15th Dec2017

Horror-On-Sea 2018 Interview: Ron Bonk discusses ‘She Kills’

by Philip Rogers

She Kills is a new exploitation from writer and director Ron Bonk, which has been selected to play at the Horror-on-Sea Film Festival on Sunday 21st January. I got chance to ask Ron a few questions about why he chose to replicate an exploitation style film, what were his influences from the genre and the issue of shooting a low budget feature.

She-Kills-art

What can we expect from the film?

Generally, insanity. The movie starts semi-crazy and then keeps going off the edge, only to reach another edge and another and it just keeps jumping off.  But beyond that and the shocks and humor, there is a message there that I hope resonates with the audience.

Why did you decide to film She kills in the style of a 1970s exploitation/grindhouse?

I always wanted to do a Grindhouse homage. I love those movies, but loved even more what I expected of them after seeing the art, reading the tagline, scanning the synopsis or catching a review (many didn’t live up to the expectations of just how far they really were going to push the line, but all were entertaining nonetheless). It just seemed like the time was right for me to show my own form of love for these movies that I grew up on.

What were your influences for writing the film She Kills?

I Spit on Your Grave (1978), Ms.45 (1981), The Warriors (1979) and Thriller – A Cruel Picture (1974) were the main ones, but dozens if not hundreds of movies influenced the script.  Most of them were Grindhouse movies from the 70s, but there’s nods large and small to b-movies of all budget levels and all decades up till today.

Did you encounter any issues shooting on a low budget?

Yes, you always do – it would be nice to have more crew help, to have a dedicated sound person, or someone on camera besides me so I can really sit back and focus on the acting.  But I tried to let the budget feed the production and form what the movie would be.  The low budget would take away some things, like some of the production values, some of the slickness, but in turn those things became part of what it means to be a Grindhouse movie.  And luckily the people who I do work with are super dedicated, they all work hard, and the actors especially can deliver and round out their characters after our initial discussions about the role.

Were there any elements in the finished film which were different to your original script?

Yes, a few.  When you are on set and lack money, or something isn’t working right, and you know you are limited on time with the cast or in a location, you have to be ready and able to adjust on the go.  The biggest adjustment, and it was made prior to shooting, was the death in a car of two of the main characters. Not to give too much away, I guess I should say SPOILERS here, but the scene was meant to be more extreme, with them drowning in a sea of the one character’s excrement.  But pulling off a scene with them submerged, and lighting it, and getting in there myself with the camera, and how to get them in and out of the cab of the truck between takes without having to empty all the liquid – and on top of all that shooting the scene later in the season than originally planned with temperatures dropping fast – I knew I needed to change it up.  So instead, we had fake feces shooting all over the car, covering them and blinding them until they drove off a cliff.   And it works, not what I envisioned, maybe not as funny, but fans seem to enjoy this alternative idea.

What was one of your favorite scenes in the film?

Hmm, hard to say.  The first scene in the hotel where the gang attacks, that was really hard to shoot – very uncomfortable, a bit too dark of subject matter. And I scripted it too long, and today would edit it down a bit to make it shorter.  I mean, I made it the way I wanted, and it was meant to be a long scene, akin to Grindhouse movies, but even though it was a direct homage it didn’t mean it was the right way to do it. There’s a number of scattered rough spots, which happens with a low budget movie, but as it builds the scenes get better and better to me (with the only exception being the bar room battle).  I think the payoff is there for the fans of these types of movies.

Do you have any new projects which you are working on?

Yes, I am working on the final polished cut of House Shark, which comes out in the Spring. I’m working on a few scripts this Winter, debating shooting a short as a fundraiser for one of the scripts, and then possibly a new production next winter. We will see…

If someone is looking to direct their first film, what advice would you give them?

Make something different, make something that has an impact. I see a lot of slick soulless horror movies.  Make something that gets people talking, something that comes from your heart and mind and make a statement with your work, whether serious or lighthearted or something in between.

She Kills will be playing at the Horror-on-Sea Festival on Sunday 21st January at 10:30 pm.
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For more information on the event and to purchase tickets for the Horror-on-Sea please see the website for details:  https://www.horror-on-sea.com

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