Exclusive Interview: Joston Theney Talks The Axeman

The Axeman is set to release this May on DVD and VOD. BGG After Dark recently chatted with Joston Theney about the new horror film alongside his favorite horror movie and more. Read on.

BGG AFTER DARK: Favorite horror movie, Joston?

JOSTON THENEY: You hit me with the hard stuff right out of the gate, huh? Favorite horror movie? Probably gonna catch hell for this but EVIL DEAD TRAP. Its ruthlessly violent and gory. Its dark and moody, and its visceral and gritty. It doesn’t pull any punches. It was made at a time and in a nation where films of that nature were pretty much banned. But a very ballsy guy found the money, dug deep and made a truly disturbing and jaw-dropping film when it was very unpopular and detrimental to your career to do so.

BGG AFTER DARK: Least Favorite horror movie?

JOSTON: Too many to list and I don’t want to be mean. (laughter) I’ll say that I know when someone is incompetent but they are pouring their heart into something, and then there is the person who is incompetent and they are trying to make a buck. The latter infuriates me to no end.

BGG AFTER DARK: What do you think makes a good horror movie? 

JOSTON: There are many ingredients that make a good film in general but making a good horror movie is so subjective. Im a lover of the SCREAM series. They are so intelligent, scary when they are supposed to be scary and funny when they are supposed to be also. You love the characters, there are arcs all over the place and tons of blood to satisfy the hardcore horror fans. But everyone is split down the middle on it. You love it or you hate it. The new EVIL DEAD remake hit people the same way. I think you just find the subgenre that works for you and play within the rules of that while trying to find your own voice. And for god sakes, give it all you’ve got! Pour your heart into it. People can tell when you’re phoning it in. Give me a great story with great acting, competent direction and a barrel of blood and I’m a happy kid.  

BGG AFTER DARK: Did the villain's tool of choice change at all during the movie's conception phase, or did it all start with the Axe?

JOSTON: The axe was his weapon of choice from the words Fade In. I’m an incredibly huge 80s slasher fan and this was my love letter to that fantastic era of filmmaking. And like most of the slashers that came out at that time, the weapons of choice defined them and their personality and what would be for the run of the franchise. So from the first mention of his name to the last frame of the film, I wanted his weapon to be synonymous with the tone of the film and the titular villain.

BGG AFTER DARK: Do you have a favorite kill in the film?

JOSTON: I do. But its not everyone elses. (laughter). The great thing about the kills in the film is not only are they fun and creative, but each is tonally different and will strike a cord with each audience member in a different way. But which is my favorite kill? That I cant say - too many spoilers but I will say the character is brutally decimated and hacked to hamburger patty meat!

BGG AFTER DARK: Did you find the budget limiting at all? What do you think a big-budget, big-studio version of Axeman would be?

JOSTON: The budget was certainly tight on this picture but it made us more creative. Made us all grow as filmmakers, actors and producers. If wed had a bigger budget, we wouldn’t have had budget concerns but wed have had other concerns that come along with doing studio pictures. I liked having the amount of creative control I did. It was liberating and exciting and fostered an environment of collaboration and independence.

BGG AFTER DARK: The film is going DVD and VOD. How important an outlet and medium do you think VOD is? Do you think it's a stayer?

JOSTON: I think it's not only a stayer but a way of the future. Your big box outlets like Wal-Mart and Target and such are great for maximizing revenue but are very risky and are slowly being phased out. And then you’ve got your Netflix and Redbox that allow you rent affordably. A buck or two is nothing to spend to have a great movie watching experience. But VOD gives audiences the ability to sift through new releases, discover gems like AXEMAN and buy them for pennies on the dollar of what typical DVD and Blu-ray releases cost. Adding their favorites films to their ever growing list of classics in the most cost effective and convenient way.

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