Thursday, September 10, 2009
Interview with Chainsaiw Maid Creator
The Summer 2009 edition of Comic Mavo includes an interview with the upcoming claymation filmmaker TNT, best known for his ode to 80's splatter films Chainsaw Maid. I've cherry picked the best parts to translate. Read on to find out how TNT got started and what he has in store for fans!
PLAYING CATCH UP
Comic Mavo (CM): Were you always a fan of horror movies?
TNT (TN): Oh yeah. I was crazy into video games in elementary school, but when I started junior high I made a conscious effort to watch more horror. By high school I was totally hooked.
(CM): What started you down that dark and gory road?
(TN): John Carpenter's Halloween. I was always curious about the Horror section of my rental shop. “What could be on these?” When I finally worked up the courage to find out, I chose Halloween.
(CM): When were you born?
(CM): That was right when the horror boom was dying out. Did you ever see John Carpenter's The Thing?
(TN): Yeah. It's his masterpiece. I'd love to do it in clay!
(CM): It stands up extremely well. Right around the time you were born there was a surge of horror movies fueled by rental stores. I rented awful C-grade movies by the armload, tons of stuff by Herschell Gordon Lewishem, the granddaddy of splatter films. So many movies featured half naked girls and buckets of spurting blood. People like watching them precisely because they're low-class. I can see the same appeal in your films. The people that get it can’t get enough. But in terms of technique, you're top class. That’s what sets you apart.
(TN): Thank you. I was always playing catch-up with the films I missed—I'm jealous of those who experienced it in real-time. I read in an old magazine article how the Tokyo International Fantastic Film Festival used to be dominated by horror.
(CM): When did you begin claymation?
(TN): One day in high school, the art teacher brought in a camera and some clay was proposed that we make something. That's when I first realized that I could make these on my own. My first film was Battle of Clay.
(CM): Were you always working from a grotesque angle?
(TN): Yeah. But at first I wasn't consciously trying to make horror movies using clay. That wouldn’t be until I entered college. That’s also where I started using sound; the films I showed in high school were all silent.
(CM): Were your early films taken on video?
(TN): The old fashioned way—pressing start and stop on the video camera!
(CM): Your first productions were no-frill affairs. How about now?
(TN): Now I record with a digital camera. I upload the data onto my computer and edit it frame by frame.
CHAINSAW MAID 2 IN THE WORKS?
(CM): Chainsaw Maid is your definitive work. The husband is getting it with the maid, so where's his wife?
(TN): There's no wife.
(CM): Just his daughter then. So if the maid starts something funny with the husband…
(TN): The maid is like a mother to the daughter. She takes good care of her. It's a healthy relationship.
(CM): The animation is quite nuanced. I was particularly surprised by scene where the father is silently drinking coffee at the table after the girls pukes out her guts.
(TN): That's a fan favorite.
(CM): Scenes like that are where you truly shine.
(TN): The impetus for the scene was simple. There was coffee on the table, and I needed some sort of action.
(CM): I've never seen acting like that in a horror movie. It feels like real life, seeing people in extreme situations going about their daily business.
(TN): If I were in the same situation, I'd probably have drunk the coffee too.
(CM): The main character is bitten by a zombie, so why doesn't he turn?
(TN): I had planned to have a scene where the maid is taking care of the zombified husband. But I had to complete the film in time for the school movie festival so it got cut.
(CM): I think the ending wraps everything up nicely as is.
(TN): I was happy with the simple ending. But the zombie fans E-mail me asking, “Why doesn't the husband become a zombie?” (Laughs)
(CM): Can we expect a sequel?
(TN): You bet. But it won’t be a continuation of this story. I'm thinking of setting the next one in the middle ages. The maid would be the princess’ chambermaid, or a servant of the royal family. A zombie plague is spreading through the townspeople—something like that.
PAYING TRIBUTE TO JOHN CARPENTER
(CM): What can you tell us about what your next film?
(TN): I’m working on the framework. Chainsaw Maid 2 is a contender. I thought I
had exhausted the splatter genre with Chainsaw Maid so I wanted to do something different with Pussycat, but during production Chainsaw Maid had a surge of popularity over You Tube. That made me want to make another splatter film. If I did, the gore would far exceed Chainsaw Maid. It will have to be absolutely brutal!
(CM): The stage is set for your claymation version of The Thing.
(TN): I would want to push clay to the limit and make impossible shapes.
(CM): The special effects in the film are impressive considering that they were done before the advent of CG.
(TN): They actually made everything you see on screen.
(CM): Made in their nightmare factory.
(TN): Special effects used to be artistic. I'd like to do that kind of 80’s goopy gore.
(CM): You could remake the pottery wheel scene from Ghost, only have Patrick Swayze come from behind and devour Demi Moore's head.
(TN): Sounds like great negative publicity.
(CM): Swayze's head has to open up into a mess of teeth.
(TN): The hardest part would be the pottery wheel.
(CM): John Carpenter's Ghost.
(TN): This is making me want to put another cute character in my film…
(CM): Go for it.
(TN): Something like Cyborg Girl VS The Thing.
(CM): That would work! Cute characters in claymation are all cut from the same mold as Pingu.
(TN): The world is filled with cuteness.
(CM): How about John Carpenter's Pingu?
(TN): “The monster's hiding inside one of us!” I could roll with that (laughs).
For the full interview check out the Summer 2009 edition of Comic Mavo and see TNT's You Tube Channel for more madness! Bloody Date is my personal favorite.