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Biff Juggernaut

Filmmakers - "LoveCracked!"
Interview by: 
Catwalk

After watching the trailer and checking out some information online, I was eager to check out Biff Juggernaut’s film, “LovecraCked! The Movie”.  The movie is an anthology of short H.P. Lovecraft adaptations, linked together by the bumbling adventures of an investigative journalist.

Elias from Biff Juggernaut was kind enough to take a few minutes to answer the questions I posed to him on behalf of our dedicated Horrorview readers.

HV: Welcome, Elias!

E: Thanks for having me!

First up, you play the journalist in the film, and that means both stardom and suffering for you.  Between the pratfalls, the cold, the water, the running and biking, etc, how fun was it to shoot the film and how long did it take to recover?

Stardom? Not quite yet I think. Suffering plenty, but then I never seem to be able to get around that. We did have a lot of fun shooting and we got a lot of good bloopers out of it ta boot. Come to think of it, the footage that made the cut turned out pretty well, too! Recovery some time’s feels like an ongoing process, but every film  makes you stronger right? At any rate, things have relaxed a bit more now and I’m busy promoting the flick (See it, buy it, love it! Now, I tell you!!!) and working to secure distribution for a major release as well.

The film pulls in a number of different filmmakers, both local and overseas.  What was the process for getting contributions from them?

Mainly just posting a call for films/filmmakers anywhere and everywhere, online and off.   

I accepted submissions for about 6 months and then spent the next 2-3 months after that narrowing down the selections until we had what we needed to put the anthology together.

I’ve watched and reviewed a number of Lovecraft adaptations, like Re-Animator and Dagon.  What inspired you to do a film based on Lovecraft, and more accurately, what inspired THIS sort of comedic effort?

I’ve been a fan of Lovecraft and his stories for many years. I’d wanted for a while to do a straight feature horror adaptation of his tale “The Thing on the Doorstep”, but production on that endeavor never came to be unfortunately. I still had the itch to do something Lovecraftian, though, and then it dawned on me that there was also some room for comedy as well as horror here. What seemed especially ripe for parody was the fact that though Lovecraft has had a huge influence on modern day horror films and literature, he’s virtually unknown by the average reader or viewer. Besides who could resist poking fun at someone who’s life and work are as dark and humorless as Lovecraft’s? Well, not me at any rate!

The sounds throughout the film keep it consistent while ramping it up at the same time.  How much of that is attributed to your partners, Chad Bernhard and Brian Bernhard?

Chad wrote and scored all the music for “LovecraCked!” the 30 min dock-spoof , which holds all the other shorts together between it’s segments. I give him a lot of credit for complimenting and strengthening the theme of the flick as a whole. Brian wrote and performed the title theme, which you hear in the opening and closing credits. He did a great job and created a surprisingly catchy song that’s gone over quite well with folks and helped a lot to emphasize the campy style I was going for with the film. He also contributed some great bass lines to the grungy rock ‘n roll track you hear in the background at the Troma offices.

There area a number of great performances and great visuals in the movie.  Any one in particular that really stands out to you?

We’ve received some great responses from viewers and critics alike so far, and I’m very grateful for that. We’ve also had our asses handed to us on many an occasion as well. I can’t play favorites. I think all of the films have their strengths. During the submission process I will say that “BugBoy”, “Remain” and “Alecto” definitely made strong impressions on me from the start.

Since there’s no commentary track on the disc, how bout a story from behind the scenes?

There’s a scene that takes place in a park in the midst of a snowstorm. Here the Journalist essentially interviews a rather indifferent Snowman who’s head eventually rolls off his shoulders in utter boredom. While it wasn’t the coldest day on record, it was still well below freezing, about 10 degrees Fahrenheit (give or take). It was a mini blizzard basically.

The first step was to build the Snowman himself. This turned out to be an exceedingly difficult task as the snow, though very plentiful, was rather dry and powdery. We tried over and over, but just couldn’t seem to get it to stick. Finally in desperation, with daylight fading, we managed to fashion a makeshift Snowman from boulder-like chunks of frozen snow and ice that had piled up around benches and corners in the days prior.

Next step was setting up the shot. No problem, except that as I was to be playing the Journalist on camera and Chad (my only other collaborator) was to be hiding behind the snowman ready to send his head rolling on queue - leaving nobody left to actually run the camera. No problem, right? I’ll just frame the shot with Chad as a stand in and just start it rolling myself. So I stripped off my jacket and gloves and rolled up my sleeves because of course part of the gag was that the journalist would appear as he normally did throughout the film, despite the freezing new environment that now surrounded him. My lips went numb almost immediately, so I could barely deliver the lines without constantly fumbling and slurring my speech. Then of course a sudden gust of wind blew the tripod completely over and into the snow - camera and all. Naturally I panicked, but as a forethought I had wrapped the camera in plastic and amazing it continued to function without any problem.

So we continued, determined to secure at least one good full take of the scene. Well, by now my fingers were becoming less and less coordinated as they swelled up and turned bright red. I could barely hit “record” on the camera, and to make matters worse, I couldn’t remember if my character (the Journalist) normally wore a wristwatch or not… Finally I decided that I had in fact worn the watch, but of course I had forgotten to bring this “crucial” accessory, so I mumbled numbly to Chad that I needed to borrow his rather similar timepiece as a substitute. I strapped it on and we kept rolling as the sky got darker and darker and I fast approached my secret goal of becoming a Human Popsicle.

Finally, we nailed it, Chad sent the Snowman’s head rolling on queue, and I pulled on my coat and gloves, packed up the camera, and we headed back. It took me quite a while to warm up, but I didn’t get frostbite fortunately. It turned out later that all the fuss over the wristwatch continuity issue was a mute point as my frozen brain had only imagined that I had ever wore it in the other scenes. Of course now we actually had a nice nifty new continuity error to show for it all - in that scene at least. Nobody’s every mentioned it, though. Somehow I’m not surprised.

This isn’t the first endeavor for you.  “The Voice Inside” picked up a number of awards including Most Offensive and Most Perverted.  It’s included on the DVD, as well as some other short films.  Want to talk about your short or some of the others in the special features?

Well, “The Voice Inside” always seems to get a good reaction out of the crowd and makes a strong impression even all these years later, so it seemed like a must to include on the DVD. I also included a couple music videos I did for Chad’s band THINGS OUTSIDE THE SKIN to give folks a little taste of some of our early collaborations.

The other shorts (“Masturbating Ghost” and “A Matter of Hair) were a couple that were initially submitted for potential inclusion in the anthology itself. Though, I wasn’t able to use them as part of the feature, I thought they would still make nice extras for this initial limited DVD release of the film.

As you know there’s even an Easter egg hidden in the special features somewhere, resurrected specially from the BiFF vault. I won’t say too much, but it’s a bit of silliness from way-back that should provide some entertainment.

What’s next for Biff Juggernaut?

Well, one of the segment directors from the “LovecraCked! The Movie” (Justin Powers) is planning a feature-length anthology of his own, and I have a short/segment I’m planning on contributing for that, which I’m in postproduction on now. As far as the next BiFF JUGGERNAUT production goes… there are a lot of scripts and ideas on the table, but right now I’m working on writing the screenplays for a 3 or 4 part series of psychological horror films, which I’d like to go into production on next. All of the films will follow the same storyline and characters. I can’t reveal much right now as they’re still a work in progress, but it’s going to be pretty uncomfortable subject matter that’ll hopefully hit close to home. As things develop, more news and info on this and other BiFF JUGGERNAUT productions can always be found at www.biffjuggernaut.com.

Thanks for the time!  Given the level of extremes hit by the film (and “The Voice Inside”), I can’t wait to follow the releases from this talented group.

Anytime! Thanks for the opportunity to flap my jaws a bit, Catwalk! I appreciate your kind words, and thanks to you and the other good folks of Horrorview for supporting indie horror cinema!

Interested readers can check out “LovecraCked! The Movie” here: http://www.biffjuggernaut.com/lovecrackedthemovie/