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Welcome to Appetite for Discussion -- a Guns N' Roses fan forum!

Please feel free to look around the forum as a guest, I hope you will find something of interest. If you want to join the discussions or contribute in other ways then you need to become a member. We especially welcome anyone who wants to share documents for our archive or would be interested in translating or transcribing articles and interviews.

Registering is free and easy.


2015.07.17 - Shock Till You Drop - Shock Q&A: Slash Talks The Hell Within and Horror

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Post by Blackstar Sun Jan 29, 2023 8:13 am

Shock Q&A: Slash Talks The Hell Within and Horror

By Edward Douglas

As the guitarist in Guns N’ Roses, one of the seminal rock bands of the ‘80s and 90s, Slash was responsible for some of the most iconic guitar riffs and solos. In recent years however, he’s been using his legend to get into the movie business, helping to back the production of his favorite genre: horror.

After producing 2013’s Nothing Left to Fear, he’s taking a different approach with latest film, The Hell Within, about a woman who goes to the Brazilian jungle with her husband looking for a missing girl and gets caught up in the supernatural. On July 9, Slash kicked off a FanBacked campaign to fund the project, offering lots of cool movie swag and exclusive rewards for the backers—including one to have your face cast as a corpse in the movie—as well as the usual T-shirts, scripts and other signed merchandise.

Slash made a brief stop in San Diego during his current tour to help promote the project and Shock Till You Drop had a chance to chat with him, where it was fairly clear just how enthusiastic he is about horror films and making them.

Shock Till You Drop: This is the second movie you’re producing and you’re taking a different approach with it, because I assume you didn’t use fan funding with the first movie?

Slash: Well, with the first one, it just wasn’t the movie that that sort of came to mind. This one, I was actually turned on to FanBacked and thought, “What a great sort of tool.” Not so much, the money thing, I mean, it’s great if I can get it because the more money I make that way, the less money I take from investors and the less I sort of have to sort of kowtow [to them]. But even more importantly is just to sort of build your own legion of fans that have more invested in the movie than your average person that’s just going to see the movie because they’ve been there for the whole… you know what I mean? I have a lot of fans from the music side that are also fans of the movie side. I just thought it would be interesting to make it feel like a more communal thing than just, “Here’s my new movie.”

Shock: When you make a movie like this, it’s a lot more that you have to. I guess there are a lot more rewards you have to fulfill.

Slash: Well, yeah, but I mean you’re giving them stuff — basically, it’s mostly stuff from the movie or having to do with the movie, which to me, is just cool, you know? I think it just comes from my whole sort of bootleg mentality from the music, where I wish some of these things had been available when I was a kid. Bootlegs were always a big thing. Any sort of not off-the-counter merchandise that you can find. Anyway, so with movies, if you can get props, if you can get scripts, all my friends are movie nerds. Anything that they have is something that you can’t just get anywhere, so I thought that would be really cool, and people give you money, you might as well give them something worthwhile.

Shock: When you say you retain more creative control that way, that’s because the investors and producers you have, you do have to include them in the process.

Slash: You start getting into these casting arguments because of obvious reasons, but the more the movie equity you can provide yourself, the more decisions you can make without having anybody looking over your shoulder.

Shock: How did you find and meet Dennison Ramalho, the film’s director?

Slash: Well, I saw ABCs of Death, but I didn’t know who he was at the time. It was really ironic how it happened. I was given the script with one of my partners, and we’ve been going through a lot of scripts and I got this script and I liked the title. So I was on the road and I was like, “Okay, well, let me check this out.” You start to get a little jaded after a while when you decide to read script after script after script. I was like, “This is really f*cking good. Who wrote this?” It was Jeff Buhler, so Dennison was already attached to it. I had already seen ABCs of Death and never just thought to go look at the director, so when I put those two together, it just seemed like a great irony.

Then he had another short, a couple other shorts but one long short, which is set in Brazil, and I forget what it’s called [Ninjas], but it’s set in the favelas in Brazil. It was really, really dark and really ominous, but very contemporary at the same time. It wasn’t overly way-out. Sometimes in a short, they can touch on something that they think is very cerebral. That’s very hard to understand sometimes in three minutes or four minutes or whatever it is. So, this particular short told a story of this guy that was basically had just been accepted into one of the secret police that worked the favelas that aren’t part of the regular department and take him into a drug dealer they want to shake down and his prostitute girlfriend. It was just really, really good, so I’m excited about working with Dennison.

Shock: Is he from Brazil himself?

Slash: He is from Brazil, yeah. So we just did a teaser for the movie just with a real basic location and basic props and a couple of real quick actors to come in and act out some of the scenes of the movie, and we put it together and it’s really cool. It may be a minute long, you know?

Shock: Will he shoot this in Brazil?

Slash: Well, we’re not going to shoot in Brazil. We’re going to shoot in Colombia

Shock: It seems like the movie is a socially conscious thing, at least in terms of the main characters.

Slash: Well, I mean, Mary, who’s the lead character, she has basically a nonprofit organization that funds underprivileged or impoverished children in these third world countries. Basically, what happens is–I don’t want to let too much out of the story–but there’s a girl that’s gone missing recently and she gets a phone call in the middle of the night from a little girl saying, “Help me.” She puts the two and two together and she realizes, or she thinks, that maybe this girl is from one of the families that she provides support for. So what ends up happening is, she finally decides, “Okay, I have to go into the jungle and see what’s going on.”

Shock: Does it get into more horror or supernatural type stuff or is it more of a thriller?

Slash: No, no, no. It’s definitely what’s awaiting in the jungle when she gets there is where the horror is, but everything behind the little girl’s disappearance from the beginning… It starts off in New York, and one of the things I love about the story is it’s a young progressive couple in New York. It’s very normal. Then it shifts over into something very abnormal. But it’s got a monster in it and I won’t say much more about that. That was one of the main attractions, because I love thrillers. Thrillers are great, but I need something completely whacked out that’s not just a psycho with a knife, you know?

Shock: I know you’re a horror fan, so what are some horror mainstays that top your list?

Slash: I’m a big fan of the creature features, which obviously are few and far between these days, but as a kid coming up, I was really weaned on Hammer movies, because I was born in England. I lived in England for my first six years, and that’s where I first got into horror. Vincent Price and Peter Lorre and Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. Those were like the main guys. They all were really strong characters, no matter what parts they were playing. So that turned me on, but what else turned me on was Frankenstein and The Hunchback and King Kong and all the really memorable — Creature of the Black Lagoon. Like real monsters. Godzilla all that kind of stuff. So, I’ve always been attracted, but I’ve gotten very much into sort of supernatural as a kid, too. So like when I first saw The Omen, for me, that’s still one of my favorite all-time horror movies.

Shock: That’s my favorite. Not sure if you’ve been walking around here but there’s going to be a new Damien TV show next year.

Slash: I’ve heard about this. I’m always a little, you know, apprehensive about any kind of sort of remakes of classics, but we’ll see what happens. I’ve always been into really great, I guess what you consider antagonist, like really memorable villains, antiheroes that have something about them that makes them super-unique and super not-of-this-world, or at least not of your every-day sort of walk of life kind of thing. And monsters are great.

Shock: What was the last recent horror movie that you saw and liked?

Slash: Actually, there’s a new movie called The Witch coming out. I was at Sundance when it played, and it was the only one that I didn’t know about, so I found out about it the day after. I had them get me a sneak copy of it and I saw it. That was really, really good.

Shock: When I first was reading about the movie I wasn’t sure how scary it would be but man, it’s very disturbing.

Slash: Yeah, they did a really good job with it, you know, and no budget. At the same Sundance, I saw this movie called The Hallow, which I thought was really good.

Shock: I missed that one.

Slash: That’s a really good one. Corin, I’ve gotten to be friends with him since then, and that was really, really good. Now, there’s been some big sort of studio releases that have come out, with the exception of — oh, what’s that? What’s the fucking movie called? The Conjuring, which I actually did like. I don’t know. A lot of people have sort of mixed feelings about it. I thought it was well done.

Shock: You mentioned the Hammer stuff and they had some great actors, and that’s one of the things that I’m really impressed with, that there are a lot of great actors who get into horror, Insidious, with Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne for instance.

Slash: A good actor, I’m serious, as somebody who can really deliver the dynamics of a character in a horror movie, whatever that may be, makes a horror movie that so much better, you know?

Shock: Do you know who’s going to be in this movie?

Slash: We’re in the casting stage right now. There’s nobody that I’m going to say at this point. I just have the list of stuff that the director and I have been going over. It looks like these people are available, so as soon as I put pencil to paper or pen to paper on that, then I’ll start to announce it.

Shock: What’s the time frame for the movie?

Slash: We’re supposed to shoot in January, and so far, so good.

Shock: So that’s about six months away. Is it hard to produce a movie while you’re touring and keep on top of what needs to be done?

Slash: Well, let me tell you, my first movie experience was harrowing enough. For me to be sitting here promoting another one, you’d probably think I was crazy. I loved the process, but it hurt a lot making that movie, because so many things went wrong and there were so many things I didn’t know about, being the new guy, that I didn’t approach the way that I would normally approach. Just because being the first time at it — you know what I mean?

Sometimes you sort of keep your mouth shut and watch what other people do, which I never do. But one of the issues, when we were dealing with the financing with that movie was very problematic, and it kept pushing the production date back. I’d set aside a window before the tour started, to be able to do the whole production and post-production and be able to go to work. It ended up overlapping with my touring schedule. So it’s really, really important to be there, obviously. That was one of the issues I had with Nothing Left to Fear, so this time around, I’m not touring after. The reason we’re doing it in January — we were going to do it in August but I start touring in September. If anything happens, I don’t want that to happen again, so I’m off the road in December.

Shock: Do you see a lot of analogies between the music business and doing movies? I come from a music background myself.

Slash: Oh, there’s tons. Well, especially in horror, yeah. I mean, because rock and roll and horror just seem to be sort of synonymous. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that neither one are what you would consider — they don’t have mainstream origins. They’re very much sort of people speaking artistically in a realm that commercial doesn’t really go to. Then, what happens is, something becomes so successful and crosses over that it opens the genre up to sort of a more wide demographic and more commercial sort of implementations, I guess you’d call it. I think rock and roll and horror are sort of like punk rock, you know? It’s just like people expressing themselves without worrying about what the status quo is going to think.

Shock: For some reason, I got the impression that breaking into movies and having success is easier in some ways, but maybe that’s because I mainly speak to people who have been able to get their movies out there.

Slash: Music probably seems easier to me now because I’ve been doing it for so long. The thing that always seems complicated to me about the movie business is having so many people involved. That makes it seem tougher to me, a lot more personalities to navigate and a lot more opinions and money.

Shock: Do you think this will inevitably be showing at one of the festivals?

Slash: We’re not planning that far ahead, I just want to get on location…

Shock: And start shooting, gotcha.

Slash: I will be involved with the score, too.

Shock: I hadn’t even thought of asking you about that, so thanks for answering.

Slash: Yeah, it’s one of the key things I was really proud of with Nothing Left to Fear, was the score, and that’s another key draw for me. I love a good visual with the right music, so to be involved with that, to really sort of focus on it.

Shock: When you were reading the script, did you start thinking of musical stuff already?

Slash: I start thinking, yeah, because you never know. You might get a melody idea, you hold onto that and as the movie starts, as you start seeing the movie roll out, where those ideas that you already had fit, besides the new ones that you might get inspired by the footage. So, sooner than later, get on that.

Stay tuned to Shock for more updates on The Hell Within in the coming months but you can find out more as well as check out all the cool rewards and become a backer at the official FanBacked site. You can also check out the sneak preview Slash mentioned below.

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