Left Hand Horror has a running partnership with East coast deviant/film maker, James Balsamo – he keeps me supplied with New York City hooker skin, and I pimp his murderous visions out to the masses Ad infinitum. It’s a wonderful arrangement. Our favorite Acid Bathian is now promoting his newest feature-length film, Cool as Hell, a low-budget instaclassic for fans of comic books, boobs, blood, metal, and demonic influence. James is a good guy and makes for great interviews, so we got his probation officer’s permission to allow him internet access for a very limited time.
Fister: Your films just keep getting better with every new feature. What have you learned over the course of Cool as Hell that you didn’t know a year ago?
James: Thank you for the compliment. “Cool As Hell” was great learning experience – mainly because it taught me that having a great pre-production is the key to having a smooth production. Of course, things happen that are not always in our control, so it’s good to have contingency plans. Alfred Hitchcock said his favorite part of film making was Pre-Production and planning things out. I’m now a strong believer in Pre-Production, while before I was a little trigger happy to start splattering blood and having topless woman be eviscerated. Now, at least there is a method to my madness. It’s just like a constructing building – a good blue print is the key to a sturdy foundation.
Fister: How does your creative process work?
James: I have a dangerous gift, known as a wild imagination. It’s known that Albert Einstein used to take his small boat out and just drift along the water. It is said that Albert did this so that he could get lost deep in thought. Similar to one of history’s greatest minds, I like to sit and get lost in the madness of my own thoughts and from that, crazy movie ideas are born. Like most creative people, I have terrible insomnia so my ideas come to me at all hours of the night. “Cool As Hell” came to me one sleepless night while tossing and turning in bed. I ripped off the covers and wrote the whole outline in a few hours. For most of my films the overall story comes to me one chunk at a time. I try not to force anything creative, which is becoming a problem because my hobby of film making has now become my career. I’m not complaining though, I couldn’t be more grateful that people all over the world enjoy my films and that being a daydreaming “weirdo” has turned into a full-time job for me.
Fister: You wear many hats in your films: writer, director, actor, special effects, editor – overachiever, control freak or super-ambitious?
James: Yes, Yes, and Yes. If you want it your way, you have to do it yourself…to an extent. I do wear a lot of hats, but I couldn’t do it without the help of the Acid Bath Productions crew, my family, and friends. I started out making short films and I was doing the same amount of jobs then — it’s just a habit that I have gotten into that I have come to love. It’s hard to choose one particular job that I really enjoy after learning how to do all of them. It’s funny because it’s very rare in the film industry that one person would have more than one job. I would like to direct something I didn’t write someday, but as for now I just have so many wacky film ideas I think I will conquer them as a one many army before I take it easy.
Fister: Which job is the most fun?
James: All jobs have a fun factor, to an extent. If you’re craft service, you get to pick out the best doughnut, and if you’re the boom operator you get make everyone else suffer for forgetting to put on deodorant. I guess if I had my head in a guillotine and the executioner threatened to drop the blade if I didn’t pick the job that is most fun…I would say directing. As a director, you get to have the final word on set along with all the praise, and let’s face it, the haze. Coming in a strong second is producing though. It’s great feeling attaching a big band or cameo to the project. The problem is when they cancel or something falls through you have to find a quick fix. A lot of people don’t realize the work that goes into making a film. It’s a chaotic process, but it’s all worth it in the end when the film is said and done.
Fister: Your fourth film, Mystery Meat, already sounds disturbing. Tell us how this project grew legs.
James: “Mystery Meat” is a film idea that I have had for almost a decade. While interning at Troma, I was waiting for the subway when the idea came to me to make a mini space alien movie. I was obsessed with drawing these little creatures for years. I actually almost made the film right after my second venture “I Spill Your Guts,” but it didn’t pan out and I made “Cool As Hell.” This is an idea that has been eating away at me for too long and so I decided to finally do some spring cleaning in my mind and make the most ridiculous alien puppet movie I could.
Here is the synopsis:
Blake is struggling through his fiancé’s perfect wedding plans. Not to mention his problems running a downward spiraling restaurant, that he shares with his brother Tony. When alien eggs from a meteor crash, end up in their latest food delivery, all hell breaks loose. Then, to make matters worse, the eggs hatch into devilish fast growing space varmints. One of the little monsters swallows Blake’s wedding ring. Now, Tony and Blake have to find the creature with the ingested ring, before Blake’s bridezilla to be, causes more damage than any space varmint could. The boys really bit off more than they could chew in this crazy horror/comedy titled “Mystery Meat!”
James: The film is currently slated for a September release, and features cameos from Debbie Rochon, Jake ‘The Snake Roberts”, Irwin Keyes, Johnny Legend, Frank Mullen, Carmine Capobianco, and Theodous Crane from AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” The film will be filled with the same nudity, humor, gore, and awesome soundtracks that our fans have come to know and love.
Fister: Otis Firefly kills Chad Kroeger from Nickelback – how does he do it?
James: Well Otis is a clever guy. He would hang out in the back alley of the club Nickelback was playing from the night before. Smelling of Jim Bean and his own semen that he spilled on his pants after rubbing one out, while fantasying about a hooker he had gutted the week before for giving him a lousy gummer. Chad becoming the rock star that he had now become had a God complex and decided to take up smoking because he felt nothing could kill him, let alone some carcinogens and tobacky as his grandfather used to call it. Little did Chad Kroeger know Otis Firefly would be hunched over a garbage can waiting for him with a handkerchief tied around his blood soaked hand. Otis was so eager to get his hands on Kroeger he had cut himself deep playing with his knife. Otis was day dreaming about sliding his blade back and forth between the spaces in between Chad’s rib cage. Sawing at the bone, so he could tear out his still beating heart and drip the blood over his pretty face. That’s not how it all went down though. Chad came out for a cigaret and saw Otis bleeding talking to himself. Chad saw the blood profusely pouring out of Otis hand, and being the nice guy that Kroeger was, he called back in side for a medic. As Chad walked over to ask if Otis was okay, Otis turned to Chad mid murmur and said “I am the Devil” and lunged toward Chad with his serrated woodsmen knife. Chad tries to doge the blade, but Otis has a quick hand. The tip of the knife was rusted with dried blood, if the knife could talk it would recount the dozens of screams that echoed off it’s once shinny surface. The knife forcefully enters Chad’s neck hitting his Adams apple like a speed bump. The blade touches the back of Kroeger’s throat as his eyes pupils dilate from shock. Otis bites down hard on his own lip as he reviles in the kill. Otis knows his hardware will do more damage coming out then going in, and lets the serrated edge do what it does best…Tear the flesh apart. Chad’s freshly lit cigarette slips out from in between his finger tips and races the blood to the floor. Chad’s neck looks like as if someone uncorked a bottle of red wine upside down. As a small crimson tide barrels down Chad’s acid wash jeans, three medics that Kroeger had called for to help Otis have now poured through the back door out into the blood soaked Alley. Otis knows he can’t talk his way out of this one, and is honestly just too lazy to kill all three medics after busting his nut waiting for Chad. Kroeger is clutching at his throat doing the best he can to stop the blood loss. Otis swings wildly with the knife in hand at one of the medics and picks up Chad’s slightly blood splattered, still burning cigarette. Otis couldn’t bear to let it go to waste. Otis backed away from Chad’s pooling blood beneath his feet. Otis looks at the medics and says “Where were you when I had the clap!” and raises his middle finger. One of the medics run back inside to get more help. The other two medics run to Chad’s aid. Otis ran a block and half back to the van where Captain Spaulding, and Baby Firefly were waiting for him. Chad Kroeger was rushed to the hospital, but was D.O.A. from the blood loss. Needless to say the concert was canceled that night. Nickleback took a small hiatus, but soon reformed with a new singer. Several months later Otis while robbing a meth heads trailer, was ripping the pages out of a Revolver magazine, and stumbled upon an article that Nickelback had reformed…Otis knew his work wasn’t finished.
(*Please Note: The response to this answer is for your sheer entertainment. Of course, no harm is wished upon Chad Kroeger. Acid Bath Productions and James Balsamo also make no claims to ownership to the characters Otis Firefly, Captain Spaulding, and Baby Firefly.)
Fister: Any other Acid Bath news for us? How can we horror fans better support independent film makers in 2013?
James: Acid Bath Productions is currently also in production on a new anthology film featuring segments from Bill Zebub, Mike O’Mahony, Dustin Wayde Mills, and James Balsamo. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @acidbathproduct and pick up your copy of “Cool As Hell” today as well as other fine Acid Bath Productions films. Live for cinema, and Keep it Brutal! Horror fans can stop pirating independent cinema.
Fister: Left Hand Horror is a big supporter of low-budget and indie horror films, these are the people we call our friends and family, and they’re out there bringing their twisted creativity to us from the most genuine angle possible. Legit lovers of horror make films they’re proud to be a part of, films they felt strongly enough to create in the first place. If you haven’t had the chance to check out short horror films or low-budget, indie horror flicks, you should consider something like this the next time you have time to watch a movie. Please respect the artists involved in these films by renting or purchasing their films instead of illegally downloading.
With that in mind, here’s a variety of links to keep you up to speed on James and Acid Bath Productions. You’ll find news, promos and trailers, and info on how to buy your own dvds and merch. Thanks for reading, kids, we hope James hasn’t scarred you during his Nickelback manifesto. Keep horror and music brutal!
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Exclusive Left Hand Horror Cool as Hell clip.