Recently, I was lucky enough to get in contact with Matt Kennedy of Astron-6 fame. Those of you familiar with his work likely know his as the titular character from Manborg but his body of work goes beyond working in front of the camera. He holds director credit on Fathers Day (along with his comrades in film) and once again is behind the camera for Astron-6’s latest outing, the giallo The Editor. As anyone who follows Drunk in a Graveyard knows, almost all the writers here are ridiculously huge fans of the work Astron-6 does (and in some cases this fandom is how we came to know each other), so being able to interview Matt was a huge deal for us. Read on and check it out!
Scotty Floronic: Your past movies have played in the 70’s exploitation and 80’s direct-to VHS era’s predominately where as The Editor is a giallo, considered to be one of the “higher class” sub-genres of horror. Why do a giallo movie?
Matt Kennedy: It’s a good question. Why are we making a giallo? If you walk up to anyone on the street and ask them what their favourite Giallo movie is they’re not likely to know what you’re talking about. I would expect the answer to be “Strawberry” before “Suspiria” as the average person is going to think you’re asking about Jello.
It’s definitely not a genre with an incredibly wide appeal but the fact that Goblin is regularly touring the world playing their old Giallo scores shows us that there is still a strong fan base for this highly stylized sub-genre. Mostly we wanted to make a Giallo because we’re fans of the genre ourselves. The super saturated colours, the gothic landscapes, and just the bizarre world that those movies are set in really appealed to us.
SF: You worked with both Tristan Risk and Udo Kier on The Editor, both actors who haven’t been associated with Astron-6 previously. That must have felt like a major win to get someone with Kiers’ body of work associated with one of your productions. How did that come about?
MK: Working with Tristan and Udo was amazing. Both of them are incredibly easy to work with and brought a lot of enthusiasm and positive energy to an otherwise stressful working environment. We put Tristan through hell and she was still positive and ready to do another take. She had to hang from the ceiling in a harness for eight hours and still left set with a smile on her face, that’s a dedicated actress. Udo was hilarious and wanted to be on set. Even when he was wrapped and had a flight the next morning at 5AM, he stuck around because he loves being around the creative process. He was a charmer and I truly hope to work with him again in the future. I could do a whole interview talking about how great he is.
SF: I’ve seen it mentioned in a horror publication, Rue Morgue I believe, that after The Editor you guys are working on a John Carpenter-esque creature movie. Can you say anything about that or is it still too far in the future?
MK: That will be helmed by Steve Kostanski and Jer Gillespie. I don’t know much about it other than it’s still in the development stage. I would love to be involved with it in anyway, it sounds like it will be a great project when it inevitably moves forward to production.
SF: There seems to be quite a bit of instant-cult classic feel with the way people responded to Astron-6’s movies, in particular Fathers Day and Manborg. How do you guys feel about the legion of Fan-borgs that has seemingly sprung up overnight?
MK: I am very grateful to have fans. Without fans you can’t really know if what you’re doing is working at all. If there are people out there getting the Astron-6 ‘A’ tattooed on themselves, I guess we’re making some kind of mark (literally). I hope our fan base continues to grow so we can continue to make movies and maybe, just maybe, we will make money and making movies can be my full-time job!
SF: What’s your opinion on projects that have started springing up like Kung Fury that seem very much in line with the way you guys do things? Do you think you’ve set off a trend or a miniature renaissance of sorts for new school VHS-era style B-movies or is it just coincidence?
MK: Hard to say. There does seem to be some Manborg influence, in particular, in a lot of stuff coming out these days. That said, everyone in their mid twenties – mid thirties grew up in the world of VHS rentals and those are the people making new content. I would love to think our VHS throwback style had an influence on people but I’m sure it’s MOSTLY coincidence. I feel that just like the grindhouse throwback, the VHS throwback is soon going to feel pretty stale, at which point I guess we’ll be out of work before we were even IN work…
SF: And the million dollar question everyone wants the answer to: Biocop – will we ever see a feature length version?
MK: That is Steve Kostanski’s baby, so that is a question for him. I know if he gets a budget for it, he will happily make it but I don’t see him killing himself to make it for the Manborg or even Father’s Day budget. I hope it does get made and I hope he casts me.
Awesome interview. I can’t wait to see The Editor because I’m a massive Astron-6 fanboy. Giallo is the one horror subgenre I’m not too knowledgeable about, however. I’m working on changing that so I understand the references
Thanks for the kind words! Giallo is definitely one of the most entertaining, less played out sub-genres in horror. If you haven’t seen it yet, Bird with the Crystal Plumage is pretty top notch. Also, Pieces, but it’s more of a strange Italian take on the American slasher.
Bird is one I always see cropping up on lists. I’ll definitely check that out. As for Pieces I celebrate that movie so much. The random karate followed by ”bad chop suey” is one of the greatest moments in cinema history