Last week we spoke with Shane Beasley all about his role in the disturbing and shocking Headless. Beasley’s role as the masked killer first came about in Scott Schirmer’s horror film Found, when a boy discovers his brother is a serial killer, and witness’s similar atrocities in a film-in-the-film called Headless. His extreme character was then given a background story in Arthur Cullipher’s “lost slasher film from 1978” Headless, as he goes on a uncompromising spree of butchery, cannibalism and necrophilia spurred on by the influential and mysterious Skull Boy.
Also starring Kelsey Carlisle, Ellie Church, Dave Parker, Kaden Miller, Jennifer Lee, Haley Maddison, Matt Keeley, Emily Solf McGee and Jessica Shcroeder. Headless has just been released on DVD this month, and will be released on Blu-Ray in July.
SCREAM’s Zoe Rose Smith caught up with Beasley to find out how he transforms into the love-starved disguised murderer, the awkward moments that happen when pretending to make love to heads and how independent horrors are the future…
You first starred as the depraved killer in Found. When you filmed that did you know there was going to be a possibility of reprising the role for Headless?
I didn’t even know I was really going to be the killer in Found until later. I was part of special effects group with Arthur. It was like “Well, we need monsters for our movies within the movies” so Arthur chose to be the sea monster in deep dwellers because he wanted to wear a full rubber suit. He’s kind of weird like that. So, it was just left for me like “We’re going to have you be the killer.” and okay yeah, this will be great you know. Alex Cogan who played David, I think it was his first time seeing a horror movie like that. He has the same reaction that, like say, anybody else that watched horror for the first time, you know it was like “Can we watch it again? Can we watch it again!?”
Yeah we never really thought we were going to make Headless. We were going to be stuck with Found and we didn’t know if anybody was going to see Found. We got together with me, Arthur, Leya Taylor and Scott Schirmer and we were like “Okay, let’s put this movie together.” When we took it to film festivals people started liking it a lot and it kind of threw us aback because we weren’t used to having all this attention and everybody kept asking “When you gonna’ make Headless? When you gonna’ make headless?” and every time it was like “God, I hope we don’t!”
So, I’m guessing it was due to popular demand?
Yeah absolutely. That was thee number one question everybody kept asking. It was like, well if we make this it’s going to have to be gross, it’s going to be over the top, it’s going to be depraved, it’s going to be sexist, you know, and I don’t really think we have that in us.
Seeing as your character in Headless is quite a disturbed and sick man to say the least, how difficult was it to portray him?
*laughs* The plus of it was that I got to do it in Found. He has this weird warped view on what love was and it was more of a flirtatious thing that he was doing with the girls in the Headless clip. You’re actually going through the mind of the killer, so it was really nice to have the background that he’s sexual with it, he’s got this ripping emotional outcry and you know he’s trying to get out there, he’s trying to communicate but he doesn’t know how to stop basically. The whole violence towards women only, we were like well maybe it’s just mum and a big sister or something like that, that had tortured him throughout his life, so that got added in. When he looks over at Skull Boy and he starts hitting himself in the face and just trying to get rid of that character that keeps coming into his head. So there’s the constant struggle of being subservient to the Skull Boy or being an independent person, you know it’s that constant struggle that creates the madness, which is within. You know, we’re really big on justification. *chuckles* If it was senseless killing, people would be like “Yeah, they are senseless killings” but when you’ve seen what the killer is actually going through, you have that other point of view that you usually don’t get when you have a story like that.
It’s not just made to shock. It’s not just made to purely to have gruesome scenes. Did you get any inspirations for the character from anywhere?
I’m a big Freddy Krueger freak – I have a big collection of Nightmare of Elm Street memorabilia and stuff and Freddy was my guy. I used the idea that Robert Englund really is the only one that can play Freddy because of the stances and the way he moves and the way he turns his head a certain way. They say if you turn your head to the right a little bit it’s more submissive than if you turn your head to the left. So I would do that a lot too, I was like if my head was turned to right it was like “It’s okay, you can do stuff” but when I would turn it to the left it was like “Mhmm no.” I like to look at the character in the mask, and you know once you put it on, you become somebody else. So you stare a long time in the mirror and you’re like okay, who are you?
Did you have any awkward moments when filming the gruesome head scenes? They’re quite full on.
Some of them. The one that was the most awkward was the punk chick, the first real big sex scene in the movie. What we decided we wanted to do was try to film the insert, so me inserting a fake penis into the neck and trying to do a shot like that. So, there’s one shot where we tried it and the head goes into the oesophagus and then the whole thing just like pops out *laughs*. So that just changed the whole mood and then it was also the first time that Kelsey Carlisle was going to be on set and so her first time seeing me, I was in the mask, I am sitting there with a dildo in my pants and you know I’m holding this head a certain way, getting ready to insert and I look up and I’m like “Oh, hi Kelsey” and she has this look of “Oh my god!” She’s like what am I doing here *laughs*.
I think the other big one was, that they put on the gag reel or whatever, was we were doing the make out scenes with the faceless woman. It was weird because, the faceless woman, she couldn’t see stuff so I’m going around and we’re like fake sexing, and I like look up and I’m trying to be real serious, and I look up and one of our effects guys, Cole Nicosin, he was just looking at me with this huge smile, just nodding up and down like “Uhhuhuhuhu” and I was like “We gotta’ take a five minute break.” But then they would start singing the locomotion in the background while we’re like doing this grind thing; it was like “Everybody’s doing…” So it just made it feel awkwardly weird.
What was it like working with the rest of the crew?
The whole working with each other it’s really nice, we’re a big family, and we know what makes the other people mad and what doesn’t make the other people mad. We magically click very well. We all like to switch around the roles. Well Scott directed Found, so we were like let’s let Arthur direct Headless because that’s the kind of movie we’re looking for. Arthur’s a very cult style, very psychedelic. He’s very into psychedelia and mentally deranged movies.
So you did the special effects for the film, which were amazing by the way. How much time goes into creating them?
The thing that took us the longest time was basically casting for the heads. We shot every weekend, and we would spend the week before making all of the effects. So, it was like okay we have this kill, this kill, and this kill coming up Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so this week we need to make this head, this body part, this amount of blood and it worked out pretty well but it was pretty stressful.
Was it really fun creating the gory scenes for the film?
So much fun. Like the body pit was our big climatic event, it was a cattle trough, it was about 8 foot tall and we had two guys working on it for about a month and a half. Oddly we used a lot of saran wrap (cling film). We made about 20 to 30 skeletons out of PVC pipe, and we just covered them in saran wrap and used a heat gun to make them look like shrunken skin, and then you just spray paint them black, throw them on the pile, add saran wrap, melt it down, make it look like connected tissue. We were just throwing mud and blood and lube and everything slimy and nasty we could find and we actually made it look like it was underground.
So what do you prefer acting, special effects or directing?
I love filmmaking. I think just keeping it at the you know I’m not a special effects artist, I’m not an actor, I’m not a director, I’m not a producer, I’m a filmmaker. I’ll do whatever it takes, and we all do whatever it takes to make a good movie possible, and we use as little money as possible because we’re all so gun hoe and so in love with the genre, that you know we do it for really little money. It’s like if you do anything good, you don’t do anything for free, but why not? We don’t have the funds to make a million dollar movie, but have the creativity to make something good for say $8,000 or $12,000.
So independent horror films have kind of been revived lately, what are your thoughts on the growing popularity of indie films?
I’m in love with it. I’ve always said I used to be the kid that would try to find the things that nobody else had seen. Mainstream movies they’re just trying to make a dollar and so they stay as cookie cutter as possible, and it’s like what has worked before? So they’re like okay we’ll just do that again and change it a little bit. Like the remakes, I despise remakes. Being a special effects guy I really hate CGI too. Independent film there’s a need for creativity. We want to make a movie that seems like it has a big budget, but not have a very big budget, or something that has a story that’s compelling, you don’t care that it looks like it was shot on a VHS. A lot more independent people are doing that with no budget and they’re pushing the envelope and they’re doing stuff they’ve never seen before and they’re doing stuff that they don’t think anyone else has seen before and I think that’s what causes revolution and evolution.
What are a few of your favourite horror movies?
I love anything Wes Craven. Wes Craven, David Cronenberg – I love his squishy, fleshy things. He’ll have a movie, like Existenz was really nice because everybody was just okay with them sticking this tube up their back. I love things with story twists, I mean Eraserhead was awesome, David Lynch is cool. The Shining – I saw The Shining for the first time in a drive in theatre, and it was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen. I was raised on the drive in theatres and stuff like that, being outdoors and watching something that’s scary like that definitely helps the feel and the effect. I love emotionally stirring movies. The Notebook is a good one for me; I can’t help it, I cry every time.
And finally, can we expect to see you in anything else soon? I know you said you’re filming on Friday.
Yeah, we’re doing a little secret project. Leya and I will be directing and Arthur will be playing the lead bad guy this time around and Scott’s doing the producing again, but he’s also going to be second camera. And I will be playing one of the sidekick er, creatures, I’m going to say creatures. This is going to be the first time that a company wants a movie, “This is the movie we want, this is the kind of thing we want to happen to it” and we said okay. This is our first time actually getting commissioned for a film, so we’re not sure how much we’re actually allowed to talk about it.
Thank you for talking to us Shane. We really appreciate your time.
Thank YOU Zoe.
We’d like to thank Shane for talking to SCREAM and we’ll leave you with the trailers for Headless and Found.
Words: Zoe Rose Smith (@ZoeRoseSmitz)