenter, and the like, whenever a blood-soaked short film comes my way (and it doesn’t happen very often) adopting these approaches, it fills me with giddy excitement, akin to that of a teenage girl at Justin Bieber concert. One director adopting the blood and guts approach, and looking to take it to the next level, is Austin based writer/director Chris McInroy. Currently crowdfunding for his latest short Death Metal, the tale of a Satanic guitar passed down from father to son, Chris has just released his previous film Bad Guy #2 online – and the internet likes it…it likes it a lot.
After watching the film, I was overflowing with questions regarding inspirations, practical FX and Death Metal, so I got in touch with director Chris McInroy to talk about Bad Guy #2, starting with where the idea for the story came from:
Trying to think of stories that haven’t been told yet is very difficult. So I was trying to think of the characters in movies that don’t usually get their story told. The people in the background, and I’ve always noticed the generic henchmen in a gang of bad guys in any crime movie or action movie or now in superhero movies. I think of the Jackie Chan movies of the 90s where he just beat the crap out of so many bad guys who we knew nothing about and all the bad guys on the front-line of battling a superhero like Batman. What motivates those guys to go and risk their lives for their Kingpin? Is it the money? Are they trying to support their family with this career they chose? And honestly one day I watched the MacGruber movie and Burton’s Batman movies in a row and noticed Cunth and Joker kill some of their own henchmen to prove a point to their other guys not to mess up. That got me thinking about the guy who fills the dead bad guy’s shoes. How’s he gonna deal with a role that is ultimately expendable for any reason?
It’s fucking fun to shoot!
Bad Guy #2 is a film that grabs the attention through its excessive use of practical FX – what is it that appeals to you about this filmmaking approach? And what do you think practical FX add to your production that CGI wouldn’t?
My love for practical effects comes from the movies I watched growing up. Things like Evil Dead 2, Dead Alive, The Thing, Nightmare on Elm Street and American Werewolf in London. I don’t know if it’s the same for everyone but when I watch something that is done practical it’s like “Holy shit they just did that for real!” And my mouth drops in awe and I smile for minutes. I mean everyone gets excited about an eyeball flying through the air into someone’s mouth right? No? Oh. Well…So one of the reasons I wanted practical effects was to try and honor or pay homage to the movies of my youth. Another reason is I knew I would be making this movie for a certain audience. An audience I hoped that would have the same mentality and love for the effects of movies from the 80s. I hoped it would stand out to those fans. And the last reason is because it’s fucking fun to shoot!
What can you tell us about your practical FX team and how they achieved their look? That melting head scene is possibly one of the most disturbing things I’ve seen on screen since the I witnessed the opening of the Ark in Indiana Jones at a far too young age!
Thanks for that! That is my favorite scene in Bad Guy #2. The effects team blew that out of the park. I had shown them a scene from The Fly 2 where he’s transforming and it looked like the effects team basically built a bunch of gross chunky stuff on top of Stoltz’s face and he pulled that off trying to mimic him pulling his face off. I was hoping they could do something close to that. But they totally went above and beyond. We really worked well together planning out the stages for shots. That scene had 3 stages of make-up and one dummy effect. The effects team is Doug Field and Susan Benson of Bloodyfield SFX. They are in Austin too. One of my favorite things about them is how excited they are to do work like this. They were pretty happy to get a script that had so much gore and effects. They are great collaborators, we would talk for so long about ideas on how to do all of it. And they were fine with me always asking for more blood, or to do more takes and aim the blood spray for Kirk’s mouth!
It has everything I love in it. Metal, gore, practical effects, comedy and carnage.
Bad Guy #2 is only online as you raise funds for your latest film Death Metal, what can you tell us about that story and why we should donate to fund it?
Yeah we put Bad Guy #2 online to help promote our new Kickstarter for Death Metal so it will go offline at the end of that campaign which is June 3rd. It will be fully released online in November once the festival run is over. But yeah Death Metal! I’m crazy excited for this one. It’s another practical effects driven gory comedy short film. One of the reasons you should donate to us is we have Bloodyfield doing the effects again! And If you liked what you saw in Bad Guy #2 we are gonna increase the insanity in Death Metal. More please. It’s gonna be fun. It’s about a young metalhead who gets passed down a satanic guitar from his metalhead dad. But the guitar comes with some rules and of course our young metalhead breaks the rules causing the carnage to begin! Kirk Johnson who plays Bad Guy #2 is gonna play Lars, the young metalhead and we have the same production company producing it, The Bear Media. This is heavily influenced from movies of my youth too. The Gate is one of my favorite movies of all time, so I had to get some satanic something going on in a movie, and of course Gremlins, so I had to get some rules in there. It has everything I love in it. Metal, gore, practical effects, comedy and carnage. The only thing it’s missing is queso. Maybe we’ll figure out a way to incorporate that too. Please check out our Death Metal kickstarter if you wanna help get this thing made. There are some cool rewards on there like a Death Metal logo iron-on patch.