Before we get into this round of 20 questions with Director / Producer Chris Greenaway, I'll quickly set up how I got involved with his latest big screen low budget project. Just about two months back I get a call from Darryl "Beef" Wolski, he says he knows of a crew shooting a low budget flick in Brandon and would I like to be a part of it? Rather than doing a major casting call they decided to just do a quick scan of their contacts list to find a suitable candidate. They called the right guy. Who better to call than Beef, the guy literally knows thousands of people! In this case I was the suitable candidate. They needed someone in their forties who could resemble a major market news anchor. The candidate would also need to wear a suit for the scenes. I asked to see the script so I could check out the part a bit more before I confirmed my involvement. They sent me the script the very next day and Beef followed that up with a call to specify the time they had the shoot set up for. After setting up a time to shoot my parts, I put on one of my favourite suits, picked up Beefer and we headed to an undisclosed location in the west end of Brandon.
As we headed in to the location on a hot July evening I was still a bit trepidatious if not apprehensive about this because lets face it, we were heading to a location we've never been before and I was selected to shoot a scene in a low budget horror / slasher movie. For all I knew this was an elaborate scheme Beefer was setting up. He may have been setting me up to get Punk'd just for a kick. Thankfully there were no such shenanigans in store for me. When we pulled up to the place we were greeted by a few members of the cast and crew. Once inside the location we instatntly noticed how cold it was in this place. You could store meat in the room where the camera was! I mean it was almost see your breath cold! We actually welcomed the constant crazy blast of AC as it was still 30 celcius outside and after all, I showed up wearing a suit for the shoot. Chris Greenaway (Director/Producer) told us to enjoy the cool room now because things were going to heat up fast. With that they turned on the set lights and what felt like 55 degrees quickly became 75 degrees. I went over my script and did a last minute run through of my parts so we could get the scene shot asap. Luckily it went rather smoothly and we were out of there in just over an hour. I've chalked this up as yet another interesting adventure that my buddy Beef got me involved with. Plus it was a great opportunity to meet some cool people and it makes for a decent story to tell.
Before leaving the location Chris and I exchanged contact info and thus we have another round of 20 questions. This time we feature Chris Greenaway. (Director/Producer of Hot Tub Party Massacre)
Hi Chris! First off, thanks a ton for agreeing to do this. We'll start with the more straightforward and simple questions then build up to the more cerebral stuff.
1. FM: What is your full time occupation?
CG: I'm an office clerk by day.
2. When and how did you get involved with film making?
CG: I had been a writer of whatever caught my interest from Japanese style comic books, (manga,) to travel articles. When I got home from Japan in 2006 there was a Youth Outreach Program run by the National Screen Institute and I jumped in. It was a great bird's eye view of the film business. I got to be a delegate at one of the bigger film festivals of the era, earned my WHIMS certificate and learned the nuts and bolts of filmmaking. Met some cool people and decided to try my hand in the film business.
3. Sounds like an interesting transition into the biz! How many films have you made?
CG: Counting web series's, shorts and my 2 features, I've made 31 projects since 2007. Not to mention countless scripts that never saw the light of day.
4. Do you write the Screenplays?
CG: I write all of the screenplays I shoot, although I have collaborated on a few occasions as well.
Mark Kiazyk (pictured) plays an escaped serial killer in Hot Tub Party Massacre. The producers of the movie say the flick contains a high kill count. (Photo submitted)
5. Where do you get the inspiration from for your story lines?
CG: It's amazing how many different influences I have. But often I'll sit down and throw on a DVD of whatever I'm into at the time for noise and start scribbling in a notebook. Sometimes I'm influenced by Japanese animation, other times I'm inspired by 70s and 80s b-movies, other times I'm inspired by Bruce Lee movies.
6. Do you usually stick with the horror genre?
CG: It's definitely something that's gained me a lot of good reviews. (Especially Zombie Vigilante, The Young and the Undead and Hooker With a Rocket Launcher.) But I go all over the place. I've done 80s sexy screwball comedies, kung fu action, shoot em up shorts and parodies of spy movies to go with the horror projects I've done.
7. Remind me to set up a seprate interview for you to recant those other flicks. Those are some peculiarly interesting titles. What was the first horror film you ever saw?
CG: It really depends on which of my parents you ask since I was so young. My earliest memory was begging my dad to rent Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter because, I kid you not, I thought it was a hockey movie. But the first scary one my parents finally allowed me to rent was Jaws 3-D in 1984. I slept on a waterbed back then and I was scared that a shark might be in there and slept on the floor for 6 months! But my first true horror that I snuck into a theatre to see was Return of the Living Dead.
8. I hear ya! I saw the original JAWS movie when I was 9 years old and had a hard time going to the bathroom alone for weeks. Do you collect movies? If so what are some of your treasures?
CG: My collection of Chris Seaver movies are in their own vault. (He is the king of zero budget horror comedies in the tradition of Troma and Fred Olen Ray.) But my DVDs of Machine Girl, Otaku No Video, Boogie Nights, and my VHS collection of 80s screwball classics are probably dearest to my heart!
9. What would you say is the best horror film of all time?
CG: No fair! There's so many subgenres with something great to offer that one true great is hard. That said, the original John Carpenter Halloween film is right up there. Tod Browning's Freaks will give you more nightmares than the Exorcist ever will. But overall, Texas Chainsaw Massacre is probably the all time king in my eyes.
10. In your opinion what are the four key elements that make up the quintessential horror flick?
CG: I think you can never have enough jump scares as long as you have a good payoff. The first few Friday the 13th films were masters at not only having great jump scares that went nowhere but also followed them up with very quick kills that doubled as jump scares. Blood effects definitely need to be there nowadays. (The original Halloween and F13 film weren't all that bloody but you can't get away with that today.) A good musical score sets the mood and can really toy with your heartrate when done right.
Oh and shower scenes, lots of shower scenes!!!
CG: 11. Speaking of shower scenes and things of that nature, let's get back to your latest project, Hot Tub Party Massacre! How much of it was shot in Brandon?
CG: I'd say the cast was 50/50 between Winnipeg and Brandon actors with all but 2 of our main crew being from Brandon. 2 full shooting days were in Brandon amounting to 1/3 of the film.
12. What other locations were used in this movie?
CG: Winnipeg and Las Vegas, Nevada. (LV accounting for two scenes that were shot.)
13. In terms of time and money, how much do you have invested with this particular movie?
CG: About $2,000 give or take.
14. How many people make up the cast of HTPM? (list them and they're character)
CG: Counting extras, I'd say about 30.
L- R: Yours truly, Erin Hyndman (Actress / Audio Tech Assisstant) and Chris Greenaway. Chris is giving me direction for what type of delivery to go with in my role as News Anchor Jack Hardy. (Photo submitted)
15. If you could choose any actor or actress of the horror genre, which persons would you pick for one of your films?
CG: Debbie Rochon, (who I've worked with previously but if my budget allowed it, she'd be in every genre project I do,) Tiffany Shepis, Linnea Quigley, and Katherine Isabel.
16. What has been your biggest brush with fame?
CG: Delivering pizza to Chris Jericho in 1999.
Nice! How much did he tip you?
CG: 20 bucks. He wasn't swimming in money just yet.
17. Horror icon, Fangoria hall of famer and one of the very first people mentioned when you say the word "scream queen", BRINKE STEVENS does a voice over cameo in Hot Tub Party Massacre, how did that come about?
CG: A fellow filmmaker friend in the US named Dustin Hubbard was making a movie in LA with Brinke and suggested that I add a scene for her to do a voice over for. Initially I didn't think she'd go for it since my budget was so small but he put in a good word for me and when I pitched her the project she was totally down. She even did the voice over for our trailer!!! An amazing lady who was extremely professional and did an amazing job!
18. What is the ultimate goal with your films?
CG: My goal is to be like a Roger Corman type where I'm able to make movies and web shows full time and turn a profit each time. All of this while giving young actors, crew and writers a chance to work on their first projects on a regular basis as well.
19. Hot Tub Party Massacre has a few tag lines that are being thrown around by yourself, the cast and some other people attached to the project. Which ones did you decide to use.
CG: Ultimately I gave Brinke 2 of the winners to record to see which one played better. They were "A soak in the hot tub is a relaxing way to DIE" and "A soak in the hot tub is a steamy way to DIE". Relaxing ended up being the winner
20. I understand you are near completion of the film and the release date as well as multiple screenings are in the works, will you promise us another interview before it hits the screens?
CG: Absolutely! We're at the Evans Theatre on Friday, October 28th at 10pm with meet and greet at 9:30 and right after the movie. Drop me a line anytime as we get closer to showtime and we'll definitely do this again!
For those interested in viewing the trailer before heading out to the Evans theatre screening, it's available on youtube. here's the link!
Tickets are $6.00 at the door. There will also be a merchandise table and snacks available.
The movie is rated R and is only open to an 18+ audience.