Ron DeCaro is a underground filmmaker that might not be very known to your normal film viewer, but with the film "The Gateway Meat" Ron has became one of the leading names in the modern underground extreme gore scene. He has his second length feature, "Yard Sale", coming, and we thought it was time we took a chat with him.
Within the past 4-5 years is when you got into making movies, what motivated you or what pushed you into the director’s chair?
I needed an outlet. For me art is something that I need to do. First it was music that I put a lot of passion and time into. I had one project in particular that I spent seven years of my life working on. It fell apart horrifically and left me seeking a new form of expression. I've always loved horror films and special effects, and on a whim in one day I shot the original 4 minute version of "Eating Razors". I knew nothing then but it made me want to learn. So I did.
Where did the idea for "Eating Razors" come from?
I read a book by Clive Barker called "The Damnation Game". There was a character that was an evil rotting man who would swallow nails and razors to try to feel. I thought, “Imagine swallowing a razor blade. The pain would be indescribable and you would likely die a slow and horrible death.” I thought that would probably sick people out.
When you were shooting the original, what was the hardest part?
The first few we didn't really take ourselves very seriously. We were just having some fun so nothing was really hard about it. "The White Lie" was when we really made an attempt at being serious.
Even though you were more serious about "The White Lie", did the previous shooting experience help make it any easier for you?
I learned a lot about what not to do. All experience is helpful and the one thing that I've found is that you need to surround yourself with people that want to be there and who want to learn and grow. We don't intend to go backwards.
At this point, was it just friends and family helping you out, or did you get in contact with people who wanted to make these kinds of movies?
When we started it was just friends. When we started working in the really nasty stuff we had to reach out mostly on the internet to try to find people who were down for doing nudity and the over-the-top stuff. We explain to people who think just because we are these dorky, friendly people, that we do horror comedy. We don't do comedy. We show them some of our work and some people run, others are captivated.
Speaking of sending people running, in "The White Lie", you feature one of the many horror taboos where you kill a child. Now you don't actually show it, but it's more than obvious what happens. Did that particular scene bother anybody during or after shooting?
I wanted to make sure that it bothered me because I'm a father. I think in film there should be no boundaries but it is my preference not to show child murder, but I'm game for making it part of the experience if you really want to affect your viewers. At the premiere there was silence followed by apprehensive golf claps and D. Whitney laughing demonically in the theater.
It was perfect.
That's funny to hear D. Whitney laughing in the theater, when in the behind the scenes footage of "The Gateway Meat" he seemed pretty apprehensive about sticking a severed finger in the hitch-hiker victim's nose.
Yeah, he is actually nothing at all like his character. He is a really chilled out and down to earth dude.
Good thing, if he was anything like his character in "The Gateway Meat"...Let's just say I wouldn't even want to live in the same state as him.
You said that you don't believe in boundaries, but at any point when you were making any of your movies did you think to yourself, "This is really messed up?" Or thought that maybe you shouldn't film it?
Yeah, you question yourself sometimes but I think you have to keep everything in perspective. If you make these kind of movie you can expect that people will at very least think you’re a weird guy but I'm okay with that.
Even if you did care, I guess by now it's too late to turn back.
Yeah but I got a lot of demons out of me by making them. I'm proud of my work because I make them first for myself. They are made from catharsis and by need to expel mental waste.
At some point do you think or hope that you will have purged yourself completely of these thoughts and demons that push you to make these movies?
Life is really good right now but it always will throw stuff at me that I can chop up into material. "Yard Sale" certainly will pull no punches.
Speaking of "Yard Sale", want to dish out some information on this latest project of yours?
It's about a couple, Sandra and Travis, and they have been through hell and are working on their relationship after the death of a child. They go for a Sunday drive and come across a yard sale where they encounter an old couple with a similar circumstance, but there is more than what appears at this yard sale.
In the teaser trailer for "Yard Sale" and some of the teaser pics you've released, it features one of the antagonists that will be in the movie, a man with wire wrapped around his head. What's the story on that guy?
Every horror movie needs a bad guy; Shorty will be one to remember. He will be played by Trevor Toscano.
I admit, I am on gullible side and thought you had actually wrapped wire around Trevor's head, but it was in fact more of your SPFX work. How did you come up with the idea of wire wrapped around his head and gator clips?
I saw a video on YouTube where a guy put a piece of fishing line in his mouth and wraps his head with it in a violent manor. It was pretty messed up. I knew I was going to use it as soon as I saw it. With blood of course.
In "The Gateway Meat", you did what most horror directors try to make, but usually end up failing, and that is creating a unique death sequence. You did that with the "Colombian Neck Tie"-scene. Can we expect any new or interesting death scenes in "Yard Sale"?
Oh yes. I'm not going to tell you specifics but they are bigger than "The Gateway Meat" by far.
What stage of production are you currently at with "Yard Sale"?
We are casting.
So, the fans still have a bit of waiting to do.
It will be a while but the ball is rolling. We work on it when we can because we all work full time and are spread really thin.
Unfortunately this seems to be the common burden independent filmmakers have to bare.
Speaking for myself I do it for the love of it. People have called me greedy for getting pissy on pirating my films but if I don't make my money back I can't make another movie. My wife wouldn’t let me.
I think that's understandable. I mean passion can only carry you so far when you're making a movie. It's not like people are out there waiting to hand out money to filmmakers, especially those that are making underground horror movies.
It is a ton of work to make a movie. I really don't think people know what it takes to do it.
With underground movies, they always have their small followings but never really receive much recognition. Even the most seasoned horror fans will brush over movies like "The Gateway Meat". So why do you choose to make these kind of movies, why not make something that would be easier to get distributed in a mainstream market?
Because I'm interested in creating a true feeling of horror in my viewers. I want them to feel my work and I make the movie I want to see.
Taking a few steps back, I meant to ask you, with "The Gateway Meat" it was intended only to be a short film and wrap up the "Brightside Trilogy". What caused you to go from doing a short film to a feature length?
My life was in turmoil at the time I needed to really channel a lot of anger into something at the time and "The Gateway Meat" was the vent.
So when you had finally finished "The Gateway Meat", was it like a huge weight had been lifted off your shoulders or was it just replaced with new weights?
No, I agreed with myself not to put so much pressure on myself. If I start something I'll see it through.
Your movies, more specifically "The Gateway Meat", are unique visually and musically. Both seem to have this surreal/experimental like quality to them, any particular reason or inspirations that lead you to deviate from doing the standard simple cinematography and sound?
I believe if you are going to do something you should do it right. We take our time working on the score and setting up shots. We didn't want anything to seem hokey.
As you mentioned earlier, previous experience always helps. So did your musical background help you to score your movies?
Absolutely, it was really helpful for learning to edit.
Well I think it shows, since one of things that I think most people over look is the score to their movies. A good score will always help a movie and the feeling it's trying to achieve. I don’t understand why some big budget and low budget movies seem to just slap on various songs from different bands.
Yeah, sometimes that works but not for what I want to do. Trevor Toscano also did much of the score along with Drew Snelson and Jeff French
Ah, I wasn't aware of the soon-to-be icon for "Yard Sale" worked on the music for "The Gateway Meat".
He was also the male Jehovah’s Witness.
So it's coming full circle for Trevor, by going from a victim in one movie to a killer in another. For some reason a lot of people enjoy being killed in horror movies, was this true for Trevor?
Yeah, he's a good man and a great talent.
Well in terms of great talent, what was it like having your daughter be apart of the movie?
It was fun for the most part but it was hard to get the shots I wanted. Her shoots were very fast.
Even though she has some scenes where it looks like she was apart of these rather graphic scenes involving blood, guts, and dead bodies, she wasn't ever actually around those parts of the movie; it was just edited to appear that way. Given that, did you get any backlash from anybody who thought you actually did put her in those environments?
There have been a few angry e-mails and what not but I actually find it amusing because I know I'm a good dad and that’s all I need to know.
A common question that is asked amongst horror fans, is how old do you think your daughter should be before you let her watch horror movies?
In this case perhaps never, haha.
Since you do the special effects on your own movies, do you think you'll ever do SPFX for other people’s movies or would you rather just work on your own projects?
Very little but I have helped a few friends with some things. I'd do effects for other people if it was worth my time.
Since we are on the subject of other people's work. I know you're friends with fellow underground filmmaker Fred Vogel ("August Underground", "Redsin Tower") and Brian Paulin ("Bone Sickness", "Fetus"). Will there be any future collaborations with either of them?
There is a possibility we may do something for ToeTag Pictures in the future "Murder Collection Volume 2". I would love to be killed off in one of Brian's films because his kills are so over-the-top and fun.
I agree with you on that and I know this sounds wrong, but hopefully it'll work out for you getting killed in one of Brian's movies. I'm sure he would come up with something extra special for you.
It's a lot of fun on set when the blood starts flying for sure.
So would that be your favorite part of making the movies, making the gore scenes?
I would have to enthusiastically say yes.
A question I meant to ask you earlier. Before you had made "Eating Razors" and became involved in making graphic horror movies. Had you seen any underground or extreme horror movies like the "Guinea Pig" movies, "Aftermath", "Nekromantik", etc?
No. I started to seek that stuff out right after "Eating Razors". I saw "August Underground’s Mordum" first and honestly it angered me. But then it gained my respect for being the most revolting illusion ever conceived.
Any other directors or movies that you have respect for or that have inspired you to create a movie that can generate that sort of response that "Mordum" did for you?
I really like Mel Gibson, Stanley Kubrik, John Carpenter, Clive Barker, Darren Aaronofsky, Wes Craven, and Roger Watkins. For me it's more than just the shocks, I want to also deliver a unique story line and offer something different.
Well, I think that just about covers all the questions I had for you, Ron. I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us. Care to add anything before the interview comes to a close?
I would like to thank you guys for spreading the word about For The Better of Mankind Productions and for all the latest information about our camp please check out www.FTBOMP.com.
For more info about Ron DeCaro and For The Better of Mankind Productions, go here.
You can find our review of "The Gateway Meat" here.