SLEDGE is a new indie comic-slasher film with a murderer who believes he's killing as part of a movie or game. "He didn't drown, he wasn't burned, and he doesn't hear voices; he's just a psycho with a SLEDGE", so the promo poster tells us. So what exactly does make the film's psycho killer Adam Lynch tick? HSL had a chat with co-director and on-screen Adam Lynch himself, Kristian Hanson, to try to find out...
- As a fan of horror yourself, how does it feel to have completed a feature film of your own?
It is a lot of fun and kind of scary at the same time. I have seen so many horror films that I did my best to pay homage to the classics but to also make it something my own. It is really exciting though and I truly hope the horror community will accept it because I made it with them in mind.
- Initially, did you write SLEDGE to be aimed at horror fans, or was it not really something you thought about at the time?
Yes, when I made Sledge I intended it to be for horror fans but also for people who may be the casual viewer as well. I love to make people laugh, and that was going to be a big part of the film from the beginning and I believe the humor comes off really well, but the deaths do as well. I have a friend that I showed the death scenes to and she said they were terrifying, but after the kills, Adam Lynch likes to talk crap to them after they are dead, and she said it was funny. She was kind of my Guinea pig to see how the blend went seeing as how she doesn't like scary movies at all.
- What makes Adam Lynch different from other humorous fictional serial killers like Freddy Krueger or Leslie Vernon?
Adam Lynch is different because of his overall personality and his type of humor. When I was creating Adam, I did have Freddy in my head because of how humorous he turned out to be in the NOES franchise. However, I didn't want to make him a cheap Freddy ripoff. Adam does not have a reason for why he is the way he is, and I want to keep it that way for now. When it comes to Leslie Vernon, I honestly don't recall how he was because I only saw that film once and do not remember how he was.
- Was it fun to play a character who's largely based on yourself, but at the same time is also completely insane?
Yes it was a lot of fun and all of Adam's lines in the film are completely improv'd on the spot with what was happening in the scene. When I wrote the script I had jokes lined up for him to say, but with how the movie turned out, we changed quite a few things and I believed the on the spot humor was needed. When it comes to being completely insane, Adam doesn't believe he is crazy, he truly believes he is living a life inside of a film or video game, so I just tried to have as much fun as possible. When we weren't filming and I was in costume I still had to direct, so I just continued to be myself, but when we would film, the only difference is I put in my fake teeth and we would begin the action.
- Do you indulge in method acting, or is it unnecessary?
Honestly for me, I just went and had fun. I know great horror actors like Kane Hodder doesn't want to break character and likes to stay away from the actors so he can really scare them. I tried to do that for all of five minutes but I couldn't resist but to talk in my character voice and my makeup. My actors weren't trained actors so I needed them to trust me that I wouldn't hurt them which is another reason I played Adam. I knew I could control my actions and that is why I took on the role, plus I always wanted to play a slasher and who better to come up with one liners for the character than the creator. I used to do stand up comedy with my mom and my goal every time we were on stage together was to make her break and laugh, so that is what I aimed for here. She had to step away on a lot of scenes because I had her rolling. I always say if I can get her to laugh, I can get anyone to laugh.
- Lynch believes he's in a movie or a video game; how is that illustrated on screen?
When it comes to being illustrated on screen, it really isn't besides when Adam is talking to the characters or walking through the woods by himself. We tried to making sure the audience knows just how insane he is but at the same time enjoy his wit and humorous side with the deaths and what he says after he kills and mutilates one of the characters.
- Were there any parts of the film that were particularly difficult to shoot?
Honestly there wasn't. This entire experience went better than expected and we finished ahead of schedule, and on a four day shoot, that is saying something. We had the actress Desiree Holmes for one day, and so we had to film everything around what she wasn't in when it came to the film the first three days. When the fourth day started I was kind of worried because it was a big chunk of what we needed. However, everyone knocked out each scene quickly and it has come out great on film and I am really proud of everyone involved.
- Which gore effect in the film was your favourite?
Honestly probably the first gore scene of the film where I get to smash my wife's face in with the Sledge Hammer. I say that because when we filmed the scene we had to cut a cup and tape it to the back of her head. When we called action she had to flail her head back quickly and spit the fake blood into the air causing it all to come back and hit her in the face. It was a great scene and comes off on camera really well. Than after that shot I got to smash my moms skull, so it was a nice one-two punch on the women in my life.
- What has the reaction to SLEDGE been like so far, from other horror fans?
So far it has been really accepted. I went to Monsterpalooza in Burbank, CA back in October dressed as Adam Lynch on one day and people were coming up and asking for pictures and wondering what and where he was from. The fact a professional Freddy Krueger impersonator stopped me and asked for a picture said a lot to me and he loved the mask and overall look. I was in character the whole time making jokes and talking to fans and people really enjoyed what I was doing. It really gave me hope that fans will connect with Adam Lynch and the entire Sledge family.
- The art on the SLEDGE posters is very much in the style of comic book covers. Do you have any plans to release SLEDGE as a comic?
Honestly if I was contacted to do a Sledge comic, I would jump at the chance. Adam has so much personality that I could have a blast with him and the character that I couldn't do on the screen. I am not an artist when it comes to drawing ability and I don't have anyone in my life that could put that much time into making a comic book. I would love to be able to do a script for a comic book series where we could experience more of Adam and who and how he is and how he became what he is. I have an idea in my head of how he grew up, and in all honesty, it isn't anything horrific. I would show a nice family, their kid is just a psycho.
- Why do you think people find serial killers - fictional or real - so fascinating?
I think the fact these are real life monsters is what interests people. I grew up watching documentaries on Gacy, Bundy, Dahmer etc with my mom, so I have always known about them. Funny enough these people never truly terrified me because I knew they were incarcerated. I remember when I was spending my time in Chicago one summer, there was a serial rapist on the loose and it had the city strung out on when he would strike again. I remember sitting on the steps at my grandparents house looking at the church clock in the distance just wondering where the guy could be and why he would do something like that. I believe in writing horrific stories, but that is all they are, just stories. I could never imagine someone truly being hurt, and I hate hearing true life stories of people being brutally attacked because it is horrific and sad.
- Do you think the slasher subgenre will ever stop being popular?
I honestly do not believe it will ever fade away because these slashers are scary. They are scary because they could be real. When you watch slashers like MANIAC or Henry:Portrait of a Serial Killer, these are people that could be real and are roughly based on true life individuals. There is a fear that rises in all of us and to be honest, we all like to be scared from time to time. As long as there are teenagers taking girls on dates or a group of friends hanging out on a Friday night, slashers will be a hit because they want to go and jump and scream and have fun.
- Which was the first horror movie that made a lasting impression on you?
The first film honestly had to be Child's Play directed by Tom Holland. I have talked to Don Mancini (Writer of Child's Play) and Tom Holland in person and told them that I saw this film when I was five years old and it terrified me. I remember watching it with my mom and then having a terrible dream that night where I woke up and saw Chucky dolls all around me. They both have told me they are shocked I saw it when I was five and turned out so normal. My mom still argues with me that I am not normal, and I would agree. Normal people are boring and I try to be anything but boring.
- What are some of your favourite horror movies and games?
My favorite films of all time are An American Werewolf in London and Jaws. I can seriously sit and watch both of those movies over and over again and not be bored. The same goes for Monster Squad (Wolf mans got nards!) and Wax Work. I love the fact the werewolf is still practical in both of those films and they look amazing. I also grew up watching Project Metal Beast, which is another great and underrated Werewolf film like Bad Moon was. I can seriously talk on and on about my favorite horror films like Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein the first true Horror Comedy.
As for video games, I still remember playing Resident Evil on the PlayStation and almost crapping myself when I opened the mansion doors and the dogs came through the door to try and attack me. Also, the first Alien Vs. Predator for the PC. I was playing that game late at night with the lights off when I heard a scurrying across the floor. Remind you, I was home alone and I couldn't see where the noise was coming from and all of a sudden I hear this loud SCREECH and the facehugger jumps and covers the screen. I remember jumping and going WTF?! and turning the lights on. The only time a game has freaked me out that bad recently was when playing Dead Space, that is a truly fun and terrifying game.
- You mentioned on your website that you originally wanted to make a zombie movie, but didn't have the budget. Is that still something you'd like to pursue?
Definitely! I wrote a zombie comedy script where I pay homage to the original zombie films by Romero and the classic zombie films of the 80's. The one thing that annoys me in recent films is nobody seems to acknowledge other zombie stories or movies. They act dumb on how to kill the zombies when everyone knows that you destroy the brain (unless it is Return of the Living Dead than they just never die!). I also have another fun twist on the zombie community and how they become what they are that I think people will enjoy and certain people will be pissed off about.
- If money were no object and you could cast anyone you wanted, what would be your dream movie?
That's an awesome question. The person I would want to hire is Rick Baker. When it comes to actors, I respect them and all, but special effects masters are what make me happy. I would want to make my Wolfy book into a film and give Rick Baker the chance to create a bi-ped werewolf and transformation scene without CGI if he didn't want to use it. I have always wanted to see him do another werewolf transformation scene. It annoys me that there hasn't been a quality transformation since 1980 with AWIL and The Howling that wasn't CGI. I believe CGI if used as the complete tool looks cheap and isn't scary to anyone.
However, if Practical is used and CGI is lightly mixed in as a tool, it can be beneficial. As for actors I would like to work with, probably Kane Hodder because I have met him on many occasions and he is just a super great guy and would be great to play the Werewolf seeing as how he did an amazing job in Project Metal Beast. As for others, I am not sure, I would have to see who is right for the spot. Maybe Emma Stone because she is a true geek girl and always seems to be having fun and that is what is most important when on set, a group of people who will have fun and not cause any drama.
- Apart from werewolves, have any effects particularly stood out as amazing to you?
I would say Rob Bottin's The Thing! I absolutely love it along with Alien and Aliens by Stan Winston. Hell, the animatronics in Jurassic Park are amazing as well. I am a huge fan of practical effects houses like that of Masters FX! Todd Masters is truly amazing with everything he does.
- Would you like to work on other films in the special effects department, or are you happier directing?
I am not a special effects person in the least. My mom does an amazing job and did the majority of the work here. The entire crew worked hard to make the blood believable and I will leave that to the pros, I prefer directing because I find it fun to work with the actors.
- Have you submitted SLEDGE to any film festivals?
Yes we have! I intend to submit to a bunch next weekend and my goal is to get it all over the world. I am positive it will be accepted and people will get to watch it and judge it. I say judge it because that is what everyone does. I am a firm believer people will either love this movie or hate it because of the humor and I think that is how things should be personally.
- Will those of us here in Europe eventually get a chance to see the movie at festivals?
Yes I plan on sending it to the UK, Australia and anywhere else I can think of. If your readers have festivals they'd like me to submit to please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will make it happen!
- Finally, could you give a message to our readers?
If you have an idea for a script, a book or a movie, sit down and write it. Don't let anyone say you can't do something because you can. Have faith in yourself and see what can happen. Sledge was filmed over four days and I created and wrote Sledge in a total of two days. Adam Lynch was created watching the show Holliston and named after two guys I look up to and who have helped me out a great deal by just giving my pointers and incite when I have asked; Adam Green and Joe Lynch. Just remember, if you don't try, you can't fail. Who knows, you may create something new and become the next Steven Spielberg, but you will never know if you don't take a chance.
Many thanks to Kristian for the interview!
To find out more about SLEDGE, the cast and crew, or to view a trailer, you can check out the sites below: