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Ryan Cicak is Reverend Dellamorte in Badass Monster Killer.
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t’s a simple formula: blood, boobs and over-the-top, campy fun. It’s the method husband-and-wife team Darin Wood and Christy Savage have employed over the past 15 or so years in all areas of their production company Trash Film Orgy: The annual Sacramento Zombie Walk, the midnight movie film festivals and, of course, their original films Monster From Bikini Beach and Planet of the Vampire Women . The couple debuts its third feature, Badass Monster Killer, at the Esquire IMAX Theatre Thursday, December 3—and it doesn’t stray too far from the formula. This time, however, they’ve created something more along the lines of a ’70s blaxploitation-inspired supernatural monster movie. But don’t worry, there are still plenty of naked ladies, gore and tongue-in-cheek fun. “It’s set in the H.P. Lovecraft world with monsters from beyond space and time—and we throw Shaft in there,” says Savage, who served as
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the film’s producer and the director of photography. Shaft, the starring character of the detective films by the same name, isn’t technically in the film, but the lead character Jimmy Chevelle, played by local actor Jawara Duncan, is clearly a reference to the iconic movie character. The world Chevelle lives in, the fictitious, surreal town of Camaroville, is much different than the gritty streets of Harlem. In Badass Monster Killer, Chevelle, works for the top-secret government agency Department of Supernatural Security, and sports a take-no-guff badass attitude. He’s
also fighting a secret super-evil demonic cult with a ton of monsters at its disposal. Wood and Savage first introduced the town of Camaroville in 2005, with their six-part serial Curse of the Golden Skull, and then set 2008’s Monster From Bikini Beach there, too. In those films, perhaps not surprisingly, Camaroville looks an awful lot like Sacramento. Badass Monster Killer was mostly shot with a green screen and the filmmakers gave the town a more mind-bending aesthetic with a combination of dark and neon colors, and buildings that bend in unnatural ways. The approach, Savage says, helped them to do more with less. “It looks like … a Roger Rabbit kind of world. We just embraced the nonreality. It’s so crazy and oddball,” says Wood, who wrote and directed the film. “I don’t have the skill to make realistic CGI buildings in any
Actor Jawara Duncan as Jimmy Chevelle in a scene from the movie.
kind of way, but it doesn’t have to be that. They can be stylized and cartoonish.” The entire film, save two scenes, was filmed in front of a large green screen, and every scene was shot in a local warehouse. It’s precisely because of this technical choice that they were able to make Badass Monster Killer at all, given their modest budget.