Butchering Prehistory: An Interview with Director Kansas Bowling

Kansas Bowling, making cinematic history!

Kansas Bowling, making cinematic history!

UPDATE: B.C. BUTCHER has finally made its Blu-ray debut courtesy of Lloyd Kaufman, the brilliant mastermind behind Troma Entertainment! Watch it in HD HERE, or get it on Blu-ray HERE!

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Recently, I was contacted by a young woman who was in the midst of kicking off an IndieGoGo campaign for her film, THE B.C. BUTCHER. Dozens of aspiring filmmakers have turned to  online crowdfunding sites to pay for their productions, and many have contacted me. I do what I can to spread the word, and occasionally kick in some cash, but rarely does something come along that “wows” me.

In steps a young lady named Kansas Bowling, telling me all about her goal of breathing new life into a tired sub-genre. She is a huge Horror fan, and planned to shoot her first feature  on 16mm film, which is unheard of! I had to know more!

Eager for more input about this production, I contacted Ms. Kansas Bowling and fired off a series of questions at her. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by some of the things she has to say.

VM: First off Kansas, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions. Upon hearing about your project, I was intrigued and wanted to know more about it. No one has ever attempted to shoot a slasher film set in prehistoric times before! Congrats, you’ve just carved out a new niche in the slasher sub-genre! Plus you’re 17, so this is a pretty large undertaking for someone your age.

KB: Thank you very much!

 

VM: To kick things off here, I’d like to know what inspired you to create your own feature-length film? Is this something you instantly decided to do because it seemed fun, or is this something that you’ve been thinking about for a couple of years?

KB: I’ve always wanted to make movies! I didn’t even consider making a short, because features are much more exciting! Plus, I don’t ever watch horror shorts, so the idea never crossed my mind. My friend Kenzie Givens and I had the idea to do this about a year ago, and we wrote the script together. I don’t think either of us thought we’d actually make it. But now we are!

 

VM: Prior to your current project, have you had any prior filmmaking experience, or is all of this relatively new to you? Have you done short films with friends; were you enrolled in any television production courses in high school?

KB: I’ve made things with my friends before and I’ve shot on 16mm at the Echo Park Film Center. I also have my own Super 8 camera that I use sometimes. And I watch a lot of movies! I did take a film class my last year of high school, but I just filmed my friend singing Gary Glitter in a silver jumpsuit and things like that.

You remember Gary Glitter right? Glam-rock legend and pedophile.

Gary Glitter: Glam-rock legend and pedophile.

VM: Oh man, Gary Glitter! I forgot that guy existed! You should upload that video to Youtube! Haha! Moving on then, how did you come up with the concept for the B.C. Butcher? Were any existing films responsible for inspiring the prehistoric time period?

KB: I’m not exactly sure how Kenzie [Givens] and I came up with it… I think we just said, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we made a slasher set in prehistoric times?’ and started writing it. Not very interesting…

We knew movies like ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. and CAVEMAN existed, but I’m pretty sure we saw them after we started writing it. I think our initial reasoning behind the prehistoric thing was that we thought it’d be easy, because everything is shot outside and people just have to wear loincloths!

 

VM: In the realm of independent filmmaking, shooting outdoors in animal furs is definitely the way to go to save some money! Haha! So you’ve stated elsewhere that you are a fan of horror cinema. (Which is obviously why you decided to shoot your own horror movie.) What are some of your favorite films and directors from the genre?

KB: I love everything by Dario Argento up until THE STENDHAL SYNDROME. And I love Tobe Hooper, especially TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and EATEN ALIVE! I love anything that has to do with Roger Corman! I also love Lucio Fulci, Jack Hill, Herschell Gordon Lewis, John Carpenter, Sergio Martino, Abel Ferrara, Joe Dante, Mario Bava, Stephanie Rothman, and anything Troma or Crown International Pictures! It’s a pretty generic list, but these people really are the best!

Some of my favorite horror films include THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, SUSPIRIA, SPIDER BABY, CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, DON’T TORTURE A DUCKLING, THE PYJAMA GIRL CASE, PIECES, I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, VENUS IN FURS, BLOOD FEAST, 5 DOLLS FOR AN AUGUST MOON, SLEEPAWAY CAMP, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO SOLANGE?, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, SHOCK, DEMONS, HAUSU, CREEPSHOW, BLOOD MANIA, DEMENTIA 13, THE HILLS HAVE EYES, THE GRAPES OF DEATH, RACE WITH THE DEVIL, TERRORVISION, POSSESSION YOUR VICE IS A LOCKED ROOM AND ONLY I HAVE THE KEY, THE CANDY SNATCHERS, THE BEYOND, SOMETHING WEIRD, PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK, THE UNDERTAKER AND HIS PALS, FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET…..

I’m also a big fan of the TV shows NIGHT GALLERY and THE TWILIGHT ZONE! Most of my favorite films aren’t horror though. That list includes MIDNIGHT COWBOY, ROCK N’ ROLL HIGH SCHOOL, DAISIES, THE POM POM GIRLS, HOLD ON, SUPERVIXENS, etc.

 

VM: That’s actually a pretty damned impressive list of films and directors! Most people your age have never heard of a giallo, have never seen a Troma flick, and are oblivious to the greatness (and insanity) of foreign horror cinema! Good on you! Back to your film… The cast of cave gals all speak English. Was this your original intention, or at one point during the creative process, did you toy with the idea of having everyone grunt and speak gibberish?

KB: No, it didn’t really cross our minds. I like having it as historically inaccurate as possible!

 

VM: One of your main characters (Bamba, portrayed by Devyn Leah) is blind. Is this character a nod to Catriona MacColl’s creepy blind girl in Fulci’s THE BEYOND?

KB: Yes, it is!

Devyn Leah (from THE B.C. BUTCHER) and Catriona MacColl (from Fulci's THE BEYOND) prove that blindness can be beyond creepy!

Devyn Leah (from THE B.C. BUTCHER) and Catriona MacColl (from Fulci’s THE BEYOND) prove that blindness can be beyond creepy!

VM: Very cool! I’m digging the fact that you’re putting homages to some of your fave horror flicks into “The B.C. Butcher!” I’m assuming that’s part of the reason you’re shooting it in 16mm! What on Earth made you choose that particular format? In an age where 35mm cinema is being forced into extinction, why not shoot in digital?

KB: I just love the look of 16mm! I wanted to make a film, and I couldn’t do that shooting digital. It’s just how movies are supposed to be made. I didn’t even consider digital as an option.

 

VM: You are after my own heart! You really are! So you’ve landed yourself a talented cast of up and comers, plus you’ve snagged television/film veteran Kadeem Hardison as the Narrator of your film. How did you assemble such a great cast?

KB: I got all of the girls from CAZT casting studios. I was really lucky to find such talented actors who were also enthusiastic about the project. I knew Kadeem’s daughter, Sophia, in elementary school. My dad recently ran into Kadeem and told him I was making a movie and he wanted to help out, so Kenzie and I quickly wrote in a narrator!

 

VM: Continuing on, let’s take a glimpse into the future, shall we? After it is shot and edited, what are your plans for “The B.C. Butcher?” Are you going to have a big hometown theatrical premiere? Any plans to release it digitally or have it released onto DVD?

KB: I’m going to enter into as many festivals as I can, hold a bunch of screenings, and then just see what happens!

Kansas Bowling (holding the Troma clapperboard) and friends at the 2015 Topanga Film Festival.

Kansas Bowling (holding the clapperboard) and friends at the 2015 Topanga Film Festival.

VM: And once B.C. BUTCHER is history, what’s next for you? Do you have plans to attend a film school, or will you just keep churning out movies?

KB: Well, I don’t see what the point would be of going to film school if I’ve already made a film. I’ll just move onto my next movie!

 

VM: Fair enough. So what will your next project be? A sequel perhaps? If so, what do you think about making it a time travel movie, so the film’s prehistoric antagonist can knock off some folks here in the future?!

KB: Maybe a sequel; I haven’t thought about that! I have some other ideas for movies, which aren’t set in prehistoric times, so it might be one of those!

 

VM: Well I suppose time will tell right? And speaking of time, I think I ate up enough of yours! Thank you so much for taking part in this interview Kansas and good luck with your movie! I hope I to scope out the finished version to review here at The Vault when it finally gets released! Before I let you be though, do you have anything else you’d like to say to my readers?

KB: Just make something! It seems hard at first and you may not know where to begin, but once you just start working, things will fall into place. Also, film may be expensive, but it is essential! Digital is not real! If you want to make a film, shoot on it!

 

VM: Thank you so much for doing this interview Kansas! I look forward to eventually seeing the completed film!