Friday 19 April 2013

Interview: Dustin Wayde Mills (Director, Writer, Editor, Producer, FX artist, Cinematographer and Actor)

Today I´m speaking with independent filmmaker extraordinare Dustin Mills, a veritable "jack of all trades" who has given us The Puppet Monster Massacre (2010), Zombie A-Hole (2012), Night of the Tentacles (2013), Bath Salt Zombies (2013) and Easter Casket (2013).

J.L: How did you get into film making?
D.M: I just kind of started doing it. I researched it a lot beforehand over the course of several years. I finally just decided to try and thats where Puppet Monster Massacre came from.

J.L: What are some of your favorite films?
D.M: Man I hate this question. I just love movies. I guess I will answer based on what I watch the most. Monster Squad, Hellboy, The Avengers, Night of the Creeps, Forbidden World, Humanoids From The Deep, The Incredibles, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, are a few that I watch over and over.

J.L: Who are some of your influences?
D.M: I think that Sushi Typhoon and Guillermo Del Toro are my strongest personal influences. I don't know if it comes across in my work, but my love of their films fuels a lot of what I do and how I tell my stories. Night of the Tentacles is of course influenced heavily by the films of Frank Hennenlotter.

J.L: I´ve been following your career but thought I should focus on your latest productions. I loved EASTER CASKET, which films and what inspired you in the creation of EASTER CASKET?
D.M: Thank you very much. I wanted to make Easter Casket because there are actually a few Easter themed horror movies, but none of them have the actual Easter Bunny as the antagonist. For whatever reason its usually a guy in a bunny suit. I wanted to do it differently. Easter Casket is a bit like Night of the Tentacles in that its very very very much my bizarre psyche put to screen. Its not as personal as Night of the Tentacles, but it has a lot of my personality and weird filmmaking/storytelling fetishes. It was the film that made me realize that I'm not really making horror films. I don't know what my films are. They have horror elements, but they don't seem like horror films to me.

J.L:  What kind of reception has EASTER CASKET been getting?
D.M: So far its been incredibly positive. I'm really glad that people seem to be liking it. Obviously not everyone will love it, but I think its an honest, crazy, sexy, fun film. Its the sort of movie I would want to watch.

J.L: What kind of budget were you working with on NIGHT OF THE TENTACLES?
D.M: We started with $2k and then managed to raise an additional $3k. Most of the additoinal money went to fulfilment and stuff. There is probably about $3k on screen in Easter Casket. Most of that was paying the cast.

J.L: How did you raise the funds?
D.M: The first $2k came from Josh Eal (executive producer and star) and the rest was raised via

J.L: How did the shooting go for of EASTER CASKET and NIGHT OF THE TENTACLES?
D.M: They were both really easy shoots. Comparitively anyway. Anything is a breeze after Puppet Monster Massacre and Zombie A-Hole. Making a movie is always very very difficult, but it was fairly smooth sailing on those films.

J.L: How different are the final versions from earlier drafts?
D.M: They are pretty much identical. I had a pretty clear vision for both films.

J.L: What lessons did you learn while making respective film?
D.M: On Night of the Tentacles I learned how much a personal film can speak to an audience. When I was finished with it I was sure everyone would hate it. Quite the opposite. It was received rather warmly. Easter Casket made me realize how many fans I really have out there and how willing they are to help get a movie made. It was inspiring. My small but loyal fan base make me want to be a better filmmaker. They are the driving force behind DMP.

J.L: Were there any scenes that didn´t make it to the final films?
D.M: I don't think there are any deleted scenes for Easter Casket. On Night of the Tentacles there are a couple of scenes I cut. One was a kill scene that included on screen tentacle to vagina contact. It was sexy and weird and dirty, but it was cut because ultimately the scene didn't really fit anywhere. I am going to put it on a mailing list exclusive DVD soon.

J.L: Any updates on your forthcoming features called BALLAD OF SKINLESS PETE and KILL THAT BITCH? What can you tell us about them?
D.M: Skinless Pete got a bit of a revamp and continues filming in June. Kill That Bitch will be filmed Sporadically over the next couple of months and will be a DMP Mailing List exclusive. Both will be released this year. Kill That Bitch is a weird little tale that seems like a slasher but is something else in disguise. Its also very serious. Skinless Pete is a science gone wrong monster story that is darkly funny but also explores themes of obsession, the nature of friendship, and the horrors of rape. Think The Fly meets Re-Animator... but with a much much smaller budget.

J.L: What advice can you give someone looking to get into the industry?
D.M: Make a movie. Stop making excuses and just make a movie.

I´d like to thank Dustin Wayde Mills for taking the time to answer my questions!


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