|A Conversation with David Quitmeyer - Director of Slaughter Disc
Conducted between March 20, 2005 and April 5, 2005
Interview Conducted By: Matthew Dean Hill
Erotic horror. Macabre erotica. Gorror-porn. Whatever you call it, and regardless of the varying quality of the cinematic results of the unholy union of Sex and Horror, one can't deny the unspeakable attraction to and fascination with this subgenre. Or can you call it a subgenre at all? The point is that there's more to boobs 'n' scares than Misty Mundae...much more. Enter David Quitmeyer, director...writer...and proprieter of Steel Web Studios, a tiny San Diego-based production house specializing in porn, and now, the intricate blending of the adult entertainment and indie-horror industries. David's most recent flick, interestingly titled Slaughter Disc, is currently wrapping up the final phases of its whirlwind development, and David and company are ramping up for a widespread DVD release of Slaughter Disc, as well as an indie-circuit theater tour. Recently, I caught up with David, and he was kind enough to submit to the torturous process of being interviewed by yours truly. So, here...for your edification and titillation, is the interview...
Atrocities Cinema: Greetings, David. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us here at Atrocities Cinema.com. Your new sex/gore/horror flick Slaughter Disc seems to be stirring up some serious talk among genre fans...particularly on the 'net. To what do you credit the apparent fascination with this subject matter? Furthermore, you went into production, I imagine, with a particular audience in mind. Who was that audience?
David Quitmeyer: I didn’t really have an audience in mind when I started making the film. It was my story and my money so I didn’t really care who wanted to watch it other than myself. As the project has grown and matured I think Slaughter Disc appeals far more to mainstream horror audiences than your typical porn watchers.
Most of my crew were females who don’t watch porn, but they loved this movie based on it’s concept.
Erotica and Horror have been together in literature for a very long time. I
have always had a fascination for this type of stuff so it’s really nothing new
to me. I lurk around on message boards a lot and it seems like the younger
generation of horror fans out there bring up the subject more often than some
of us “old timers”. Americans in particular seem obsessed with the subject
matter, but there have been a number of European and Asian films over the years
that have explored the subject. The thing about Americans that really bewilders
me is that we are far more tolerant of violence in our society than sex. It’s
OK to spray blood and guts all over the place, but showing a woman’s labia is
Well said, David. There is clearly a double-standard at work in mainstream
American film...particularly in genre film. At the risk of sounding like
I'm on a soapbox, it's been my contention for some time that the American
studios are pumping out the same immasculated films ad nauseum, as if
they're marketing this dreck to castrati, or something. While it's
refreshing to see people like you re-establishing that link between sex
and horror, it's still not as if we're going to see anything even remotely
akin to Slaughter Disc hit the big screen any time soon. Hell, when the
vast majority of our horror films are PG-13, we don't even get any skin,
much less anything approaching explicit gore. That said, how do you feel
about the "state of the genre", or at least those aspects of the genre?
David Quitmeyer: Horror as a genre of film is in a very sad state right now, at least in the States. We could fill a number of books with my rants on this subject, but I will boil it down to greedy movie studios. Movie studios make PG-13 movies because they know they can market them to a larger number of potential ticket buyers. A PG-13 movie is more likely sell merchandising rights too, which means big bucks for the studios. The real sad truth it that Hollywood isn't even really pumping out the same films anymore, now they are re-making the films because they seem to have run out of ideas. Another Amityville? Please!
While there is a ton of crap out there, I will admit that there are a few shining gems. Personally I think that "The Ring" was a damn fine horror movie for a PG-13 movie. It's creepy, has a decent story line and it scares the crap out of people. I saw it 3 times in the theaters - one to watch it, the other two times to watch the audience react to it. If people are tired of the crap that Hollywood is selling them, they need to move to the independent film circuit and start reading more books.
Atrocities Cinema: You mentioned The Ring. Clearly, there is a kind of Asian Horror
renaissance happening right now. While I think that many Asian horror
films are just great, I do think they're in danger of seriously imploding
in the near future. To what do you attribute the Western World's
fascination with Eastern horror films and concepts?
David Quitmeyer: I think the west[ern world] is trapped inside the Judeo-Christian box of good and evil.
Asian culture approaches art from a much deeper angle of self and the universe
than ignorant Americans care to bother themselves with. Asian Horror is often
more philosophical in nature than just the monster suit crap we're used to in
Atrocities Cinema: Slaughter Disc takes the idea of the intrinsic links between sex and
horror to a new, literal level. Did you consciously go into this project
with designs on making something "controversial" or "edgy"...even
"perverse"? To that end, what were your main influences? How did you come
up with the idea for Slaughter Disc?
David Quitmeyer: I know that there are horror-porn and porn-horror movies out there, I guess it
just depends which side of the Hollywood Hills the studio is located. My
problem has always been that almost everything out there has never satisfied my
personal vision of what macabre erotica should really be. I made Slaughter
Disc to prove that a movie could be horrific and sexual at the same time while
being driven by a good story.
Slaughter Disc is based on a short story I wrote about 15 years ago. I was a
real splatterpunk kid into horror literature at the time. One of my high
school teachers confiscated one of my issues of Fangoria and told me that
finding pleasure in viewing gore and violence was just the same as in finding
pleasure in pornography. It really got my wheels spinning and a few days I
wrote the story. The original story was called “The Tape” and it was about on a
transparent VHS tape that started out as a normal porn movie but every time
someone watched it, the contents of the movie became more and more horrific.
At the time when I wrote the original story I didn’t have any influences other
than my own screwed up imagination and a few bad b-movies to draw on. As I
prepared to make the movie, 15 years later, I revisited a few horror movies
that really stuck out in my mind, House of 1000 Corpses, The Ring, and The
Blair Witch Project. I used a little bit of the visual styles from those
movies to help translate my story to the screen.
Atrocities Cinema: You mentioned an incident when a teacher confiscated your copy of "Fangoria". I'm sure that many hard-core horror fans have had similar experiences...I
know I have. Times like that can be major catalyzing events in a
horror-buff's life. Even now, when I read an issue of "Rue Morgue" on the
bus or subway, I draw concerned and/or disgusted stares from little old
ladies. It's both funny and a little sad that people are so judgemental
about things they know so little about. But it's a fact of life, I
suppose. Now, as an older, wiser individual, have you experienced any
flack or backlash for your chosen profession or the types of stuff in
which you're interested?
David Quitmeyer: I have yet to come face to face with a Bible-thumper packing a firebomb for me. Actually, because I am older and wiser, I play everything really cool. Most everybody thinks I am a clean-cut guy when they meet me. I'm very quiet, professional and polite. Most of my friends still can't believe that I'm a "pornographer".
Atrocities Cinema: Give me some history...aside from the "official blurb"...about Steel Web
Studios. How did you get your start, and tell me how you went from being a
child to being an "indie" filmmaker...give our readers some perspective on
how this all came together.
David Quitmeyer: I have wanted to write and direct movies ever since I was a kid. While I was in
high school I wrote a ton of horror stories and even had a few published. I
used to make short films with a gigantic VHS camera with my friends also. I
wanted to go to film school after high school but my parents wouldn’t tolerate
it. They did everything they could to make my life hell over the matter and
pressured me to get a medical degree so I could earn a “stable income”.
It’s funny how things come full circle though… after becoming a respiratory
therapist I became fascinated with computers that lead to a career in web
development and IT Systems. I started designing adult websites on the side as
a means of earning a little extra income and next thing I knew I was offered a
job with a full-time job with a very successful adult website. In no time I
was picking up cameras and making adult films. My business partner Chris Spoto
and I formed RAMCO Productions where we created a very successful adult movie
called Clown Porn - it’s been mentioned in "Maxim", "Rolling Stone" and Howard
Stern to name a few. At the same time we were ramping up to do Clown Porn, I
decided to exercise my darker creative side and started filming Slaughter Disc
under my own Steel Web Studios label.
So, now that you've explored your "darker creative side" to a certain
degree, has that side been satisfied? Or, now that you've had a taste, has
it opened the proverbial creative floodgates for you. Do you plan on
following up Slaughter Disc with more genre films?
David Quitmeyer: The simple answer is "yes". The formal title of the film is Slaughter Disc: A Tale from the Carnal Morgue, but that is a mouthful to say repeatedly! The Carnal Morgue will be the vessel that I release more of these films under - think of it as an adult version of Tales from the Crypt. If people like Slaughter Disc, then I have a number of other projects waiting in the wings, including a sequel.
Atrocities Cinema: We're all looking forward to it...
OK. So, since you're a genre fan, and you have an 'insiders' perspective on things, I'd like to get a short-list of a handful of your favorite genre films, and why they hold a special place in your heart.
David Quitmeyer: I'll give you my top 3 and the reasoning behind them.
Number One would have to be Hellraiser. I love the whole Cenobite concept of blending pleasure and pain into the same incredibly rewarding experience. I find them all extremely beautiful in their flowing leather gowns and their deeply personal disfugurements. Hellraiser was a movie that really opened my eyes to the works of Clive Barker. It's a shame most of the movie sequels suck, but Barker has written a number of cool stories about the Cenobites. Any true fan would have known that already, but I always have to point it out for those insatiable newbies.
Number Two would have to be Jaws. Jaws scared the shit out of me as a kid. To this day I still don't swim in in the ocean because of that movie, and I have met a lot of people that feel the same way. I know the shark is fake, it's one of my favorite stops on the Universal Tour, but I'm fine just sitting on the beach and watching people chum the water on their surf boards.
Number Three is The Blair Witch Project. This movie servers as a point of division amongst many horror fans - but from a filmmaker's perspective it's brilliant. This was able to generate a ton of hype, scare the crap out of a ton of people and they never had to show you a shitty monster suit at the end. The fact that the evil in the movie is usually unseen makes it even more terrifying. Blair Witch has been a personal point of research and benchmarking for my professional career as well. The movie is a monument to indie filmmakers such as myself and even huge movie studios. The movies success also serves as an example of brilliantly executed viral marketing.
Atrocities Cinema: And there you have it, folks! Thank you, David, for speaking with us. It's been a real pleasure, and I wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors. Keep us posted on the progress of 'Carnal Morgue'! It's great to see someone intent on bringing some balls back to the genre!
More updates to come very, very soon.
c o n t a c t / i n f o