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GUT-PILE! Advanced word from writer/director JERRY O'SULLIVAN and producer/actor RON BONK! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Interview by Kathy Casey   
Aug 05, 2004 at 02:00 AM
GUT-PILE isn't your average horror movie -- how many do you know of revolve around hunter's? Well, in this story, a character by the name of Dan, so eager to land his first deer, accidentally shoots and kills a human being. Since no one is around to witness this horrible event, only an old, weather-worn scarecrow, Dan does what most of us would only consider -- he hides the body in a shallow grave. One year later, and he's back out at the hunting camp with his buddies, and it appears he's gotten away with it. But the spirit of the slain man has something else in mind.
I recently sat down with writer/director Jerry O'Sullivan and producer/actor Ron Bonk to discuss the movie.
Casey: Tell me about your first days of the production?
O'Sullivan: As GUT PILE was about to start, I made a very detailed, exact Shooting Schedule. Once shooting began, I did what every other person who has been in my position has done. Tore it up into as many small pieces as I could, threw it in the air and let the wind carry them across the countryside. As you try to create this little fantasy world. REAL life keeps pinching you in the ass! Locations, actor availability, the weather...you name it...we had it. Shooting finally began on October 6, 1996, (only one week late). GUT PILE is a deer hunting gone awry story which revolves around three hunting buddies. Dan ( Jeff Forsyth), Bob ( Ed Mastin), and Mike ( Ron Bonk-who also Produces).
Bonk: Well, initially, Jerry had everything scheduled down to a "T." We had the first two weekends at the cabin, shooting Friday night straight until Sunday evening. Nearly half the movie would have been done then. Then just days before we were set to go, a personal matter arose with the guy who owned the cabin, and we were suddenly delayed indefinitely. So Jerry switched things around quick, and we headed out into his backwoods to work on the exteriors. Unfortunately for all of us, winter kicked in extra early this year... Late October and early November were ironically the worst months... and we suffered constant delays. Mother nature just wasn't on our side this year! Surprisingly, December was a great month for weather! But we were working on a short film called LESS OF TWO EVILS for the LOOKING FOR RICHARD contest, since GUT-PILE was originally scheduled to be done by then, and that pretty much took up all our available schedules! But despite all those hassles, the movie is still nearly completed. Jerry said he's looking at maybe three more days of shooting exteriors and inserts, and we're all done. Well, as soon as the weather breaks!
CASEY: I hear you had a little trouble with the very first scene...
O'Sullivan: (laughs) Yes, you could say that. We started with the 'Outhouse scene' which was originally scheduled for the end of Oct. Nothing all that challenging. Bob goes to the outhouse, runs into some difficulty, and burns the thing down. No problem.....until we get to the shot where the three main characters stand in front of the "fully engulfed" outhouse. It is about this time that I become concerned with continuity. The cause of the fire, a lantern, is supposed to be visible on the floor of the burning outhouse. So we throw in an old lantern, of similar color we, of course, didn't want to really burn the good one! We tried to light the old one earlier but we're not able to...so what the heck? Mike is supposed to say, "Bob...is there a history of pyromania in you're family...or what?" Camera rolls...Mike turns..."Bob...is there a hist..KABOOOOM!!!! THE OUTHOUSE EXPLODES!! The three actors scattered so fast they went in four different directions! Now here we were with a collective living experience of well over 100 years and it never dawned on one of us that a lantern with fuel when introduced to intense flame...will EXPLODE! Luckily no one was injured so we are going to keep the shot in the finished product.
Bonk: Wait a second, I never knew that thing had kerosene in it! It was a freaking antique for God's sake! (Laughs) Jesus, I'm amazed we could have all been that stupid! I just remember seeing the explosion out of the corner of my eye, and then things were in slow motion. Jeff was out of there like a bolt of lightning. Ed went next, stumbling and falling through brush. And in my mind, I felt like I was still standing there for a few seconds, saying my line, feeling little pieces of shrapnel bouncing off my clothes, and thinking "Oh yeah, explosion. Must move!". So then I finally got out of there. But if you watch the tape, you see that I move instantaneously. But as I watched it unfold, it felt like minutes went pass. I never saw anyone move as fast as Jeff. Ed hit his hand on a tree limb,, He claims, jokingly, that I shoved him out of the way, worried about my own life and limb. I felt like Richard Dreyfuss from CLOSE ENCOUNTERS -- half my face sunburned!
Casey: So what have been your impression of the shoot so far -- especially for you Jerry, since this is your directorial debut?
O'Sullivan: The shoot, so far, has been a blast (no pun intended). Several people have been an invaluable help to me. Ron Bonk, (Producer, Actor, Technical advisor and # 1 crew dude), Jeff Forsyth, (Lead actor, Crew) Ed Mastin, ( Actor-not only on time-but early) John Pinkerton and Chris Alexander came in from Ohio to do the special make-up effects. You will also see their work in VICIOUS SWEET and STRAWBERRY ESTATES. Lloyd Lathrop, ( Associate Producer) provided us with the hunting camp which is actually located in Forrestport N.Y., on the outskirts of the Adirondack Mtns. Lloyd also worked some crew and is designing the box for GUT PILE, VISCIOUS SWEET and many others. Sasha Graham (ADDICTED TO MURDER/ VISCIOUS SWEET) returned to Syracuse for a small-but important role of a Sheriff's Deputy. She's a great person and did an excellent job! Jeff Meyer worked some crew and did some additional effects work in John P's absence.
Bonk: Each set seems to be more and more fun. It was great traveling up to the cabin, getting away from home for a couple days at a shot, enjoying the clean air, and playing practical jokes on each other. Funny thing was, I didn't really know Ed when we started shooting. I knew who he was... I remembered him from rehearsals in VSWEET, remember him appearing as the first zombie in the movie, but I had never really talked to him. But I could tell he has great comic abilities. He does a lot of stage work up here in Syracuse. Luckily Jerry was paying closer attention to the extra's then me, because he decided on Ed as the Bob character right away! Jeff is always fun to have around. A great spirit! Type of guy you can joke with and nothing bothers him. Ed put it best when he told Jeff that he had "great, untapped comic potential." Jeff has quickly shaped up to become one of our main actors -- something I didn't originally plan for him since he had such an extensive background in video production. Lloyd was someone else I knew of but hadn't really talked to. He had only been around sparingly on the VSWEET set, and usually we were shooting. But he brought his computer out to the cabin and I was watching him do some graphics work and I was instantly impressed. Now he's handling all our layout! And what can I say about Jerry. Well, whenever I talk to any one about him, I call him a "Young Sam Raimi." This guy has a great visual eye. He was very picky about his shots -- and it really paid off. He has an eye for the little details. He's got a great imagination. His work will wow a lot of people who will be like "Where did this guy suddenly come from?!" And the script is really a lot of fun. It reminds me of the horror movies we used to get back in the early 80's.
Casey: So now where do things stand, production-wise?
O'Sullivan: GUT PILE is currently on hiatus till the snow melts. We will finish shooting in mid-March. I hope for a late April release. Our goal with VICIOUS SWEET, GUT PILE and STRAWBERRY ESTATES is a simple one. To leave you banging your fists on the coffee table repeatedly, screaming for MORE!.....MORE!.......MORE!
Bonk: Well, once we get GUT-PILE done, and it practically is, I've got to get the final cut of VSWEET done, with music, and then finish editing GUT-PILE, which I started a few weeks back. Things are looking good!

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