Screech of the Decapitated – Review of a B Movie Cult Classic

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Once in a great while, filmmakers encourage each and every cast and crew member to provide input and to add their creativity and quirks to their film to make it a group effort. That was the case for the film SCREECH OF THE DECAPITATED and the result is a nonstop, zany, hilarious, B Movie filmed in a traditional Ed Wood style, “It’s so diabolic,” as the evil Nadir would say.

Producers Judy Kim and Diana Kyle made an entertaining film for B Movie fans that had audiences laughing out loud at every screening and emptying the table full of DVDs as they exited the theatre. Kim of Trigold Entertainment www.trigoldentertainment.com, served as an Assistant General Counsel at Warner Bros. for ten years, and was a VP at Paramount Pictures for six years.  In the last couple years, Kim has produced multiple films including WISHING FOR A DREAM, PATIENT, BUDDY HUTCHINS, ALTERED, and several more in development.

Diana Kyle was Kim’s assistant at Warner Bros. and “ruled the office with an iron fist,” according to Kim. Kyle currently is an Associate Producer and previously has worked at production companies as a Legal Assistant and was responsible for Development and Production of scripts.  Kyle also plays the role of a Biker Chick and a La Lucha wrestler in SCREECH OF THE DECAPITATED.
Producer tidbit: Kyle shared that prior to filming she did not meet most of the crew. On the first day of shooting, her and Kennon Raines, who played the other biker chick and La Lucha wrestler showed up in full biker gear and accessories including convincing bad ass temporary tattoos. Many crew members were convinced Kyle and Raines were actual biker chicks brought in for the role.  They were in disbelief when they found out that Kyle was one of the producers and neither of them were actual biker chicks.

Writer Craig Hamilton grew up in the film industry and enjoyed B Movies. His father Warren Hamilton, was an Academy Award winning sound editor, but worked on films like KISS OF THE TARANTULA.  Hamilton and Kim were close friends while working at Warner Bros. and that’s how Kyle met Hamilton.  He wrote a spec script for the film which Kim and Kyle optioned and shortly after they were hard at work creating a plan to make the film.

When Kim and Kyle were in the early stages of development, Entertainment Weekly published a list with the 50 best cult films. Kim told Kyle “Who cares about an Academy Award, this is the list we want to be on one day.”  They wanted to shoot the film on a low budget and figured what better way than to shoot a low budget film the same way as Ed Wood?  “We had a blast making SCREECH!” Kim shared.  “Like every low budget film, everyone just pitched in and helped.  Most of our crew appear somewhere in the film.” Kyle said the experience was amazing and, “It was a hoot and I’d love to do it all over again!”

http://www.screechthemovie.com/

LOGLINE: In this homage to the B-movie genre, two showgirls must save the world from outer space invaders, wrestling werewolves and … bad taste.

SYNOPSIS: WANDA (Shannon Noelle Garrigus) and RAQUEL (Brittany Petros), two beautiful showgirls on the run from an escapade involving missing diamonds and a dead body thrown off a cliff, cruise through the South American countryside seeking the “Buenos Aires Decapitator”, a fiendish maniac who is killing the voluptuous beauties of Buenos Aires in demonic, twisted ways (and in Alphabetical Order).  The showgirls manage to vanquish werewolves and vampires, but eventually find themselves in the evil clutches of NADIR (Ed Flanagan), a green-skinned dwarf from the Planet Argos, and his consort, QUEEN MACUZITA (Debbie Rochon).   Nadir forces the girls to kidnap GENERAL MACDUFFY (T.R. Devitt), who is later turned into a werewolf in one of Nadir’s nefarious experiments.  But the werewolves rebel, and in the chaos, the girls manage to escape from the exploding spaceship lab.

Wanda and Raquel return to Buenos Aires to report to their supervisor (and Wanda’s latest conquest), HENRI (Gilles Marini), an Inspector with Intelligence, and his partner, DODO (J.J. Williams).  Realizing that the girls are not yet safe, Henri puts them under the protection of STELLA (Monica Gonzales) and MARTA (Willam Belli), South America’s top ‘La Lucha’ wrestling team.

The night of Stella and Marta’s big match arrives. The showgirls discover that Nadir and Queen Macuzita are alive and looking for the stolen diamonds, which will power their intergalactic destructo ray.  Queen Macuzita is vanquished, and the heroic troupe returns to the countryside to find Nadir and the diamonds.  Wanda and Raquel destroy the evil space alien by humming a mysterious tune that harmonically ruptures his spaceship, splintering it and sending Nadir into oblivion.

The world free from tyranny once again, Wanda bids a fond adieu to Henri, then reveals to Raquel that she had the fabulous diamonds the entire time. The girls happily hop into their car and head off for their next adventure.

Wanda & Raquel and Sock Monkey

Once the cast and crew were on board, everyone was excited and anxious to start filming. “A key moment for me was when I was editing and my 10-year old son started chuckling,” Kim shares. “I thought he was laughing at me struggling so I asked him, “What are you laughing at?” and he replied simply, “It’s funny” at that moment, I knew we had something special.”

This Ed Wood homage was more Ed Wood than you would realize from watching the film, “Typical of Ed Wood Films, we lost our director three weeks before the shoot over creative difference, and we lost our DP to a bigger project about one week before the shoot,” tells Kim. “Mike Tarzian had been brought on as our UPM at that point.  We looked at him and said, “You get what we’re trying to do, why don’t you direct it?” and so he did!”

Making the film was fun and everyone chipped in and worked long hard hours. Not all was fun and games though, they had to overcome obstacles.  Especially Brittnany Petros who was a trooper as she fought a high fever while her and Shannon Noelle Garrigus wore bikinis in the freezing cold weather during filming.  Also, the first day on set, several had to scramble for coffee and food when catastrophically the caterer never showed up.  A lot filming occurred at Kim’s house and the crew and her kids became friends as Kim’s kids still talk about the crew.  The same supportive crew that cheered on and gave the dancers of the space alien dance a standing ovation.

A61W0095From start to finish, there are nonstop quirks and witty dialogue and the cast and crew each contributed to something whacky in the movie. “We had talked conceptually about having those kinds of “Ed Wood moments,” but they just happened organically,” tells Kim.  “They were not scripted and we had cleaner takes, but we purposely chose those shots in the edit because…well, they were Ed Wood moments!”   That also would include the stock footage for 1940s crowds and nuclear bomb explosions….long lasting explosions that completely wipe everything and everyone out, except for Wanda and Raquel standing only feet away.  Once again, intentionally Ed Wood moments well executed.

The actors especially Wanda and Raquel obviously studied Wood’s films as they were spot on playing up to his style as Kim tells, “Our actors were wonderful and they understood the Ed Wood concept and did their best to fulfill it. Some may not get the Ed Wood concept, but anyone that does will praise our actors for their excellence!”  Throughout the film they play off each other and their dialogue is incredibly witty and comical.  They’re not too shabby either at killing werewolves and fighting biker chicks.

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Also starring in the film is Gilles Marini who has been very successful on ABC these days. Marini who is fluent in French was asked by director Tarzian to use a bad French accent and nailed it.  www.gillesmarini.com

It’s only fitting that B-Movie Queen of all Queens Debbie Rochon stars in the film. Rochon has appeared in nearly 250 films and TV series.  www.debbierochon.com   She plays the role of Queen Maquzita and received Best Supporting Actress award at the B-Movie Fest. Kyle and Rochon worked together years ago in New York and remained friends over the years.   When Kyle approached Rochon about SCREECH, as a favor, she agreed to do the role at a greatly reduced fee.  Rochon thoroughly loved the script and said it was a “dream come true” to work with Kyle. “I was speechless and thrilled, since I felt it was a dream come true to work with her,” shared Kyle. “Debbie is always traveling the world making iconic horror films.  We were very lucky to get her, and she has supported all my work since then. Debbie said she never laughed so hard on a set, as she did on SCREECH OF THE DECAPITATED, a great honor!”

nadir-and-queen

Another Wood style is a female playing a male role and vice versa. The Club L owner opened his doors for Kim and Kyle to film and they will be forever grateful to the owner Steve.  Producer tidbit: The original script had the sisters in the film as actual women, but the producers thought it would be perfect if those roles were casted with guys in drag and for them to play a serious role and save the day.  Monica Gonzalez (Stella) was a headliner at the Queen Mary Drag Show and they sought her out while she performed at the club.  Willam Belli (Marta) then walked into the audition and just killed it and the sisters’ roles were set.

Henri Dod Stella Marta

The props and settings throughout range from studio props to everyday home necessities, including toilet seats and an exercise bike wrapped up in foil. Credit goes to the fantastic production design team of Markus Wittman and Tyler Gallagher.  Kim and Kyle explained to them the general concept they wanted and that it must intentionally look low budget, but it must contain the cool and quirky effect.  With construction held on Kim’s back patio, the spaceship true B Movie low budget grit came out spectacular.  Producer tidbit: The spaceship was blown up with firecrackers courtesy of Simon Warren White the Associate Producer.  At one of the screenings, an aspiring 12 year old filmmaker asked if the spaceship was really blown up due to the limited budget.  The kid was reassured that there were doubles of the spaceship.

It doesn’t stop at the whacky settings and props. Enjoy plenty of wild sound effects, music, voices, blood flicked by a spoon, intentional yet discreet sound boom making it into the shot.  There’s so much to pay attention to and look for which makes the film highly re-watchable in order to catch everything.

Unfortunately, the film does come to an end, but the credits are worth watching. Kim and Kyle be sure to give everyone the collaborative credit they deserve as the first line says, “A Film by Judy Kim, Diana Kyle and the entire SCREECH Cast and Crew.”  A few other noteworthy comments in the credits include:
NO sock monkeys were hurt in the filming of the motion picture although at least one sock monkey was reportedly impounded and eventually released on its own recognizance.
AMAZO THE ROBOT has been sighted during the full moon roaming the countryside near Hartford, South Dakota

Piano Man

For reference and fun, Judy Kim and Diana Kyle provide fans with plenty of tidbits and moments to watch for. As a recommendation, grab a twelve pack of your favorite beer, cocktail, wine, or special concoction and have a sip (full drink) at each moment you spot.

* A bat on a string
* Marta (Willam Belli) checking whether Stella’s boobs are real.
* Spoons making it into shot while splashing blood onto character.
* Banana pudding (hint: it’s goo on a vampire transforming)
* Raquel adjusting shoulder strap when not necessary.
* Random flatulence (fart) sounds
* Drink when you see the sock monkey in each scene. Chug when you find the scene NOT with the sock monkey.
* Tag on the werewolf mask.
* Look very closely in the sky during the spaceship scene. Make friends drink if you find first.
* Address of L Club next to phone.
* What scene has producer Judy Kim in?
* Translate the note from the Aliens, it’s written in Japanese.

* Spot the differences in the following scenes:
Raquel’s shower scene
Pops (Harry Hart-Browne) with or without glasses?
Queen Macuzita’s nails
Raquel’s bloody or not bloody scene.

SCREECH OF THE DECAPITATED is available through Amazon Order Screech of the Decapitated

Lastly, below are some of the awards and recognitions and always remember Wanda and Raquel’s words to live by, “Hair ferocious, lips luscious.”

SCREECH OF THE DECAPITATED
AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

SEOUL INTERNATIONAL YOUTH FILM FESTIVAL
PROGRAMMER’S CHOICE – SOUTH KOREAN PREMIERE

SHOCKERFEST
HONORABLE MENTION
BEST SCIENCE FICTION FEATURE FILM

B-MOVIE FILM FESTIVAL
WINNER – BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
***DEBBIE ROCHON***
NOMINATED – BEST MAKEUP SPECIAL EFFECTS
*“BETTE” SUPAPORN THIENAPIRAK*