While not necessarily horror, the post-apocalyptic action flick Bounty Killer immediately piqued our interests due to its co-writer and director, up-and-coming filmmaker Henry Saine (The Last Lovecraft).
And because, quite frankly, it’s definitely one of the more ambitious independent films we’ve seen in 2013 and a whole lot of badass fun to boot.
Starring Matthew Marsden, Christian Pitre, Barak Hardley (another Last Lovecraft alumni), Eve, Kristanna Loken, Gary Busey, Abraham Benrubi, Beverly D’Angelo and Alexa Vega, Bounty Killer is centered around our future society, where 20 years prior major corporations took over the world’s governments, and because of their thirst for power and profits, society suffered a major downfall after the corporate wars, leaving the Council of Nine to establish a new law and order for this dark age.
To avenge the corporations’ reckless destruction, the Council issues death warrants for all white collar criminals, and those who do their bidding are known simply as the “Bounty Killers,” who compete for bounties in the name of fame, fortune and bragging rights. It’s up to these mercenaries – who vary from brute savages to trained assassins to the slick and sexy “Mary Death” – to rid the new world of the greedy CEO’s who caused the reckless destruction of the world we live in.
Dread Central recently chatted with Saine about his latest indie project and heard more about what inspired the Bounty Killer story, the challenges he faced while shooting the project and creating such a compelling mythology, future story ideas, and much more. Read on for the highlights from our chat with Saine, and look for Bounty Killer during its limited theatrical run which starts tomorrow.
Dread Central: Great to speak with you again, Henry; been a few years since The Last Lovecraft and congrats on this latest one too- it was a lot of fun.
Henry Saine: You too and thanks; all the reviews have been pretty kind so far and I keep hearing “fun,” which was our goal ultimately. This isn’t anything like The Last Lovecraft except for maybe the tone. That tone is all me and very much a part of my films, I think.
Dread Central: I’d definitely say both movies have that same energy but very, very different stories obviously. Can you talk about how you approached the story for Bounty Killer with your co-writers?
Henry Saine: The idea was actually something we had like six or so years ago, before Last Lovecraft, and that was right around the time of that whole Enron thing where you basically watched as these guys got away with everything and that made us realize- you know, if we let companies continue to be left to their own devices without any sort of ramifications, they realistically could end the world.
Then we saw the housing market crash and realized that wow- things really are getting screwed up by major corporations, and that inspired us even more so we started working on the project again. It’s weird how it evolved because in many ways, life was imitating art, but when it took us a few years to put the production together, we were worried that maybe we were too late to make Bounty Killer as socially relevant as we were thinking it would be.
Dread Central: I’d say it’s just as relevant as ever.
Henry Saine: Yeah, I’d agree with that too. We were lucky things are still horrible (laughs).
Dread Central: You’ve got a lot of ambitious elements going on in Bounty Killer; there’s the mythology, all these great characters, a ton of awesome kills and a lot of action and car chases- we’ll get to a lot of that later, but for now I wanted to hear more on how you developed the mythology. There were a lot of nuances to this world I really enjoyed.
Henry Saine: Oh, thanks! We actually went pretty deep with how much of this mythology and universe that we developed. That started with the cartoon we originally made, actually; we had done an animated short/cartoon that we used as a device to pitch our vision for the feature film version. Everything evolved from those original drawings; like when we were creating the “Yellow Ties,” that came mostly from the fact that when we were creating the drawings with these characters, we wanted something bold but subtle to stand out and the color yellow became a great way for us to do that visually. All the gypsy lore was born from their representation of death in this story too.
Dread Central: You lead characters – Drifter (Marsden) and Mary Death (Pitre) – also have a lot of backstory that you made work in a lot of really unique ways; is it easier to create morally ambiguous characters that have a real arc to them or is that a fun challenge for you as a storyteller?
Henry Saine: Totally; I love the idea that you’re following these two people who aren’t totally honest. I think that was fun thing for us to write and I think it’s a fun thing for the audience as well because they realize that there’s much more going on with these characters than they probably thought there would be at the start of the movie. Those kinds of characters, I think, are always the most fun to follow as a viewer.
Dread Central: Let’s talk about the car chase scenes and all the stunts because I’m still trying to figure out how you managed to pull all of that off and get all those great cars that you did for Bounty Killer.
Henry Saine: Yeah, we pretty much had to beg, borrow and steal from pretty much every friend we had to get this movie made and thankfully, it all worked out. I knew though that through this process, I never wanted to allow myself the opportunity to back down from Bounty Killer so just to keep myself ‘committed’ to the project, I actually bought the Airstream that we use in the movie. I figured once I owned that, there was no going back (laughs).
But we were incredibly lucky because everyone we approached for the cars were all so giving; I had a guy I barely knew ready to hand me the keys to his Mach 1 just because he knew I was making a movie and nothing more. I don’t think I actually knew his last name at first either (laughs). But we got almost all those cars for free – or close to free – and a lot of what we managed to pull off was also due to our stunt coordinator Randy Archer. We did a lot of pre-planning where I drew everything out with storyboards, and then Randy and I would figure out ways of pulling everything off while we were laying on the ground in the desert using toy cars to map out that day’s action. It was great and so much of that is due to Randy.
Dread Central: Have you thought about a sequel at all and where these characters would pick up if you guys get a chance to make another Bounty Killer?
Henry Saine: We’ve definitely thought about a sequel- I think we created enough of this world through the cartoon and all the planning where we could do 20 movies if we wanted to. We’ve written three seasons of the cartoon series and we have a ton more stories we’d like to tell. There’s definitely a lot more backstory I’d like to get into that we wrote into the cartoons on the next one, especially with Mary Death and how she became part of the Gypsy tribe and how her killer persona is a tribute to someone quite special from her past.
Directed by Henry Saine, Bounty Killer is available in limited theaters and on VOD September 6, 2013, with a Blu-ray/DVD release to follow on October 29, 2013. Arc Entertainment is handling distro.
It’s been 20 years since the corporations took over the world’s governments. Their thirst for power and profits led to the corporate wars, a fierce global battle that laid waste to society as we know it. Born from the ash, the Council of Nine rose as a new law and order for this dark age. To avenge the corporations’ reckless destruction, the Council issues death warrants for all white collar criminals. Their hunter – the BOUNTY KILLER. From amateur savage to graceful assassin, the Bounty Killers now compete for body count, fame, and a fat stack of cash. They’re ending the plague of corporate greed by exterminating the self-serving CEOs and providing the survivors of the apocalypse with retribution. These are the new heroes. This is the age of the BOUNTY KILLER.
Got news? Click here to submit it!
Fight to stay alive in the comments section below!