This weekend, the Terrace Theater will be giving a local premiere of Jason Eisener’s exploitation gem Hobo With a Shotgun. In between geeking out with the director about the often maligned exploitation films of yore and the state of movies in general, Eisener gave a few As to my Qs.
City Paper: The reason I wanted to do this interview is because when I saw the movie, I practically begged my boss tell let me write a review of it. In the review, I pretty much shit on the film the way Roger Ebert would shit on movies like Friday the 13th Part 2 and The Beyond.
Jason Eisener: I remember when he went after Silent Night Deadly Night.
CP: I knew that when growing up that the movies that got the worst reaction from critics or my parents were the movies that I wanted to see the most.
JE: That was totally our goal, to make that kind of movie. It’s like when you’re in grade school and you hear the older kids talking about the movies their dads let them watch. It’s exciting, so we’d seek them out because it felt like something dangerous to do. There was a thrill behind it. That’s what we wanted the film to be. Not that I think elementary kids should be plopped in front of the movie, but I wanted to do something that would bring back that feeling.
CP: Have you ever found yourself having to explain liking movies that are popularly viewed in a negative light?
JE: What I don’t agree with is the term “guilty pleasure.” If you like something, you like it. I definitely have issues with something like that.
CP: Do you find yourself having to defend your tastes?
JE A little bit. I remember my parents thought it was a fad that I wanted to be a filmmaker. When they saw that I wanted to pursue it after high school, they were taken aback by it because no one in my family is involved with the arts. They’ve always been supportive, but it wasn’t until I took my dad to see Bubba Ho-Tep. We get there, it’s a small theater, and the place is packed like it’s a rock show. We leave the screening and my dad said he saw what I wanted to do. Family and friends give me a lot of support. I remember going to film school — the content and the material I wanted to put in my film would sketch out some of the teachers.
CP: Have you read the reviews of your film?
JE: All of them.
CP: What are your favorite positive reviews that you’ve gotten for the film?
JE: Alan Jones — he wrote a book about [cult filmmaker] Dario Argento — I respect his reviews. Having him review the film was kind of shocking and it hit pretty close to home. Drew McWeeney (of AintItCoolNews), his review was one of the first reviews. I grew up reading his reviews. It was an honor for him to review it and in such a positive way. He just got what we’re trying to do. And because it was one of the first reviews out there, it gave everyone who read it a good perspective going in, which I really appreciate.
CP: Any negative reviews?
JE: There was one in MontreaI. They took personal attacks on me, commenting that I had girl problems in high school.
CP: What are your thoughts on pushing the boundaries of taste?
JE: There’s a line I won’t cross. The content in the movie is adult, but I think it’s fun. I would never put rape in a movie like Hobo With a Shotgun. It wouldn’t work with the tone of the movie.
CP: What’s your favorite Rutger Hauer film?
JE: The first movie was The Blood Of Heroes. When I saw that movie, I knew there was something special about him. Then that and the original The Hitcher, Blood and Fury, Flesh and Blood, and of course Blade Runner.
CP: What’s your take on 3-D?
JE: I feel it’s a gimmick. I think the last real good 3-D movie was My Bloody Valentine. It uses it as a gimmick and made it this weird ride. It’s not necessary for a lot of movies. It’s used as a gimmick and it can be a fun experience if used correctly, but for the most part I like my movies in 2-D. Even Avatar didn’t do anything for me.
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