Mike Watt of Pittsburgh-based Happy Cloud Pictures gave Fango the scoop on a new movie that he and partner Amy Lynn Best are about to start shooting, titled ABATTOIR. Written and directed by Watt with Best starring, the movie is about a shaky truce between groups of vampires and Irish gangsters that gets bloodily shattered. The cast also includes Bill Homan, Stacy Bartlebaugh-Gmys (from Happy Cloud’s SEVERE INJURIES), Aaron Bernard, Sofia Smirnova, Steve Foland, Jeff Waltrowski, Alyssa Herron, Zoe Hunter, Rachelle Williams, Gwendolyn and CHAINSAW SALLY’s April Monique Burril, with a special appearance by Debbie Rochon. Don (THE DREAD) Bumgarner of Cleveland F/X will supply the special makeup.
ABATTOIR, according to Watt, is his stab at an explicitly commercial genre movie. “We were determined to sell out this year—meaning that we really wanted to see if we could make something that would actually sell. Our other projects, especially THE RESURRECTION GAME, have proven ridiculously hard sells because they’re so bizarre. GAME is ostensibly a zombie movie, but it’s also a satire and a hard-boiled mystery. Distributors hate being unable to categorize something at first sight. But ABATTOIR has no ambiguity—it’s about vampires.”
The movie will be lensed on 24p widescreen, and Watt adds, “We begin production on April 8, with a flashback we’ll be shooting in CHAINSAW SALLY-land, Baltimore, thanks to [SALLY’s] JimmyO Burril. Piranha Pictures’ Eric [SHOCKHEADED] Thornett is lending a hand for this sequence, with makeup by Michael Conlon. After that, we return to Pittsburgh and shoot the rest of the movie. If all goes well and we survive the eight-week schedule, I expect to have a finished film by August.”
Happy Cloud has already completed another 2006 project, a short called HIGH STAKES that will be part of an anthology called BRINKE’S TALES OF HORROR, hosted by B-movie fave Brinke Stevens. Despite the title, STAKES is not about vampires but instead centers on a poker game between old friends, during which dark secrets come out. Best, Homan, Nic Pesante and Charlie Fleming star. “We shot the bulk of it in about six hours, and we’re really proud of the way it came out,” Watt says. Indie filmmaker Scooter McCrae (SHATTER DEAD, SIXTEEN TONGUES) provided the score. The DVD will be the first in what is planned as a quarterly series.
Once ABATTOIR is completed, Watt has no plans to slow down. “I especially hope to start RAZOR DAYS this year,” Watt says of the survival-horror feature. “Of course, that one is completely non-commercial. But if we play our cards right and work ourselves to death, the end result will be a handful of really satisfying, terrific horror movies.”