Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Digging Up the Dirt with KillDozer and Ken Arnold, Co-Writer and Co-Star of The Night Watchmen

One of the highlights of going to a good convention is the chance one is given to view screenings or sneak peaks of genre titles that may be overlooked or never theatrically released. Monsterpalooza, although an amazing convention, books very few of these screenings unfortunately, so you really have to plan accordingly, especially when a title promises to deliver "Clownpires" on screen (yes, clown vampires). This title was The Night Watchmen, a self aware wacky fun horror comedy that played extremely well to a full house of genre nerds. I was lucky enough to speak with one of the stars and writers of the film Ken Arnold, who gave me more insight as to how these "Clownpires" were brought to the screen.

KillDozer: How did you become involved with The Night Watchmen?

Ken Arnold: It was the original idea of myself and Dan DeLuca (co-writer/producer). I had a photography studio in an old creepy factory in Baltimore and I said to him one day, “Hey, let’s come up with an idea that takes place in a warehouse overnight where the heroes have to save the world. I suggested security guards. Dan told me to give him a few days and in a week we had a general outline of our idea of fighting vampires to save the city of Baltimore.

KillDozer: What pushed you to make the dream a reality and bring your ideas to the big screen?

Ken: In the market we live in (DC/Baltimore) the opportunities for acting are few and far between. So we had to create our own. We decided if we want to make it in the industry we have to create our own projects and productions. This was our way to establish ourselves in the industry.

KillDozer: Was playing the role of Ken the muscle bound security guard your choice?

Ken: Absolutely. We wanted to create a production starring us.

KillDozer: What preparation went into playing Ken if any?

Ken: I prepared by hitting the gym pretty hard for the four months leading into production. I worked with a trainer 3 days a week and was on a strict diet of mostly chicken and vegetables. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do as an actor, but I stayed with it, and you can see the results on the screen. I am usually in pretty good shape but I bulked up a bit for the role. I was in excellent shape. Wish the results and muscles would have stayed with me. LOL. But I like beer. A lot.

KillDozer: I obviously need to ask about the clowns or "clownpires" in the film. Where they written into the screenplay the same way that they were involved in the plot on screen? If not what changes were made and why?

Ken: The original script just had one clown, Blimpo. But after Mitch Altieri came on board we discussed some changes and decided to expand and make it an entire clown troupe. It worked out nicely. We started calling them Clownpires and the term stuck.

The beauty of filmmaking is that it is a collaboration. On this project we had a great team of folks coming in with different ideas to up the ante. The stakes. To make our bad guys more scary and gruesome. And funny. Every day folks were bringing ideas to the table that added to our production value. From stunts to set decoration, make up sfx, props, writing. It was amazing to be a part of all that creativity.

KillDozer: As one of the credited writers of the film I'm curious what came first the title or the idea?

Ken: At the same time. Once we started we came up with the title The Night Watchmen. We were a little concerned because of the film Night Watchmen but decided to go with it anyway.

KillDozer: In your opinion is The Night Watchmen a Horror comedy or a comedy horror?

Ken: I think it’s more comedy/horror. While there are scary/gross parts I think the comedy is what carries the film.

KillDozer: Which element was harder to act in or write, the comedic or horrific?

Ken: The comedy. The timing is so hard. The chemistry. It’s a very fine line and if it’s off it’s not funny at all.

KillDozer: There is some incredible on screen chemistry in this film. Had you worked with each other before?

Ken: Yes we have worked together on other projects. Smaller things. We’d never been in a big project like this where we were the stars. Kevin Jiggetts, Dan DeLuca, Dan Franko and myself have know each other for years and have been dreaming of working together at this level. We finally got to do it and we weren’t going to miss the opportunity to have as much fun as we could.

KillDozer: How much room was there for improvisation?

Ken: We had free reign on the improv. That’s why we brought Mitch on board. We talked about it prior to production. And since we were both writers, Dan and I, it was like we were writing on the fly. So much fun. There’s a ton of improv that was funny that we had to cut or select a different take. Our editor Brett Alexander had his work cut out for him and he did a nice job putting it all together.

KillDozer: I was lucky enough to see your film screened at Son Of Monsterpalooza and the audience loved it! Have you viewed this with an audience before?

Ken: I try to watch it every time with an audience to get a feel for how they are reacting to the film. Every audience is different. Some are loud and seem to really be into it. Other crowds have been really quiet even though after they talked about how funny it was.

KillDozer: What have some of your other screenings been like?

Ken: Some audiences have been phenomenal. Talking back at the screen, cheering us on. Screaming! Sometimes the laughter is so loud and long you miss the next joke. That why I always recommend to watch the film more than once because sometimes you miss things because you’re still in the moment or laughing at the moment just prior.

KillDozer: I loved that you had amazing shirts and posters to give out at the screening as well as a free cast signing. How important do you think it is to connect with the audience this way?

Ken: It’s the most important thing to connect with the fans of the film. They are the ones that are going to talk about it, see it again, buy it. Without the audience we have nothing. I want to personally shake everyone’s hand who came to see it whether they liked it or not and actually have done so at fests. I stood at the exit and thanked everyone who was there.

KillDozer: Why do you feel that more and more independent projects are promoting this way?

Ken: The model is changing. Self distribution and promotion are becoming more and more common. Although we have signed a distribution deal with Gravitas Ventures, I’m still going to promote to the fullest extent and what we can afford. It’s our film. We are on screen and we created it. If it does extremely well it’s a great thing for all involved. And I want everyone who had a hand in this to benefit from their hard work and use the film to help get them to the next level.

KillDozer: What was the shooting schedule for The Night Watchmen?

Ken: We shot for 31 days in one of the coldest winters in Maryland in recent memory. We had a huge snow storm the night before we shot the roof top scene. It made things pretty uncomfortable for the cast and crew. But we powered through and got it done. 

KillDozer: Do you think this is the beginning of a Clownpire universe?


KillDozer: Whats next for the watchmen?

Ken: TNW 2

KillDozer: Where can monster kids and horror nerds go to follow this film and see where it's playing?

Ken: Our website, We are updating our website to coincide with our release coming up this fall.

KillDozer: Did you keep anything from the filming of The Night Watchmen? If so, what and why? 

Ken: Yes. I have all the costumes. And they are still all bloody and sticky. Every time I go in my storage area I come back out with blood on me. Well…we may use them again. TNW 2? Who knows.

KillDozer: Any on set pranks? If so which was the best one?

Ken: There were so many. We told Kevin Jiggetts one day that he had a meeting with the stunt coordinator because they were going to set him on fire. He wasn’t too happy with that. Another day I was suppose to throw Max (Rajeeve) a stake to kill Blimpo. On one of the takes I threw him a huge dildo instead. I think he kept it.

KillDozer:: Pennywise vs. Clownpires in a battle to the death, who is left standing? 

Ken: Clownpires! Pennywise feeds on fear. That’s his power. And clownpires aren't afraid of anything.

KillDozer: In real life would you survive the attack of the Clownpires?

Ken: Absolutely. I wrote the book on killing Clownpires!!! LOL! Uh. I’d be dead in 5 minutes if that really happened.

Keep up with The Night Watchmen at the film's official site, on Facebook, and Twitter!


No comments:

Post a Comment