Monsturd is total crap: now with Interview!
Have you ever seen a movie that was so weird/terrible/awful that you wanted to find out what kind of human beings would create it and ask them why? Well, a while back that's exactly what I did, after watching the first killer poop movie ever.
It's no secret that I like bad movies. With one exception, there has yet to be a film that I couldn't sit through and enjoy at least making fun of. Experimental film school ended up being used for something: It hardens you against ANYTHING. (By the way, the ONLY film that I couldn't sit through was the recently released "Son of the Mask.") So why do I bring this up? It takes a special kind of film that makes your brain explode when you read its title. I've tried explaining the plot of this thing to people....without fail their eyes glaze over as their synapses stop firing one after the other. I am, of course, talking about the film Monsturd, which was made in 2003. I've mentioned the film on the site before, but let's recap:
"Monsturd is about a criminal who becomes a giant killer poo monster. He comes up from the toilet to kill his victims and lives in the sewers. After being blasted by a laxative, the poo monster is eaten alive by 1000 houseflies."
If that doesn't hurt you a little, then you're already dead inside. Now, I LIKED Monsturd. It's a joke within a joke....the classic 1950's monster movie formula...only with a lot of poop jokes thrown in for "spice." Instead of boring you with the details, let me give you some of the highlights before we get to the joyous interview with the film's creators.
Let's walk through one particular scene, step by step:
Oh joy. Nothing screams "high cinema" quite like watching a man try to unclog a poop-filled toilet.
The "unclogging" doesn't go that well. Poor guy ends up freaking out as the toilet pretty much saturates him with human waste. Even better, he keeps his mouth open to catch every drop. It's the little things like that that keep me up at night.
Remember, kids: Always look over your shoulder while using a plunger. You never know when a huge greasy pile of crap with arms is coming for you.
Speaking of kids, you have to respect any film that has to satirize (well, maybe that's not QUITE the word I should be using) Mr. Hanky of South Park fame. Oh, and for you people playing at home, the above picture is of "The Easter Poo."
I know I may be alone in this, but I think the funniest thing in this entire flick is how no one thinks of closing their mouth while they're being smothered by a giant crap monster. So instead of screaming, "Don't go in there!" at this horror movie, you end up screaming "Holy Mother of God, CLOSE YOUR MOUTH!"
I can't quite explain it, but watching one of the directors beat up a Drug Addicted Junkie ventriloquist figure is one of the funniest things I've ever seen. I think it has something to do with police brutality. I'm literally embarrassed that it makes me laugh so much. Moving on...
There's also another scene that's pretty much the two guys (the directors if memory serves) throwing up. Well, that's an understatement. Sure, they throw up. Then the camera angle changes and they throw up again...and again...and again...and again...etc. There're at least 15 shots of these two bastards blowing chunks. In the end it falls somewhere between mind-numbing and hilarious...but it's definitely something of note. Be very glad that I'm including no pictures, because it was either include all 15 shots of them vomiting, or none at all. I think I made the right choice.
There is one surprisingly "Great" thing about Monsturd. The creature has a theme song, entitled: "Number 2---Ballad of the Monsturd." It's particularly awesome and the film's creators let you listen to it RIGHT HERE. I would say more, but you really need to hear that for yourself.
See? That wasn't so bad, and if you've been reading the site for a while that information just confirms what I said before: Monsturd is a movie that will stab you in the brain. For some people, that's a good thing. But, I say it's time to see what the film's creators had to say (And an apology to those people who knew how long it took me to finally post this.). The Monsturd Interview with Dan West and Rick Popko of 4321 Films begins now!
Jared: Where did the whole idea to make a "killer shit monster" movie come from? Was it a dare or did you have one terrible yet inspiring trip to the bathroom?
Dan West: Our Standard answer is that we were watching "Jack Frost" and just thought, "Why not a shit monster?" We didn't think we were going to make this at first but then I started researching Herschell Gordon Lewis and Dave Friedman and their ideas about exploitation films and why Blood Feast was such a hit. We decided it was just too ridiculous not to try it. We certainly didn't think it would go as far as it did. It's a joke that just keeps on giving. We were more pissed off than inspired when we decided to make this. It was more a type of "Screw You! Take that! Ha ha!" Silly but true.
Rick Popko: Dan and I had been writing screenplays together ten years prior and we couldn't get anyone in Hollywood to read them. Mind you these scripts were legit projects, not full of dumb shit jokes. When we got our hands on a Canon GL-1 miniDV camcorder and ran some tests with it, we said "Screw trying to sell our scripts into Hollywood, we can make our own damn movie with this thing!"
Jared: So how much film school is required to make a Killer Poo Monster film?
Dan: The only way to really do something like this is to just dive in and figure it out. It's an adventure.
Rick: I'll admit that I went to film school. Graduated from SFSU with a degree in screenwriting. But as I mentioned above, that piece of paper certainly didn't help getting any of our scripts read in Hollywood.
Film school is a good place to learn the basics of filmmaking technique. It's also good to begin a network of friends that share your passion. One of the bad things that film schools instill in students is the need to have all these people on your film set. I've seen some student productions recently where there are ten people behind the camera. There's a sound guy, someone with a clipboard, a director, a lighting person, craft services, etc. When I see all that, I shake my head. Their cockamamie short films are costing up to four times more than what it cost to make Monsturd. You don't need all that shit to make a movie. When it comes right down to it the only thing you really need is a good camera and shotgun mic, a tripod and some actors who don't mind working for free. Believe it or not, there were shots in Monsturd where no one was behind the camera at all. Dan and I would frame the shot, hit the record button and then jump in front of the camera.
Jared: Am I a total loser for actually knowing three other films with Shit monsters in them?
Dan: I wouldn't say you're a loser but maybe you should get out more. I know a lot of worthless trivia myself so those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
Jared: How the HELL did you convince Blockbuster Video to carry copies of "MonsTURD"? (This is how I stumbled across the film, to be honest.)
Dan: Your guess is as good as mine on that one. That still shocks me and never fails to get a big laugh.
Rick: I'm as shocked as anyone on that one. I asked our first distributor (Dead Alive Productions) when we signed with them if they thought they could get us into Blockbuster. Our rep said to me point blank: "We'll get you everywhere BUT Blockbuster's." Even he didn't think we stood a chance of breaking into the store. But, lo and behold, a salesperson there convinced them to pick up 4,000 copies. Unfortunatly, that was the only place Dead Alive got us into, before the company went under (we didn't see any money from that deal). But we got our rights back and signed with Elite Entertainment. Note: After being with Elite for two years now, we haven't seen any money from them either.
Jared: You've stated several times that the budget of Monsturd was around $3,000. Considering the low cost of production, can I ask what the profit margin has been for the definitive killer Poo monster film?
Dan: Don't make independent movies if you're in it for the money. Whatever Rick has recouped he's thrown back into the next project.
Rick: As mentioned above, we have not seen any money at all from domestic. We have recieved about $1,200 to date from Brain Damage Films (our international distributor). These guys sold us into the U.K., Ireland, and strangely enough, Thailand. I can't believe they haven't been able to penetrate Germany or Japan. I would have thought those guys would be all over this movie.
Jared, who totally doesn't live in Germany: What is RetarDEAD and why does it strike me as the opposite of watching the Special Olympics?
Rick: RetarDEAD is the sequel to Monsturd. Dr. Stern (Monsturd's main villian) comes back from the sewers and begins another science experiment in Butte County. His new experiment is a smart drug, and he uses the students at a special education school as his control group. The unfortunate side-effect to the drug is that it poisons the student's brains and turns them into flesh-eating zombies. Then it's up to the original cast from Monsturd to save the town again.
Jared: What advice to you have for weird film school folks (like myself) or just people who have the desire to make films but don't know where to begin?
Dan: Definitely start with something like horror so you have a shot at distribution, and never skimp on production value! Never be afraid to ask someone for anything that will up your production value. A funny or catchy title is essential to stand out. Have a premise you can exploit. Good sound is essential and whatever name actors you can get, if any, can always help. Stick with horror to start though. There is a market for low-budget horror even now, but it gets harder these days to stand out so always try to deliver something crazy and over the top.
Rick: I would suggest shooting some short films first. This is a good way to develop some technique and get a sense of what it's really going to be like to shoot a feature. A lot of people who jump into making a feature without any skill set in place have no idea how hard it really is to make full-length movie. You need to be ready for the long haul and be prepared to have a lot of shit go wrong. Monsturd took us two years to complete (a year to shoot and a year to edit). RetarDEAD's taking even longer. I think we've been in production of this movie for about a year and a half now.
Jared's final question: You made a killer shit monster movie and are soon to release a film about Special Ed. Zombies....I'm sure everyone is wondering the same thing:
What the hell is your problem?
Rick: We just enjoy making movies that make people laugh.
Dan: Several people have asked us the same question, but not as politely. For lack of a better excuse we just love exploitation, hence the weird or tasteless subject matter. I didn't exactly enjoy running around in a shitmonster costume, but as you mentioned, it did get our movie into Blockbuster. There is method to the madness in that respect.
A big thank you needs to be given to both Rick and Dan who were great and very speedy with their answers to my questions.
Oh, one more thing before we move on. I know I'm just linking like crazy here, but any film that calls its viewers retarded is nothing short of awesome, in my book. Listen to it and learn more about RETARDEAD by clicking HERE.
Bonus Material: Other Shit Monsters I have known
I wouldn't have mentioned it in the interview if I wasn't going to share...because you KNOW you can't resist articles that talk about fecal monstrosities.
Twilight of the Cockroaches (1987)...The Talking Turd.
While not a "monster", I think any film that has a talking cockroach being surprised by an animated pile of dog doo is something that I can't easily forget. On a side note, if you ever wanted to see a long and emotional scene where animated cockroaches "make sweet passionate love," then this is the film for you.
Dogma (1999)...the Golgothen (You know, that Shit Demon from Dogma)
What can be said but this: I'm glad the only real special effect in Dogma had to do with creating a giant poo monster. Way to go, Kevin.
Flesh Gordon Meets the Cosmic Cheerleaders (1989)...The Turd People.
This film never happened. There is no film that features a long scene within a giant rectum populated by talking turds. Nope, not a movie at all. Never was.
I'm very tired of talking about poop. It's also very hard to write this without the stupid crap jokes infiltrating the article at every turn. As such, I suggest you eat lots of fiber while I promise to never write about crap monsters ever again.
Copyright 2006, except for the images and well, the stuff that isn't mine. Most of it is, really, but well, I don't technically own any giant poo monsters to take pictures of so I live live vicariously through Popko and West. In fact, you should totally go to their website and buy Monsturd...if not for you but for someone you love. Nothing says "please don't leave me" quite like the movie Monsturd.