Talking 80s Slashers, Horror Fans and the Upcoming Butchers Bluff Production with Renfield Rasputin & William Instone

You may remember me reporting on a movie which was accompanied by an IndieGoGo campaign which went viral and reached its target in just a couple of days, and then went on to surpass all expectations – which will hopefully lead to an amazing indie slasher movie. You can read the original news piece here.

I’ve got my pledge locked in and am waiting excitedly for my poster to arrive and of course to eventually see this movie brought to fruition. I’m a huge horror movie fan and between zombie flicks and slasher movies I do find it hard to choose my absolute favourite, although I think the realism and brutality of a slasher might just tip it.

This move is set to emulate the slasher greats from the 80s… the golden age of horror, where everything had a specific style which just fit with the commentary of the day, the fashion, the music… The horror genre has never fit better in to an era than it did then, so better way to pay tribute to this era than to make a new 80s slasher movie.

I was able to catch up with Renfield Rasputin and William Instone in order to see what really goes in to doing just that… bringing the 80s slasher flick back to life and ready for a modern audience. They’re trying to stay as true to the genre as possible and I am in awe of them for getting together and working towards what already in pre production looks like a cult classic!

F ‘n’ F: Renfield, William, thanks for taking the time to have a chat with me. As I mentioned before, I backed the film on IndieGoGo so needless to say I’m very excited about this release and also looking forward to the poster – even that has a real retro feel to it. This whole project is supposed to invoke the horror spirit of the 80’s, what is it about that era that’s so important to the project?

W: There was a purity to the 80’s Slasher films. It was simple formula and it worked. High body count with sex, drugs and Rock n Roll. I loved those films growing up. I’d been wanting to do a tribute to those films I loved for a long time, things just kind of fell into place.

R: To me, slashers ruled the 80s and that was a pretty significant style of the horror genre. It was the one that a lot of us grew up on and we tend to gravitate to “our first” so, naturally a slasher was what we wanted to make. Plus it set us up to do some pretty cool kills and having a badass killer with a cool mask. All necessities of the style.

F ‘n’ F: I know you’re going the whole hog (excuse the pun) and even shunning CGI for old school visual effects and makeup. Personally I’m a huge fan of actual gallons of fake blood rather than something digital. Was the aesthetic of this the only reason for that decision?

R: I think CGI killed horror movies. In some ways it’s a necessary evil but we wanted to stick with tradition of the 80s style.

W: Practical just looks better to me, its right there on the screen and feels more real. We may use some CGI to enhance here and there but will be very little if any.

F ‘n’ F: Just to finish off the 80’s horror theme, you even enlisted a certified scream queen with over 200 screen appearances in the form of Brinkie Stevens and a couple of classic horror icons in Bill Johnson and Paul Taylor – What were they like to work with, I think Brinkie’s got about 20 projects in various stages of production at the moment so she must be a busy lady. Did they have much of an influence over the feel of the production process, having been part of the era you’re paying tribute to?

W: They add legitimacy to the 80’s vibe. I’ve worked with Bill on several projects and he is the one actor that his character was written just for him. He’s known for being Leatherface 2, but I’m hoping fans will start to recognize him as Jed Dixon after the film is released, because he has embodied this character.

R: (We’re still in preproduction at this point but from meeting them I can say that…) Brinke is one of the biggest sweethearts I’ve ever met. She’s all smiles and good vibes. Bill is a longtime friend of William’s and has worked with him on a couple of films. He’s intimidating to talk to because he’s so intellectual. And Paul is hysterical. You wouldn’t know it from watching his version of Pinhead but the guy is a walking comedy show.

They definitely had an influence because specializing in that style they knew what was required and how to deliver.

F ‘n’ F: Going back to the IndieGoGo campaign you had some amazing perks including film roles and even props. I was quite bummed to have missed the chance to have my face on a missing poster in the movie. I think that was a brilliant idea. What were your favourite perks to give away?

R: I really liked the missing poster idea. I think I said “why don’t we have missing posters in the movie and as an inside joke we could use all of our faces.” Then it was William’s idea to use fans’ faces. That was a really good idea but it makes people feel like they really are a part of it. If I could have had my face in F13 or Halloween as a kid I would’ve been thrilled!

W: It was inspired by the Lost Boys; the wall of missing persons posters. The key to having a successful indiegogo campaign is to get creative with the perks, that’s really a make or break on the indie level we’re at.

R: I also I liked selling the stunt mask. Can you imagine owning a mask used in Halloween or F13? William owns the actual close up mask used in the posters but I don’t know who bought the stunt one. I made the thing and I don’t even have one!

F ‘n’ F: Regret any of the props you’ve given away as perks?

R: Yeah, the stunt mask! See last answer!

W; No because without the perks we wouldn’t have the funds to make the film. I’m just happy people were willing to buy them.

F ‘n’ F: Of course the campaign on IndieGoGo was a massive success and you managed to over-shoot your original goal, so congratulations for that. How did you feel about the huge amount of support the campaign received?

W: It was mind blowing. We passed our original goal in one day. 2 years or networking, meeting horror fans and talking about the film paid off. I expected a lot of the people I talked to to back us, but I was amazed at how many people I never met from all over the country hit that back this project button. Horror fans are the most supportive fan bar none.

R: It’s humbling. When people spend their hard-earned money on your dreams there is no better compliment to an artist. We know that they could have done anything with their money or supported anyone but they choose us, a small time indie project that they believed in. We don’t take that for granted.

F ‘n’ F: Do you think the public’s excitement for 80’s horror at that time because of the latest season of American Horror Story helped with the campaign?

W: No, I think the resurgence has been happening for the past few years. But It didn’t hurt us.

R: Maybe with the younger crowd it merged then and now and opened their eyes to it but the older fans never gave up on it. I still see merch at cons that say, “I love 80s horror” or something to that nature. That era is making a comeback. I wrote a screenplay about the Lalaurie mansion about 4 years before AHS did but it didn’t help me sell it (laughs).

F ‘n’ F: Although hopefully you’ll be staying a little truer to the 80’s slasher vibe than they did and I think what we’ve seen so far promises far more originality than that season of AHS did… There are a lot of excited horror fans counting on you!

R: Yeah, no pressure, right?

W: The expectations are high, but that just drives us to work harder to deliver what the fans want. Blood, Boobs and Bodies.

F ‘n’ F: Speaking of original, can you tell us a bit more about the hogman? What’s his story (or as much as you can divulge) for anyone who hasn’t read much about this project yet?

R: This is my favorite part of the BB story but I’ll let Instone tell it since he IS Alex Grimley!

W: Alex Grimley AKA The Hogman was a bullied 12 year old overweight child that was institutionalized after killing his bullies wearing Porky Pig mask. After 20 years in the State Hospital he vanished and that same year people started going missing out in the woods of Butchers Bluff; miles of dense forest outside Alex home Town of Emerald Hills. Locals labeled him the Hogman after a Bigfoot esque photo of him was published in the town newspaper. Over 15 years 38 people have gone missing from Butchers Bluff. A group of College Film School students thinks its a good idea to go make a film about the missing people and look into the legend. They find what they’re looking for.. or should I say he finds them.

F ‘n’ F: If I remember right you hand made the original hogman mask… What came first? Did the mask inspire the character or did he inspire the mask?

R: The character inspired the mask first. We decided on a hog because of the storyline. We looked into a professional mask maker and they wanted something close to a grand. I told Instone, “Screw that! I’ll make it!” I make all my props for Halloween and coffin bookcases plus I took art lessons for years. So I sketched out a design and went for it. There’s burlap to represent Jason from F13 part 2 and leather to represent Leatherface. The ears are real hog ears and the tusks were real hog tusks from a hunt my dad did.

F ‘n’ F: We’ve seen some photos of you guys at the Cult Classic Convention – how did the hogman go down with the crowds there?

W: Cult Classic Convention is like Hogman’s home, I’m very grateful that the con is so close t my home and we’ve been able to be a part of the last 2 shows. Hogman gets a response wherever he goes and it’s pretty much always the same. That was actually the deciding factor in moving forward with making this film, the word terrifying is the most common word used to describe him. I’m a big dude, and when I put that costume on, it’s scary looking and that is something fans of the genre want. They want the slashers to be scary again.

R: The crowds, guests, and vendors are super supportive of us! I’ve gone to cons for years and have never seen such support. If I had a heart I’d probably tear up! Cult is a smaller con so everyone knows everyone. We were across from Michael Berryman and over from Brinke and Paul and they were sending people our way! But we get to meet the fans, talk, take pics, and usually end up friends on Facebook with them. They’re family to us so we like to invite them to hangout with us at the booth and it ends up looking like a tailgate party in front of our table and blocking the aisle(laughs).

Hopefully everyone is now suitably excited, just as I am for the production of what looks like is going to be an amazing movie! If you missed the IndieGoGo campaign and still want to know a little more about this project, nothing sums it up better than their IndieGoGo campaign video:

Make sure to keep up to date and check them out on Facebook… You definately won’t regret it, especially if you’re in the States where you’ll get another couple of chances this year to meet the Hog man at a convention near you! It’s also where I was able to get all these amazing photos from.

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