Chris Woods and John Miller are two dedicated Horror/Exploitation fans. These partners in crime put their combined knowledge and opinions together for an online show called The Sleaze Box. Accompanied by The Grindhouse Girls, the pair compile lists of best and worst lists pertaining to the genre. Not content to just rate films, the duo have put their money where their collective mouth is, creating their own modern murderous movie, “Amerikan Holokaust’. I got to chat with the guys, and here’s what they had to say:
1. What inspired you to put the ‘Sleaze Box’ show together? How long, on the average, does it take to complete an episode?
Chris Woods: Both John and I are huge fans of horror, exploitation, and cult films and we wanted to do a show where we discuss our thoughts and opinions of films from those genres. I did a similar YouTube show for a web site, but wanted to branch out and start my own show that targeted film topics that I cared about more. The show takes about a week to complete. We usually shoot The Grindhouse Girls segments all at once in one day and our Top 5 segments we tape once a month, and then I edit it during the week and post it on YouTube when it’s complete.
John Miller: I think we just wanted to produce something light hearted that fans could relate too and have alot of fun watching. Our love for these films is hopefully something that translates through the screen.
2. You both seem to know your stuff when it comes to Horro/Exploitation films. How long have you been fans? What are some of your favorites?
Chris Woods: I’ve been a fan of those genres since I was 14 years old, which would be for 26 years. Night of the Living Dead was the film that made me fall in love with horror films. It was my gateway drug into the genre. Other favorites of mine are Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, but also love classic cult and exploitation films such as Two Thousand Maniacs, Cannibal Holocaust, I Spit on Your Grave, and the Ilsa films.
John Miller: Really good horror and exploitation titles always seemed a bit out of my reach growing up because A) it wasn’t easily accessable or B) too expensive. So it wasn’t until my early 20’s when I was able to afford the movies I wanted but by then the DVD boom hit and VHS tapes were so cheap that I could purchase a ton of flicks for pennies and finally see alot of the stuff I wanted. Some of my favorites are Black Caesar, Death Race 2000, Goodbye Uncle Tom, Cop Killers, Salems Lot, Dawn of the Dead, Raiders of Atlantis, etc, etc I could go on forever.
3. How did you recruit the Grindhouse Girls?
Chris Woods: We posted an ad on Craigslist and some acting web sites and picked them from there. We met with them and the rest is history.
John Miller: Chris gave you the “official” story but I’ll give you the real scoop. Dig on this…One weekend we are at this horror convention and a couple of douchebag jock types are bullying their way through the crowd to get in line for a David Boreanaz autograph. I mean, these guys must have been 6ft5 and 250lbs a piece without an ounce of fat on them. A couple of mean motor scooters for sure. I was in line waiting for a Sid Haig autograph and BAM! One dude pushes me to the ground and the other steps right over me and yells, “CGI Rules!”. So fast forward a few hours to the afterparty and here I am in the middle of this crowd drunk as a skunk when the same two dudes come muscling through the crowd again, only now with a couple of hot chicks. Except this time I was loaded up on cans of courage and ready for war. Next thing I know a smoke bomb goes off and all I hear is some Shaw Brothers style sound fx. When the smoke cleared I looked around to find the two jocks laid out on the ground, badly beaten and in serious need of medical condition. I saw Chris walking up to his hotel room with the two chicks. I don’t know what the hell happend in the room that night but he and these chicks have been on some seriously devoted Manson Family type shit ever since.
4. Your format for the Top 5’s is similar to ‘That Metal Show’…was that an influence?
Chris Woods: Yes, it was. I’m a big fan of the show and really enjoyed that segment. I had an idea to do a whole show with just focusing on the Top 5 segment, but instead of Heavy Metal we wanted to do it on Horror and Exploitation film topics.
5. There’s some Indie filmmaking history here…can you tell us about some projects you’ve worked on?
Chris Woods: I’ve been a filmmaker for roughly 20 years. Starting in college and then on the independent level. I mostly directed short films, but worked on a few feature films as an editor (one film I edited was Herschell Gordon Lewis’ latest film ‘The Uh-Oh! Show’) and produced and edited a documentary about famous strip club owner Joe Redner, called ‘Strip Club King: The Story of Joe Redner’. John and I have produced several short films in the past year and a half and have just wrapped on our latest feature film ‘Amerikan Holokaust’.
John Miller: Chris is like the indie film equivalent of a Shaolin monk and I’m sort of like his amatuer pupil that he is taking through the 36 Chambers. Hopefully in 20 years I’ll be able to pass on my knowledge to some scrappy hot head looking to break into filmmaking.
6. Tell us about your film ‘Amerikan Holokaust’. The trailer gives off a definite 70s Horror/Exploitation vibe.
Chris Woods: We wanted to do a film that was inexpensive and didn’t take long to make. Found footage films are ideal for that. Then we had to figure out what to do it on. I saw a show on two serial killers, Leonard Lake and Charles Ng and it showed them video taping their victims. I thought that would be a great idea to do a film on two killers who document their lives and the torture and demise of their victims.
John Miller: I think that 70’s horror / exploitation vibe is there because that style is so ingrained in the both of us that it is impossible to get away from. Amerikan Holokaust is the story of a man on the edge. An unemployed war veteran by the name of Michael Mashburn that’s torn between the freedom he experiened plundering the jungles of Vietnam and the conformity of civilized society. I won’t give to much away but we aimed to please with this flick. There’s blood, guts and tits in spades but also enough intellectual jive mixed in to impress the smarty pants out there. It’s basically an arthouse flick for the ADD generation.
7. Do you have any other projects lined up after ‘Amerikan Holokaust’?
Chris Woods: We do, but we’re still fine tuning them. A few features after we complete ‘Amerikan Holokaust’ and the new season of The Sleaze Box coming this summer.
John Miller: We have a couple of features in the works and definitly a return to the Sleaze Box. We fully intend to come back to the show focused and reloaded. Aside from that just expanding the Sleaze Box brand and toying with the idea of releasing a fanzine. The rest of the industry is trying to ditch print, we’re crazy enough to consider embracing it.
8. You have a crazy-ass budget to make a film…the only catch is it has to be a remake, but one of your own choosing. What do you pick, and who do have star in it?
Chris Woods: This is a tough one. Off the top of head I have to say Peeping Tom. It’s a great movie, but it would be cool to see in the modern time with phone and web cams. Not sure who I would cast though. Maybe Andrew Lincoln from ‘The Walking Dead’ and Jocelin Donahue from ‘House of the Devil’. Would love to work with them.
John Miller: Easy…Don’t Look In The Basement. I’ve only seen it one time and one time only because it was so disappointing. I love the idea of a lawless nuthouse and just think it’s one of the few films that could actually benefit from being remade. Plus there needs to be something better actually lurking around in the basement. I don’t know what role he’d get but I’d have to cast Ned Eisenberg. He made such an impression on me as kid in this goofy movie Moving Violations playing a whacked out horror geek that I vowed someday if I ever had the finances I’d cast him. He also starred in The Burning so the man has some horror street cred. More importantly the film has to be scrored by Riz Ortolani or no deal.
9. Anything else you’d like to say to the folks out there in Horror-Land?
Chris Woods: Don’t give up on horror films. I know there is a lot of bad films out there, but there are some good ones. Keep being hard-core fans of horror and check out some of our films, shows, and videos at www.thesleazebox.com
John Miller: Yeah…Burn Hollywood Burn!
10. Thanks, guys.
Chris Woods: Thanks Scott!
John Miller: Thanks Scott!
Check out Sleaze Box episodes and the trailer for ‘Amerikan Holokaust’ at www.thesleazebox.com.