Exclusive Interview with Butcher Boys Director Duane Graves
I was able to ask a few questions about the new horror film Butcher Boys from one of the directors Duane Graves. Now a week after the release I was curious to how he feels the world will react to his chaotic cannibal film. I would like to thank Duane Graves for his time in answering these questions.
What kind of preparations does it take to do a car scene like the one in the beginning?
If I learned one thing about car chases while directing this film, it is that no matter how long you prepare for these sequences, on the day you actually shoot them things will rarely unfold the way you expect them. For this film, we were working with a variety of vehicles - some newer model, some old clunkers. Half the time they wouldn't start, so you'd have to alter the way you shot it. Also, the stunts could change at the last second if the roads were slick, or if the oil pans got knocked out on the first take, or the location didn't allow for what you had originally planned, etc. We were lucky those sequences came out as well as they did considering all the obstacles we were up against. We took a lot of time in pre production to at least *attempt* to think of plans A-Z. It helped that we were shooting in Taylor, Texas, too - a very small town whose police force didn't have much else to do on any given night than to help us secure the roads.
Butcher Boys seems like a human violence horror film. Are we moving more into this trend of horror?
I sure hope so. To me, there's nothing more frightening than humans. Hollywood's current fascination with the paranormal, zombies, vampires, etc, has absolutely no effect on me whatsoever. People do crazy things every day, in real life - often times more unfathomable than scenes in our favorite horror films. Earth itself is one colossal horror flick that perpetually writes itself. That's why half the horror films are "based on true events," because WE are the scariest.
The look of the Bone Boys was very greaser, It reminded me of Sometimes They Come Back, The Outsiders, and The Violent Ones, what made you go with that look for the boys?
A lot of this was written into the fabric of Kim Henkel's screenplay. He agrees that humans are the scariest, so the idea was to make them like your average street thugs. Sure they come across as 50's greasers, but they're definitely not the unrealistic caricatures or stereotypical "bad guys" that we see so often in the genre. Our costume designer, Colin Wilkes, was instrumental in finding the look of the Butcher Boys. I feel what she brought made the movie feel like it takes place in its own unique universe, yet it's not too unfamiliar that we feel unconnected.
Was there any reason behind making Tory Tompkins character “Barbie” such a sexual role?
This would probably be a better question for the writer, Kim Henkel, but I think that we've all known a troublemaker like Barbie that uses her sexuality as a weapon. She quickly discovers that it has no effect on the Butcher Boys though, as their desires are a little…hungrier…than most. We also tried to draw a parallel between Barbie's character and Benny, who is the wildcard Butcher Boy that conducts his flesh-addicted lifestyle just as recklessly as hers.
What kind of reactions do you expect from movie watchers after they see the first feeding scene?
Hopefully half of them will get up and walk out of the theater. That's really where the movie takes its biggest turn, and from there we go deeper and deeper (literally) into the sick and twisted world of the Butcher Boys. It was meant to slap the audience across the face a bit. It only gets worse from there.
Where did you guys get the idea for the crawl space?
That was written in Kim's script pretty much exactly as it appears in the movie. In fact, 99% of the on-screen insanity is a direct visualization of his pages. We tried very hard to deliver Kim's newest contribution to the genre unaltered. Sure there are small deviations here and there, but by and large it reads the same way it's viewed.
I think Ali Faulkner did a great job of carrying the film how was it working with her?
Ali will be a superstar. Right after we completed filming Butcher Boys, she did a role in Breaking Dawn. She's an incredibly talented, strong leading lady. Her acting process is very cerebral, and she brings that raw emotion to every single take. Like any other actor/actress, we try to give them the time they need to get into the appropriate headspace. Once Ali was locked in, she could go for hours and never falter. We ran her through the paces night after night for weeks and yet she was still all smiles. The world will know her very soon.
How important was it to show the underground society and what’s the back story behind it?
The idea was to create a corrupt urban environment that could realistically be happening on a global level. It's not unlike what we're seeing in the world today - large, organized groups dominating regions and controlling the powers that be. In Butcher Boys, that group has managed to build a thriving business that caters to the rich and powerful. A "tasty" business, if you will.
Why was there so much going on with the family all the fighting and weird personalities?
With any pack animals that participate in collaborative hunting, there is usually an "alpha" personality that dominates the pack, as well as others that routinely challenge that alpha. The Butcher Boys operate in much the same way, which is why they're continuously bickering and spitting at each other. There is a clear hierarchy amongst the chaos, but there's also a few powder keg's just waiting to go off - like Benny for example. I don't find them all that dissimilar from the outlandish personalities on reality television, do you?
The ending of the film seemed to be a free for all and a lot of fun to film with the way that it ended will we see the Butcher Boys again?
It was both a lot of fun to film and the hardest thing we've ever filmed at the same time. There is so much going on with so many characters, it was almost like a symphony of destruction both on and off screen. With sequences like this, you really need a lot of coverage to make them work, and it's very easy for things to slip through the cracks. We actually went back and shot another three days to lengthen that ending a bit.
Read my official review for Butcher Boys here. Butcher Boys is currently showing at limited theaters around the country and is being distributed by Phase 4 Films. Its is directed by Duane Graves and Justin Meeks and written by Kim Henkel. It stars Ali Faulkner, Johnny Walters, Derek Lee Nixon, Tory Tompkins and Gregory Kelly.
For more information on Butcher Boys and to see where it is showing visit their official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/butcherboysmovie