An interview with the director of “HogMaul”

Posted: September 16, 2012 in Interviews, Movies
Tags: , , ,

There’s a certain type of horror movie – let’s call it the postmodern horror film – that transcends genre trappings to achieve something closer to art. Such movies use the conventions of horror films not for cheap thrills and scares, but rather as a metatextual exploration of subjects such as loss and existential despair.

Director and screenplay writer Nap Bishop has assured me that “HogMaul” will NOT be one of those movies. Thank freakin God. Those movies are boring.

“HogMaul,” currently filming in Central Pennsylvania, is a movie about a psychopathic pig man who smashes people’s heads in with a hammer. Why? Because that’s what psychopathic pig men do. Duh!

At the recent “Horrorfind” convention in Gettysburg, where I met Nap and some of the HogMaul crew, we got to talking about motivation. I said “What’s his motivation? He’s got a hammer and you’ve got a skull.” Nap told me that could well function as the film’s tagline.

I for one cannot wait to see this film when it comes out. And Nap graciously took some time out from his busy schedule to answer a few questions about it. So here goes:

What’s the name of the production company?
ILL- Conceived Films, headed by Brad and Jen Wanner, Katie Jones and myself.

What town/county are you based in?
We are spread out like a plague over Adams County, South Central Pennsylvania and parts of Maryland.

About how many people are involved in this project?
We are just around 30 total. The cast alone makes up about half of that number.

Where did you find all the talent? (Lighting, acting, etc?)
Well, some cast and crew I had in mind before we really got started and they made getting the ball rolling very easy. It seemed that each person who became attached to the project would bring in another to fill a role or do a job on set. It has become a bit of a community as we’ve grown together.

Can you give some estimate of what the total budget is?
Actually no, I can’t. A lot of people have contributed to the cause and I’m sure someone knows what we have spent, but it’s not me. I do know that without some very generous gestures from members of the cast and crew we would not be making very much progress.

How are you financing this?
Out of pocket for now. My pocket and the pockets of others. Jen Wanner is working on a Kickstart program, so I think that will be a source of funds as well. We take checks too!

Do you have a tentative completion date?
Principal photography wraps on November 21st with post production running through the new year. Then I sleep for a week.

Once the film is completed, where will people be able to see it?
We are showing this everywhere we can. Nikki Chamberlain and Cori Waybright handle the marketing, and I think we will be concentrating on colleges, indie theaters and even some drive-ins. If I see HogMaul on a drive-in screen it will be a dream come true. If not, come by my garage any Saturday night for a viewing!

How do you get a grassroots movie like this shown and distributed?
Hard work. Distribution is going to be an issue for any movie with a budget like ours. If we are creative we will get our film seen and made easily available to the horror crowd.

How long have you been at work on this?
I think about eight months from starting the screenplay to right now.

How did this project come together in the first place?
I was prompted by our producer to get all of my scattered notes together and make them coherent. I had written a few scenes and had a few key characters in place but up to that point, it was all post-it-notes and vague concepts. Once we had the screenplay it just became about the task of getting the players and the production team in place.

Can you tell me a little bit about the movie?
With pleasure. It is a monster movie first and foremost. Our creature, HogMaul, is a legendary homicidal pig man who may or may not exist, and he is believed to stalk the woods of Abrams County. His motivation and origin are a mystery, but he does seem to enjoy braining anyone he comes in contact with, using a maul, which is a long handled sledge hammer. Our aim is to get the audience laughing a bit so they can handle all the bloody bits!

Where did you get the idea for the story?
I really think it comes from my love of cryptids and monsters. I like the mythology of the creatures, ya know? Ask me if I believe that Bigfoot exists, and I have no idea how to answer, but ask me if I hope he exists, and the answer is hell yeah! So I wrote about a monster. The idea for HogMaul, the beast, was inspired by a ferocious mask made by Anders Eriksen of Nightmare Gloves. Once I saw that nasty thing, I had my cryptid.

I take it that the title “Hog Maul” is an inside joke for people familiar with Pennsylvania Dutch cooking? Can we infer that this movie will have a distinctly Central Pennsylvania flavor (so to speak)? Note: Hogmaul, or hogmaw, is a regional dish in Central Pennsylvania – an area known for regional dishes that would make a Scotsman gag. It consists of sausage and vegetables cooked in a pig’s stomach.
Haha! Great question and well phrased! The answer is absolutely. We all live here so the movie will reflect our surroundings. For any viewer who knows the area, the characters should seem pretty familiar. We did have a few people approach us at HorrorFind Weekend in Gettysburg and tell us that to them, HogMaul meant food. We were happy to let them know that we were in on the joke.

You could probably go on for pages about this, but briefly – what are some of the challenges of making a low-budget production like yours?
Briefly? We hate time…and money is an asshole too.

I’ve read about the making of “The Evil Dead,” and some of the resourceful tricks that Sam Raimi and his crew had to come up with to compensate for their low budget. Do you have any MacGyver moments you could share with me?
Our cinematographer Brad Wanner IS MacGyver. He pulls something surprising out of his hat at every turn.

While we’re on the subject, what are some of the films that have influenced and inspired you in this project?
There are plenty. My favorite movie is the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and as far as a film that made me want to make movies, that’s the one. I would also say that movies like Creature from Black Lake and Crater Lake Monster were direct influences on HogMaul. I am a very big fan of 70’s drive-in super crap. Also Godzilla, Blood Feast, The Host, Jaws…shall I stop?

Is this your first film?
Yes it is.

How would you sum up the overall experience of making a film like this? A blast? A headache?
It has been a blast! It’s the best hard work I’ve ever done. The people I’m working with on this movie inspire me every day and I cannot thank them, and all the people who have shown us support, enough. I really do love these folks.

See more about the movie here:

  1. I loved reading this interview! I personally know Nap and, I could tell these were his words. Great interview. Great questions. Great Movie. Great soundtrack. PERIOD!

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