I Need You Dead!
I Need You Dead! follows the story of a young punk named DOOD. After a moment of total teenage angst, he births a strange fleshy creature… it mocks him, hurts him, and takes over his whole world! DOOD must find some way to rid of this evil monster before it convinces DOOD to rid of himself!
What made you start to write I Need You Dead!?
Making a feature film didn't feel like a possibility to me for a long time. I always understood it to be an incredible human feat and never felt quite ready. However, after my film Meat Lovers got picked up by Troma Entertainment I gained enough confidence to start tinkering with a feature screenplay. It wasn't until I flew to NYC to work on Lloyd Kaufman's newest film Shakespere's Shitstorm that I came to understand what it takes to run such a large-scale production. I worked primarily as an electrician on set along with various duties. Seeing how this set created a team of people, carrying their weight each and every day, gave me the understanding of how a film is truly made. I tossed my, then second, draft of the film and started from scratch. I'd write in-between shooting, full of inspiration, and with a new perspective on how to construct my story in relation to a real production.
What artist(s)/directors have influenced you the most? And why?
Lloyd Kaufman has always been an important figure to me. He cares deeply about the independent arts, more so than any other director I've ever known. His movies can seem shlocky on the outside, but Lloyd has been on the cutting edge of progressive politics for a long long time. I feel so fortunate that he has publicly been supporting our film and starred in it as well! Another major artistic influence on I Need You Dead! is James Bell. He's an underground filmmaker who lives in basically the middle of nowhere. He sells his movies for $10 online, and I just happened to stumble across one of his DVD's a few years ago. He has such an interesting approach to the lo-fi aesthetic that can be so very effective in the horror genre. His films are disgustingly surreal, and I believe effects-wise he is the Tom Savini of the internet age. Lucky for us, we got one of his original musical compositions in the film too!
You've said before I Need You Dead! is about mental health and depicts elements of suicide/self infliction. What made you want to talk about these issues and how did you deal with them?
I Need You Dead! is a story about a young punk named DOOD. He births a creature that is a manifestation of his most self-deprecative thoughts. Our creature character is picking at DOOD in ways that most audience members will likely relate too. When I was in high-school, my inner creature was berating me constantly. It made life a pretty miserable existence. I was in a very toxic relationship, my parents and I were constantly clashing, and my identity felt completely shattered. During this time I was formed habits and ideas about myself I'd rather not even get into. However, in the film we tackle these difficult ideas through our protagonist. Its important to me to show how not fun, and actually how terrible depression really is. I feel like it so often glorified as a "cool" or "hip" way to feel when truthfully, it completely halts a person's growth. It causes a person to unintentionally harm the people trying to help them the most, which is absolute tragedy. Depression comes in many forms and intensities, but INYD! is the story of mine, and how it impacted me. I hope it can be therapeutic or at least informative to some people who may be dealing with it themselves.
Whats the hardest part of your work?
Not getting to ever be done. The process is so long in every department, I'm always excited to move on to the next thing. When you're writing you just want to hammer out that last page. When you're in pre-production you just want to jump into that first day of shooting. When you're on set you just want to take a fucking nap. When you're editing you just want the thing wrapped in a bow, sounding and looking perfect. But of course, making a feature film requires an insane amount of patience with yourself and with the digital nightmare that is a 105 minute multi-layer project file. As I answer this, the premiere is only eight days away, and I just want it to happen so badly. But I have to keep waiting, and I have a suspicion I'll always be tapping my foot for something to come around. But that's life eh?
What is something about your process that no one knows about?
When things get really intense, especially during principal photography, my dreams become about all my anxieties surrounding the film-making process on a very consistent nightly basis. I will have extremely vivid dreams of me directing, editing, sending emails. Its ridiculous but its true. Its not even a part of the process really, but it feels like extra work that only I'm doing.
In what way did you find I Need You Dead! healing and in what way was it difficult?
I Need You Dead! was healing because I got to take the worst part of my life and express it in a way that mattered to me, thus making 2019 the best year of my life. People on set connected to our story and even more so with each-other. The Bad Taste Video Team was truly born on that set and getting to bring that many people together, from all walks of life was pure magic. Everyone still hangs out and are collectively excited for whatever comes down the Bad Taste Video pipeline. The most difficult parts were truthfully just keeping the ship afloat. We had very little money and an extremely tight schedule. Our crew while inexperienced, was so dedicated that I believe them to be the soul reason this movie even came close to existing. Six days a week, up to sixteen hours a day, the project was a labor of love and nothing short.