Duration: 15 minutes
ATOMIC SPITBALLS grew from a feature film idea Andrew Commis & I wrote back in 1994. Originally called THE MUTTONCHOP MONSTERS, the intention was to pay homage to the great & not so great AIP films of the 1950’s like INVASION OF THE SAUCERMEN, I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF & Bert I Gordon’s EARTH VS THE SPIDER.
During the writing of the first draft, Russell Friedrich jumped on board & injected some additional gags & ideas into the screenplay. But after awhile it became clear that there was no way we could finance this film ourselves…. it was now way too ambitious & almost logistically impossible to shoot. So the script was put onto the back burner as we pursued other projects.
Fast-forward 8 years….
After completing the exhausting post-production FX for COSMIC SAFARI, part of me swore that the next film I make would not be so reliant on FX & animation. Unfortunately the other part of me was still drawn to the idea of making THE MUTTONCHOP MONSTERS.
Around this time I had rekindled my love affair with a 1950’s monster film called THE GIANT CLAW. To me, this film is the quintessential 1950’s B Grade movie. It has everything; Jeff Morrow AND Morris Ankrum, silly dialogue & possibly the funniest special FX ever committed to film. For my money, it’s way more entertaining (for all the wrong reasons) than Ed Wood’s over referenced PLAN 9 FROM OUTERSPACE. Don’t believe me? Well see for yourself & check out Andrew Borntregar’s review here.
So as a way to celebrate & rhapsodize the silliness of THE GIANT CLAW, I borrowed the basic premise of THE MUTTONCHOP MONSTERS, added a dash of goofiness & a pinch of irony & the result was a script called ATOMIC SPITBALLS.
Unlike the previous films from the Krypto stable, I decided to shoot this film over consecutive days & nights (shock horror). As far as I was concerned, only shooting weekends sporadically over months & years is not the most effective way to make a film. It’s just too difficult on everyone involved… actors hairstyles change… cast/crew move overseas… locations often vanish & more importantly it’s just too difficult for everyone to retain their enthusiasm on a project that takes years to complete.
As I had written the parts for all of the actors, it was just a matter of making sure everyone was keen, in the same state (geographically speaking) & able to commit to the 4 nights of principle photography. Dan Ilic; who calls Sydney home, would be in town performing in a show at the Melbourne Comedy Festival, so the schedule was written around his availability.
With the dates locked in, wardrobe sourced from Dave Jackson & Kitty Jones and locations secured, it was time to start shootin’ this sucker…
Monday 14th April 2003 – Campbells Croft Reserve
Tuesday 15th April 2003 – Happy Days Diner Williamstown
Wednesday 16th April 2003 – 1st Hartwell Scout Hall Burwood
Thursday 17th April 2003 – Beissel St Richmond
Then the post production began…
Dave Redman skillfully edited the film & I began work on the animation & FX. John Warner designed & modelled some fantastic digital meshes, which truly evoked the style & look of those (not so) classic films of the 1950’s. Composer Scott McIntyre astounded us all with his moody music that sounded like it had been written by Hans J. Salter or Herman Stein!!! Truly remarkable work! Justin Dix designed & created a brilliant make up for Gortner, which we shot in Justin’s lounge room, illuminated with a couple of standard desk lamps.
Over two separate days we recorded the song “Just One Kiss” at crack-a-jack studios. Written & arranged by David Jackson & Antonio Milillo, the track is a deranged love letter to those love songs from the 50's. Unfortunately the cost of flying The Jordanaires to Australia was out of the question, so to provide back up vocals Antonio Milillo, Tyron Shaw, David Jackson & myself stepped up to the mic... to only prove that we really can’t sing! But with a bit of tweaking of the knobs, the end result sounds just perfect (we’ll be announcing our tour dates shortly, so lock up your daughters).
So in summary folks and to share some golden words of wisdom...
Oh and never work with Aliens...
Brett Anstey - wearer of many hats
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