Charles Band Brings his Evil Bong to Theaters

Charles Band is a film maker who has been working outside the mainstream for a number of years.  He was a driving force behind such films as Re-Animator, Puppet Master, Troll and Parasite.  Some of his cult masterpieces have been released in major markets while others have gone the direct to video route.  His latest is Evil Bong 3-D:  The Wrath of Bong.  The film features scratch and sniff cards ala the John Waters film Polyester,

 

The film is a crazed ride of a flick where an evil alien bong makes its way to the Earth with the goal of world domination.  The stoned heroes of the drama are sent to the bong alien planet where they are captured by beautiful nude aliens.  They rag-tag group has to escape and save the Earth.  Along for the ride are returning Evil Bong cast members John Patrick Jordan, Robin Sydney and Mitch Eakins. 

 

The film is on a series of one-night screenings events which mirror the old road show concept used decades ago.  Much like William Castle did, the film is going to be a multi-media production with interactive contests, Burlesque-style performances and special guest appearances. 

 

Conformed for the Dallas appearance is Charlie Stradling of The Doors and Puppet Master 2.  The event will happen on National Pot Day. April 20th.

 

Before a recent show, we had the chance to have an e-mail chat.  

 

What drew you to make this film?

 

This is the third film in the Evil Bong series, but the script was so funny and I thought, “You know, why don’t we tie it to some kind of event.”  I’m not sure National Pot Day was the greatest idea, but there’s a sizable percentage of the country that smokes weed, and then I thought “Let’s make this into something more than sending it straight to video.”

 

This film is a live experience. A lot of people don’t have the experience of seeing more of an event like this. A fun, interactive film. Today with the multiplexes, the biggest screens are usually 250 or 300 seats. So when you get 1,000 crazy people in the right mood in the theater, especially something like this–crazy escapism, 3-D, scratch and sniff, silliness, weed–it’s an experience. So, I’m excited for everything with this theatrical run.

 

How did you get the cast together?

 

So, the first one was with Tommy Chong, and the adventures here are relatively similar. This time, we wanted to focus on the central cast – the 4 boys. Well, the 3 boys return. And of course, we have a new Alistair. And the girls get to have their fun moments. We have all of the same cast returning and then some new people who are wonderful. Plus I’m very excited that Irwin Keyes is the first person you see on screen! We worked together years ago on Oblivion and he’s just always so memorable. Just wait until you see his tongue in this film! And in 3-D!

 

What was the hardest part of making the film?

 

Any time you shoot in 3D, you have to keep perspective in mind. You have to plan out the depth of each shot. Closer to the camera is still closer to the audience, but now the object or person is also bigger! Or smaller. It makes the staging and blocking of each shot that much more complex. And the trick is to get it smooth so the audience never notices those details. Plus it’s fun to poke stuff at the audience!

 

What do you think of the state of the modern horror film? 

 

My passion is for the classic films. The ones you remember. The one’s that inspired today’s films. I’ve never been a huge fan of gore. And that’s where modern horror is right now. It’s not my style. It’s not scary to me.

I’ve always been drawn to creepy little creatures that could be hiding around a corner at any second–the confusion and alarm and panic that a little dude creates by sneaking on you. There’s something about character design, something tangible and iconic that lives on in your memory, rather than just another knife and another spray of blood.

 

How close is the film from the one you imagined? 

 

This film is as straight forward as it gets. 3D. Sniff-o-Rama with scratch –N-sniff cards right in your hands. Hot Alien chicks. Killer talking bongs. I mean – it’s so simple and fun!

 

I was there in the last wave of 3D films. I made Parasite with Demi Moore and Metal Storm. Making a 3D movie, putting aside the technology, is no different from movies made in the '50s. Back then, they were more gimmicky with stuff poking out at you and we are absolutely on that track with Evil Bong 3-D. Forget about Avatar. This is not this “beautiful window of depth.” This is just fun stuff that will poke you in your face. This is back to the gimmicky roots of 3-D.

 

Do you have any desires to make a typical Hollywood film?  What kind of film would it be?

 

Mainstream, typical Hollywood films have never been my goal. I’ve made about 300 genre films that have this very real sense to them. I’m not a huge fan of CGI and all the modern techniques. I prefer to have everything in the camera. I want the actors to be able to touch their surroundings and touch the objects they interact with and touch the characters on the screen.

 

My favorite films are classics like The Omen and The Exorcist–films that relied on psychological intensity and a certain realness to them. Life is not a typical Hollywood film. It’s more gritty and real.

 

This film is being road showed.  How did you decide to do this old form of presentation?

 

Our direct-to-video business is pretty good, and we survived the difficult years, but I just wanted to do something theatrically. I released many films back in the '80s theatrically, back when it was much more independent. I thought, “You know, this picture just has all of the fun, so we will open it up with an abbreviated road show, and depending on the city maybe pull in some other films that I’ve made and some of the celebrities, but let’s see how an audience reacts with their glasses and their Sniff-o-Rama cards to just a fun interactive film,”

 

The buzz seems good. It’s very hard living for so many years in the direct-to-video, now direct-to-digital, world, to actually not even make a screener. There’s a promo of the first 22 minutes of the movie that we are just now sending out to the press, which is kind of fun, but I just didn’t want it to get out there [via bootleg]. Aside from the rip off factor, which is a bummer, I just didn’t want people to see it in a venue that it wasn’t intended for. I’m especially excited about Dallas on 4/20!

 

Do you think they will legalize pot and why?

 

Eventually, yes! There is such a large and wide demographic of people in this country that smoke pot regularly. And the vast majority have at least tried it once in their life. Already, California and a dozen states have legal dispensaries. It is one step at a time; slowly pushing forward. And really, it’s all silly. Just be done with it. It’s inevitable.

 

Since you have been a part of so many horror flicks, what advice would you give a young film-maker?

 

So many film-makers and enthusiasts and students have approached me over the years. There is so much to learn, so much experience to get under your belt. If you’re a producer or director and that’s your dream, the most important thing is to actually experience every aspect of film making. Don’t assume you can just get someone else to do the details for you. I grew up on film sets. My father was a producer and director and I spent my childhood right there on set, getting the real life, real world, hands on advantage. And that’s what I suggest young film makers do. Be on set. Make films. Learn every aspect.

 

I even made a whole DVD series called Cine-maker that summarizes everything in one spot. And there are tons of interviews with amazing friends of mine, like Lloyd Kaufman, John Carpenter, Stuart Gordon, plenty of horror names that young film makers know.

 

What plans do you have for the DVD and what kind of extras can the audience expect?

 

The DVD will come with 3D glasses and the scratch sniff card! Plus extras like promos that the fans made. And some very cool music from our nationwide unsigned band search. We’re also going to collect together all 3 films – Evil Bong, King Bong: Evil Bong 2, and Evil Bong 3D: The Wrath of Bong – all in one killer 3 disc box set. And eventually everything can be found at www.fullmoondirect.com!

 

The schedule for Evil Bong 3D: The Wrath of Bong is:

Chicago, IL – April 9th – Portage Theater
Tempe, AZ – April 16th – Madcap Theaters
Dallas, TX – April 20th – Inwood Theater
Atlanta, GA – April 22nd – Plaza Theater

Madison, WI – April 23rd – Orpheum Theater
Portland, OR – April 30th – Hollywood Theater
Metuchen, NJ – May 14th – Forum Arts Center

 

 

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