Those moonshine-making Appalachians have been getting a bad cinematic rap ever since John Boorman’s seminal 1972 flick Deliverance, and filmmaker Joaquin Montalvan is poised to add yet another entry in the sub-genre with his forthcoming feature Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher.
To be produced by Montalvan’s Sledgehammer Films and shot in and around Los Angeles and Pasadena, California, this spring over the course of thirty days, Montalvan describes Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher as a “retro grindhouse film,” which is set to star Stephen Feinberg as ‘The Storyteller,’ Chris Shumway as ‘Billy Wayne,’ Theresa Holly as ‘Rae Lynn’ and Paul E. Respass in the lead as one ‘Carl Henry Jessup,’ the titular Hillbilly Butcher. Of the script (according to the official synopsis), it takes place “in a lonely backwoods shack, where Carl Henry Jessup spends his time drinkin’ and thinkin’ bout dem good ole days. With only his half-sister Rae Lynn and his friend Billy Wayne to keep him company, he lives an isolated existence – that is, until folks start trespassin’ on his property, and Carl gets off his ass and becomes the Hillbilly Butcher.”
Co-writer and co-producer (with Eunice Font) Montalvan will also direct.
Chatting last week with the filmmaker, he stated of Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher, “The film is entirely self-financed so I can have total control and so there is no gun to my head with regard to time, though I anticipate having a completely finished film by June, so that I can start submitting it to festivals. And though I am going for a retro grindhouse 16mm look, the film will be shot digitally in HD.”
As for what inspired the project, Montalvan revealed, “I had just done a short film called Straight Razor (you can see that below), and I wanted to do another short similar where the title of the film is the name of a murder weapon. The next short was going to be called Butcher Knife. Around that time my actor friend Paul (Respass) showed up, and he had just had surgery and had been off work for a month so he had let his hair and beard grow, and he looked like a hillbilly. The idea for the short went out the window then and the idea to do a feature about a hillbilly who also happens to be a butcher was staring me right in the face. So I asked Paul if he was willing to stay looking that way for several months, and since he was cool with that, we were off to the races.”
Regarding the gore audiences can expect (which will be provided in-house by Pasadena’s Sledgehammer Films), the filmmaker stated, “There will be blood! For me, blood is never gratuitous. It is part of the atmosphere of the film. It’s like when you’re cooking a barbeque, you gotta’ add some sauce to the meat. The blood is the sauce for the film. If you wanna know the truth, in my humble opinion, a film without blood is like a marriage without sex.”
We’ll keep you updated on Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher. In the interim check out the project’s official poster below, and then visit the Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher Facebook page.
We also have some stills, a poster, and the trailer from Montalvan’s previous arthouse serial killer feature Hole, which premiered last year at the DGA and can be found on Facebook here.
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