Cast & Crew of Axe Murdering With Hackley
The Horror Revolution: This is the question I always start my interviews with: What's your favorite scary movie, and what movie scared you the most?
Mike Fisher (Mitre-Saw): Part 1: Aliens. Part 2: Jaws. Part Guilty Pleasure: Billy the Kid vs. Dracula, mostly because they had Mrs. Olson ("Folger's ist der richest kind.")
Tim Sanders (TE): Night of the Living Dead. My mom took me to the drive in. Thing is, I was only about 5 or so.
Kerry Beyer (Michael Harbor): The Conjuring
Michelle Ellen Jones (Danielle ): Poltergeist is my favorite, Pet Sematary scared me the most.
Sabrina Raquel (On Set Photographer and girl tied up in the back of one of the scenes): In
The Mouth Of Madness for the first part, but The Exorcist scared me the most.
John Knox (Associate Producer) : As a child, Ghostbusters gave me an unnatural fear of large appliances. My favorite is probably Aliens.
Erin King (On set do everything bad ass. Production Manager, 2nd AD, etc.): Even though I work on lots of slasher and horror movies, I'm actually scared to watch them. I can watch about one a year. My fav is the British movie The Children. Any movies about demon possession like Paranormal Activity scare me big time!
Garrett Hargrove (GH, writer/producer) : Halloween might be my favorite. I think John
Carpenter is a God. Scared me the most? When I was like 7, everything freaked me out and I used to have nightmares about Jason Voorhees, but growing up, the more grounded ones where its like “Yeah, that could happen.” ones scared me more. Like The Strangers or something like that.
Allen Hackley (AH, Hackley): Ringu.
THR: What inspired you to make a horror comedy? Is there a general love of horror, comedy, or both?
Trey Hugely (TH, Producer/Actor ((El Matador))): Answering the second part first I'd say that "hell yeah", TE, Garrett and I all love both horror and comedy. Individually I think we each may skew a bit in our own direction (me towards comedy) gravitating toward one or the other, which has created a fantastic mix of creativity for this film. Inspiration for the film initially came from kicking around ideas for a short years ago and grew from there. As we were batting around ideas...we knew it just HAD to be a horror comedy. Its that skewed mix of personalities and love of horror and comedy. THR: I absolutely loved the film. Was there anything that inspired the character of Hackley?
GH: Well the character originally started out as a kind of just dumb dude who couldn’t get things right. But as I got to know Allen (Allen Hackley who played Hackley), I tried to inject his natural personality into the character more since Allen is just a really interesting dude. So he turned into a smarter character, maybe a little jaded and cynical, but a smart ass and then turned him into more of a beat down Peter Gibbons type versus a dumb dude who can’t get stuff right. THR: Allen Hackley is the actor who played Hackley. I'm assuming the name isn't a coincidence. Was it one of those things where he wasn't gonna be able to remember his character name, so you just went with Hackley?
GH: No, the character was originally named Hyde, but when I knew Allen was going to be the character, I changed it to Hackley because Hackley just sounds like a slasher killer name. THR: Looking at the names involved with Hackley, I'm seeing several that I'm familiar with. In fact, I just reviewed Conjoined, featuring Michelle Ellen Jones and directed by Joe Grissafi. Tell me a little about working with other indie filmmakers and stars. Is there just a giant world of indie filmworkers that all trade features on each other's films?
GH: There is this awesome group of Houston indie horror film makers that I just adore. We are in Austin, about three hours away from Houston, but I have gotten to know a lot of them really well and love the work they do. And I think they all do a great job of lifting each other up. Its hard as fuck to make a low/no budget film. Its even harder if you go at it alone. But I’ve seen them all support each other with connections, locations, labor, etc and come away with some great films like Spirit Camp, Conjoined, Dead of Knight, The Good Friend, Pick-Axe Murders 3, Jacob, Haunted Trailer, Sweatshop. I could go on and on and I hope I didn’t offend anyone by leaving a film out. But yeah, it so cool to have this network of indie film makers who help and support each other. And when I was casting up our film, I so desperately wanted to work with these guys (Kerry Beyer, Michelle Ellen Jones, Joe Grisaffi, Jeremy Sumrall), I begged them to come up and be a part of our film. THR: I loved the music involved, from the upbeat take on the generic slasher theme to the hilarious music video featured in the film. Was this something you wanted to do from the start, or did it come about organically while making the movie?
TH: Music was incredibly important to us in the making of the film. TE is an avid musician who can play like a quadrillian different instruments. His ear and talent for tunes helped him create a fantastic score. I've also dabbled in a combination of comedy and rap that I jokingly call "c-rap" throughout the past few years and we felt like using some of those filled in nicely throughout the movie. The music video at the end for Hackley's rap was something that we knew would be a part of the movie from the beginning. It plays well as part of the history of the character back in the 80s.
THR: To Mr. Hackley himself: What's it like playing a character that could very well become the new face of "slasher" movies? And to have it named after you, no less?
AH: LOL it's still not clear which Hackley you are referring to, but well, it's great, but what do you mean "playing" a character? I am Hackley. Hackley is me. There's no character. We are real. We are Hackley, so of course the movie is named after us. THR: The film is legitimately funny. I know that, when my friends and I were in high school, there were tons of comedies that we constantly quoted and that shaped our sense of comedic timing and what we thought was funny for years to come. What films, television shows, standup comedians, etc. do you credit for your sense of humor?
GH: Thanks so much! I genuinely appreciate that! Comedy is so subjective, so you never know if what you find funny is going to resonate with others. Animal House, Mystery Science Theater 3000, Weird Al, Muppets, old SNL/In Living Color episodes. Hmmm. More recent, Edgar Wright films, Pixar, Epic Rap Battles of History, Honest Trailers, etc, etc. THR: The character of Asparagus is one of the more memorable of the film. Is he based on a real person, or does he just do the absolute most crazy things possible?
TE: I wouldn't say he's based on a real person, though Garrett may say he is since he wrote him. The character as you see him on the screen was made more by the actor than any of the rest of us. I don't remember exactly how it went down other than me telling him to go with it, and went with it he did! A lot of it was just us turning on the camera and letting him go at it. I love it when an actor can own it, and just expand like that.
GH: He’s the one character not inspired by anything. Really just wanted a monkey wrench to throw into situations for comedy’s sake. THR: The United Kingdom has long been criticized for maintaining a monarchy while actually being governed by Parliament. With the birth of Prince George, we now have three people directly in line to be King after the current Queen. Should England maintain their current system of government, or abolish the monarchy and throw all governmental support behind the members of its Parliament?
TH: 48...Or maybe the answer is salamander. One or the other.
GH: I really think any system of government where the officials have not proven they are the best in their country at Hungry, Hungry Hippos is a system that is destined to fail.
TE: Or Rock-em-sock-em. At least Rock-em-sock-em. THR: Much like Office Space, Fun With Hackley has a lot of inter-office moments that anyone who has worked in the corporate world has experienced for real, from stupid bosses to dumb policies and procedures. Were there any real-life experiences that influenced the direction the film went in this regard?
TE: Yes. I'd say more, but my day job is still working in an office and it will have to be for who knows how long. But yeah, man, the stories I could tell.
GH: Way too many. Hopefully not stepping on any toes, because I still work at the same place I worked when I wrote Hackley. (In fact, Allen worked at the same company with me for awhile). But I never had the stupid boss, but we were inundated with rules and policies that were set in place and the reasons forgotten so we kept doing stuff just because we had always done them. And I saw a lot of similarities between the horror movie tropes and workplace rules and everything came out of that. THR: One of my favorite things to do while watching a movie is to review its IMDB page and look at the trivia surrounding its production. What's something that would interest fans of the film to know about either the making of the movie itself or the people involved?
TE: Hmmm, let's see. Here's one; the office with the cubes was my living room. It's not a huge living room, but we cleared it out and got those cubes on Craig's List for 75 bux, then dressed it out. I couldn't believe how good it looked once the cameras were on. Cool thing about being in your living room, you can spend lots of time dressing it out and not have to worry about striking. I just had to live up stairs.
GH: I don’t know if this came through, but there were big inspirations for all of the killers in the film and how they conveyed different time periods in the slasher genre: Hyde - Michael Meyers - The White mask dude was an old school, beat down killer. He had lines cut where he talked about stalking his sister. Hackley - Jason Voorhees - Again, old school slasher. Hulking presence. Rival - Ghostface - New wave killer from 20 years ago. Took a lot of the press and attention from the old school killers, which I’m sure they resented. Rancid - Dr. Giggles - One of those kitschy themed horror villains who didn’t really stick. Mitre-Saw - Jigsaw - I think this one was most obvious. Obviously very new wave horror and how old slashers contrast to the Saw type of torture porn. Michael Harbor - Michael Bay - Michael Bay owns Platinum Dunes which does all of the horror remakes (Texas Chainsaw, Nightmare, Friday the 13th) THR: One of my favorite things about Fun With Hackley was the cinematography. Most low-budget movies look like absolute shit, but Fun With Hackley looked awesome. Is there a secret to this, is there something you did to make your film stand out?
GH: Yes. Our secret was Emmy-Award winning Director of Photography, Larry McKee. He’s actually a wizard. He would tell us to close our eyes, there would be a flash and everything looks amazing. THR: Are there any more movies in the works? Maybe a sequel perhaps (please let it be a sequel)? Or do we have to wait and see how Hackley does?
GH: I am writing a sequel right now and also plotting out a web series, tv series and prequel film in the hopes some distributor likes the film and wants to continue funding this world. THR: If you could say you've watched a film more times than any other, what film would it be?
Kerry Beyer: Star Wars
Michelle Ellen Jones: Titanic
Sabrina Raquel: Crash or maybe the film What Dreams May Come, hard to say but I have watched both over 5x
John Knox: Total Recall. See you at the party Richter!
Erin King: Eat. Pray. Love. After my last breakup, it was my therapy. Anybody know a movie about going on successful dates?
Mike Fisher: Kelly's Heroes. I'm a Harry Dean Stanton fan. It's between that and Repo Man.
TE: it would be probably be Python's Holy Grail, but it could be a toss up with 2001. Odd combo I know.
GH: Terminator 2, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Die Hard.
AH: The Matrix, 8 times in the theater alone. THR: I know that I thought you guys absolutely knocked this movie out of the park, and tried my best to convey that with my review. From what I've seen, everyone else who's seen it has loved it as well. What does it feel like to make a movie that gets good reviews? Must be a huge stroke to the ego?
TH: Thank you for your kind words! Trust me, we love hearing that people like it. There has been a lot of blood, sweat and tears in this production (mostly fake blood), so it's nice to know that people enjoy it. To this point though - not that many folks have seen it other than private screenings. As we move onto festival screenings and distribution, we are super excited to share it with the world and see what happens next.
THR: And finally, If you were to eat yourself, would you disappear completely or become twice as big
Kerry Beyer: I'd exist in a quantum superposition of both twice as large and disappeared at the same time.
Michelle Ellen Jones: I've been vegetarian for about a year now, so no white meat for me!
Sabrina Raquel: twice as big
John Knox: disappear with a faint popping sound.
Erin King: I just learned about vanishing twins and dermoid cysts where you absorb your twin or they cut open your cyst and find teeth, hair, and tissue. One guy in India was teased his whole life about his bloated belly that made him look pregnant. Finally, he went to the doctor and they took out arms and limbs. O. M. G... wait what was the question, lol!
Mike Fisher: Neither. I'd turn into a Moebius Strip and be able to lick my insides and my outsides with my inside-out tongue.
TE: The first time, yes, but I tend toward exponentiality.
GH: See: Rosie O’Donnell