Addison Binek (Director, Psycho Ape!)
Horror Revolution: What’s your favorite horror movie? What movie scared you the most?
Addison Binek: My favorite horror movie is The Return of the Living Dead. It's perfect satire of the zombie subgenre, with a kickass punk rock soundtrack and features
my favorite Scream Queen, Linnea Quigley. When I was a kid The Blob remake from 1988 actually scared me because the monster isn't a sympathetic creature like Frankenstein, and doesn't speak like Freddy Krueger (who I always found more comedic, anyway). It's just this gelatinous eating-machine that can't be stopped. Loved it.
THR: Psycho Ape! Is batshit crazy and as fun as it is dumb as hell. Ho
w’d you come up with the idea for the film?
AB: In 2017, two years before we started shooting, I had a dream where I was filming my friend dressed in his gorilla costume that he bought and would wear to Halloween parties chasing someone while wielding a giant butcher knife. I woke up and thought of the title "Psycho Ape!" because I connected the image of a giant butcher knife with Norman Bates from the film "Psycho."
THR: What made you want to make movies? What inspires you as a filmmaker?
AB: I've wanted to make movies since I was a young kid. My dad had a VHS camcorder that I would borrow and use to shoot scenes with my friends in my backyard. I loved the Friday the 13th series growing up, and The Blair Witch Project, George Romero's Dawn of the Dead, and movies made by Full Moon and Troma. Watching all of this awesome stuff inspired me to want to create my own low budget horror movies.
THR: If you could work with anyone in the industry, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
AB: In addition to watching horror movies as a kid, I also grew up watching Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Jackass. I would be honored to write/work on the Mystery Science Theater reboot that's currently up and running, or somehow be included on a Jackass film or the reboot TV series that was recently greenlit for Paramount+. Johnny Knoxville is as much of an idol to me as Lloyd Kaufman, Kevin Smith, and Quentin Tarantino.
THR: If everyone watching your movies could know one piece of trivia about you, what would it be?
AB: I strive for funny. At the end of the day, humor is most important to me. I love horror movies, but funny horror movies are my bread and butter, and that's what I want to make. "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein", "Evil Dead II", "The Toxic Avenger", "Dracula: Dead and Loving It", are all extremely influential horror comedies to me.
THR: What was it like casting your film? I read that you cast extras from all around the country, is that true?
AB: For most of the random kill scenes I had put out feelers on social media to see if people would travel to Michigan to film death scenes with us. We had people showing up from Ohio, Las Vegas, New York, and even Tennessee to get killed by bananas in our movie. They drove/flew on their own dime just because they wanted to be in the film. Bill Weeden, who plays Dr. ZOOmis in the film, was cast after I met him in New York at a double feature screening of "Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D." and my MST3K-inspired project "Tromasterpiece Theatre" where we riff on Lloyd Kaufman's first film, "The Battle of Love's Return." He enjoyed the riffs in "Tromasterpiece" and wanted to know if I was working on anything else. I told him we were writing "Psycho Ape!" and he said if we found ourselves back in New York that he would love to be a part of it, if just a cameo. But when I returned home and told my writing partner Greg Deliso about Bill, he suggested we just offer him the role of ZOOmis. Thankfully he was interested. And Kansas Bowling, who plays Nancy Banana, was cast because she wanted to work with Greg Deliso from being a fan of his first film, "Hectic Knife." I also do a movie riffing/review show on YouTube called "Movies to Watch on a Rainy Afternoon" where I record satirical commentary over clips from cheesy B-movies, and in 2017 she sent me a copy of her film "B.C. Butcher" to riff and review. So there was already a little bit of history there, which helped.
THR: What was the budget of Psycho Ape! And how did you work within those constraints?
AB: We ran a Kickstarter and initially only asked for $1,000 but we received $7,500. We kicked in some more money during production because a lot of the budget was spent on the New York trip for our King Kong parody sequence at the end. Luckily bananas and fake blood are cheap, so we didn't have to worry about too much about blowing the budget on those things.
THR: There was some actually delightful gore in Psycho Ape! That was mixed in with a lot of the CGI. Who did the special effects for the film?
AB: We did the practical gore effects ourselves. Karo syrup mixed with red food coloring was used for blood, and I would also order gallons of pre-made fake blood and fake body parts from Amazon. Very cheap, very silly stuff.
THR: You’re showing at Crimson Screen Film Festival, that’s super rad. Are you on the film festival circuit, or is this the only one Psycho Ape! Is in?
AB: Psycho Ape's played in a couple festivals. It played at Cinema Wasteland in Strongsville, Ohio last year, Hardcore Horror Fest, Shockfest Film Festival, Motor City Legacy Horror Convention & Film Festival, Independent Horror Movie Awards, Crypticon Minneapolis Shockfest, B Movie Film Festival, New Jersey Horror Con and Film Festival, and it played theatrically at FilmScene in Iowa City earlier this year. Crimson Screen is the only one currently lined up at the moment.
THR: If you were given unlimited funding and access to every actor in Hollywood, what movie would you make?
AB: I would want to make a grand zombie movie. An ultimate homage to George Romero. When I was in high school I watched this film called "Quest for Fire" where we follow a group of cavemen and women as they wander around during prehistoric times searching for fire. There's no dialogue and it plays almost like a documentary. Around the same time, I saw Romero's "Land of the Dead" in theaters and thought it could be an interesting concept to combine these two things; make a zombie movie during apocalyptic times where we follow a horde of living dead as they scavenge for "food." Human characters pop in occasionally and become zombie chow, but the main characters are all zombies.
THR: What’s next for you? Do you have any other projects in the works you’d be willing to talk about?
AB: I hope to start shooting a film this summer called "The Cult of Frankenstein", where we follow a cult of Frankenstein worshippers who rob body parts from morgues and take refuge on a farm to stitch together their own monster. Think "Wicker Man" meets The Manson Family, with a Frankenstein monster. Meanwhile, the great great great grand-descendant of the original Dr. Frankenstein is creating his own army of monsters and pitting them against each other for entertainment, basically charging people for UFC monster fights. The cult's Frankenstein creation breaks loose and ends up at this mad doctor's door, where it does battle with all of these other monsters he's created like something out of a Godzilla movie.
THR: Finally, if you opened your freezer door right this instant and discovered a live penguin, what would you do with it?
AB: I'd probably have to film a live action Mary Poppins dance number with it. Or give it a bowtie and metal tray, and have it take my drink order like in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Check out THR's review of the hilarious Psycho Ape!