The Grindhouse of Today
Chris Woods interview. Pushing the boundaries of sex and gore in underground horror.
12/10/2017 – Exploitation films of the 1960’s, 70’s and up until the 80’s featured waton nudity and graphic realistic violence. Then the 90’s came along, and with access to cheap equipment hard core horror filmmakers went underground. Out of the public eye and pre-internet time, they could make the horror films they wanted to without the support of motion picture studios. Writer and director, Chris Woods, was one of these people.
Woods’ production company, The Sleazebox, has built a reputation on going for the jugular in his movies. Using grassroots techniques and living up to the namesake, he packs his films full of sleazy wonderment. But, there are limits he feels that can not be crossed. Saturated with blood, T n’ A, and fond appreciation of Italian shock cinema, Woods’ films are not for the feignt of heart… or kids. So, obviously, what follows is for adults only.
Don’t confuse his grindhouse with the Tarentino film of 2007. While both drawing from the same source pool, Woods’ low budget labour of love doesn’t pull punches. Busily preparing for his third installment of his Death-Scort franchise, Woods’ caught up with Slickster Magazine for an insightful phone call on a snowing Sunday morning.
Slickster Magazine: How has the horror genre changed over the past two or three decades?
SM: Slow zombies. No hesitation with that answer!
Another thing you mentioned was how the 90’s changed everything. It wasn’t just filmmaking. It was music, fashion… there as a definite shift for those of us who lived through it. Why do you think that was? Was there a backlash against the excess of the 80’s? What brought that on?
SM: What was your first camcorder?
CW: My first camcorder was a VHS-C. Technically, I used a regular VHS camcorder.
SM: Are we talking about one of the huge shoulder mounted ones with large tapes?
CW: Yep. That was the first one I used. The first one I owned was a VHS-C. Which is pretty much a more compact version of regular VHS camcorder. The tapes were smaller, so you had to use an adaptor to play them.
SM: When we interviewed James Rolfe, The Angry Video Game Nerd, he talked about having two consumer VCRs and used them to edit his movies together. What was your first editing set up like? Was it anything like Rolfe’s; a crude two VCR setup?
SM: So, that leads me to believe that all of your early work was filmed in a linear fashion? Meaning, you filmed the first scene first, then the second second next, etc…?
SM: You are big presence at horror conventions. What advice would you give to people who want attend horror conventions, or Comic Con, or any fan boy convention in general?
SM: Where will The Sleaze Box be presenting next?
CW: I’m shooting a film next year, so were saving costs at the moment. It probably won’t be until late August, which will be here in Tampa. It’s the convention run by Sean Donohue, Tampa Bay Screams. It’s the third annual one. It’s a cool little convention.
SM: As the name, Sleazebox, implies your films have a lot of nudity, sex, gore, and violence. You really push the envelope on some it; your film Naughty, Dirty, Nasty, for example. When does ‘schlock, or sleaze, or what you referred to as The ‘grindhouse of today’ or ‘horror underground’ cross the line? When does cease to be ‘shock’ or ‘gore’ and when does it become softcore porn or obscenity?
SM: What is a highlight of your career? It doesn’t have to be a movie per se. It could anything; something that during your career as a filmmaker you are really proud of.
SM: You’ve already let the cat out of the bag on your next project. You and Sean are going to be making Death-Scort 3. Without giving away too much information, what can you tell us about the upcoming project?