Infamous for being amateur yet respectfully daring, this shot-on-video (ie, camcorder, home movie) abnormality has as many gross-outs as it does laughs. Adding to the offbeatness is that the depictions on the VHS slipcase and DVD release have characters and stills not in the movie, ie there is no woman in a beige outfit. In fact, there’s barely anything resembling a farm in Splatter Farm.
Despite its seemingly mild-manner tone set by unlikeable twins who reluctantly visit their depraved aunt, Splatter Farm is a savage, hullucinagetic trip with innovative cheap gore effects. And as cheap as it is, this unique film manages to be shockingly repulsive. Bodies are dismembered, sexual interactions are pushed to the edge, a knife is excremented (i think) and a guy is buried in a shallow grave, nude and possibly still alive. And that’s not even the worst (best?) of it. Believe it or not, there is actually a satisfying surprise twist at the last minute. This is must-see, even if it’s the re-edited DVD version.[rating: $9] –Kenyon
Interview with director Edward Payson. by Kenyon Hopkin.
Following his award-winning music documentary Unsigned (2011), director Edward Payson’s latest film The Cohasset Snuff Film is a “found footage” story regarding a teenager who murdered three classmates in a quiet town. The title alone suggests something shocking, as Payson strives to show the dark side of life. He has already accomplished this with works such as the gory-dramedy The Itch. On the horizon is the action-comic revenge film Fury: The Tales of Ronan Pierce, co-directed with Kevin McCarthy and featuring Kane Hodder, known for his role as Jason Vorhees. Payson, a native of New Hampshire, discusses his work, Hodder and why he chooses his own film content to be free of boundaries.
=============================== MLFD: Are you psyched to be working with Kane Hodder? How’d that happen? Payson: Working with Kane on Fury was great. This is a person I had looked up to for a very long time. It was very surreal. A year ago I was having Kane sign my Jason Goes to Hell poster and this year I was able to have him act in our film. It was an incredible feeling. He was a true professional, easy going and had a great sense of humor.
Are some people automatically ignoring The Cohasset Snuff Film because they are afraid of the word “snuff”? Judging by the trailer and what I’ve read, is it more on the sensitive and serious side? We really haven’t begun the actual marketing on The Cohasset Snuff Film but I think so far people are generally excited. There are fake downloads for the film on Youtube already that random people posted. We are being called by Cohasset officials talking about how people are in a panic in the small town. I don’t really think the word “snuff” caused us a problem. I think the true horror fans are who we are going for with this and a simple word won’t keep them away unless that word is “Twilight.”
“I love the Evil Dead. Do I want a remake, NO”
What did you think of the original snuff film from the 1970s? I love 70’s snuff movies. I don’t think the original Snuff film was that great. Some films I look at from that era that really were perceived as “snuff” were Cannibal Holocaust and Faces of Death. These films changed the game. They made people sick. People didn’t know how to deal with what they were seeing. It was pure shock factor. This is what I am going for.
Your favorite/most influential horror films ever? I have a rather long list of favorite or influential horror films but I will keep it to a few. I really the work of George Romero. The Dead Series is my favorite classic trilogy. I remember sitting in my dad’s basement workshop watching Night of the Living Dead on a small 2″ by 5″ black and white television with my brother at 10 years old. My father was a huge horror fan and really introduced me to the genre. I was seeing R-rated horror films in theaters more than I would see Disney Films. As far as modern horror films with the exception of “The Splat Pack” namely Eli Roth, Adam Green, James Wan and Rob Zombie, I really haven’t been into mainstream horror of the last 10 years besides films coming from Korea. I Saw the Devil was one of the best films I have ever seen. It was masterful in story, acting and execution. These amazing films are coming from Korea and all we get in America are horrible remakes.
What do you think about the Evil Dead getting remade? I love the Evil Dead. Do I want a remake, NO. I think it all has to do with money. These movies are not made to be good. They are made to bank off the name recognition from the first film. I am totally against remakes and re-imagining classic films. It is getting out of control. Soon I think every ten years a film will get rebooted if it makes money. It is sad original ideas are looked down upon and go unmade.
“I don’t cut away when I think the audience will be squeamish”
What are the projected dates for your two upcoming films? As of now we are releasing The Cohasset Snuff Film on Halloween 2012 and Fury we don’t have a specific release date because the film is still in post [production] and we have animation and effects which are going to take a very long time, but you will see it in 2013.
Is this your full time job? Are you able to make a living off this? What else do you spend time on? Right now this is all I do. I had a full time job before editing and making how-to videos. Unfortunately the company downsized and I ended up getting laid off. Now I am just like any other independent artist trying to get by on side gigs and small videos here and there between features.
What’s it like in Los Angeles, as far as the indie horror film industry goes? Los Angeles is the place to be for Independent Film. Places like Cinefamily in Hollywood will show independent films all the time, sometimes for free. There are always special screenings in and around L.A. and plenty of people to talk film with. I love it.
As a director, what makes your vision unique? I believe in not compromising your vision no matter what. Most of my films are not just about the characters. They are also about the cruel world in which they live. I want people to experience the ugliness in the world so I don’t cut away when I think the audience will be squeamish. I let them experience every agonizing second. The world is not pretty and that is the picture I like to paint.
Live Animals (2008) The cover for this indie has a review byte that boasts “fans of Saw and Hostel will cheer”. Well, first it’s nothing at all like Saw. Second, it’s not exactly like Hostel either. At best it’s more like a mix of Turistas and Human Centipede but not as suspenseful or brutal. Not that Live Animals doesn’t show blood. In fact, the victims are abucted by lunatics relatively early and before long a tongue is cut off. It was the guy’s own fault though for not shutting up. The short lead-in to the crisis situation allows little time to get to know the characters, but they seem pretty boring. Their new “owner”–an older, regular looking guy assisted by a husky sidekick–wants to mentally break them like horses so he can sell them like slaves. The surviving college-age kids are able to escape the chains before making a huge, brainless mistake which culminates into otherwise easily avoidable deaths. It all would have been more believable if the mediocre Live Animals didn’t suffer from sloppy editing in a few scenes and the inexplicably deleted–and humorous!–scene that would have answered how the villian makes an escape. [rating: $4] –Kenyon