8/31/15

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF MASOCHIST PICTURES!

Greigh Johanson:
Hello Shane and welcome to Goregasmic Cinema. It's incredibly fun to take part of an interview with you six years after that you decided to close down Masochist Pictures.  How's your relationship to splatter and extreme films? Which was the first film from the genre as you watched, and how has it affected you as a person and a director? 




Shane Mather:
   - As a young boy I was exposed to alot of British horror as Hammer, Tygon and those kinds of films. They were on late night-tv all the time back then, and my clearest memory is of 'Horror Express' with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. It gave me nightmares, but I loved it. Later as a teenager, when vhs erupted over here, I began to see much stronger material such as 'I Spit On  Your Grave’ and 'Dawn Of The Dead'. I remember at 14 I wanted to do my own version of  'The Burning' with an 8 mm camera, but unfortunately it didn't happen. This exposure to horror from an early age has certainly influenced me, especially with regards to British horror of the classic period, yet sadly due to working with zero budgets I can't produce the gothic horror that I'm drawn too.


Can you tell us how the idea of ​Masochist Pictures was founded?
What made you start it and which persons were involved in it?


   - Some teenagers like to shock, and I was one of them. At 19 I started my first full-length film with nothing more than a camera I'd rented. And it was all about blood and guts with no sign of a script or talent either. Because of the focus on sadism and violence I called myself 'Masochist Pictures'. I drafted in friends and family to play the victims,  and my brother Dean helped out with some of the FX-work. Shooting was sporadic, and after two years all I had was a sorry-looking mess of frenzied bloodletting I entitled 'Bury The Dead'. Still, it was a good way to learn the basics, but the fun ended when I strapped explosives to myself for a huge blood squib that went wrong and perforated my eardrum. My own stupid fault and something that still affects me now.


EXCREAMER (2002)

PLOT:
Van Reek is a professor who works hard at his high-tech and computer-filled laboratory to produce a flying dildo with a human thinking. Pleased with his success, he has now chosen to test the device on himself. But soon he will be disturbed by his mute assistant Floxy who warns him about a message that recently has ben published in the computer system. The professor is appalled at the news - A  couple of toilets who secretly shot into space by NASA a few years earlier, is  coming back to earth again. Now the big que-stion is why?

Excreamer was recorded by Shane Mather and Masochist Pictures in early 2002. The project tried to implement Prime Minister Tony Blair's  multi-cultural dreams on film - this with an obvious twist that’s unlike anything else. Shane hates all what political correctness stands for and that's why he breaks all the taboos in Excreamer.

How did your idea occurred for the film Excreamer? Previously, I've heard that the project was trying to implement Tony Blair's multicultural dreams. Is this true? Please tell us!

   - My brother and I would often throw ideas at each other, and Excreamer came out of that. The Blair government at the time was cheerfully embarking on their immigration bonanza, and had decided the population was too white. Excreamer was a send-up of that, albeit a poorly conceived one.

This film cost the total sum of zero dollars to produce. Shane had all the material available and the wretched CGI technique is performed with a simple home computer without any specific graphic assets. The quality is as badly designed as a homemade video anytime, so if you’re looking for something efficient and cool, then I discourage you from seeing it. The only thing that saves the film is the splatter-effects which is Shane's own specialty.


Personally I think Excreamer is very sloppily executed unlike your recent films. There’s no doubt that it's your debut film, but it feels like you had many shortcomings in the script and it jumped from scene to scene without any further connection. Was it about a lost interest or did you feel stressed about succeeding to complete the movie?

   - Many things contributed to Excreamers failings. My script and direction were very rushed and immature. No money, no one could act. The equipment was rubbish etc. At the time it was only to be seen by friends and family, much like 'Bury The Dead', but Dean sent it to 'Is it Uncut'-magazine and they gave it a favourable review, so I put it out there. On reflection it may have been better to not release it, as much of it’s laughably poor, although it can be a riot if your in the right mood.


If the film had been made ​​with a relatively nice budget, then it could had be a wonderfully entertaining movie. But unfortunately, it jumps up and down in sound quality, and if we look at the spectacle, you don't have to expect anything extra pleasurable. All actors were picked up without any experience, and sometimes it can feel like they don't even attempt to make any effort in their roles. The script also skips  some scenes of the lack of sufficient material.

   Now it feels like we're just looking to criticize your work, but that's absolutely not the case. But Excreamer had such incredible weaknesses and above all about the animation. Can you tell us a little about your experience in the animation work and what kind of softwares and tools you used during this time?

   - The animation was appallingly bad, but even animation as crap as that took ages to do.  I used some software called 'Poser' to create various sequences, and in the right hands it's possible to do excellent work. But in my hands it was pretty bloody awful.  Recently I considered remastering Excreamer and re-doing all the animation, but it's painstaking work and I decided not to go ahead with it.

It's obvious that you use music when you want to tone up the humor behind the obscure and the underlying horror in your films. The music is actually the part I love the most current Masochist Pictures. Who writes and composes the music that you use?

   - Mainly I use rare pop-music from the late 50's early 60's, but with Fantacide I ran into copyright-issues when Unearthed Films were going to release it. So I started writing & recording my own songs under the pseudonym 'Johnny Shand', trying to retain that feel of older pop music.

Excreamer covers a vast obscure performance. We may, among other things meet cannibalism, scatology, incest and rape. People of the male sex suddenly becomes contaminated by the resubmitted toilet seats. They transport the infection to other men by kissing them with feces in their mouth. Another goal is to kill all living women on earth - they  think women are worthless and that only homosexual men can have access to our soiled planet.

Some of your films have a clear political narrative, but I find it hard to read the symbolism of it all. What's your accountable regarding this?

   - Freedom of speech, without strings attached, is something I feel very strongly about. Here in the UK political correctness is a disease of the most virulent kind, and many words and ideas are now proscribed by the state. Fantacide was an attack against those forces whom would dictate what I think and say. Unfortunately since then it's now considerably worse. I don’t support any political party here because they are all a bunch of cunts (in my opinion). Even the so called nationalist parties are merely safety valves to give the illusion of choice. The whole thing is a shame. Sadly I see Sweden, whose indigenous peoples I admire, being subjected to the same kind of brainwashing.

FANTACIDE (2007)

PLOT:
A Nazi-sect are trying to track down a mysterious relic which they believe will lead to the rebirth of the Third Reich. Sect leader, an old SS-officer, joined forces with a psychopath in the relentless struggle to find the target. There are more people who want to reach 'The Spear Of Fantasy’ and they are all willing to walk over  corpses to be the lucky owner of this  magical  items.  Should any of all those involved find what they are looking for and what would be the consequences?

Fantacide is the film I feel most faithful to. It says it’s based on the novel "They Fondled My House" written by Ian Drew, but I haven't read it. Can you tell us about the novel and how much of it is linked to Fantacide?

   - There’s no such novel. It was an in-joke between myself and a friend.

When I first read about Fantacide, I thought it would fall behind a growing seriousness unlike Excreamer that just was falling into a politically incorrect slump momentum filled with gay and scat-humor. Beyond my surprise, it turned out that Fantacide actually contained TWICE as much of same humor that we find in your debut. I completely laughed my ass off and I acclaimed it to the skies. Can you tell us a bit more about the ideas surrounding this bizarre humour and how it was to work with the project?

   - My brother and I share a sense of humour, growing up watching things like Monty Python, Carry On's and other distinctly British comedy. But we also found things amusing that were meant to be serious, and I don't know why that is. Fantacide had many characters, from gays to animal rights activists, so we had many possibilities for humour. It's bizarre in every possible way.

There's a scene where an animal rights activist sexually humiliates his cat in the bathtub, it ends up with a seance where he twists the neck of the cat and eat it up - this only because he didn't think the cat loved him enough. You essentially have to be prepared for such similar scenes throughout the whole movie. I recommend it to anyone who’s fascinated by bloody tampons, broken kneecaps, vomit, urine, rapes, slashed breasts and a big dose of happy humor. What you’re about to see will absolutely not make you disappointed. Give Fantacides madness a chance and enjoy every second of it!


How does it work in Britain regarding splatterfilms? Are there any financial difficulties in finding sponsors, and it is quite possible to make a living on your creativity as an indie-filmmaker?

   - There are no sponsors, and it wasn’t possible to make a living from filmmaking. I lost money on every film I made. I would have loved to continue making films but it wasn't meant to be. Somehow a few horror films get made over here but you need connections, and I don't have any. Plus there are far more talented people out there than me, and most of them can't get anywhere either.


We know it's hard to get away from censorship in Britain, as long as it isn't about violence inspired on comic-series like "Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky" or "Adam Chaplin". How effective did you at Masochist Pictures battling to succeed evade censorship?

   - Censorship wasn't an issue because I released the films independently via the internet after several distribution deals fell through.


I don't know if you remember me from Myspace, but for nine or ten years ago I wrote you a message there and asked you about the situation concerning Masochist Pictures. You did answered me and said you were going to record something in Sweden and sought for some Swedish who was willing to set up to the project. I never heard more from you after that, so now when I have you on the thread again I'll take the opportunity to ask: What did happened to this project? Were there any recording in Sweden at all?

   - Ofcourse I remember you. Unfortunately because of the failure of my films to make any profit I wasn't able to get anything up and running with regards to Sweden. It's a real shame as I would have loved to visit your country.


Terror Nation (2010) was the title of your absolutely last movie, but it also was the movie that was hottest performed. Can you tell us a bit about this movie and how it came to life?

   - It  really came out of nowhere. I had the basic idea and then advertised on a website called 'Starnow' for amateur actors, and was stunned at the response. I quickly finished the script and sent it out to interested parties and soon had even more interest. I think some of them thought it was going to be a fairly big-budget film, when in reality it would cost only £1500. It turned out that they were a great bunch to work with, and most of the shooting went smoothly, much smoother than Fantacide. The original script was more disturbing in some places, and I didn't want to tone it down, but you can only ask so much when people are working for copy & credit only, so some scenes, such as the necrophilia one, are merely hinted at instead of being shown, which is what I would have preferred. I'm happy with the finished product though, it's the most professional thing I've done so far.


As far as I know, Terror Nation never received an official release on DVD. Why did you never release it via Masochist Pictures?

   - I had two distribution deals fall through on that, and both times they were trying to play me for a fool. So I released it on Amazon for a while, and then for a short time on my own website.  But there was no money to promote it so it went nowhere. Hardly anyone's seen it.




It's sad to say it, but your company went to the grave shortly after the filming of Terror Nation. I don't think many of us have any idea of​ what really happened. Can you tell us why you closed down the business?


   - I didn't want to stop, but I could no longer afford to continue. If somethings not working then it would be foolish to keep trying. Every distribution deal went nowhere because of the tricks they play, and you can't distribute independently without cash to advertise. Orson Welles once said he regretted a life of chasing money to try and finance his films, and I didn't want to feel like that. So I moved on.


You fought in nearly a decade of trying to keep up film-making. How has this process developed you as a director?

   - I did feel that there were improvements with each film. I began to take more time with each shot, considered framing and lighting, movement etc. But all that is academic now and I try not to dwell upon it too much.

Are there some hidden films you have done in the past but who have never received any publicity?

   - 'Bury The Dead' was my first full-length feature and it's never been seen, apart from a couple of clips on the Excreamer extras disc. I believe most of the footage is now lost, but that's probably a good thing. Although it was ultra gory, it was completely inept in almost every way.




How is your life like today, what do you working with and is there any possibility that you will return to filmmaking?


   - Nowadays I continue writing and recording music as Johnny Shand. I find it far more rewarding, and it doesn't cost a dime. However, there are days when I have ideas that I think would make a good film, but then I think of all the run-around I had with distributors and be thankful I got out of it. Don't get me wrong, I'm proud of what I did, and it was a rewarding experience in many ways, and perhaps someday Masochist Pictures will be resurrected for one last hurrah!


It has been a great honor to have you in our issue of Goregasmic Cinema. Personally for me, who’s a big fan of your films, but also for our readers who possibly have been curious about you and Masochist Pictures. Do you have something more to add as a last word to our readers?

   - I really appreciate your interest in my films, and it's nice to know there are people around who enjoy something you have put a lot of effort into. Although I didn't succeed myself I applaud other independent filmmakers. They are the inventive ones, freer to pursue ideas than Hollywood, which suffers from the straightjacket of conformity. No need to mimic the crap they spew forth with endless remakes, reboots and super heroes. I wish them, the independents, the very best of luck for the future.
/Shane Mather.


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