Now before I start my review of Bloody Bloody Bible Camp I want to get on my little gore stained soap box for a minute. You see the thing is I am sick and tired of reading on other horror related sites is people analysing horror films as if they are examining Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Or indeed referencing this film, and others like it ,Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist, The Omen, as examples representing the central point of the ‘horror genre’. Now I agree those films are brilliant, spectacular, fine examples of cinema, however for me they are not the heart and soul of the horror genre. Kubrick was a fantastic director, but not a horror director, nor is Roman Polanski, or William Friedkin, they are just craftsmen in the field of cinema, not horror directors. I grew up in the 80’s and my staples, and the films I cut my horror teeth on were 80’s slashers, low-budget affairs, drive-in trash, video nasties, and European horror. The horror of then was always fun and entertaining, with titles like Ghoulies, Killer Klowns from Outer Space, Chopping Mall, Street Trash, and Rawhead Rex to name just a few. The likes of Charles Band and Troma were coming into their own, Italian Gore was doing the rounds, Peter Jackson and Sam Raimi were cutting their directing teeth in madcap offerings such as Bad Taste and Evil Dead, cheesy slashers with their bad taste, gratuitous gore and nudity were in their heyday and as the banning of ‘video nasties’ in the UK reached its peak controversial titles like I Spit on Your Grave and Cannibal Holocaust were on every self-respecting horrorhounds viewing schedule. This for me represents the true heart of the horror genre, this lack of regard for mainstream rules, the flamboyant nature of those aforementioned movies, low budgets and even lower morality values but a distinct enthusiasm to terrorise, disgust and amuse. Thus brings us to todays offering Bloody Bloody Bible Camp and why I enjoyed it, and why I felt compelled to track down the director Vito Trabucco for an interview. BBBC pays homage to this no holes barred era of filmmaking and very successfully recreated, for me at least, that feeling I am always looking for in a horror title namely to be grossed out, thrilled and entertained.
One thing BBBC offers is a whole lot of fun, the title in itself tells you all you need to know about what sort of film to expect, its gross, outrageous, OTT, bad taste, stuffed full of weiner jokes and pokes fun at organised religion, it has porn legend RON JEREMY cast as Jesus for crying out loud, not to mention ‘the hardest working man in horror’ Reggie Bannister as a pervy priest, and Tim Sullivan as a transvestite nun, and that’s not even mentioning some spectacular kills and gore. Even before I saw this film I knew I was going to love it.
BBBC starts off in the year 1977 where a series of gruesome killings at the hands of Sister Mary Chopper at the Happy Day Bible Camp, leaves only one survivor. When 7 years later another bunch of bible bashing dweebs, lead by Father Cummings (Bannister), return for some god loving in the sun they ignore warnings by the locals and roll up to the camp, now dubbed Bloody Bloody Bible camp. As all good slashers go the killer returns and it does not take long before Sister Mary Chopper starts wielding her trusty axe again and the blood begins to flow.
Set in the late 70’s and early 80’s BBBC plays a perfect tribute to those classic slashers, but it also parodies this genre perfectly with comedy values set on overdrive. So what we have is a gore splattered exercise of blasphemous filth which packs gross out laughs to the hilt. While tramping over old ground, a lot of the well-known genre tropes are there, it does so with a distinct love, and also an innovative modern spin. So while you pretty much know which direction the movie is going to take it still provides enough of a new angle to add a few surprises into the mix. I won’t spoil the kills but will just mention my personal favourite involved a bit of backdoor burglary with a decapitated corpse.
You would think by setting a slasher in a clean living goodie two shoes bible camp there would be little immoral behaviour for the killer to collect enough of a body count. However the cast of characters involved are less than whiter than white, we have Father Cummings brilliantly played by Reggie Bannister, who not only has an interest in young people which goes far beyond the limits of acceptability, but also indulges in some sneaky night-time pot smoking, there is the shiny toothed camp leader Brother Zeke (Jay Fields), who is more interested in leering over sunbathing girls, surly goth Jennifer (Deborah Venegas) who has been sent to the camp under duress, asshole Tad (Matthew Aiden), who just wants to party and get it on, Brittany (Jessica Sonneborn) young, dumb and stuck up her own backside, Vance (Troy Guthrie) who spends most of his time photographing Brittany as she sunbathes, and camp counsellor Millie (Ivet Corvea) who has obvious lesbian yearnings toward Jennifer. Then there is Timmy (Christopher Raff) perhaps the most innocent of all of them, who bounds around like an overgrown kid who has consumed too many E numbers, but is not immune to a bit of naughtiness as he manages to get his rocks off in a particularly hilarious unintentional masturbation scene. We have the local hillbilly shop keeper JJ (David C Hayes) who tries to warn the campers away like in all good slashers, his brother Dwayne (Jeff Dylan Graham) the sole survivor from the first massacre who is particularly gross as he sits drooling in a chair, and their associate Skunk (Chris Staviski) who when teamed up with JJ brings a distinct element of Beavis and Butthead to the proceedings. On team evil Gigi Bannister makes an appearance as the eye patched sadistic nun Mother Mary and Tim Sullivan goes into camp overdrive as Sister Mary Chopper bouncing around set and making some fantastically outrageous kills. To top this off Ron Jeremy makes a bizarre entrance as Jesus. And yes it is as nuts as it sounds.
Eager to know more about the film I managed to track down the co writer/ director Vito Trabucco and ask him about his experience of making BBBC, about the audience reactions, and his upcoming projects. Read our interview below, and we would like to give a massive thanks to Vito for taking the time out to talk to us at our Gore Splattered Corner…
Firstly Ron Jeremy as Jesus, (inspired totally inspired!), how easy was it to get him on board? Was the role specifically written for him? and what was it like to work with such a porn legend?
Vito: Shelby (my co-writer) knew Ron so we were able to get him pretty easily. The role was actually written for Paul Reubens, but his Pee-Wee Herman stageshow blew up that summer and it was pretty much impossible to get him at that point. So I went to Shelby and told him to ask Ron. It couldn’t have worked out better though. He was the best. Now I think of Ron any time someone talks about Jesus.
There is an obvious 80’s air to BBBC, and in previous interviews you have cited Friday the 13th as an influence, what are your top 5 retro slashers?
Vito: Tough one. Besides Friday the 13th, I would have to say The Burning, Original Halloween, Original My Bloody Valentine, Sleepaway Camp and my favourite is Pieces. I may be the only person whose favourite is Pieces.
Where did the idea for the script come from?
Vito: Shelby and me both wanted to do something goofy with religion. At first it was going to be children at a Sunday School. Then he came up with the title for BBBC and we went from there. We finished the first draft in just a few weeks. When I moved to Hollywood I did a couple of rewrites to it, but most of it is from the original draft.
How have the audience reactions to BBBC been?
Vito: It’s a love it or hate it kind of movie. However I usually meet most of the hate its.
Any Westboro Baptists popped down to any screenings?
Vito: I wish! We could have used the free publicity.
How were you able to achieve such effective gore effects with a limited budget?
Vito: Marcus Koch is really good. He’s a great guy to improvise with. Some of the killings were written pretty vague. A lot of that we came up with on the spot. Plus when you don’t have a lot of money, you just make everything as bloody as hell. That’s always the cheap way to go.
I read you shot the whole thing in 10 days, is there anything you feel you had to compromise on working within such a tight schedule?
Vito: Shooting in 10 days, the whole movie is going to be compromised. But that’s low budget filmmaking. You have to get it done no matter what.
Any plans to bring the film to International audiences? (we are a UK based site).
Vito: We just sold the UK! (They’re calling it SIN there), not sure on the exact release date though. I believe there’s some more countries we will be announcing soon as well.
How did you get involved with Reggie and Gigi Bannister, and what was it like working with Reggie who has such a long resume in horror?
Vito: Shelby and Marcus were doing the FX on a film that Reggie was starring in. Shelby hit it off with them, and introduced me a few months later. It sort of just blossomed from there. Reggie is a fun guy to work with. Quite an honour and I must say he’s pretty bad ass on the guitar.
Overall how would you sum up the entire experience?
Vito: Well let’s see how much money we make back before I answer that question 😉 But besides the obvious fun of making a movie called Bloody Bloody Bible Camp, I had a great experience with executive producer Christopher Maltauro. We made a few movies together since, plus the next one I’m doing. He’s a great producer.
I hear you are involved in a remake of Al Adamson’s Psycho a Go-Go, how far into production are you with that?
Vito: Pretty early stages of pre-production. We have a new movie coming out called Never Open the Door. Once that is 100% completed we’ll start on Psycho.
Are you able to give anything away about that? For instance will you be staying close to the original movie or is it going to be an entirely new take?
Vito: It’s definitely going to be a new take, but fans of the original will be able to see the homage to it.
So there you have it, and great news for all UK horror fans that BBBC will be heading toward our shores soon. If you want to know more about the film check out the official site here. So get some beers in and take a trip down to Bloody Bloody Bible Camp, where heaven is for everyone, apart from you!