James Balsamo Spills His Guts!

 James Balsamo

Indie filmmaker/actor/horror fanatic and all round top bloke James Balsamo took time out from production of his latest movie "Cool As Hell" to chat with our very own Indie guru Stu Willis about his career and I SPILL YOUR GUTS in our exclusive Spotlight interview�

Stu: First off, I�d like to ask you about Acid Bath Productions. Who are they, what�s their agenda and what�s your role within the company?

James: Acid Bath Productions is a New York based, independent production company specializing in horror. The Acid Bath Team, which I lead in my capacity as CEO, is comprised of individuals who live, eat, and breathe horror movies.

Stu: Your first feature film was "Hack Job". Can you tell us a little about this little-seen film?

Hack Job

James: I wouldn�t call "Hack Job" little seen by any means. With worldwide distribution and a current presence on cable television throughout the United States and Canada, via Video on Demand, we know of Hack Job lovers as far away as Australia and Hong Kong. Anyway, I digress. "Hack Job" was my first feature film, after producing and directing short films for six years. It was definitely a labor-of-love and a struggle to get off the ground. In "Hack Job", James and Mike are tired of art films taking away the credit that horror films deserve. So, they get a script from the devil to make the best horror film ever. The script has three stories in it. The first is about Nazis that awaken a mummy's curse. The second tale is about an alien that crashes a battle of the bands and then starts eating the contestants, and the last story is about a man who gets possessed to kill televangelists...you will never guess who possessed him. Find out this and more in Horror/Comedy HACK JOB!

Stu: What did you learn from "Hack Job" that you were able to put into use during the shooting of your most recently released film, "I Spill Your Guts"?

James: As with anything, practice and experience makes perfect. We stepped up the audio and film quality and took a completely new direction, as far as subgenres go.

Stu: "I Spill" has a fair bit of political subtext. Can you elaborate on this for the benefit of our readers?

James: While I�ll admit there are messages and repeating themes in my films, I try to show both sides of the coin and step back, letting the viewer choose heads or tails. While there was no intended secret political agendas behind the film, war certainly acted as a catalyst for Dennis, the protagonist, to fulfil his mission. I'm not a politician, so I try not using my films for a soap box to stand on...not yet any way.

Stu: It makes for an interesting twist on the revenge genre. What�re your favourite revenge flicks?

James: Interesting and different is something we always go for. I get asked about my inspirations a lot, but it�s actually my love for the horror genre that gets me going. There are a great number of revenge films that have inspired me, such as "Death Wish", "Slaughter High", and "I Spit on your Grave", which of course is the inspiration for the title I Spill Your Guts".

I Spill Your Guts

Stu: "I Spill" features a lot of old-school gore FX, which are credited as being orchestrated by yourself. Can you tell me how these were achieved on a $60,000.00 budget?

James: We�re an independent horror production company � we have very little in terms of cash. Like anything else though, budget is just a number. Sure, we�d be thrilled if you want to give us a few million dollars, but for right now, we have to make do with what we have. Anyone who knows me well knows how much I hate CGI. Practical and old-school FX is exactly what we do, all the time. I have a knack for Special FX which has grown over my years as a filmmaker, and of course, we had a little help from our friends at GotRotFX.

Stu: What were the most elaborate FX in the film?

James: We don�t like to let too many rabbits out of the hat. I will tell you that one of the scenes, the one where Adult Film star Bella Luciano�s jaw melts away, used complex life casting and melted wax to simulate the face melting action of Drain-Oh.

Stu: There�s a good amount of nudity in the film too. Care to add any thoughts on this?

James: Honestly, I haven�t met a horror aficionado yet that doesn�t like gratuitous nudity. It�s a lot of fun to work with our models and adult film stars, for both me and our movie watchers.

Stu: Some of the editing in the film, like the high-speed media montages, made me think "Robocop" must�ve been one of your stylistic influences. Do you agree with this observation? What were the main influences on the film�s look and feel?

James: I do love Robocop. The style I wanted to capture is spot on there. The fake commercials and TV spots that Paul Verhoeven also featured in his films, like Starship Troopers, have a special place in "I Spill Your Guts".

Stu: You also take a leading acting role in the film. I noticed you�ve acted in numerous films/short films over the last few years ("Bloody Christmas", "Rock �n� Roll Space Station is Go" etc). Which do you consider yourself to be, first and foremost: actor or director/writer?

Acid Bath

James: When I was younger, fuelled by ambitions, I convinced my parents to enrol me in Acting School. As a student in many prestigious New York acting schools, including Lee Strasberg, my passion for film and acting continued to grow. I continued my professional career at Professional Performing Arts High School in New York City. Eventually, I grew tired of theatrical acting after high school, and knew it was time to make the transition to the big screen. I left my Shakespearian tights at the door, and spilled big screen blood all the way through Five Towns College. I found my passion for the magic of film, and haven�t stopped since. I take a hands on approach to the project, and I�m as much a "jack of all trades" as you can get; I truly enjoy being right in the middle of the action, so I suppose the answer is I love them all, but at the moment I think directing tops the list.

Stu: Your feature films boast soundtracks from an impressive array of artists. People like The Meatmen and Cannibal Corpse, to name but two. How did you garner the interest of so many interesting names?

James: The focus and attention generated by "Hack Job" surely helped in getting some of the major music names attached to "I Spill Your Guts". The horror community is one big happy family, and everyone is happy to help each other out, and heck, who wouldn�t want to be in a horror movie?

Stu: And � how the fuck did you get people like Lynn Lowry, Oderus (from GWAR), Andrew WK, Joel M Reed etc to appear in "I Spill"?

Cool As Hell

James: I couldn't ask for a better experience working with such amazing folks. Everyone was on board from day one. Like I said, what's great about the horror genre is that if you�re a fan your willing to do whatever you can to help the cause. It�s been the greatest directing experience of my life. One of my favorite memories on set was directing Joel M. Reed (Director of "Blood Sucking Freaks"). Well not so much on set but partying with Joel at the wrap party. Joel was playing air guitar to Slayer and the women were still all over him. That's the directors life for me I said to myself, as I sipped my beer watching Joel party it up. I have already had the honor of working with my idol, Dave Brockie from GWAR, in my first feature film, "Hack Job". I grew up listing to the band GWAR, so it was greatest feeling in the world to be able to direct him. Dave Brockie returns to the set in "I Spill Your Guts".

Stu: Can you tell us a little about "Cool as Hell", your latest film?

James: "Cool as Hell" is an intense demon centric movie, coming this December. Rich and Benny are having trouble with the ladies, until they befriend a demon named Az. It's a non-stop party until a soul hungry beast leaps through an open portal from the underworld and starts terrorizing the town. It's up to Az and the boys to send the creature back to the depths where it came from, and look good, while doing it in "Cool As Hell".

"Cool As Hell" features horror legend Tom Savini, Carmine Capobianco, 3 Inches Of Blood, Municipal Waste, and lead singer of Suffocation, Frank Mullen. The film stars James Balsamo, Billy Walsh, and Lauren Adamkiewicz.

Stu: And what�s in the pipeline from you and Acid Bath Productions?

James: Acid Bath has a lot in the works! Right now, we�re pretty busy getting "Cool as Hell" finished and on the shelf by December. We have yet to officially unveil any more new projects. If you follow us on Twitter @acidbathproduct, I promise you will be the first to know!

Special thanks to James Balsamo

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