Dead Hands Dig Deep director Jai Love on how he got involved and how he made it out alive

By MUKK aka Josh M. Griffiths
Unbelievably Bad Contributor 


Dead Hands Dig Deep is the debut directorial outing from young Sydney based filmmaker Jai Love. The documentary tells the tale of Edwin Borsheim and his band Kettle Cadaver from Temecula, California, profiling his gory glory days of the nineties and his current situation and state of mind.

It’s rife with death, nihilism, self-mutilation, blood, drug use, small-town weirdness and Satan.

“A Warner Brothers exec left one of the screenings in Europe because he thought he was going to vomit,” says the 19-year-old director. “It was a victory for independent cinema!”

Dead Hands Dig Deep screens at the Sydney Underground Film Festival this Saturday, September 17, at The Factory in Marrickville. UB speaks to Jai about how he got involved and how he got out alive…


To cut to the chase – why should anyone care to see a film about a band no one has ever really heard of, directed by a young Australian punk?
I hate questions about WHY anyone should see something. If punk, metal, performance art or documentaries interest you then just see the fucking thing. I’ve seen so many films about things I’ve known nothing about but purely just seen it for the love of cinema. I would also say that if you think you can handle watching a man nail a hammer through his cock and balls – just come and have a look. A Warner Brothers Exec left one of the screenings in Europe because he thought he was going to vomit – it was a victory for independent cinema.


If you were applying for an arts grant for the film – how would you pitch it? (Inclusion of words such as “zeitgeist” + “juxtaposition” and references to theorists, artists and philosophy are encouraged if not mandatory.)
I would just show them the DVD A Taste Of Blood – this was the VHS compilation tape Edwin released in the nineties of all the stuff Kettle Cadaver did on stage. It was what made me want to make the film and it would anyone else who was interested in this sort of thing.

What motivation do you think Edwin had in taking part in the documentary?
Edwin had planned to kill the documentary crew. His plan would be to kill us all but himself and leave Hazal (our DP) alive with the tapes. Then she would go and take the video to the media and it would become infamous. He called this KETTLE CADAVER 3 – this was because he had already made two films full of disturbing live footage. He revealed this to us late in the filmmaking process, claiming he’d bought weapons and had a date planned. It never happened and I think he’s happy now. He was proud of the film we made…


Did you ever broach the subject of Edwin’s choice of name for his band? …I ask cause for a man with a clear understanding of performance and self-marketing Kettle Cadaver is a damn appalling choice!
Yes, we talked about it – I’m not really sure of its meaning. He was speeding around the topic and didn’t quite answer my question. It also isn’t something that is relevant to the movie at all because it isn’t about Kettle Cadaver… it is a character study on Edwin.

What do you think the relationship between Eva O and Edwin was like and the reasons for it forming? The whole thing seems like it was done as part of Edwin’s self-directed mythology…the marriage being held on the 08/08/2008, how Eva was the ex lover of Rozz Williams (he of ‘Christian Death’ and eventual suicide by hanging), Eva’s connection to serial killer Richard Ramirez, the 16-year age difference, etc.
From what I can tell, what I’ve been told and how Edwin speaks of it, he and Eva O were once very much in love. They met through Rikk Agnew (also of Christian Death) after Rikk showed Eva A Taste Of Blood. Rick says that Eva wanted to meet Ed immediately and invited him to the next Christian Death show they were going to play. I think in a lot of ways it was very surreal for Ed because he was a fan of Christian Death and Rozz Williams… years later he’s married to his ex wife. Somewhere along the line, though… things got very dark. Now Eva wants nothing to do with Edwin and wouldn’t even take part in the film as we think she might have been worried about Edwin finding her and her daughter. We go into all of this in the film.


Please share five random facts / memories about your own life with our dear readers.
* My film and video teacher in high school would only wear black. He was a cool guy and I learnt a lot of life’s hard lessons from him.
* I met Werner Herzog at Sundance, gave him a DVD with a note inside it and he told me he’d watch the documentary. I’m going to try and find his phone number and call him up. I can only compare it to what it must be like for religious people when they die and meet god. It was all a blur.
* I accidentally smoked crystal meth with a guy named Vinnie once.
* For a long time I wanted to leave the shitty town I grew up in and join the circus like Daniel Johnston – but I’m afraid of clowns.
* Tommy Lee Jones farted on me.


Dead Hands Dig Deep screens as part of the 2016 Sydney Underground Film Festival at 6pm on Saturday, September 17 at The Factory in Marrickville.


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