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The Night Brings Out The Sadist In Us All

I recently sat down with local film maker Everett Dudgeon to discuss his trials and tribulations upon making his official foray into cinema. His first entry might sound controversial, but once you read about his rationale and thought processes, you will no doubt want to stand in line to check it out.

Shot on Super 8, Night of the Sadist harks back to the filthy and grimy days of exploitation cinema of the 1970’s. The title of the film alone is enough for you to raise an eyebrow, but a film fraught with imperfection and is unapologetic in the approach sounds fascinating as far as I am concerned.

HMS is proud to let Everett give a little insight into the making of Night…so without further fanfare, let’s dig in deep with this one.

HMS: So let’s begin with your inspiration? Tell us what motivated you to make this film?

ED: Well it actually came at a time when I stopped wanting to make films. I really got sick of having producers and stuff bail last minute and projects just falling through. I financed thousands of dollars to projects that never came out because the producer bailed or because the main actress had a temper tantrum. Luckily I didn’t lose any money because I’d be doing this interview from jail. I think my main problem was I was thinking way too big. I was putting an unrealistic expectation on myself that I could do something like Night of the Hunter or something big scale and if I didn’t do it by age 23 I was a failure. It’s totally silly to put yourself under that type of pressure. So I was watching some films and kind of rekindled my love for this guy Andy Milligan. Here’s this guy who used his own money and made his own costumes and shot these little period piece films in his backyard and in his house with his friends while operating a 16mm sound of film camera all for like $5000. Are the films good? Well I guess that depends on your point of view but the idea of just making stuff you want to make without any type of expectation, I rather liked that. I’m not the only one, Nicholas Widing Refn, the guy that did Drive and Only God Forgives. His favorite director of all time is Milligan; I guess I’m in good company. I figured I could take a couple grand of my own money, grab some friends and just shoot something and just have it be what it turns out to be; as far as the inspiration for the actual film? Well I guess Milligan is up there and also 70’s rough porn from guys like Shawn Costello and what not.

HMS: You shot Sadist on Super 8 in just 4 days, so how challenging was it to get the whole thing shot so quickly? Any difficult moments you wish to discuss?

ED: Well, we had no script per se. Just basic ideas we wrote down and the mindset was just “Shut up and shoot”. I know I could have organized it better but really we just went in with ideas and they became something else. We still had film stock left over so I could have used some more scenes I think.

As far as any difficult moments; naw, not really. It was just mentally draining since I was financing, renting the gear, buying the stock, shooting the camera, and paying the cast and crew and feeding them. Not just pizza either but full on meals at restaurants. Doing all this with a fulltime job to boot!

I think the rape stuff was probably the most difficult. Not because of the content but because it was mostly legit. The slaps and stuff were real. We even cut one of the girls for real with her consent. Just insane but everything was controlled so no one seriously got injured. Molly, Ava, Greta were all troopers. Dick Punch, the guy that played the Sadist asked us to take breaks because everyone was dying of overheating. It was a sauna in there I’m surprised the film stock didn’t melt.

HMS: What was it like shooting at the Waverly Hotel?

ED: Odd experience but fun. The manager was like “Oh you never told me you were shooting…do you need any extension cables?” Like I have these half naked girls in some filthy hotel room while I’m wearing an SS uniform and all this guy says is “For an extra $20 I can get cables”. It’s a great location that required no set decoration. There was a something written above the bed that said “If I get aids this room will be the cause.” I spat out my drink when I saw that. I wanted to use that as a tagline “If you get aids, this film will be the cause.”

HMS: How do you think film goers will treat your subject matter? There’s rape, a Nazi S&M scene, and someone wearing Blackface – did you intend to be so risky with the material?

ED: This subject matter is nothing new but I think what I’ve noticed is there seems to be this odd kind of reaction when it comes to that type of stuff. If you take the whole faux Grindhouse boom that happened cause of Death Proof and Planet Terror, there was Black Dynamite representing Blaxploitation flicks, Dear God No! representing Bikersploitation, Viva! Doing Sexploitation yet there was no Nazisploitation. Sure there was Werewolf Women Of The SS but no pure Nazisploitation film.

It just seems like people kind of dance around certain topics with humor instead of just going for the jugular. I think it’s an untapped market sort of. You have your fun horror and you have your mean horror. I don’t think people who are exposed to Friday The 13th are going to appreciate a film like the original Maniac or Cannibal Holocaust. Even by that token I don’t think people who are exposed to stuff like I Spit On Your Grave or Last House On The Left could handle a film like Forced Entry. There’s always something more extreme out there until you eventually reach Mondo films which most horror fans don’t even touch or don’t appreciate. I think if a film like Possession (1981) came out now or even a film like Phase IV I don’t think the horror audience or people in general would know what to do. There’s no explanation given in those films and they are so well done and emotional that most people wouldn’t enjoy them. It would be overwhelming.

I just think most modern indie horror film makers aren’t willing to go certain places. They play it super safe and by the book. It doesn’t have to be gore or rape or anything but just stuff that kind of is refreshing or sets their films apart. I thought that film that came out a year or so ago, The Demolisher, man that looked awesome but when I saw it I was really disappointed; the same with Beyond The Black Rainbow and so many others. I think there’s too many examples of films that come out now and the effort seems lethargic and the response is apathetic. No one is really willing to just kind of do something different subject matter wise or plot wise or style wise and actually take it seriously and not try to shield it with humor. A lot of time they cite stuff as influences and try to emulate directors or films without really knowing why the stuff works in the first place. Also the problem is everyone is copying the same directors, Romero, Carpenter, De Palma, and Tarantino etc. Hell, people are copying Tarantino and aren’t even bothering to watch the films he copies in the first place. Why not try to do a horror film but with the style of Ozu?


“The original idea was to have no onscreen violence – just a violent tone, but soon people were taking their clothes off and willing to have sex on film for real.”

The subject of rape on film is a whole other topic I’m not going to get into too much, but I think it’s kind of weird it’s still such a taboo topic for cinema. I mean we can see people can violently slaughtered on TV these days and no one bats an eyelash but a rape scene gets a bunch of hate mail. Gosh there’s been those types of scenes in literature and film for ages and people could see some really awful stuff on the internet these days and yet even suggesting you go there gets you put in front of a firing squad. I certainly empathize and understand people who have had tragic occurrences in their lives objecting to those scenes but I don’t think anyone should have to change their interests or creative decisions because of someone else’s personal problems.

I didn’t intend it to be that way, actually on the contrary, Night of the Sadist was going to be a fake mockumentary like Legend Of Boggy Creek but based on a fake apprehended serial killer who killed these three girls in Toronto. As we were going into it, ideas would pop up and we would use them. I pretty much stole the plot for the Ed Wood film The Sinister Urge but made it much sleazier. I was shocked at how committed the actors were and what they were willing to let me do. The original idea was to have no onscreen violence – just a violent tone, but soon people were taking their clothes off and willing to have sex on film for real. I mean you only have one life and if an opportunity comes up like that I think a filmmaker would be stupid not to at least roll the camera.

HMS: What I find fascinating is that one of your actresses in the film was actually contacted by authorities about the obscene nature of the film. Care to respond about that?

ED: Well I get a call one day from the lab saying “Your film is ready can you get one of the actors to pick it up.” I was like “Um…I can pick it up.” The whole thing just struck me as weird and when I got the footage back a lot of it was missing. The lab told me it was damaged and the owner was really apologetic and gave me a bunch of raw stock as compensation. I didn’t think much of it until one of the main actresses Ava Monday called me and said someone asked her about the footage so I knew something happened. I’m thinking someone saw this stuff and the thing about film is it has no sound so there was no way they could know we were laughing or joking around during those scenes. All they saw was the visual stuff but I got enough raw stock for a reshoot. I was missing a lot of the blackface stuff and two rape scenes so I’ll have to do a reshoot. Everyone is willing to do it so it shouldn’t be a problem.

HMS: How was the reaction for the trailer when it screened last November at the Carlton Cinema ahead of Turkish Star Wars?

ED: It was good. It actually showed twice to two sold out audiences. After the trailer happened all you heard was this big sigh. Not really the reaction I was looking for but whatever I got to make a film that’s playing in a theatre so that’s an accomplishment in and of itself.

HMS: Can you tell us the status of the film as of right now?

ED: We’ll probably do some quick pick up shots and possibly have to reshoot some stuff. The trailer is showing at the Carlton every month until the premiere which should be in the Spring. We haven’t really been welcomed to do any advertising in terms of magazines or posters. I’d like to get some more publicity, maybe a podcast but I think no one really wants to associate with this type of film. I’m planning on road-showing this thing though; first in Toronto then Hamilton and then London; kind of to build up the hype.

HMS: What’s next for you as a film maker?

ED: It’s a tough call. I’m kind of at a crossroads now. I never really wanted to make extreme stuff. I certainly enjoy it but I would like to make stuff like Wolfman vs The Mummy and old school black and white monster movies but let’s be real, no producer is going to go for that and no distributor will know what to do with it. There was a film with Ron Chaney a few years ago called House of the Wolfman, and I don’t even think it got picked up. I want to do other stuff but it’s finding the people to help. I’m a musician and the thing about music is you can compose and record by yourself or with a small amount of people but you can’t do that with film. Not with larger projects anyway. So now I’m on the fence if I should just embrace the Milligan approach and just have that become my style. My friend pointed out to me that if Night of the Sadist was to ever play a horror festival (Which I doubt it would) everyone would be talking about it over any other film. Not because it’s good or well done but because it’s so drastically different than anything else. In an age of 4k camera and with everyone trying to be perfect the fact that I choose to work with imperfections and embrace the limitations of an old fashioned medium is unique. I sort of have the same mindset to the Springsteen album Nebraska. No matter how well produced his other albums are there’s nothing quite like The Boss sitting down with an acoustic guitar, harmonica and small tape recorder with the tape hiss and all and his voice cracking. There’s something human about it, something raw and real which is what I feel about film and what I feel about Night of the Sadist.

Kenneth Gallant, HMS

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