Matthew Gunnoe: The Pit is about three vacationing hot chicks that become lost in the Florida swamplands. In doing so, they become captured by a family of insane meth-runners and a government agency that wishes to conduct experiments on them with an alien that crash landed in their swamp.
Crimson Celluloid: What was the most challenging part of working on a horror film with such a low budget? What is the budget you are working with?
Matthew Gunnoe: Well, the most challenging part was trying to figure out how best to divide a banana and a piece of bread into 23 for the crew. Some got peel and crust. Also, you must keep in mind that in today’s economy, film budgets (which in our case consisted of donated food stamps and Cruddy Cheese game tokens) never go as far as you would think. ACTUALLY, the budget’s not that low; but then again, it’s not Die Hard 16 either. In the end, what really matters is the finished film. The budget is irrelevant. Anyone remember the epic $100,000,000 turd, Catwoman?
Crimson Celluloid: Are you a fan of horror films in general? If so, which ones have influenced you the most?
Matthew Gunnoe: Sure. I wouldn’t say “influenced” though. That’s just a guilt-free way of admitting you’re a copycat. The films I admire though, are Halloween (original), Aliens, The Exorcist etc. The most important element for any film to be any good, however, is original story –you’ve got to be different. Also, you’ve got to have a story; a beginning, a middle and an end. Too many films get caught up in special FX and boobies. Without story, you’ve got pop, but no sizzle.
Crimson Celluloid: The clip I’ve seen is funny and gory…can audiences expect a lot of gore? What differentiates this film from any other?
Matthew Gunnoe: Absolutely! The Pit has lots of gore, boobies and humor -but they’re all in tune with the story as to not be boring like I indicated in answer 3. The Pit also has hot chicks blasting the baddies with state-of-the-art firearms too! What’s better than sexy chicks with sexy guns in a whup-ass thriller? We had the guns custom made from POF-USA, and they are totally bad-ass! We’ve also acquired the wicked Steyr MA-1 pistols –nothing but the best for your viewing pleasure. What really separates The Pit from other films is that it’s not just a rehash of the same old stuff. I want my audiences to be sitting at work a few days later and have a shot pop in their head and laugh or cringe –something. I feel I owe it to them after they’ve invested their time and money.
Crimson Celluloid: Given that you have many luscious new actresses in the film what was the casting procedure like? Torturous I imagine!!
Matthew Gunnoe: You know, you would think that it would be really cool to be surrounded by a bunch of hot chicks etc. But it actually can be “torturous”. First of all, you’re not there to get laid or scope chicks (at least you’re not supposed to be), and if you’re doing your job, it goes something like: Okay, horror film, I need some hot chicks for the 18-34 year old male demo (really 18 – 104 demo). If you don’t have the budget for a name, you get a bunch of casting agencies sending you head-shots of unknown hot chicks. But that’s where the fun ends. Once you see that the chick is hot, you’re like: Which of these hot chicks can actually act? Nobody enjoys a hot chick that graduated the “Casting Couch School of Acting”; if they do, they‘ll download some porn, not watch (or like) your movie. Then you weed through the “casting couch” types (yes, directors aren’t the only pervs) and settle on someone that is serious about acting. NOTE TO ASPIRING ACTRESSES: Don’t flirt with the director. Real directors will be annoyed, and the pervs don’t give a shit about their film, leaving you embarrassed at the end result. Finally you settle on the ones that best fit the roles, and I think I’ve found some real gems.
Crimson Celluloid: If you had an unlimited budget, what would you do differently that you can’t afford to do now?
Matthew Gunnoe: Get some better actors and hire a kiss-ass to follow me around with a fan and a chilled glass of water –JUST KIDDING. To be completely honest, I think the roles are cast perfectly. The only thing I’d do differently with an unlimited budget is give everyone more money and their own “Will Smith” style RV. Shooting in the swamps of Florida is brutal. Putting too much money into a film can actually ruin it. If I didn’t feel I could pull it off with what I had, I wouldn’t have done it.
Crimson Celluloid: Self-analysis time. If I were to talk to your actors, what would they say are your best and worst points as a director?
Matthew Gunnoe: Best: Hopefully that they are confident they won’t be embarrassed, because I refuse to let them or the picture suck. From Brad Smith to Brad Pitt, every actor would suck without direction. Don’t believe me? Halle Berry won Best Actress for Monster’s Ball. Soon after, she won a Worst Actress Razzie for Catwoman. Ask her who’s to blame. None of that 1 take bullshit on my shows. This is another thing that pisses off an audience: A director that doesn’t direct. Every bad performance or element of a film is the fault of the Director. Worst: Because I refuse to let them or the picture suck, I push them to their limits of performance and actually direct them, which a lot of them being new to the industry, aren’t used to. However, after saying all of this, my biggest nightmare is that I’m delusional, thinking my film is good, when it really sucks.
Crimson Celluloid: The film has an interesting survivalist motif, where did the idea come from?
Matthew Gunnoe: I think it was in one of my conversations with Angela over at SyFy. She was interested in The Devil’s 9 (which I had already sold), and expressed an interest in a “chase” film. She’s pretty crafty and knowledgeable when it comes to what fans want. We discussed some ideas, and this is what I came up with.
Crimson Celluloid:What plans do you have for future releases?
Matthew Gunnoe: I’ll be doing Hague (a period thriller) and Pig this summer. Check out MG Cinema for upcoming releases. Also check out the Facebook page for The Pit behind the scenes and other stuff. Be sure to leave comments as I actually read them and will incorporate suggestions from viewers as to what they want to see. After all, I’m making the movie for them in the first place.