By Luke Buckler
Unbelievably Bad Contributor
Indie horror film Blood Punch has been making waves on the festival circuit since its inital screenings in 2013 and it’s about to hit Sydney’s cheesiest dive bar Frankies Pizza, this Sunday, July 3.
The film is a total blast, embracing the inclinations and tropes of classic teenage horrors, and injecting just enough Cronenberg-esque what-the-fuckness to make it unique, fresh, and totally enjoyable. It’s not a challenging film by any stretch of the imagination, but stacked with equal parts laughs and blood lust, it’s a perfect romp to round out your weekend.
Milo Cawthorne, who plays fresh-faced meth cook Milton, will be at Sunday’s screening to answer your questions. Milo might be familiar to UB readers for his role in the Kiwi heavy metal horror flick Deathgasm, and for appearing as a backwoods doomsday militia man in the killer TV series Ash vs Evil Dead. He was also a Power Ranger at some point, so you know his blossoming career has cult status written all over it.
UB caught up with Milo for a chat before this Sunday’s screening.
Can you tell us a little about Blood Punch, and how you and [fellow actors] Olivia Tennent and Ari Boyland came to work on it?
Olivia, Ari and I were all on a season of Power Rangers together, called RPM in 2008-2009. It was a great group of people and we got on so well. Eddie [Guzelian, Producer] was the producer and Madellaine [Paxson, Director] was a writer so we got to know them over the course of production, they were super cool and didn’t have that overly-authorative vibe that most producers have. So the season finishes, we all go our separate ways, I’m delivering flowers for a living and I get an email from Eddie saying he’s written this film with us in mind to act in it. Which was like a life-altering email to receive. I often tell Eddie that he single-handedly changed the course of our lives by writing this film. So off we go to LA to make the film. That was early 2011 I think.
You’ve been travelling around in support of the film, and pushing digital formats. Is the model of distribution for indie films (or even the mainstream industry) changing? Is this a positive or negative thing for emerging film makers?
It’s weird, I’ve never had any experience with the distribution of any other films, so this is the only data I have to go off. From the point of view of someone who doesn’t really know much about distribution I’d say yeah, it’s changing. Feels like audiences want a little more from indie films if they’re going to watch them in a cinema, needs to be more of an event-type feel (actors present, Q&A, etc). Let’s go with positive for filmmakers. Someone too lazy to go to the cinema might happily rent a film VOD. So there’s a chance more eyes will see the finished product. Perhaps harder to make your movie stand out from the crowd. But it’s hard to say, is anything truly positive for an aspiring filmmaker? Theirs is a hard struggle of a life, and mostly it just looks like a series of growing disappointments… is that overly negative? Perhaps the only purely positive thing for aspiring filmmakers is tax breaks.
You also starred in the heavy metal horror film Deathgasm and had a part in Ash vs Evil Dead. Are you a big fan of cult film? Could you build a career in them, á la Bruce Campbell or Sid Haig?
Nah, I wouldn’t call my self a cult film fan. I’m slowly changing that, though, Leslie Morris from Bounty Pictures has been introducing me to some Aussie gems of cult cinema, and I’m loving it. Building a career in cult movies would be great! But I find I’ve got to be at least somewhat invested in the idea of the project, or else gathering up the required motivation and energy to perform each day is a struggle. Most roles require a lot of energy and you dig into your emotional capacity as a human, I can’t be bothered doing that if I don’t really like the project.
Which directors would you love to work with?
Michel Gondry, because of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. What an awesome, dreamy and self-aware world he manages to create. And Richard Ayoade because of Submarine. I saw that film when I had been out of work for awhile and it re-ignited my love for movies. Again, self-aware comedy that manages to get right into your heart and start plucking those strings!
What’s the weirdest experience you’ve ever had with a Power Rangers fan?
I received a letter, it looked as thought it had been written by a little girl, it was very sweet, stickers on the page, etc. In the letter she mentioned her Bebo page and how she’d love for me to leave a comment, so I go online, find her page and it turns out she’s in her mid thirties, she’s created two pages on Bebo, one is her own personal page and the other is a page that has a picture of me as my character. Then I see that she is having a conversation between herself, and this ‘fictional’ me. That was weird enough, and the conversation between her and this ‘fictional’ version of me only made things weirder. Turns out ‘we’ were already in some kind of relationship on Bebo. So needless to say, after seeing all this, I immediately got in touch and we’ve been happily married for the last four years.
What do you have coming up?
I’ve just finished filming a low-budget feature called Mega Time Squad, which is like a cross between Two Hands and Multiplicity. Set in a small town in NZ, plenty of dank, deadpan Kiwi humour. It looks like I’m about to go into rehearsals for two plays at the same time, they’ll have their respective seasons one after the other, and I expect to die from exhaustion sometime around week two. One is a modern story told completely in iambic-pantameter (or ‘Shakespeare’s language’), and the other is a millenial sex farce – fast talking, lots of interruptive dialogue and hopefully some laughs.