Horror often gets accused of using gross out tactics and forgetting about plot. While there are exceptions, this isn’t really the norm. However, a good story can be derailed by an overabundance of gore.
Recently, I ran across the film Septic Man. While oozing with gore and (yup) feces, it’s a damn good film (You can read my full review HERE.). Septic Man is directed by Jesse Thomas Cook, and he recently took the time to answer my questions about the film (that is out in theaters and VOD today-August 15). It is worth a look, but be warned: If you can’t get through the first scene, it does not get much better.
Jesse Thomas Cook burst on the scene with Scarce in 2008, and directed the film Monster Brawl in 2011. Monster Brawl was a fun film as it pitted eight classic movie monsters against each other. The film caught many people’s attention because of the great practical effects in it. Septic Man premiered at the 2013 Fantastic Fest, and it netted its star a best actor award.
Scaretissue is proud to welcome Jesse Thomas Cook.
SCARETISSUE: Many people may not see past the opening scene of Septic Man. How would you describe the film to let them know this is not just a gross out film?
JESSE: Septic Man is the heart-warming story of a law-abiding sewage expert who must endure a nightmarish ordeal in order to find transcendence through extreme degradation. It’s also a riff on the old allegory of a boy trapped at the bottom of a water well. It’s at times a chamber pot play, and also a superhero origins tale. There’s something in there for the whole family.
ST: How much did you know about plumbing prior to making Septic Man? How much did you find out while making the film?
JESSE: I didn’t know jack shit about plumbing. Other than buying used toilets on Craigslist, and bartering with the local scrapyard for sewer pipes. We ended up filming in just about every interesting looking sewer or culvert we could find around our town. Sneaking into construction sites and filming in their pipes. Shooting under bridges, and under abandoned industrial buildings. We eventually filmed in the actual water treatment facility in our hometown. All of these locations were combined on screen to form the main villain lair in the film. We also constructed a septic tank main set. Back to your point about the plumbing knowledge, our set exploded with water the day before we wrapped and was nearly destroyed. So the answer is yes, we know nothing of plumbing.
ST: The special effects in the film were unbelievable (as was Jason’s performance). Did you get the feeling that something special was taking place while filming?
JESSE: It was a cathartic experience, as pinching a loaf can often be. During the commotion of a 16 day straight indie film shoot your main goal is to just get it done. I’m not sure if we knew it was special or not. There was definitely a feeling that we were engaging in a foul and disgusting act of debasement. And in the crammed and cold conditions of our septic tank set, a brotherhood developed in the communal suffering. Endless cold and wet nights wearing hip-waders trapped inside a watery tomb that was coated in three layers of industrial asphalt sealant. We were in our own world.
ST: How would Septic Man stand up to the Toxic Avenger if they crossed paths?
JESSE: I think they would glare at each other in a showdown in the sewers, before ultimately joining forces to defeat those tree-hugging Sun Tots.
ST: What can we look forward to from you in the future?
JESSE: At the moment we are wrapping up an autobiographical curse warfare metafilm depicting Tony Burgess’ effort to make Pontypool V in Asia and his disappearance ever since.