I love the “metal meets horror then kicks it in the dick” film Deathgasm, and I was lucky enough to speak with Writer/Director Jason Lei Howden and Executive Producer Ant Timpson. Here’s what they had to say about their most recent project.
Being 33, I got into horror by watching Pumpkinhead on an old VHS tape and Friday the 13th marathons on TV. What film got you into the genre?
Jason Lei Howden: Although Bad Taste and Evil Dead were big influences, it was Nightmare on Elm street 3 that pushed me into horror. I saw it when I was a kid, and it blew my mind! It took the great concepts of the first film and turned them up to eleven! And Dokken!
Ant Timpson: I’m a little older than you, so I experienced most of my horror education inside cinemas from 1975 onward. So to pick the one title that switched me on to horror is impossible. The first film that scared me, however, was Scrooge starring Albert Finney, which I saw when I was five.
What horror franchise would you love to be a part of?
Ant Timpson: Well, it was a real shame Nukie didn’t a sequel, so that kind of leaves me hanging. To tell you the truth, the franchise that I’ve had the most fun with in recent times was the Final Destination films. Just seemed like a fun series to work on, and I guess my own ABCs of Death fulfilled a few dreams.
How did you get involved in Deathgasm?
Ant Timpson: I started a competition called Make My Movie in New Zealand, where the New Zealand Government gave me money to hand out to projects to filmmakers I thought were worthy. I brought on the US company MPI to be co-financier of the scheme, and Deathgasm was the first film we chose to make.
I noticed a lot of love for the amazing band Trivium, and I have always loved “Into the Mouth of Hell We March.” What’s your favorite Trivium song?
Jason Lei Howden: I love “Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr.” I really wanted to get “In Waves” on the Deathgasm OST, but we couldn’t make it happen. We simply didn’t have the money. But they let us show posters on screen, which was awesome.
The mountaintop day dream sequence was so metal! What was your favorite scene in Deathgasm? (Spoiler warning.)
Jason Lei Howden: I love when they go to his Uncle’s house and have to kill the Uncle/Aunt demons. Not just the infamous “dildo” moments, but all the action and splatter there is really fun.
Ant Timpson: I really like David’s head being suddenly chainsawed. That scene is so wrong on so many levels. It just shows how much the audience is into the film and characters that they let us get away with morally screwy shit like that.
In my opinion, Deathgasm has replaced Peter Jackson’s Braindead (Dead Alive in the US) as New Zealand’s top horror export. How does that make you feel?
Ant Timpson: It’s funny how many times Braindead gets referenced in discussions of any New Zealand horror film. People say New Zealand has this rich history of horror comedy, but we’ve got like 3 films in 50 years. Not exactly a landslide. They said Housebound was the new Braindead, and now it’s Deathgasm. I think it’s time to move on and leave Braindead alone. These films are their own beasts and draw influences from all over. And to be honest, I was never a big fan of Braindead. I was burnt out on over-the-top gore when I saw it. However, I loved Bad Taste to death, though; I still think it’s the greatest home movie ever made.
Prior to seeing Deathgasm, the Australian zombie comedy Wyrmwood was my horror film of the year. Have you seen it yet? If so, what did you think of it?
Ant Timpson: I think that film is pretty great. They also did miracles with very little, and they seem like an awesome bunch of people too. Its funny because Aussies think we’re nailing genre films, and we think they’re nailing it. Grass is always greener.
What is your favorite film that you have worked on so far?
Ant Timpson: I loved working on all of them. Turbo Kid was the first co-production, so that’s been pretty special, and that film has resonated with people on a level very few films do. The term “cult movie” is so overused by morons these days, but TK has a real chance of being a new cult film.
Jason, you previously mentioned working on the forthcoming Evil Dead series, and a possible Deathgasm sequel. Where would Bruce Campbell fit in your metal universe?
Jason Lei Howden: I would love to see a crossover! Maybe in comic book form? I don’t think he would gel with the metal boys. Ash would stick some Jethro Tull on the stereo, and it would all be over.
Going to put you on the spot again, Jason. With the announcement of a possible remake of your favorite Nightmare on Elm Street, Dream Warriors, what would you do to separate it from the reboot pack?
Jason Lei Howden: Bring back Robert Englund as Freddy and fill it full of creative death scenes. The last remake just rehashed Nightmare 1. The Freddy universe has so much potential. It’s a dream. Anything can happen! Have fun with it, and they better keep Lowrick: Prince of Elves in the reboot.
Lastly, I always ask people what their favorite Sylvester Stallone film is. So what’s yours? If you have none, this interview is over… just kidding.
Ant Timpson: Don’t joke about Sly! I am a major fan of the guy. I am hyped for Creed. I’ve seen all of his films numerous times, but First Blood is an instant classic.
Jason Lei Howden: Rocky 1 by far. I suppose everyone says that though, right? Okay, I’ll go with Demolition Man.
Ant Timpson has worked on the ABCs of Death franchise, Housebound, and Turbo Kid. Jason Lei Howden has worked on multiple feature films, including The Hobbit trilogy, The Wolverine, Avengers, and Man of Steel. Deathgasm is available for rent or purchase digitally, and will have a physical release in the near future.
Moan4Stallone is Laser Time’s horror master. Hit him up on Twitter to discuss Deathgasm!