Rhiannon Irons, a.k.a Ahlephia, here with an amazing interview with one of Truly Disturbing’s former writers. Now into the movie biz, Kristian Hanson’s Sledge is turning heads and gaining a fair bit of interest. Read on for the 411 about this amazing new horror film and director.
Kristian Hanson (also known as Kristian J. Hanson) is one of my very good friends. In fact, if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be writing for Truly Disturbing. He was the one that introduced me to this site and he’s the reason why I’m still here, doing what I do.
So, naturally, when I learned about his feature horror film, SLEDGE, I just had to get an interview done. Picking Kristian’s brain on movie making, horror concepts and whether horror movies cause real life violence has resulted in a simply amazing and interesting interview.
REI: When I first met you, you had just released a book – Fat Kid’s Wolfy Revenge. Now you’re in the movie business. How did you get into filmmaking and why the change from books to movies?
KRISTIAN: When I started writing my books a few years ago, I literally started and didn’t stop for five months. I wrote every day, and I didn’t stop until I had finished eight novels, and than my brain just kind of sputtered out. My business partner John then came to me and mentioned script writing. I told him I didn’t know how to do it, but once I downloaded the script writing software, I was off and running again. Like before I have written eight scripts and now, my brain is kind of mush again, but I do have ideas for more Sledge movies along with a few other fun films that I haven’t written yet.
REI: Tell us a little about Sledge and what makes it different to every other horror movie?
KRISTIAN: Sledge is in all respects a throw back to 80s slasher fair. However, Adam Lynch isn’t your typical killer. Adam is a fanboy, he loves comics and video games and horror films. He believes he is in a movie or video game because he is psychotic, and every time he kills a group of people, like magic, a new group reappears later like he hit reset on the old Nintendo. Another fun aspect of Adam is he talks. All 1980s slashers (besides Freddy) didn’t talk. They just stood there and cocked their heads to the left, which is fine and made them scary. I just didn’t want Adam Lynch to be that, especially seeing as how Adam Lynch is only 5’10 and every other guy in the film is over six feet tall. So being the tall hulking monster just wouldn’t work.
REI: How did the concept for Sledge come about?
KRISTIAN: Sledge came about because we wanted to film a movie in upstate New York where my co-director John Sovie II lives. My wife actually had that idea, and so I sat down and began writing. Three days later I had the script to Sledge done, and it was just a lot of fun and I believe people will enjoy the humor and death that we created for all of the horror fans.
REI: Can you give us some behind the scenes secrets for Sledge including how long the shoot was, how you found your actors, locations and crew etc.?
KRISTIAN: The shoot was four days in total. There are some scenes that we shot post that time, but that was only another day, so 5 total. When it came to actors, it was all done online. We setup a page on facebook for that area, and also did an add in the local paper. The paper is where we found out leading guy Dustin Bowman. He wasn’t too sure about coming and being in the movie, but I am happy he did because he is hilarious as the Alex character, and I believe people will get a kick out of his one-liners and all the crap he does. The location was in Potsdam, New York at one of our actors dad’s houses. He has this perfect house that has a pond and a place for a campground and its in the forest, so it was just amazing. The good thing about filming in an area where you grew up, people know you and are willing to help, and that is exactly what they did for us.
REI: What have been your biggest influences when creating this film?
KRISTIAN: Honestly, just the horror fans and genre in general. I made this movie for horror fans like myself. When filming and writing the script, I wanted this to be something that horror fans could get behind. A new killer that was fun and they could honestly root for. Horror fans are different and unique and we are largely misunderstood. We discuss how awesome a death was in a movie, while a casual viewer will think we are psychotic for liking how a person was mutilated by a machine or hatchet wielding elephant faced psycho. Anyone who knows the Hatchet films, I just mentioned Victor, who I love, and I had a lot of influence from Adam Green and Joe Lynch, the two stars of Holliston. They have been really nice to me and helped give me advice on this film when I asked for it. So if you look at the name Adam Lynch, you will see where that comes from, as a thank you to those guys.
REI: What has been the hardest part about creating Sledge?
KRISTIAN: Waiting around for it to be officially done, honestly. Filming is so much fun, but people don’t realize how long it actually takes to do post production. We were blessed a band called God In The Machine and ScarCrow who gave us their music library to use for the movie. Eric Xton the lead singer is awesome and I him a giant thank you.
REI: We all know that I’m an Australian so I have to ask, will us Aussies be seeing Sledge anytime soon on our shores?
KRISTIAN: I’d love to get it into film festivals there. So once I submit to your area, I will definitely keep you in the loop. I want Adam Lynch to scare everyone in every country, or at least make you laugh and root for him as he slays his next victim.
REI: Will you stay with the horror genre or branch out into other genres? How do you feel about combining genres?
KRISTIAN: I love the horror genre and will continue to do horror films mixed with humor. I honestly don’t think I could write a super serious film. My wife keeps joking and saying one day we will be at the Oscars, and I continue to tell her the only way that will happen is if my brother Shawn Hanson who is an amazing writer as well, writes a phenomenal script and I am allowed to direct it for him. I enjoy my humor too much, and as we all know, humor and horror films do not get any recognition inside of the Oscars unless a comedian is hosting, or is up for the best special effects makeup oscar.
REI: Looking back at your career of writing, directing and acting, is there anything you would have done differently?
KRISTIAN: No because it is all a learning experience. I started writing because my now wife told me to sit down and write when I had the idea for my Wolfy book. From that moment, I haven’t stopped writing and coming up with fun ideas. I love the horror genre, but I love to add my take and twist on it with my type of humor. I don’t want anything I create to be a cookie cutter mold of something already done. I want to take it and make it my own. So a gingerbread cookie with eight legs and one eye and we will name his Octo-Ginger or something like that. Great, Asylum is already making a bad spoof of my movie (just kidding).
REI: What are you hopes for the film?
KRISTIAN: My hopes is that it will get accepted into film festivals so everyone has a chance to see it. I hope that people come and see it and enjoy it for what it is, a fun old school horror film. People constantly talk about how they hate remakes, so come and support something that is new and fun. Love it or hate it, I just want people to have the experience of the film.
KRISTIAN: I think it’s a load of crap honestly. I have been watching horror films since I was a baby and still remember the first time I played the most violent and bloody video game of all time on the Sega Genesis the day it was released, Mortal Kombat. The only thing that crossed my brain while ripping the spine out of someone in the video game was, “COOOOOOOL!” not, I need to go rip the spine out of my brother and family members. People who go on rampages and kill other people are mentally ill. The fact individuals are on so many pills these days doesn’t help either. Look at the warning label on these anti-depressants, they can cause suicidal tendencies. Instead of blaming video games and music and movies, they need to take an in-depth look on their cash cow the pharmaceutical companies and how crazy some people are.
REI: What can we expect from you in the future?
KRISTIAN: A lot of fun. I promise to bring old school horror back where you can laugh and scream and enjoy what is coming at you. I don’t believe in over-processed films and CGI can suck a nut. I’d love to turn my Wolfy book into a film, but I would want the top notch special effects guy to work on it, meaning Rick Baker himself. I’d love for him to do another transformation scene, where I wouldn’t get in his way. It really is sad the two best transformation scenes happened over thirty years ago with An American Werewolf in London and The Howling all because executives believe CGI is the way to go when it looks like garbage. So yes, transformation scene is in my future.
REI: Do you have any advice for anyone who wishes to follow in your footsteps?
KRISTIAN: If you have a script, go make the movie. You don’t need to buy the equipment, save your money and rent the equipment. Renting is a lot cheaper and you can get everything you need. Also, don’t let anyone say you can’t do something. My book was rejected by agent after agent because they didn’t like the humor, but I found a nice fan base who loves it because it is fun and unique. Don’t let someone put you in a box, and most of all, just have fun.
I would like to thank Kristian for taking time out of his busy life to answer a few questions and for giving readers of Truly Disturbing an inside look into SLEDGE. Kristian, it was a pleasure and I wish you all the best with your future projects.
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