- Interview by: Baal Peor
- SSV: What is the coolest feedback you've received from My Skin! so far?
CAB: That’s hard to say, I’ve had so much great response to the film. The first thing that comes to mind, however, is when the film was selected to screen at A.K.A Shriekfest 2003, at Raleigh Studios in Los Angeles. That was an unexpected honor in itself, but then the film was given a very high-profile timeslot and also won “Best Horror Short (2nd Place)”. MY SKIN also won College-Film.com’s “Best of the Best 2003” award. Since then the film has screened at festivals on both coats and even in Poland, where actor Tony Simmons won the “Best Actor” award (in combination with his acting in my first film, SCREAM FOR ME) at the Horror Fiesta Film Festival 2004. Tony also won “Best Actor Short Film MY SKIN” at the Cine-Macabre Film Festival 2004 in Georgia, here in the US. Most recently, MY SKIN has been playing with rave reviews on AtomFilms.com, which has now garnered the attention of the producers of the Academy Award Nominated film THE COOLER. Even the Twisted Pictures producers (SAW) have taken a look at me and my work. So, what can I say, that little film has brought me along way at this point. But even with all the high-profile recognition, I still have to say that the most satisfying feedback is every time someone purchases MY SKIN on DVD. Paying hard earned cash to own my films says a whole lot to me. I’m very proud that horror fans care about my work that much.
* As of the completion of this interview, Christopher Alan Broadstone was voted “Best Director/Picture MY SKIN” by THE CINEMA EDGE AWARDS hosted by WickedPixel.com and sponsored by Sub Rosa Studio’s, HorrorView.com, MonstersAtPlay.com, and DVDManiacs.net.
SSV: What was the original inspiration for the movie? How did it come about?
CAB: Oddly enough, I can’t quite remember. I just recall thinking that SCREAM FOR ME had been finished for a while, and that I simply needed to make another film both for creative release and to further my career (which at the time didn’t exist). I also had a new Mini DV camera that was just screaming to be used. So, what to do? Get busy writing a script and get filming ASAP, before I rotted in my own skin. A bit of madness set in which has proven to be a requirement for making any film and I hammered out a screenplay in just under a month, hoping to make a movie that would be very tight, fast paced, and would utilize camera to propel and tell the story. Essentially the film is one guy sitting at a desk talking to someone we never see. Now that’s a challenge to make interesting and exciting. Fortunately, Tony wanted to work with me again, and his excellent (and now award winning) acting proved to be the better half of the camera magic that made MY SKIN great.
SSV: Can you tell us anything about the film that nobody else knows yet?
CAB: As a matter-of-fact there actually is one really cool and creepy thing that very few people have noticed. On the desk there’s a small calendar that shows the date to be “September12, 2001”. That date turned out to be the day after the Twin Towers were attacked and destroyed in New York City. The film itself, however, was conceived and filmed six months before the tragedy of 9/11 actually occurred. Now keep in mind that MY SKIN is about Death, who is very fed up with untimely and wrongful killing. So, what a better day than the day after 9/11 for him to swoop in and take the ultimate revenge on the murderer of a defenseless, young women. Of course, there are many other events in history that can boast higher casualties than 9/11, but as with many things in life, you never know when that one dreadful moment will occur that will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. In MY SKIN Death has reached that very moment; he is absolutely sick and tired of amateurs stepping on his toes and buggering up his well-laid plans. As he says in the film, “Murder isn't even a skill, it's an invasion. Be you executioner, assassin, pop-cult killer, or just some neurotic bed-wetter pulling the wings off butterflies, you've all invaded my space, my art, my skin.” Another thing few people have noticed is that the set is sprinkled with several key props used in my first film, SCREAM FOR ME.
SSV: What's can you tell us about Scream For Me? Where did the idea come from?
CAB: SFM was a story that came to me many, many years ago before I ever even thought about making a film and was still living as a musician in Dallas, TX. At that time I simply wanted to write a short story that would be almost entirely dialogue driven, with few paragraphs necessary for description. I wanted each of the three characters’ stories to unfold by way of that dialogue, delivered as back-to-back monologues by the two serial killers, Garrott Druck and then Madman. Arguably that’s not a standard way to structure a short story or a film and certainly there are plenty of writers and filmmakers out there that love to condemn me for doing it. But I say screw ‘em! I like breaking thematic rules and structure in my stories. It allows me to put my audience in a position of unique perspective one that forces them to experience events playing out before them in a new way...sometimes in a very uncomfortable way. Which is certainly the case with SFM. Also, I wanted the flood of dialogue to play out as part of the fabric of a very intense situation, and a situation that just keeps going from bad to worse, apparently without limits. I knew from the beginning that SFM would not be for everyone, but I did want it to be a film that would suck you in, as if you’re watching a tragic car accident in slow motion something you just can’t take your eyes off of no matter how bad you might want to. From my experience to date and especially now that the film has won Best Short Film at the New York City Horror Film Festival 2003, received 4 out of 5 stars on FilmThreat.com, won the Best Actor Award (Tony Simmons) at Horror Fiesta Film Festival 2004 (Poland), and has screened at this year’s Hollywood Film Festival I feel I have more than surpassed my original goal, and most certainly my expectations for the film’s success. I had, at worst (and at my guilty pleasure’s best), hoped SFM would become the DVD people would pull out at parties to freak out their friends. Deep down, of course, I always hoped people would see that there really is a provocative story going on. SFM isn’t merely about shock value which brings me to make a comment about all of my films: SCREAM FOR ME, MY SKIN, and HUMAN NO MORE. They’re all designed to be watched again and again and again. And why? Because they’re films built with many layers of information. They’re also films designed to inspire speculation. As the filmmaker, I hope to grant the viewer his or her own right to the interpretation of my work. Each of my films are personal to me and, ultimately, I want them to become a personal discovery for each and every viewer. It isn’t important if we all arrive at the same end, but what is important is that we all arrive at an end that is personal to who we are. Individually. Because in individuality there is unique and subjective motivation, there are inspired dreams, there is discovery, and there is unrivaled self-satisfaction. Now, with that bit of unabashed, syrupy, poetic high-idealism being stated, I sure wish I could discover some more money somehow. That would catalyze some amazingly gratifying self-satisfaction in itself...and hopefully some more movies and books from little ‘ol me.
* As of the completion of this interview, THE CINEMA EDGE AWARDS (hosted by WickedPixel.com and sponsored by Sub Rosa Studio’s, HorrorView.com, MonstersAtPlay.com, and DVDManiacs.net) have voted SCREAM FOR ME winner in the following categories:
“Best Actor Tony Simmons”
“Best Visual Presentation Cinematography/Production Design/Editing”
“Most Inventive Story/Concept”
SSV: What's the independent movie scene like where you live? Where are you located in the world?
CAB: I’ve lived in Los Angeles for about 9 years now, and with L.A. being the filmmaking capital of the world, there is a lot of indie filmmaking going on all the time. I can’t say that I love L.A., but if you want to make movies it’s the best place to be. There’s no shortage of talent and resources here. Of course that also means there’s a lot more competition too. That’s certainly the downside.
SSV: Do you have any favorite motion pictures? What's your favorite genre of movie?
CAB: Yeah, too many to mention here but at the top of my list are: BLADE RUNNER, TWELVE MONKEYS, SEVEN, ALIEN 3, FIGHT CLUB, VERTIGO, PSYCHO, THE ABYSS, THE PERFECT STORM, FRANKENSTEIN (1931), THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE, METROPOLIS. BAREFOOT IN THE PARK. I don’t really have a favorite genre of film, but I’m usually drawn to horror, thriller, sci-fi, and comedy.
SSV: What type of music do you prefer? Ever listen to Cypress Hill?
CAB: I listen to a lot of different types of music ranging from the Dead Kennedys to Cyndi Lauper to Tom Waits to Johnny Cash to Slipnot to Korn. I love jazz too: Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Buddy Rich, etc. I’m also a confessed film score addict I probably listen to more film scores than anything else these days. My current favorites are the score for HERO, SKY CAPTAIN, and the recently re-mastered and re-released THE GOOD , THE BAD, AND THE UGLY. Never have paid much attention to Cypress Hill; and I really don’t care for rap, although I do appreciate certain contributions, rhythmically speaking, rap has made to music as a whole. After all, I was a professional drummer for almost 15 years, playing with my band ABOUT 9 TIMES and then THE JUDAS ENGINE.
SSV: Do you feel that the indie horror film genre is progressing or regressing?
CAB: That’s a good question. I think I have to say it’s both progressing and regressing simultaneously. It’s progressing in the sense that more films are being made, but it’s regressing in that most of them are terrible. Which is the scary part to me, because that means that indie studios keep cranking out loads of crap because it’s making them money. And that means that horror fans are out there buying or renting this garbage. And that only serves to prove what the big studios already think about the average horror fan: he/she is an idiot. And if the average movie-going horror fan is an idiot, why spend any real money developing great horror films? Even so, I think that big studio horror has progressed somewhat in recent years, but only because of some good luck with the success of films like THE SIXTH SENSE, THE RING, FEAR.COM, THE GRUDGE, and a few others. Of course most of these films are ghost stories, which is fine, but they aren’t really pushing the creative limits of the genre as a whole. Most recently, Twisted Pictures attempted to break some barriers with their film SAW. Although SAW has proven to be a financial success, most discerning horror fans I know, including myself, find the film to be a gigantic disappointment. Touted as super intense and very gory, SAW is none of the above. As well, the dialogue is awful and the acting mediocre at best and for the film to be compared to a masterpiece like SEVEN is truly a crime. Yet people are eating it up. Once again average horror fans have proven themselves to have no sense of story, structure, genuine intensity, or decent acting. So, once again the sum of the equation is status quo: why spend the money and effort to make really great horror films when horror fans will gulp down whatever tripe they’re fed. I’m disappointed, to say the least. Another issue I’m having goes back to indie horror. So many of the films I’ve been seeing at festivals are in all truth dark comedies, silly comedies, pure camp, or zombie films (with dancing zombies!). No one seems to be able to make a serious horror film. Or even wants to. I have no problem mixing horror and comedy, but there needs to be a separation of church and state. In my opinion, a comedy horror film should not win a festival award titled “Best Horror Short” or “Best Horror Feature” both of which I’ve seen happen at horror fests this year. The good news is, a few festivals are starting to distinguish between the two styles. I know that Horror Fiesta (Poland) has recently done so. They have a “Best Horror Comedy” award and a “Best Horror Short” and “Best Horror Feature” award. I really hope the other fests take note and also make the change. I mean you can’t really compare a film like ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN to THE EXORCIST. At least I can’t.
SSV: What is the coolest DVD you've seen in the last six months and why?
CAB: I’ve really enjoyed all of Universal’s Monster Legacy Collections, as well as the new special editions of the ALIEN films, JOHN CARPENTER’S: THE THING (although I know it’s only a repackaging of the earlier DVD release), the newly re-mastered TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASACRE, and even HELLBOY. The reason I like these DVDs so much is that they’re all great films, are a piece of cinematic history, and have wonderful extras and great commentaries. As an ever-learning filmmaker, I find the vast information on these DVDs invaluable.
SSV: What are your opinions on the legalization of marijuana?
CAB: I don’t use drugs myself, but I do think most drugs should be legalized. I also believe that people who use drugs should be held accountable for their actions and severely punished for any misuse, or abuse, of these drugs that results in injury to others. As well, I think legalizing drugs, even if only marijuana, would greatly reduce the criminal element in society.