Interview: HELL TOWN writer/director Steve Balderson!

In Interviews, Movies by Beyond The Geek1 Comment

Yo yo yo!

Comedy and horror are like apple pie and ice cream for me, the two just taste so good together. Separately they’re great, but meshed together you get something special. Writer/Director Steve Balderson I believe would agree. Along with writing partner Elizabeth Spear, Balderson’s HellTown is tasty bite of soap opera melodrama and bloody slasher. Pieced together in a episodic format, with each entry introduced by sultry horror queen Debbie Rochon, HellTown follows a bunch of teens who hit every stereotypical note with gusto, as they are chased and slaughtered by the Letter Jacket Killer.

Despite it’s low budget, it’s a blast to watch, especially with friends. It’s got serious drinking game potential. Enough of me, just get it on VOD later this month.

Enjoy the interview!

Hey Steve! Thanks for doing this. Hell Town is a lot of fun to watch-how’d it get off the ground?

My pleasure! The seed for HELL TOWN was planted in Victoria, Texas, when Elizabeth Spear and I fell head over heels in bloody love with each other and for all things soap opera and horror related. She and I have such a similar creative wavelength, it was as if the script just wrote itself. It was a total joy living in the world of HELL TOWN. I wish it would go on for years and years!

Did you have a specific slasher film or soap that acted as inspiration?

Both Elizabeth and I had inspirations. For me it was a combination of SLEEPAWAY CAMP, TWIN PEAKS and DYNASTY or DALLAS. For Eliza it was PASSIONS and DAYS OF OUR LIVES with a little MISERY and HALLOWEEN.

Scream legend Debbie Rochon has blessed it–so cool–how’d that happen?

Debbie is just amazing. We’ve known of each other for two decades but didn’t actually get to meet in person until the Crimson Screen Horror Festival in Charleston, SC. Our booths were placed next to each other, and it was a total riot. We filmed her scenes for HELL TOWN on my birthday, which was the best present ever.

Pretty solid reviews so far–does it make it easier as a film maker to see those or don’t you pay attention?

Reviews are great to read – good or bad! For me it says a lot about what that person expected from my film. Sometimes reviews are not helpful but sometimes there can be a lot of valuable stuff in there to help for future marketing. For instance, if someone hates a film because it doesn’t “meet X” and didn’t have enough “Y” in it, that tells me that person got the idea there was a lot of Y and X in it. If that makes sense. Someone once criticized my film FIRECRACKER for not being funny enough, and thus, it was a bad film. Of course it wasn’t funny. It was a very dark gothic crime drama about rape, mutilation and murder. I admire critics who comment on what they see, what’s actually on screen, instead of what isn’t on screen.

What do you have up next ?

A film I directed called ELVIS LIVES! airs on Mark Cuban’s AXS TV next Tuesday, Aug 16 (9pm EST). EL GANZO is a mysterious drama set in Mexico that opens theatrically in LA on September 9. And I’m set to direct another feature this fall. We’re just starting the casting process for that film.

And give us the best reason why readers should not miss Hell Town?

HELL TOWN is a great and ridiculous ride full of people taking off their clothes, being murdered, and acting insanely idiotic. It’s the best and most fun 90-minutes you’ll have all week!

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