By Jay Hunter – Jason Howden is well known for his work on The Avengers, The Hobbit, Prometheus and more. Jay spoke with the director about his debut feature length movie, Deathgasm, his dream slasher band, Monty Python and Gorgoroth.
Jump Scare – You’ve worked on a lot of big budget movies throughout your career. How have you found directing Deathgasm as opposed to your experience working on the likes of The Hobbit or The Avengers?
Jason – I love working in VFX but it can be very abstract, focusing on a single shot, a single frame, or a single pixel. It has been freeing working on set with actors and a crew, and playing with some practical effect gags. Some CG creatures and effects leave me feeling really disconnected as a viewer.
Jump Scare – Deathgasm looks to fuse gore and comedy together seamlessly. What made you lean toward this decision instead of making a straight up splatter movie?
Jason – Deathgasm originally was more serious. But I realized splatter naturally lends itself to comedy, you are watching bodies being torn apart and spines being ripped out and you should be retching but instead you have to laugh at the insanity of it. There is something primal about it. I used to cut together hours of gore compilations on two VHS players, then project it behind the stage when my band played gigs. Lots of Zombi, Faces Of Death and Braindead gore. At first it’s intense, then after a few minutes you become desensitized and start to laugh. I was raised on British comedy like Monty Python, The Young Ones and Red Dwarf, so it’s a big part of who I am as a filmmaker. I love the audience reaction when a gag hits the mark.
Jump Scare – What was your biggest challenge whilst making Deathgasm?
Jason – Trying to achieve the ambitious script with such limited resources. I can see why the horror market is bloated with found-footage movies and single location ghost horror. We have heaps of characters, many different locations and some extreme gore. But I’m glad I stuck to my vision. Movies like this don’t get made very often and I’m very proud of what we achieved. It was definitely time for a heavy metal and horror fusion.
Jump Scare – Horror movies and metal music share so many parallels. Which horror icons would you like to see in a band?
Jason – Leatherface instantly comes to mind. He could play some wicked chainsaw solos like that band Jackyl. Him, Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees and The Miner could form a Slipknot-esque masked supergroup. Avoid the backstage invites, ladies. I think Carrie would be a great frontwoman for a band. All that boiling angst, and teen rage channeled into her music would be brutal. And the telekinesis would make for a sick stadium show. Carrie is fucking metal.
Jump Scare – And on the flipside of the aforementioned, which band would you like to see in a horror film?
Jason – I could imagine a metal-horror anthology presented by Alice Cooper. He could do the wraparound segment like a crypt keeper style character. I saw him a few weeks ago, he has only gotten better with age. Gaahl from Gorgoroth would make a pretty badass horror antagonist, he scares the hell out of me. I could see him as a murderous demonic cult leader. He even comes with his own dead goats, which saves some serious art department money. For something a bit more fun, I would love to see powermetal legends Dragonforce in a horror/comedy/fantasy, with time travel, dragons and scantily clad babes. I saw them recently, they are so epic. It would be like a crazy Beatles style adventure crossed with the Heavy Metal animated film.
Jump Scare – What can we expect from you in the future?
Jason – I’m in talks for a few projects, it’s just a matter of which one I make first. I have another splatter comedy, as well as some psychological horrors, an action and an ultra-gory slasher. Whatever I do, you can expect some more crazy practical effects. There is nothing better than shooting gore on set.
Jump Scare – Thanks very much for your time!
Jason – Thanks Jump Scare!