One on One with the Cinema Snob, an Interview with Brad Jones
Its not easy being a horror movie fan. For every Evil Dead there’s about twenty Zombie Lake’s out there; just Z-grade, craptacular movies that are so impossibly bad you have to wonder how such travesty’s were ever green-lit in the first place. Show of hands… growing up, who else here was suckered into renting a completely garbage shlock fest based solely off the bitchin’ VHS cover art alone? Don’t be ashamed, it’s happened to the best of us… we’ve all played video store roulette and lost from time to time.
Today’s guest is a man who makes it his job to suffer through the worst of the worst exploitation has to offer. Trudging through the cinematic sewers of yesteryear to dredge up the likes of Creepozoids, Zombie 90: Extreme Pestilence, and Italian Batman, so he can rightfully rip ‘em a new one. TGWTG member and critic Brad Jones, well known for his character The Cinema Snob, joins us in the clubhouse to talk Brussel Sprout Soda, ninjas, and Bruno Mattei… ya know, the usual Strange Kids fare!
Welcome to the clubhouse Brad! I’ll start off by asking you a tough one…Nicolas Cage’s character from Deadfall vs. Ramrod from Vice Squad in a no hold barred, coke fueled, fight to the death…two men enter, which man leaves?!
I’m going to have to go with Ramrod on that. He used a hooker’s head to skull punch a cop! Plus he survived through that movie a lot longer than Eddie from “Deadfall” did. It took pinning him down with a car to stop Ramrod.
Now that’s out of the way, what made you pick up the camera in the first place and create your Snob persona?
I had a lot of free time. This was about 5 years ago, and at that time, not many had really tackled exploitation films (comedically) online, so I decided to create this cinema snob character. I hadn’t really done a lot of comedy at that point, my work mainly consisted of really dark thrillers, and I was working a job where I only had to be there a few hours out of the day. That opened up a lot of time for me. The snob character was my way to do a little comedic riffing on certain movies that, back then, not many people had heard of, and maybe this would be a way for people to seek them out. The Snob was born out of Ebert’s review of “Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter” and also some local film snobs I’ve had to deal with when promoting my own movies. I thought it would be a fun and satirical way to shed light on these films, seeing how it’s a genre that I grew up watching.
How much work goes into each episode? Do you stick strictly to a script or Ad lib a lot?
In the youtube days it didn’t take much time at all. The videos had to be shorter because of the youtube time limit, so there was only so much of the movie I could talk about. Back then I could knock out a video in a day. Now a days, it’s essentially a 2 day process. I take one day to watch and take notes on the movie, I write out the video, then I film it, and maybe edit a little if there’s time. The next day, I get the bulk of the editing done, then I render the video and post it online. I typically have a pretty quick turnaround time on the videos since there’s not really any effects work or plot devices that go into my episodes. It’s just a guy in a chair performing a video riff on a fucked up movie. I typically don’t ad lib much. Every now and then, I might come up with something while filming and then work it in (like when the snob guessed the outcome of “Giallo a Venezia“), but other than that, everything I say comes from the script.
You review some of the worst of the worst exploitation shlock….I know you’ve said Las Vegas Bloodbath & Crazy Fat Ethel were among the cream of the crop in terms of terrible cinema, but what would you say were some of your favorites? (Excluding Caligula…too easy. )
In terms of the worst, that would definitely be “Nukie.” I was about as mad as the snob when I was watching that thing. I got so fed up and annoyed that I had to shut it off halfway through and come back to it the next day. It’s the most mad I had ever gotten at one of these movies. Usually I don’t get that upset at them, seeing how I’m writing and taking notes when I’m watching them, but that one truly was punishment. In terms my favorite ones…probably “Pieces,” “Extra Terrestrial Visitors,” “Riki Oh,” “Maniac,” the Godfrey Ho movies, “Bruno Mattei’s Terminator II,” “Driller Killer,” “Troll 2,” etc.
So this is one I have to know…what’s the most disgusting thing you’ve eaten/drank on Brad Tries?
Definitely the Brussel Sprouts soda on the Jones Thanksgiving Soda episodes. It tasted like warm, sorta carbonated butter. It’s the closest I’ve ever come to throwing up on that show. It really was that disgusting. It was worse than the Billy Beer and that could have killed me.
It’s comforting to know I’m not the only one out there with an admiration for all things Bruno Mattei. What’s your idea of the Perfect Mattei-like movie?
Ones with extremely over the top performances, outlandish dialogue, hilarious violence, and a fantastic musical score. The best Bruno movies to check out are “SS Girls,” “Women’s Prison Massacre,” “Hell of the Living Dead,” “Rats: Night of Terror,” and “Terminator II.”
Over the years you filmed quiet a few movies of your own….Cheap, Midnight Heat, Freak Out, Game Boys…what, or who, were some of your inspirations and influences while writing these?
With “Freak Out,” I wanted to do a disco era thriller partly based on a true story, and the Dean Corll case fascinated me enough, so I chose that one. I took a lot of liberties, and it’s not the best movie I’ve ever done, but I like the soundtrack I picked. “Cheap” was inspired by my love of extremely sleazy thrillers that revolve around snuff films and the porn scene (especially movies like “Last House on Dead End Street,” which a lot “Cheap“‘s inspiration comes from). “Midnight Heat” was my love letter to seedy 80’s streetwalker flicks like “Vice Squad” and “Savage Streets.” With “Game Boys,” I really wanted to do a comedy, and one based around retro video gamers definitely appealed to me, because that’s what I am. At the time, my co-star Alex and I had just gone through break ups involving our girlfriends at the time, and we wanted something to take out minds off things, so doing this movie seemed like a good idea.
Next to Midnight Heat, Gameboys was my favorite of your movies. Are you much of a gamer in real life? If so what are some of your favorites?
I’m definitely a retro gamer. My character in “Game Boys” isn’t that much different than myself. I do play new games from time to time, but not as much as the older ones. I’m a huge Mario fan, so those are among my favorites. I love “Vice Project Doom” and “Time Lord,” both for the NES. “RBI Baseball” and “Base Wars” are two favorites. I’m a huge Sega CD fan, so I love “Sonic CD” and “Surgical Strike.” I also love a lot of the notoriously bad games too, because some of them can be so over the top that they sort of cross over into genius. I love “Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde,” and my buddy Brian and I have been known to bust out “Shaq Fu” every now and then. It isn’t like a hipster/ironic thing, we openly and happily admit that we enjoy some silly games. People shouldn’t quickly dismiss bad games. Many of them, like movies, can be a lot of fun with friends.
You’re currently working on the Cinema Snob Movie right now…any details you can give us about it?
We wanted to make a real movie that anyone, even those who aren’t familiar with the site, could enjoy. The movie almost works as a sort of “origin” for the character. Throughout a lot of the show’s episodes, you clearly see the snob “break” character and become the person who is playing him. I kind of ran with that, and told a story about a guy behind the snob persona who is put into a situation where he has to create and become that character for reasons that are seen in the movie. I really hope people enjoy it, it’s a much different kind of movie that is based on an internet character. It’s a comedy about movie making that turns into a very dark comedy with a nod to the sleazy Giallo thrillers of the 70s and 80s.
You’re also staring in the webseries Ninja: The Mission Force, a throwback to the cheesy “Cut & Paste” Godfrey Ho films of the 80s. Is it safe to assume you’ll be co-starring next to Pierre Kirby soon enough? What was it like working with Orson Welles? I hear he’s a bit of a Prima Donna.
Orson Welles is fantastic to work with, so long as you keep him loaded up on the Paul Masson wine! Pierre Kirby would be a dream actor to work with. I’d like to think of an alternate universe where Pierre Kirby became one of the most well known action stars of the 80s.
You teamed up with Dark Maze Studios for Ninja the Mission Force…who’s initial idea was it, or was it a 50/50 thing?
Ed and I are huge Godfrey Ho fans. We love these movies, and when they work, they are so much fun and so insane. We wanted to be in something like this for a very long time, and all credit for the script goes to Meagan Rachelle who wrote a very funny, very smart and witty spoof of these films that we love so much. It works so well because it clearly comes from a writer who also truly digs these movies and knows the source material to a T.
I was wondering, as a fellow horror fan, what’s your opinion on the current state of the genre?
Well…we are certainly remake happy in this day and age, aren’t we? How is it that studios are so willing to back the “R” rated raunchy comedy, yet become completely neutered when it comes to slasher films? The PG-13 slasher film is the same thing as releasing a porn without sex, or a comedy without the funny parts. It makes no sense and people should not support that. There’s also far too much douchebaggery in horror films now days. The best slasher films are the ones with lovable characters; and movie makers today seem to think that because the characters will probably die anyway, that they should all be loathsome and annoying. I really hate that. Outside of the slasher genre though, we still have some good stuff out there. Ty West is an amazing talent and more people need to check out his work. I was also a big fan of “Kill List” and “Insidious.”
Final question…What’s the Strangest thing you can remember doing as a kid?
Hmmm. I remember one time I tried making a catapult out of shovel and I accidentally broke my nose when the handle flew up and crushed my face. I was the first person in my class to get plastic surgery!