At FrightFest 2008, Zone Horror sponsored the premiere of one of the most talked about movies of the whole event, Bubba’s Chili Parlor. We caught up with the writer and director Joey Evans and asked him what it was like to get to realise a lifelong dream.
ZH: Bubba’s Chili Parlor is your first movie, what inspired you to just go out and make your own film?
JE: Well I really, really wanted to make a movie and it became apparent unless you’re a Spielberg or Tarantino nobody is going to help you. That became obvious, you’ve just got to go out and do it yourself. So I said to myself that I’d figure out a way. I took out a loan on my retirement, not a lot of money but it was enough and for 3 or 4 months we prepared, meticulously everything was planned, a shooting schedule that was 19 days rigid. We got it done.
ZH: Did the script come naturally and did you write it all yourself?
JE: Yeah I wrote it myself, funny thing about it is that it had its beginning 15 – 20 years ago, when England had the whole “Mad Cow” disease scare and you had to slaughter all those cows. I remember seeing this on the news in Texas as it scared the hell out of Texas, and I thought that’s a horror movie there if ever there was one. Three years ago when I started the script I kind of built around that.
ZH: Have you always been a big fan of horror movies?
JE: Oh yeah, I saw Friday the 13th at a drive-in theatre. Hotel Hell and Halloween, you name it.
ZH: Where did you film Bubba’s Chili Parlor?
JE: We filmed in East Texas, about 45 miles out of Dallas. I wanted a real run down, dirty look, weather beaten place and that’s what it looked like it, was perfect. We scouted before we did the script so we found the perfect place and wrote around it. That’s one of the ways in which you can save a lot of money.
ZH: During the shoot did you get part way and think that you wouldn’t be able to do this?
JE: We had a shot list of what we had to get through every day, we had at least two 17-hour days but we stuck it out and did it and got our shots every day.
ZH: How did you go about casting as your son and daughter both have cameos in the movie? Did you only use friends and family?
JE: No, the two female leads auditioned and some of the minor characters we auditioned, the guy who plays Bubba (S. Mike Davis) and when I started to write the script I wrote it with him specifically in mind. He’s a total county redneck Bubba, he didn’t really have to act he just had to be himself (laughs).
ZH: How gory is it?
JE: It’s got some good gore scenes, some of them or funny some serious. The scene with the girl who is crawling away from her boyfriend who has lost her legs actually doesn’t have legs in real life. She said she wanted to be in the film so I wrote that scene for her the next day.
ZH: Did most of the budget go on the special effects?
JE: Yeah, about 40% of it went on the effects.
ZH: Would you have been tempted to use CGI if you’d had more budget or do you prefer the old school of rubber and latex?
JE: No, I would have used CGI to touch up pieces. This is a dirty, grimy movie and CGI would have looked out of place.
ZH: You presented the prize to the winner of the Zone Horror CUT! Short Movie Competition, what would you say to people who have the ambition to make horror movies?
JE: The first thing is don’t wait for someone else, I mean nobody is going to help you, nobody is going to say, “Here’s $5 million, go and do that”, you know what I mean? If you’ve never made a movie you’re going to have to do it yourself. You can make a movie for 20 – 30,000, it can be done, you just got to figure out a way to do it.
ZH: your second movie is in post production now, when will it be finished?
JE: About 8 – 10 weeks.
ZH: So has Bubba opened doors for you?
JE: Yeah, I have people talking to me about my next project, in the meantime and I figured that would happen that’s why I shot my next film last summer. It’s a lot different to Bubba and scarier. Very scary and creepy.
ZH: Joey Evans, thank you very much.
JE: You’re welcome.