My Interview With The Director Of "The Axeman At Cutter's Creek" & "Bleed 4 Me".
A relatively new director on the Indie scene Joston Theney has the drive and perspective of what horror should be that rivals any seasoned director. His earlier film “Bleed 4 Me” drew a lot of attention with it’s grindhouse styled gorefest that is reminiscent of Troma Studios early stuff and a modern gritty action feel that carries as much impact as any modern giallo film. The film just proved that Joston Theney is serious about his image of horror. Having tackled the genre from a completely individualized and modern point of view that brings an air of raw, edgy, in-your-face sophistication to his storytelling while maintaining that subtle homage to the entertainment value of a genre that has become a fundamental of the film industry. Horror has maintained the most sustained fan base and commercial success of any film genre since the earliest days of movie making. It has also produced on of the best Independent film communities of all time. A community that Joston Theney is poised to dominate with his next project “The Axeman At Cutter’s Creek”. It will be a film close to Theney’s heart as a life long horror fan. His ambitious and passionate quest to create the ultimate killer. It will be Joston’s second feature film and will create a new type of slasher that has yet to be released on the horror world. A killer grounded by a concept of reality, unbound by mystical limitations set forth by the concept of a safe zone. That time or area where the killer holds no power and the population is safe from his terror. So many films in horror abide by this rule of thumb that an evil must be invoked by some consequential action or supernatural force that drives the monster, usually around a celebratory occasion or negative desire of some demoralized person. This has always been a structure set forth by the gods of horror in order give some reason to the madness about to unfold which sadly creates a limited and mindless existence to the monster. Joston Theney is about to break those rules and give evil full reign in this new tale of terror.
“The Axeman At Cutter’s Creek” is currently filming and stars Tiffany Shepis, Scot Pollard, Erin Marie Hogan, Elissa Downing, Ray Trickett and Joston Theney among others in this new epoch of horror. The film will unleash a madman that is more evolved, calculative and brutal than most of the slasher’s who came before. A concept that is sure to set Joston Theney apart from some of todays more notable directors. Not that Joston holds any ill will or undefined animosity for the genre he holds dear having grew his love and inspiration for making horror movies from such greats as Lionel Delplanque (Deep In The Woods), Dario Argento (Opera), Alexandre Aja (High Tension), Quentin Tarantino (Death Proof), David Mamet (Red Belt) George Romero (Dawn of the Dead) and P.T. Anderson (There Will Be Blood), with a little bit of David Lynch thrown in. All directors who have set and broke many preconceived standards of creating nightmares and dreamscapes. I recently had a chance to ask Joston Theney a few questions about his new film “The Axeman At Cutter’s Creek” as well as his passion for telling really good stories.
ASouthernLifeInScandalousTimes: When did you first realize that you wanted to make movies?
Joston Theney: Well, storytelling came very early on. And when I was 15, I had an English teacher take an interest in my creative writing. Under her tutelage and one-on-one attention, I was published by 16, winning Georgia's most prestigious writing honor, the "Building a Better Georgia Award" in the process. Soon after, I received an opportunity to work for a few local producers in Atlanta and gained experience rewriting screenplays. Add to that a local talent agency hiring me to record actors for commercial and theatrical auditions, giving me some entry level experience directing talent. And that started my journey.
ASouthernLifeInScandalousTimes: Have you always been a Horror fan? what were your favorite horror movies growing up?
Joston Theney: Yeah, I've always been a huge fan of horror. Growing up, my friends were horror movies and I spent every dime I had getting to see them, lol. I grew up on Evil Dead, Fright Night, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Happy Birthday To Me, Night of the Living Dead, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Kindred, The Mutilator, The Dorm That Dripped Blood and I Spit on Your Grave, and soooo many others. I just love this genre. It's primal. It's cathartic. It allows us to explore depravity from a place of safety and find redemption - or not - depending on how far down you decide to sink. And with the Axeman, we sink pretty far.
ASouthernLifeInScandalousTimes: Where did the idea of "The Axeman" come from?
Joston Theney: The genesis of The Axeman came from my desire to create the ultimate slasher villain. My favorite films as a kid were the original Friday the 13th series, Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Mutilator, The Dorm That Dripped Blood, Happy Birthday To Me and a slew of others. I grew up on those. But even as a youngster I realized where they were fundamentally flawed as villains. They had limitations. Jason was trapped in Crystal Lake and never ventured out unless you can stomach to remember part 8 and 10. Freddy is only effective in the dream world. Michael Myers might be stealthy and can drive, but unless it's Halloween, he's gonna stick out a little. Do I even need to mention Leatherface? My contribution to the genre is an unstoppable killing machine with brute strength, an unquenchable thirst for bloodshed and supreme intelligence. And one who has no limitations on when, where or how brutally he'll eviscerate you! He is the Axeman at Cutter's Creek!
ASouthernLifeInScandalousTimes: "The Axeman At Cutter's Creek" is a very different film from "Bleed 4 Me" which is harder to write, Demons or Slashers?
Joston Theney: Slashers, without a doubt. With demons you have the luxury of explaining away stuff like logic, fundamental laws of physics and reality. Slashers are grounded in the real world and when you do something ridiculous, fans call you out on it. So everything I write, I run it through the "bullshit detector" and see if it passes, lol.
ASouthernLifeInScandalousTimes: Which of the characters do you most relate to, Darren, Paulie, or the Axeman?
Joston Theney: Good question. Would probably have to say there's a little of me in each of those characters. The Axeman represents this immeasurable breadth of intestinal fortitude. He's mentally and physically tougher than anyone you've ever seen. You can't break his will, his determination or his spirit. Didn't think I really had anything in common with such a monster, but I guess you proved me wrong, lol. Darren represents that expected level of maturity that your parents and your teachers and every grown-up you've ever known has hoped you'd reach since childhood. He's just such a really good guy through and through. But I also have to say I'm a lot like Paulie, too. He's a Billy Bad-ass but he also has this heart that is bigger than all outdoors. His concern is for the safety and well-being of those he loves, and he'll do literally anything to protect them.
ASouthernLifeInScandalousTimes: Just how scarily convincing was Scot Pollard as the Axeman?
Joston Theney: Hahaha! You have no idea! The Axeman is a beast and so is Scot Pollard. From the moment of his audition I was sold on this massive, broad-shouldered monster from Kansas. No one else could've delivered the intensity, the agility and the sheer power Scot did on-set. He killed it. He is thoroughly convincing and a dream to work with. Or should I say a nightmare, lol.
ASouthernLifeInScandalousTimes: "The Axeman" is an iconic persona like a lot of the classic Slashers, do you see this story as a franchise or will this be the last we see of the Axeman?
Joston Theney: When I turned in the rewrite for Axeman at Cutter's Creek, I sold the Executive Producer Dr. Christopher Otiko over at Blood Red Films on making it a trilogy. Not a series of watered down sequels that become less and less effective with each entry, but an honest to God trilogy that explores the different aspects of the Axeman legend and the truth behind the mythology. Otiko loved the gory details and greenlit the sequel right away. So we go into development on that right after post production. Fingers crossed on getting to shoot them back to back, as each story picks up right where the previous one leaves off.
ASouthernLifeInScandalousTimes: Which do you prefer most, acting or directing?
Joston Theney: Easy choice. Directing. I love taking words on a page and giving them life. I surround myself with creative and technical people who possess undeniable talent with the intellect and the skill to apply it. And I take those elements and shape them. It's a wonderful feeling.
ASouthernLifeInScandalousTimes: As for The Axeman do you think there is anything good left in him or is he just evil incarnate?
Joston Theney: To ask if there is anything good left in him implies that there was some good there to begin with. And there never was. He was born into evil. He has no conscience. No remorse. No pity. He's the ultimate killing machine and gore hound. He kills because that is what he was born to do. His destruction of others doesn't come from a fit of rage but from a place of complete lucidity, calm and incredible intelligence and that's what makes him absolutely frightening.
ASouthernLifeInScandalousTimes: What nightmares do you have lined up after "The Axeman"?
Joston Theney: In between this film and finishing up the trilogy, I've gotten the green light for my horror film “Watch Them Kill”. It follows a psychopathic director and a sociopathic writer/producer as they navigate Hollywood, creating the ultimate snuff film. It's pretty sick and I must say that the list of actors and actresses that are being assembled will have us labeled the EXPENDABLES of horror movies, lol.
There are great things coming from Joston Theney. The Axeman as a trilogy is an actual promise and guarantee that the story will be a fluid and comprehensive saga of nightmares and bloodshed with clear direction. One that will actually make sense. Something that just proves that Joston Theney takes his horror seriously without loosing sight of creating entertaining movies. His field of view as a horror fan and young director is driven from such a varied catalogue of inspiration that allow for plenty of future projects to be as creative and fresh as “Bleed 4 Me” and “The Axeman At Cutter’s Creek” without seeming redundant. From demon hunting to methodical intelligent slashers to entering the taboo world of “snuff films” there is no area in the horror genre that Joston Theney is unwilling to explore in his endeavor to redefine the concept of horror.
The Axeman At Cutter’s Creek Facebook Page
Joston Theney IMDb