By: Gordon K Smith
Midnight movie screenings for the crazier stuff are now a staple of film festivals, and the 2013 Dallas International Film Festival is no exception. One of this year’s Midnight Specials is BUCK WILD (no relation to the MTV series), which combines deerhunting, zombie outbreaks, psycho rednecks…and slapstick. At a March roundtable to promote the film’s DIFF 2013 gig, producer Christian Sosa, director/co-editor Tyler Glodt (who also plays Game Warden Shipley) and co-writer/producer Matt Albrecht (also onscreen as “Craig Thompson”) chatted about the world of low-budget filmmaking.
Matt: We’re all from Texas, but we met and lived in L.A., and we wanted to make another film (their first was last year’s THE EVES). I said “Let’s go to my ranch in South Texas and make a creepy horror film”. My dad Phil stepped in as an executive producer, and helped up raise funds, and we’re off to the races…Tyler said, ‘Let’s do comedy, we do it well!’ I still had the zombie notion and we’d been deer hunting at my ranch for years, so I said, ‘Let’s do deer hunting AND zombies”. Two nights later we’re at the IHOP on Sunset Boulevard and we came up with the story…we started writing in September 2010, and had our first draft in four weeks.
Tyler: We started production in January 2011, crewed up in Austin, and shot for about 20 days. Gina Grant, an Austin, Texas script supervisor and screenwriter, really helped us have a good time, make a fun zombie movie, and also started the post process.
Matt: Two of our producers aren’t here, Taylor Thompson and Stacey Crawford, are still in L.A…we couldn’t have done it without them. Those ladies were the heart and soul of the producing and production management. They really helped Christian.
Tyler: We needed shambling zombies to come in and disrupt this diner scene at three a.m. – they just combed the bars in the area and came up with 20 people…it ended up being three hours. They were made up and liquored up. We had to keep the booze flowing.
Matt: We had all this chaotic stuff going on, and behind the scenes, at the beginning, middle and end, we had my grandfather, whose land we shot the movie on. I said, “Grandpa, we really wanna shoot another film on your place.” He gave me two $100 bills to forget about it…we hugged it out…three days later in Goliad, we had three PA’s (production assistants) watching out for fires. He shows up at the production office and ranchhouse, doing donuts in his truck, leaning on the horn and yelling at the top of his lungs, “YOU GET OUTTA HERE, YOU MOVIE TRASH!!!”
Tyler: He kept saying, “Go back to L.A.!”…except the crew was all from Austin. Fast forward, second-to-last night, 200 people show up for hotdogs and burgers. People from the Victoria paper show up to get a great photo of 150 zombies running across the pasture. Front spread, next day newspaper. Grandpa Albrecht sees it at breakfast, grabs his shotgun–
Matt: –comes back to the set next morning and now he’s shooting buckshot in the air…I think I’m cut out of the will.
Tyler: It was worth it.
KNOWSHI: You should have been running film on that.
Tyler: Yes, we need to come back and ask him “Can you do that one more time for the camera?”
(At this point Matt introduces “Mr. Chupacabra”, the puppet-controlled furry monster whose bite starts the zombie outbreak, and inserts the critter’s fang dentures).
Matt: We gotta get some Polident!
Tyler: Yes, the Chupacabra is “patient zero”. One of my favorite zombie movies is Peter Jackson’s DEAD ALIVE, where the Sumatran Rat-Monkey bites the woman (starting that plague). We wanted to tie in a Texas/Southwestern reference since we had a lot of investors from Texas. Everybody’s got one in their backyard. I don’t know if he’s infected by the zombie virus, or it’s just what he carries. He’s the host. He had three scenes in the movie, two of which got cut.
KNOWSHI: Did he have a bad agent or what?
Tyler: (laughs) He got a little camera shy since he’s only got a couple of movements. We were going for a PORKY’S or ANIMAL HOUSE feel but we finally decided less is better. You did an outstanding job, buddy.
KNOWSHI: In the old black and white days blood was Hershey’s chocolate syrup, then later, Karo Syrup with Red No. 6 in it. What did you use for screen blood and how much?
Tyler: Stan Gilbert was our props/armour guy, got us this high quality movie blood, called Pig’s Blood. For a lot of the tight shots we used the good quality blood. For general extras, when people are getting splattered, we went with Karo and food color. I only had it on me briefly when I was being disemboweled. When we blasted Dru (Lochwood) in the face, I told him you’re gonna be naked in the scene, and it’s 15 degrees, and you’re gonna get cannon-blasted in the face with blood…when I got it in the stomach, I could see his complaint. I got the Karo, he got the high quality blood in the face.
KNOWSHI: I just saw the trailer for Brad Pitt’s new zombie flick WORLD WAR Z. What is it with zombie movies now?
Matt: I think The Walking Dead has been a big push for that. For me, it started when ZOMBIELAND came out. Zombie films have always been around, but that one brought up the hype, made a new generation appreciate zombie movies.
Tyler: Before that, SHAUN OF THE DEAD.
KNOWSHI: ZOMBIE ALAMO can’t be far behind…how did you raise your budget? Were you able to make use of Texas incentives for filmmakers?
Christian Sosa (Christian): After writing the script we shot a little test scene– “The Godfather Scene” – went back to our pool of investors from our first film, and Matt’s Dad, plus some others interested in investing, got the budget together, and started pre-production four months after the first draft of the script…we were kind of late on the incentives…the only union we went with was SAG…the worst thing was, it was one of the worst freezes in history in that part of Texas.
Matt: The martini (final) shot of the film was the actual explosion of the ranch. For two weeks…we kept trying to tell my dad that we wanted to do it right, not digitally in post, that wouldn’t look so good. We need to blow it up.
Tyler: I said just humor him, but we ARE going to blow it up.
Matt: We’d shot all the zombie stuff, this is the only thing left, we’ve got the volunteer fire department standing by. It’s falling down anyway and has zombie blood all over it! He said, “Alright, do it, but I’m not going to be here for this”. We broke out the windows and put these big fire cannons in each window that shoot big balls of fire out. It was great. Only took one take, at 5:56 a.m., and then we started doing (liquor) shots.
Tyler: The whole thing was a great experience 95% of the time. We were blessed to work with a lot of people who’d been in the Texas film industry for some time…we’re excited to be playing the Dallas International Film Festival since we consider ourselves Texas filmmakers, and it’s a great festival.
Christian: People who love zombies and want to come dressed as them can come zombified in their zombie best and be among the crowd of the ordinary.
Matt: Mr. Chupacabra will be there and his teeth will be in, so be careful!
BUCK WILD will be shown Saturday April 6 at 11:59pm, and Sunday April 7 at 10:15pm at The Angelika Theater. For more info go to www.dallasfilm.org.