Deranged black comedy slasher SOME GUY WHO KILLS PEOPLE is set to become the cult movie event of the year so join our very own in-house maniac Stuart Willis as he catches up with director Jack Perez to chat about the filmÖ
Stu: Hi. Congratulations on the film, itís a fantastic and entertaining breath of fresh air.
Jack: Thank you so much!
Stu: In it, the suggestion for the most part is that serial killers can be good people too. Can you elaborate on this theme, and what you led you to make a film about it?
Jack: Well, I look upon Ken not so much as a serial killer as someone who is out for revenge. Heís been genuinely brutalized, so I think thereís a difference in motive. Ken isnít getting off on the murders as much as heís trying to set things right. Of course, I personally donít believe in revenge killing Ė but thatís whatís in the characterís head.
For me, it was my empathy for Ken that made me want to make the picture. I felt for him, identified with him. Like many nerds, I got the shit beat out of me repeatedly when I was a kid and fantasized about getting some payback.
Stu: Thereís a quirky, 90s indie cinema feel to the film. Where does this come from?
Jack: I dunno. I really donít know what 90ís cinema is, except I made two of my best movies during that period Ė THE BIG EMPTY (í97) and LA CUCARACHA (í98). I consider them to be the most personal films Iíve done and certainly add SOME GUY to that group. My stylistic influences come from 50ís, 60ís, & 70ís American cinema mostly; my idols include Hitchcock, Peckinpah, Wilder and Aldrich.
Stu: It also seems like thereís a fair bit of homage in the film, especially during its more tense moments. Do you agree, and if so are you willing to point out a few of the subtler references?
Jack: I donít know if Iím aware of any direct homage, except perhaps to my producer, John Landis. In AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON thereís a scene at the end in Piccadilly Circus where the wolf bites the head of a bobby and the copperís head bounces off the hood of a car. A wonderful moment that always resonated Ė something about the sound that head made as it ricocheted off the metal! The decapitation in the drive-in in SOME GUY was directly influenced by that. That and the David Warner decapitation in Donnerís THE OMEN. But Iím sure I was channelling Hitchcock, Cronenberg, DePalma and Scorsese throughout the picture.
Stu: What were the stylistic influences for the film? Horror-wise certainly, but, more interestingly, in terms of the black comedy throughout?
Jack: Oddly, there werenít many other horror influences, as I saw this as more of a drama, fundamentally. By that I mean the characters were front and center with the suspense and horror being a parallel thread. Hitchcock was of course the master at this. Almost all his thrillers Ė from 39 STEPS to REAR WINDOW to PSYCHO are shot through with black comedy. And I was always impressed with Billy Wilder in films like STALAG 17 or Ashby in THE LAST DETAIL, and how they were able to inject genuinely funny stuff into what were essentially dark landscapes.
Stu: The characters in the film are great. Is there a temptation to develop further screenplays with any or all of them in?
Jack: It is tempting. Both Ryan and I feel that Barry Bostwickís Sheriff Walt Fuller should live on in some form. Barry is so fucking good in that part.
Stu: Ariel Gade is a real find. Can you tell us a little about where she came from and what she brought to the production?
Jack: She just came in to audition and killed it. I was so impressed with her naturalism and skill. She was always ridiculously prepared and totally comfortable being around all these big grips and technicians, and stage blood. She grew up on sets so that was her world.
Stu: How did Lucy Davis come to be involved? Was that part written for a Briton and, if so, what was the significance of that?
Jack: Lucy also came in to audition. I couldnít believe our luck. She had the job the second she walked through the door, I was such a fan. I donít know if the "Marty" part was written for Briton, though Ryan wanted him for it. He was terrific and a great sport. He sat there for hours with that hatchet sticking out of his forehead.
Stu: Iím guessing there was quite a bit of improvisation in the film. Does that result in quite a few outtakes/deleted scenes Ė and will we get to see them?
Jack: The script was very finely tuned so there wasnít all that much improv. But what there was is definitely in the movie. Mostly stuff between Barryís Sheriff character and his deputy played by Eric Price. They had great chemistry and were always coming up with goofy banter. The bit at the beginning where theyíre doing the puns around the corpse came from an improv that they come up with on set, and Ryan refined.
Stu: John Landis as an executive producer Ė nice! So, what did his role involve?
Jack: He was the coolest. Totally supportive. He basically trusted me and sent me on my way. When the picture was over we sent him a cut and he gave a couple notes and that was it. I just wanted him to be happy with what I was done (as Iíve always been a big fan of his) and fortunately he loved it. Which was a big geek-out moment for me. I actually just cast him and Joe Dante (another idol of mine) to play .357 Magnum-wielding criminals in a new movie Iím shooting. Talk about a surreal day on the set!
Stu: Howís the film been received?
Jack: Luckily itís played a bunch of festivals all over the world Ė which is beyond cool Ė and overall audiences seem to really dig it. Which is gratifying. I was very happy with the film Iíd made Ė as I said it was a personal film for me. But itís always very cool when others truly get what you were going for.
Stu: Whatís next for you?
Jack: Well, Iím finishing this supernatural disaster flick called BLOWING VEGAS OFF THE MAP which stars Frankie Muniz, Barry Bostwick (again!) with cameos by Landis and Dante. Talk about a wild cast! But Iím really looking forward to my next collaboration with Ryan. We have another black-comic thriller in the works.
Stu: Thank you very much for your time, best of luck with the film! Jack: Thank you! Appreciate it!
SOME GUY WHO KILLS PEOPLE hits cinemas on 5 October 2012 and DVD, Blu-ray, Download and On Demand on 15 October 2012.
Special thanks to Jack Perez, Grimm Entertainment and Debbie at Aim.