Q & A With The Makers Of
Hans Crippleton: Talk To The Hans
From Heart and Fire Productions
Heart and Fire Productions believes in the spirit of true Independent film making. Regardless of genre, our focus is on the key ingredients of any good film: story, characters and entertainment. It's our vision to make movies that audiences can identify with and that have an emotional impact whether it is happy, sad, scared or a combination. With our talented SFX team, we emphasize the use of practical effects but believe in the marriage of both practical and CGI with today’s technology to deliver the ultimate viewing experience to our audience.
Today we have a special treat for you... a TDBS Exclusive! We are proud to be able to help promote indie horror with Film makers Kevon Ward and Jimmy Lee Combs currently in post production on a flick that looks right up the Scribblers alley! Take a look at the sneak peak trailer below then learn more with Director/DP/Editor Jimmy Lee Combs and Producer/SFX artist/Writer and the Hans himself - Kevon Ward!
Hans Crippleton: Talk to the Hans introduces us to a backwoods family plagued by a mysterious zombie curse. Enter Barnaby Hunt, host of Horror Hunts, a show dedicated to bringing you the story behind horror legends, supernatural occurrences and the macabre. We find Barnaby on Sukkin Booz farm which is inhabited by Hans Crippleton and his inbred family members. Barnaby and his camera crew are swept into the backwoods ways of this disturbing family and are along for the ride as they uncover the mystery behind the Crippleton family zombie curse. Hans Crippleton (the leader of the pack) is the star of the show as we witness his rise and fall from fame. And let’s just say he gets into a lot mischief with his little hand and proud hump.
Interview with the film makers Jimmy Lee Combs & Kevon Ward
Feel free to answer any, all if you'd like, of the following questions in any order you prefer. Please note this is an uncensored and relaxed site and thus feel free to use any colorful language you see fit.
Jimmy Lee Combs: First let me get the urge to drop the F bomb out of the way in this freely open interview and say you guys fucking rock! Thanks for taking the time to interview us.
TDBS: I immediately noticed your name (and why wouldn't I?) in particular your surname, Combs, any relation to the cult Re-animating screen legend Jeffrey? Sorry, I had to ask.
Jimmy Lee Combs: Sadly, no relation. If we were related though, I would have made sure he put me in one of his films like Re-Animator (I would have been a new born in this film lol) or Castle Freak. Here is something else interesting. Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs has the same last name as me and our birthdays are both on November 4th.
Kevon Ward: I’ve personally been financing this production and it has been without any crowdfunding. I entertained the idea at first, but had greater interests in simply starting the film instead of waiting for a budget built on donations to grow. With this film being so special effects driven as it is, I had a rough idea as to how much it would all cost and if I’m being honest I was pessimistic that we’d achieve such an ambitious budget through kickstarter or any other crowdfuding. I guess because I’ve heard the success rate often isn’t very high. . . especially when you have so little to show in the beginning. I considered starting a crowdfunding after production was well on its way, with photos and video clips to share, but then things just got too busy. That’s my long answer, but to put it simple I’ve paid as we’ve went (whatever the need may be) and feel like noticeable progress has been made. It’s been nice not being constrained by a specific up front budget. When it’s done, I can look at the expenses and use my experience to budget future films more accurately.
TDBS: The press release associated with your newest feature, Hans Crippleton, states it as being a Zombie-Comedy, or because I'm lazy, Zom-Com, what makes it different than any other amongst the thousands (perhaps a 'slight' exaggeration) in the same genre?
Kevon Ward: Someone described our film as The Hills have Eyes meets Steve Erwin meets The Blair Witch Project. I love that analogy. In a nutshell that is accurate. I think it’s different because it takes a slasher style family and puts them in the world of reality TV. This film makes a satire out of the horror culture but also modern entertainment in general. It makes light of something dark. I think this film stands out in that regard, though there are also intended similarities. Originality is another topic that gets scrutinized a bit.
TDBS - Cult: I have seen the extended trailer of this release and I will state it looks intriguing, in the same sort of way one might slow down to view a grisly accident, what gave you the idea to use a documentary type feel, or am I way off base here?
Kevon Ward: The documentary feel is there because it is shot as a documentary. The idea is that these characters and circumstances are perceived through the eyes (or camera) of an outsider. I feel that this gives the viewer the experience of observing animals through a cage in a way. Their lives are real and you get to see them live and natural and often unscripted. The fictitious show Horror Hunts is there to observe the oddities of the Crippletons and the show narrator Barnaby Hunt contrasts them in every way possible. The juxtaposition of personalities and one on one interviews give the audience a deeper view into how bizarre and offcolored the Crippletons are.
TDBS: What can viewers expect in the way of SPFX? Admittedly as a self proclaimed gorehound that's kind of important to me. Have the crew responsible worked on anything other than this that may also appeal to an audience reading this? Can you mention a release that may be similar in feel to this?
Kevon Ward: Special effects is one of my biggest loves. I began my career in special effects through haunted houses, which is also responsible for the inception of Hans. Jimmy and I met a little over a year ago and have collaborated on films ever since. We have built a fun, talented team together that I am really proud of. Reign of the Vampire, M is for Malnourished and the Purple Exorcist are other film pieces created by Jimmy Lee Combs that feature SFX by the same artists. Stefan Knowles and Elizabeth Fitter are two of those artists I want to give credit to.
Jimmy Lee Combs: I second what Kevon said. I'm very grateful for the team we have assembled. And I would say we have about 90% practical effects in the film which is pretty impressive. Basically, if there was a way of doing it practical, Kevon and our awesome team of special effects artists found a way to make it happen. A release that is similar to this film… you know, that is a tough one because of how bizarre Hans Crippleton: Talk to the Hans is but one film does come to mind; 1993’s “Freaked” directed by Tom Stern andAlex Winter, who played Bill in the Bill & Ted films.
TDBS - Cult: I can only presume from the film's title that this production may not be 100% Politically Correct (and who wants or enjoys that, right!) do you fear any backlash from such a title (or contents within), especially within what has recently become an 'apology crazy' culture.
Kevon Ward: Well we are absolutely not 100% politically correct. We don’t have much of a politically correct percentage at all actually. In fact, taking jabs at this PG age we live in is one of the themes of the movie. It’s hard to draw a line when people can find offense in all places. It’s not our interest to look out for the easily offended, but I’ll be honest and admit that I do fear some backlash. However, not from an audience who embraces the horror culture. Jason Voorhees, Leatherface and Igor, to name a few examples, are each mentally and physically afflicted and so they are gruesome and unintelligent. Hans Crippleton, originating as a haunted house icon, is a parody on such character types. In his case, he is deformed as a product of inbreeding. The horror genre is far from politically correct and people who don’t find entertainment in dark places may find offense and have the right to interpret it as they will. To anyone reading who is or knows folks who are inbred and unamused, please accept my apology. Hans also has a one legged sister who lost her lower leg to a zombie bite. To anyone reading who has or knows someone who has lost an appendage to a zombie bite, likewise please accept my apology.
Jimmy Lee Combs: I firmly believe that as artists we should never have to apologize for expressing ourselves artistically through any medium. Like Kevon said there is always going to be somebody who will get butt hurt about something so they want to piss on the parade and wants others to feel the same way they do. No doubt some will be offended with the Hans. Some already are. To that we say, you know the content, don’t watch our film when it releases if you’re already offended. Problem solved.
When the criticism is directed in a negative fashion towards our film, like when a hater just wants to hate to hate rather than offer something constructive… well we made it a point to take a jab back at that. For example, someone made a comment among other trashy insults that Hans Crippleton is offensive like the Washington Redskins football team. So we shot a scene where Hans is in bed with a prostitute wearing a Redskins snuggie and smoking a joint. Of course we tied it into the story so it makes sense and fits in.
We also created The Facebook monster in the film that is a representation of those who hide behind their computer with nothing better to do than bash somebody else’s hard work. It’s a person’s right to have a harsh and often time’s unfair opinion, just like it is our right to respond to that. I must say though the response has been insanely positive for our film especially the trailer and has outweighed the haters. We have an awesome fan base and target audience who are super excited for the film. And we couldn’t be more excited to deliver the Hans to our fans. Those who are not easily offended are going to have a lot of laughs and a fun ride.
TDBS - Cult: In keeping with the Thy Demons Be Scribblin tradition I have to ask: Do you have a favorite Slayer or Cannibal Corpse album? Both are former artists of the month and, personally, I'm interested to learn of others musical interests, or musical play lists enjoyed when they create.
Jimmy Lee: I’ve heard of both these bands and listened to a song or two but have not listened too much else of theirs as of yet. I love music and have a very diverse taste so I definitely want to listen to more of their music.
TDBS - Cult: Are there any movies or directors that have influenced you as a filmmaker? Any specific scene(s) in particular?
Jimmy Lee: Sylvester Stallone in all six “Rocky” films totally gives me the extra boost of encouragement to go out there and go after my dreams. These films are very inspiring especially for the under dogs out there. In fact, for those who watch “Rocky V”, there is a scene that influenced the name of my production company. Influential directors include: Martin Scorsese, Brian De Palma, Oliver Stone, David Fincher, Sam Raimi, Jim Jarmusch, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Kevin Smith, Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento, George Romero, Nicolas Winding Refn, John Woo and Chan-wook Park to name a few.
There is a specific scene at the end of Chan-wook Park’s film Old Boy (one of my favorite foreign films) where the lead Dae-Su hugs his daughter. The expression on his face is first shameful then his daughter says “I love you” and his expression turns into a grin that is happy, relieved with a sense of everything is going to be okay and then angered all in like 30 seconds in the same shot (I don’t want to spoil the scene and probably said to much already). It really stood out to me the impact of this scene and how a few subtle expressions could convey several different emotions within the character and me as the viewer. Topped with a beautiful score and bingo, you have one hell of an emotional ending scene to a film. I did a similar shot in my short film Beautiful Scar. These kinds of scenes are very inspirational to me because I love to portray story elements visually through the actor’s performance.
TDBS - Cult: Do you have a preference when it comes to viewing habits, any genre(s) or actor(s) in particular?
Jimmy Lee: I love movies of course! So one of my habits is to religiously watch as many movies in the genre I’m making a film about to study them. To see what has been done the same from film to film and what I can do with my film to offer something new. “Give us the same thing only different” as Blake Snyder says in his screenwriting book Save the Cat. My favorite genres are Horror, Drama, Action and Romance. Love comedies too! Although I’m very self-conscious that I’m not funny, so I fear that will reflect in my comedic films. I did shoot a comedy short recently called The Purple Exorcist which was a trailer spoofing The Exorcist and it turned out hilarious so maybe I should give myself more credit in the comedy genre lol. But I digress.
TDBS : In your opinion are there any Indie filmmakers (or releases) we may not yet be aware of that we should keep an eye out for or go in search of?
Jimmy Lee Combs: Absolutely! Check out an indie film by Brian Cunningham and Matt Niehoff called Overtime. It’s a hilarious horror comedy that follows two Hitmen, one of which has the pressure of a nagging wife who wants him to make it to their son’s Birthday party. Of course he gets held up by alien creatures that he and his partner must battle. It’s a fun film and it’s inspiring for me as a filmmaker because they made the film on the cheap and delivered great results plus got distribution for the film.
Also watch All Hallows Eve, a horror anthology by Damien Leone. This guy wore many hats on the film including directing, writing and providing the SFX. Art the Clown is a very memorable character who is sprinkled throughout the film. I hope to see more from this director and of course Art the Clown.
I have yet to see it but an indie film called “Eat” which I have heard awesome things and the trailer looks fantastic! Plus, Stefan Knowles is one of our talented SFX artists. He provided SFX on “Eat” so totally have to give that a mention. Nicolas Winding Refn is an insanely talented Indie director and his films “Bronson”, “Drive” and “Only God Forgives” are some of my personal favorites. He has a horror film in the works called “I Walk with the Dead” which I can only imagine will be an amazing, artistic and original horror film.
TDBS – Feind: I’ve seen all of Refn’s films and Bronson is just amazing. The others we’ll definitely check out. Thank you.
TDBS - Cult: As a fan of the 'Video Nasty' period in cinematic history I feel the need to ask is there any particular Grindhouse type gem you would feel the need to re-create? Do you or the crew have a favorite?
TDBS – Feind: You hit Cult right in the heart with that Bad Taste reference sir! I have to agree Tarantino’s Death Proof was great but there are a million ways to tell that story adding your own personal flavor.
Cult: Where was Hans Crippleton shot? How long did it take from start to finish? Did you endure any difficulties within the location? Are there any amusing on set antics you wish to share?
Kevon Ward: Hans Crippleton: Talk to the Hans was filmed in a variety of places. Primarily Denver and Castle Rock. We owe much thanks to Elizabeth Fitter and her patient roommate for letting us use her murder shed as the Crippleton shack, Twisted Trails Ranch and Mile High Farms for the farm scenery, the13th Floor haunted house for other interior shots and Lafond FX for the doctor lab. As far as location difficulties there are very little. I thought locations would be our biggest hurdle but to say we got lucky is an understatement. One difficulty that stands out is the time we shot our biggest zombie horde (we had almost 100 zombies plus makeup artists and other crew), in one of the fields at Castle Rock. Well the location isn’t super easy to find for a newcomer and the directions tend to get people lost. As I pulled up to location in an RV for makeup, my phone blew up non stop for hours. I had dozens of texts and missed calls from zombie extras trekking their way through the blizzard that cursed us that day. Well it was a mess, but we got everyone there, the weather eased up on us and we got some epic footage.
Cult: The floor is yours Sir, please tell us anything you would like, upcoming projects, your pet's name, a request for your neighbor to remove his broke down POS car from your lot, anything at all!
Kevon Ward: This project has been amazing fun. We hope this film is well received and we hope to bring you more films to come.
Jimmy Lee Combs: Thank you again guys for having us and those reading. We’re focusing heavily on marketing for the film and with the help of our fans we’re hopeful that you will all see Hans Crippleton: Talk to the Hans on store shelves, VOD, Netflix and all over the world… okay that’s a tall order but hey you got to dream baby because you never know what the future may have in store. Never give up. Never stop believing. Oh and I do have a request for airplanes to stop flying overhead when recording audio on location damn it lol.
TDBS - Feind: Well I can tell you these two Scribblers will definitely be watching, of course, if you’d like to fly us to Hawaii for some premier event ummm… we wouldn’t object in the slightest!! Thank you both for taking the time to talk to us and good luck with this and all future endeavors. We will do what we can to help you promote this or future projects. Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us.
TDBS - Cult: Thank you kindly for both the time and patience needed to answer these, often time, peculiar questions. All the best of luck in any and all future endeavors!
Please feel free to take a peek at the sick depraved contents of our, now official site (plugola!) and by all means, if you have enjoyed yourself tell your friends, fellow movie makers and creative acquaintances.
Hans Crippleton: Talk To The Hans
to be released soon! We will definitely keep you all updated!