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The Amateur Monster Movie
Jozef K. Richards
2011, 100m, comedy, horror, sci-fi
The greatly idiotic Walter Romero takes on an island of zombies and a bloodthirsty werewolf to avenge his boy scout buddy with the help of his doe-eyed crush, Ashley Valinski, and hapless stoner, Johnny Mason.
Produced by: Jozef K. Richards
Cast: Chris Ouchie, Jozef K. Richards, Steve Golla, Samantha Goetz, Charles Ramsey, Stephen Kimble, Bruce Spielbauer
10 questions with The Amateur Monster Movie director, Jozef K. Richards at the half-way mark.
Sunday, August 28th, 2016
1What was the original inspiration for the film? As a kid, I was really into George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead for being creepy and hilarious and thought-provoking all at once, on a very low budget. Some of my favorite lines, such as "I found these fruit jars in the cellar" and "he asked me if we had any candy.... but we didn't" I have repeated by characters in my script. It was when I saw the movie Shaun of the Dead in high school that I really saw the potential of a true comedy-horror and set out to write my own.
2Everyone seems pretty young. How old were you when you started the film? What was that experience like? I was 19 when we started production on The Amateur Monster Movie. Not to be outdone by Steven Spielberg, I was very determined to begin my first feature while I was still a teenager. For me, it was an incredible learning experience powering through that process for the first time and having such a large and supportive team around me was a big confidence boost for me early on as a film maker.
3What are some of your favorite horror movies? Night of the Living Dead & its sequels, Shaun of the Dead, The Shining, Jurassic Park, Alien
4How did growing up and filming in Wisconsin influence the film? I find a sensory beyond cerebral knowledge of a location and of your characters can help you write a more sincere and authentic script. I had both of those in my home state of Wisconsin.
5There were a lot of constructed sets and interesting props/wardrobe items (sweet bass shirt!). Who was responsible for art design? A great deal of the art design came from little sketches I made -- be it a werewolf head, or police badges that read "I AM POLICE" -- and my mother, Judith Richards, bringing them to life as our primary costumer and prop-maker. Surprisingly, some of the more extreme moments of art design in the movie, such as the walls filled with drawings in the drug dealer's apartment, were actually found-locations. Those folks did not get their security deposit back as I recall. The sweet bass shirt was a Salvation Army pick-up, as was the rest of Walter's and Johnny's wardrobes.
6How was working with Mark Borchardt? How much of his scene was scripted? Mark is an incredible guy, enigmatic and extremely kind. It was a great validation for me as a fellow Wisconsin film maker to have his involvement in the movie. The entire scene was scripted, as is nearly every scene in the movie, save for a few one-liners in a montage or two. I think the cast did a great job of giving it a spontaneous and improvised feel though. Much like with Mark, I was able to write about half of the characters in the movie with the specific actor in mind.
7How did you go about casting the film? How was that experience? Casting was a mixed bag of people I knew and had some experience working with (such as the lead, Chris Ouchie, and the actors playing Digits, Database, Booker, and The Guru), non-actors I knew and was taking a shot with for the first time (Officer Duane, Mandy Hollywood, and "Butch" -- who has since gone on to star in many of my productions), established actors who responded to casting calls (Officer Larry, Mayor Kimball), and actors I sought out such as Mark Borchardt. The menagerie of different experience levels works well and I think it's hard to distinguish one category from another. They all worked together very well.
8What was the process like scoring the film? I worked with a local musician in Milwaukee, Doug Dobert, who did a great job of adapting to my varied requests and tackled many genres with skill. I think this soundtrack is a great tribute to the sounds and instrumentation of classic b-horror cheese.
9How long did it take to complete the film? What obstacles did you face? All together it was about 3 years, with 57 days of production between 2 summers. Along the way we lost key team members that had to be replaced, such as twice our lead actress, and finishing a film with no money for the first time was and is a tremendous task. I think the worst grind of all was doing the subtitles...
10What have you worked on since the film? What's next? I am currently in production on my third feature film, a comedy documentary entitled Batman & Jesus, which investigates the historicity of Jesus in juxtaposition with Batman and its lore. I'm also releasing my second feature film, The Wayward Sun, this fall. I've produced several web-series as well, and am currently in production on a series called "Holy Shit" as well as "King's Tower Quarterly". Everything current can be found on my website, spadeheartclub.com
About the Interviewer: Sean Williamson
I'm a father. I've lived in Alaska, Colombia, Los Angeles and have directed twelve films (music videos, documentary, and feature). My directing/writing feature debut, Heavy Hands, was an official selection to the 2013 Raindance Film Festival (London). I started the blog World Wide Dirt in 2008, where I have written poetry, fiction, reviews, burgers stories, and many things in between.
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