Last week, I was able to sit down with Jeremy Garner and Thevocab Ulariast, the team behind All Hell Breaks Loose, which has its Portland premiere at Cinema 21 on Friday, October 3, at 10 pm.
The Shadow Over Portland: I’m talking with the creators of the exploitation tribute, at least that’s what I assume it is, All Hell Breaks Loose. Now, I know this is a Portland premiere, but is this bigger that that? Or have you shown it elsewhere?
Jeremy Garner: The world premiere was in Eugene (Oregon), where the majority of the cast and crew are from. This is the Portland premiere.
TSOP: Vocab, this is the first movie you worked on. Where did you find the inspiration for the script?
Thevocab Ulariast: Well, a friend of ours, Joseph (he plays God in the movie), he rides a motorcycle. And he asked Jeremy if he wanted to make a biker movie. We had the resources, and had been working on some short films, so Jeremy asked if I wanted to write a biker movie.
In my style, I wanted to be left alone with it as I wrote it. And the only thing Jeremy asked is to have a séance in it. And that drove to me where I went with it.
I didn’t want it to be like Sons of Anarchy, or Dear God, No. So I came up with an amalgamation of the movies that I love, enjoy and think are funny.
TSOP: Jeremy, you produced and worked on special effects on several films shot in Eugene. Is this your first time directing?
JG: This is the first feature film I’ve directed. I’ve directed shorts, which no one ever saw, but it’s my first feature film.
TSOP: What was the difference between producing, or working on special effects, and directing?
JG: It was pretty crazy. We didn’t have much of a budget and everything you’re doing is tenfold.
As far as locations, casting, what I had to prepare to do for effects, it was hard. Everyone involved in production had to wear many different hats, which was difficult.
TSOP: Vocab, were you working on the film as well?
TU: Like Jeremy said, everyone was wearing a bunch of hats and I helped out with every aspect of the film, except for editing and sound effects.
When I was on set, I’d try to work with the actors on their lines and try to make sure they hit them right. A lot of the jokes in the script are about the timing and the way the lines are delivered. I think we did a pretty good job with that, and the actors responded to that and that was my most important part on the film, other than being around and doing all sorts of little things on the set to make it work.
TSOP: Jeremy, you said you didn’t have much of a budget, but you have some really nice bikes in the movie. Did you find people who had them, or did you know of actors with bikes and told them you were making the film?
JG: Like Vocab said, Justin Sullivan, who plays God in the movie, he rides and is in a motorcycle club. He was able to put us in contact with a large motorcycle club in Oregon that was willing to help us out.
TSOP: Where you able to find enough actors in Eugene, or were you able to pull from actors in Portland?
JG: As I said, we’ve been working on short films for a while, so we have a pretty good core group of people we work with on a regular basis. And for some of the larger roles, like Statch, we did a Portland casting call and were lucky to find the perfect people for it.
TSOP: The movie has an obviously intentional warped sense of humor. Vocab, did you find yourself reigning in the humor? Did you ever think you were going too far? Or did you just decide to go as far as you can?
TU: My intention with everything I write is to go as far as I can. In my dealings with scripts, it limits the people willing to take a chance on it. Jeremy’s one of the few people I know that says, “I like that, let’s do it.” And the film is pretty close to what’s on the page. We didn’t really cut anything out, other than for time, or the end standards not being what we wanted. Everything that’s in the film is on the page.
There were a couple things the actors added in, which were pretty hilarious, like the scene where the bartender keeps getting slapped on the butt. It wasn’t planned, I didn’t add it in there, but it adds a nice touch. The actors put their own flavor into their roles and got into the hilarious meanness of the movie. I’m pretty happy with it. And no, I never had to reign myself in on anything.
TSOP: Jeremy, where did you find the locations? There’s a scene in a bar. What did you do to get that location?
JG: Goggle Earth was my friend. I scoured the state looking for the perfect locations for the riding sequences, which, if you watch old biker films, always have an Arizona/New Mexico look to them. And the great thing about Oregon is you’ve got deserts, you have mountains, you have the ocean. You have every thing you could possible need in this state.
The exterior of the bar we found in this logging town called Noti. I called up the owner and they were awesome. They let us come out and take over the place for an entire weekend. We shot all of our exteriors there. For the interior, we used a motorcycle club’s clubhouse.
TSOP: I called this an exploitation film homage, and it looks it. You put a grainy texture into the film. Was that purposeful, or were you just having fun? And what did you do to make this look like a movie you’d see in a grindhouse theater?
JG: Well, I didn’t want to take the Rodriguez/Tarantino approach and overdo it. I wanted to give it the look of being period dated, but not really. I added the things I enjoy about watching old films, like the 35mm grain and dust on old prints. But I purposely stayed away from doing film burns, scratches and hair, because I don’t want to have people comparing my movie to Planet Terror. And I didn’t want it to come across as gimmicky.
But, at the same time, I’m a fanboy. I wanted the film to have to have that look, without being in your face.
TSOP: Vocab, do you plan to write another script in the near future?
TU: I have scripts out there, but they’re all like All Hell Breaks Loose, weird and quirky. I had one reviewer call the film “uncategorizable,” which is how all my scripts are, weird, funny violent and unique. All Hell Breaks Loose is an exploitation biker film, but I don’t think you’ll find someone to write it like I did, with the weirdness, humor and oddball jokes here and there.
I try to sell my scripts, but people don’t get them. The one time I had someone try to buy one from me, they had me rewrite it, and it took all the heart out of the script. That really killed me and made me done with Hollywood. I only want to work with Jeremy, or any other director that might understand what the hell I’m trying to do. That one experience of cannibalizing my own work really pissed me off and I’m not into it.
TSOP: It looked like the film poked fun at some other movies. For example, the holy water in the condoms sequence seemed a little joke at the moment in From Dusk Till Dawn.
JG: There’s only so much you can do with holy water. Just the fact that the priest is an alcoholic pervert made the condoms come across as the perfect vessel for his holy water.
TSOP: I just loved the fact that the condoms wouldn’t break on impact with the bikers, which makes sense. I was watching the scene and thinking, “Oh, that’s good.”
TU: I was playing with that, like it could be a weapon. But in reality, you have to fill a condom with a lot of water to make it break on impact. And I think that’s funnier, that it’s realistic. We have so much silly stuff going on, when that dose of realism hits, it become hilarious.
JG: The first time I read that, it was Vocab’s personality coming through. His humor is to add insult to injury. That describes it perfectly.
TSOP: Jeremy, the film uses both practical and CG effects. Did you try to stay with practical as much as possible, or was it based on the film’s budget?
JG: It was a little bit of both. Everything was planned out for us to do the effects practically, but on set, we were all wearing different hats. I planned on doing all the effects, but we had a three-week shooting schedule on this feature film. And a lot of the effects ended up looking like garbage. We had to go to digital to add to the practical effects that didn’t quite come across the way I wanted them to. Every effect in the film is practical, but with digital overlaid to complement it, except for a few shots that weren’t obtainable with our budget.
It was a lesson learned, you can’t do everything yourself. Directing is a big enough job. I can’t wait for the next film. There will be a crew, effects and makeup artists.
I’m not totally against digital effects. I think they can be nice, and add to practical effects, if you can get them mixed properly.
TSOP: Vocab, you take some pretty humorous potshots at religion in this film, especially with the end. And let’s not spoil it! Where did that part of the film come from?
TU: I’m not quite sure where it came from, other than the fact that I’m not really religious and the idea of superhuman beings deciding the fate of our lives is pretty humorous to me. Because I’m a non-believer, I find humor in religion. And twisting religious ideals to mess with an audience makes me laugh on the inside.
I know the people who watch our movies won’t be the most religious people, so I felt I was safe. I’m not trying to offend anyone, it’s just my personal humor and I think horror fans will get it.
TSOP: So, what’s next for you guys?
JG: Our next big project is Desecration.
TSOP: Is that one you wrote, Vocab?
TU: No, and I want to give the writer credit, but I can’t remember his name.
JG: It was Michael Shelton. We purchased the script and, with his approval, rewrote it to fit our style.
TU: I took what was a really nasty, brutal script and injected humor into it. It’s irreverent, weird and, once again, “uncategorizable,” which is a weird word to say. But that’s what I like. I’ve done movie reviews before, I’ve done a lot of studying into what makes a cult movie, and I have a certain philosophy I write by, because my idea is to make everything a cult movie. Make it so weird, so bizarre, yet so accessible that people will enjoy it, even if they didn’t think they would.
With All Hell Breaks Loose, you say it’s a biker exploitation movie and people will say, “It’s not really my thing.” Than they watch it and enjoy it because it has elements that are funny and enjoyable. So with Desecration, I feel I took that script and did the same thing. It remains to be seen how we shoot it.
TSOP: When does shooting start?
JG: It’s all about money at this point. We have to recoup some of our funds from All Hell Breaks Loose, and as soon as we can do that, we’ll get started.
TSOP: What was your biggest difficulty in getting All Hell Breaks Loose filmed?
JG: The biggest difficulty I had was having such a large cast that was unpaid, or underpaid, and getting all these people together at the same time. Everyone has day jobs, everyone has families. I needed three weeks out of their life and that was difficult.
TSOP: So this was shot in three weeks, not over a series of weekends?
JG: No. I’ve worked on plenty of feature films that have stretched out over a year, shooting on weekends, because the filmmakers are working with low budgets. I didn’t want to fall into the pitfalls involved with that, so I decided whoever was cast would have to guarantee me three weeks time, so we could get the film shot and done.
TSOP: All Hell Breaks Loose screens at Cinema 21 at 10 pm on October 3. How do you think the screening will go?
TU: I think we’re gonna pack the place. There will be lots of beer around, lots of laughs. I think it will be great.
One thing I want to point out is, this isn’t a movie where you sit and watch quietly. This is rough and rowdy. Go to the movie drunk, laugh and scream and have fun. That’s what we want to see.
TSOP: I assume you both will be at the screening. Will any members of the cast be there as well?
TU: I think the majority of the cast will be there. Definitely Ehren “Danger” McGhehey will be there. Nick Forrest, who plays the hero, and Joseph Sullivan, who plays God, will be there. April Mai, who is our wonderful kidnapped stripper will be there. So, if you want to meet everyone, be there. October 3, 10 pm at Cinema 21.
TSOP: Will you be selling DVDs at the screening?
TU: Probably not. Right now, we are looking into different genre distribution companies that might be interesting in the film, so we’re holding off on selling any physical copies at this time.
TSOP: Where can people find you on the web?
TU: I run a website called moviecynics.com, and my information is on the website. I have a Facebook page called Thevocab Ularious and on Twitter I have @vocabularious.
JG: I’m on Facebook. You can find search All Hell Breaks Loose film and look us up under Frenetic Films Production on Facebook.
TSOP: Well, thank you both for your time and I hope the screening of All Hell Breaks Loose is a success.
TU: Thank you.
The Portland premiere of All Hell Breaks Loose takes place at Cinema 21 on October 3 at 10 pm.