An Interview With Ed Guinn

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Ed Guinn, everyone’s favorite cattle truck driver, was kind enough to answer some questions for Lisa. I think you will find him to be exceptionally funny and exactly the kind of guy you want to hang out with. Ed can be seen in Shawn Ewert’s upcoming film Sacrament, premiering June 7, 2014 at The Texas Theatre in Dallas, Texas.

Your role in Texas Chainsaw Massacre is small, but iconic. How did you end up as everyone’s favorite cattle truck driver?

Well let’s see. When I was a small child in the wilds of western Canada there was this old over-the-road trucker, we kids called him leather butt cause he was able they claimed to…Oh you mean how did my end (it being neither small nor particular iconic) turn up in the truck in the movie? Well, I and my brother in-law owned a truck. Bob Burns, may he rest in peace, knew that and as has been said, a small but iconic opportunity was hatched. Show up at the truck stop, hook up to this rental cattle trailer and come be a star. A small, but iconic star that is.

I always wondered where he ran off to; any ideas?

I tend to think, with the murderous sun and psycho’s in abundance, he should have been running to the nearest air conditioned police station, but alas, I suspect the poor old, sore footed fellow was done in by some neighborhood halfwit. The type that married his own grandmaw as the song goes. That part of the county was always suspect.

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I love that you had a very similar cameo in Butcher Boys. Did Kim Henkel do this intentionally?

​I am willing to bet, Kim being a clever fellow, he did.

You’re also a composer. How did you get into that?

Well, before I was a movie icon and a truck driver I was a failed rock star. So it was a natural progression for me stepping down from the, more than, relative obscurity of rock star to the world of the introspective shut-in that comprises the bulk of most composers lives. It was a natural fit.

It looks as though you and Marilyn Burns have stayed good friends since Texas Chainsaw Massacre; is there something the two of you would love to do together, but haven’t yet?

I don’t know about Marilyn, but I’d like to do a big hit of some legal pot. For a change. Some from one of the dispensaries in Colorado where you just walk in, flop the coin on the counter and go out to your car and light up. Very un Texan don’t you agree? On a serious note, I would like to continue the film relationship that Marilyn and I established in Sacrament (the movie, not the Eucharist). Our loving and welcoming personalities on display in the movie deserve wider exploitation. They should stand as the model for a welcoming, Christian man and wife team who are willing to give succor to their community and who know only the grace of the almighty provides salvation and…………

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How did you meet Shawn Ewert?

​Never heard of him. Shaun Whoert. Oh, you mean the auteur Mr. Shawn. At TexasFrightmare.

Can you tell us anything about your role in Sacrament?

See question 5.

Do you have any other projects that you are currently working on?

​You mean besides sophomoric nattering’s. No, not really, but once the move comes out I have instructed my agents to refuse all work unless the scripts center around myself and Scarlett Johansson as brother and stepsister (hint hint stepsister get it?) fighting to save the world from hordes of uncaring dental hygienists bent on polluting our precious bodily fluids with fluoride and other questionable products, like vaccines. Nude scenes are, of course, required for all female leads. Goes without saying right?

 

 Were you surprised by Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s success and subsequent staying power?

Ahhhh Yes and Yes. Truthfully, it was just a truck driving job for me. I got paid what I would have made if I had been driving the truck all day. Having spent a significant amount of time in “show business” by then I was not interested in the birds in the bush, i.e. royalties etc. I collected my check. That day I think, and didn’t give it another thought until, while shooting Butcher Boys, the talented Duane Graves and his partner said I should check out some horror conventions, I could be a contender. And as they say, the rest is history.

 

An Interview With Marilyn Burns

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I am still gobsmacked that I had the honour of speaking with Ms. Marilyn Burns. Yes, Marilyn Burns of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre fame.  I can only speak for myself when I say that Sally Hardesty in TCM was my first Final Girl. Shawn Ewert, director of the upcoming film Sacrament was genreous enough to set this interview up and it was just a joy. I hope you find Marilyn to be as lovely and down to earth as I did. You can see Marilyn Burns in Sacrament, premiering June 7,2014 at The Texas Theatre in Dallas, Tx .

I don’t remember the last time I was as nervous as I was dialing up Ms. Marilyn Burns. She immediately put me at ease by saying, “Oh Lisa! Yes, yes, yes!”

L.F. How did you meet Shawn Ewert?

M.B. “Ya know, I probably met him at different conventions in the past. Different shows, maybe Texas Frightmare and stuff and he just called me up and asked me to do his film. I knew of his work because he’s a wonderful director and so I was real excited to be able to work with him.”

L.F. Didn’t he write this part for you?
M.B. “Oh Lisa, I don’t know.”

L.F.  That’s what I heard.
M.B. “Well, then he did. I’m very flattered and delighted to be in his picture. Yeah, he had me in mind when he wrote it; he thought it would be a cool touch to it, ya know?”

L.F. Are you able to speak about your role in Sacrament?
M.B. “Well, I don’t know. How much do you know about it? I don’t know how much I can say, ya know? I know that in most movies of this nature, they do want things on the hush hush because that’s part of the fun and surprise when it comes out.”

L.F. Well, we should probably keep it that way; I dont want to ruin anything.
M.B. “No, thats the thing; I wouldn’t watnt to either. I will say this.  He’s a wonderful director and I had a great time shooting with him and he had the most fabulous cast and most fabulous crew. You couldn’t get better. They were so professional. They did everything in tip top fashion.  Everything was planned out to the T.”

L.F. So, this was a really nice experience for you.
M.B. “Oh definitley. One of my best experiences yet, to date.”

L.F. Really?
M.B. “I really enjoyed it; we had a lot of fun on the set.”

L.F. You were there with Mr. Guinn, correct?
M.B. “Yes.”

 

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L.F. Have you stayed friends since the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre film?
M.B. “Yes, because now they’re having all of these reunions at conventions. We’ve been on several and, I think, this year were going to Corpus Christi and Austin; we’ve got several coming up where we’re all going to be together.”

L.F. It seems the main cast, from the original movie, you keep popping up in films with one another.
M.B. “Yeah, if we can.  It’s really fun to work with each other.  Now, it’s like, can you believe this.?!  Especially when John and Gunnar and I were in Louisiana, shooting Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D; we were having lunch and we looked at each other and said, can you believe this? here we are, back again, all in the movie. So, it made it really fun on the set. There’s a lot of reminiscing and the conventions are fun too because they’re like reunions.”

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L.F. When you did TCM3D, was it surreal to see yourself at the beginning of the movie from the origianl film?
M.B. “No, I knew that was going to be there. I was surprised how much they used of it. I didn’t think they were going to use that much of the clip. I thought, my goodness. (laughs) I had forgotten about that.”

L.F. As a fan, it was really excting for me to have the movie start that way.
M.B. “Well, I mean, of course I thought it was exciting. I was glad they wrapped them up together like that. I didnt expect it.”

M.B. “What did you think of that one?” (movie)
L.F. I thought it was fun!
M.B. “You did?”

L.F. Yeah, it was tons of fun with the 3D.

M.B. “Yeah, that made it neat, too. We all had a very good time there. That was great because I got to be with Gunnar and John. Like I said, I had done some things with Ed at different reunions. Recently, we were in Germany together last year. Who would think I would be going to Germany this many years later?”

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L.F. Yeah, is it unbelieable to you that this movie is still as popular as it is?
M.B. “I’m amazed people still talk about it. It’s a blessing. Who would have ever thought?”

L.F. So, you had no idea when you were filming that this would be a hit?
M.B. “I just wanted it to get released in theatres. That’s what I prayed for. So many movies are made and, then, they never make it. Finally, it got picked up and it just kept going. I guess its still going today, or I wouldnt be doing so many conventions.””

L.F. You have fun doing the conventions? Does it ever feel like work?

M.B. “Are you kidding?” (laughing) How could you go to one of those conventions, get money for autographs and smile all day and not have a good time?”
L.F. Well, I’ve come across a few people who look less than excited about it, so, i just had to ask.

M.B. “Why wouldn’t they have fun?!” (laughing)

L.F. I dont know, I asked myself the same question. (There is much laughter at this point.)
M.B. :If we hear someone griping about something, we all get together and go, is he out of his mind? What’s his problem? Why is he here anyway, then? If this is a job to you, don’t come. That’s not what the deal is. It’s an hounour.”

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L.F. Aw, thats nice,
M.B. “Well, it is. People like something you did? You should be proud and grateful that they care. That’s just a give. Don’t you agree with me on that?”

L.F. Absolutley. It’s an honour for us (the fans) when we get to meet somebody.
M.B. “It works both ways. I’ve met terrific people. Every time is very exciting. A lot of times, I have my brother pick me up from the airport. He says, I like picking Marilyn up from the airport because she’s so happy when she gets back.  I can’t ever remember one that I felt disappointed or upset or it felt like work. Gosh, I’m just grateful as hell that I get to go.”

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L.F. So, going way, way back, your first role was in a Robert Altman film?
M.B. “That was just a teeny, tiny little part. I ran down and managed to get a role as an extra and then ended up working on the movie in a different capacity. I then auditioned for Sidney Lumet for Lovin’ Molly;  it had Blythe Danner, Beau Bridges and Anthony Perkins. He gave me the part and I was going to be one of the four leads; I was so excited. Then, a couple of weeks later, he called me and said, Marilyn, I’m so sorry, but in order for me to get Beau and Blythe, I have to cast this girl named Susan Sarandon. So, he gave me a role as an extra and I was a stand in for both Blythe and Susan; theyre both 5’7″ and I’m 5’3″so, I had to stand on an apple cart.”

L.F. So, did you always love horror or did you just happen to end up in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre?
M.B. “Well, I was on the Texas Film Commission; I helped start that in 1971 and, so, I was familiar with all of the things that were coming in and out of Texas. I met Tobe (Hooper, writer and director of TCM) and Kim (Henkel; writer on TCM) on the set of Lovin’ Molly. I had seen them in Austin and recognized them as filmmakers. They come on the set and they want to watch Lumet shoot. Then, they help themselves when the food comes out. The producer, Stephen Friedman, who had just finished The Last Picture Show, he came over and says, who are you guys? Do you work on this? When they told him no, they weren’t working, Stephen says, Give me back the chicken!”

“So, because I was on the Film Commission and worked with the head of the commission, that’s when I saw that Tobe and Kim were working on this movie (TCM) together. Warren Skerrit, the head of the Film Commission,  is actually the one that came up with the title. They had titles like Scum of the Earth and Headcheese. I think the first title was Headcheese, then it was Scum of the Earth. I thought, I don’t really want to be in something called Scum of the Earth, but what the hell, its’ a movie. To get a lead in a movie, it was aweome ya know? I said something to Warren;  I said, these guys need another title. Warren was a pretty artistic guy and he came up with the most perfect title, ya know? Such an attention getting title. There werent that many chainsaw massacres back then and then you add Texas to it; people are curious about Texas. Back in 74, that title was just catchy. It helped make the movie.”

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L.F. Do you ever wonder what might have happened with Sally?
M.B. “Yeah, well, I’ve written about 5 or 6 endings for poor Sally and we kept thinking of doing it and I know Tobe, Kim and I worked on it for a while. We had a plausible reason for what happened to her.

L.F. Did you go directly from TCM to Eaten Alive?
M.B. “No, I did Helter Skelter before that.”

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L.F. Were you, at all, concerned about taking a role in Helter Skelter?
M.B. “Um, yeah. Because number one, it was too early. It was too soon after the murders and everybody in L.A. resented us doing that. Second, because they told every actress that auditioned, you’re going to have to shave your head. I thought, well, I dont want to shave my head, but I’m new in Los Angeles , I have a new agent and  I can’t say, Gosh, I’m Miss Picky and I don’t want to do that. That would have been terrible and it would have been insulting to the director and casting director. Then, I thought, oh, Marilyn, how stupid of you. You’re not going to get cast; they probably already got it hand picked or have package deals. So, I did say to the director, I really dont want to shave my head; is there anything we can do diferent?  He said, well why don’t you read for Linda Kasabian? After I read it, I thought, oh, this is the best part ever. I remember going home and crying my eyes out, thinking I had done terrible. That same afternoon, the phone rings and its my agent saying I got the part.”

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“I’m grateful I was in it and grateful it came out and it was received as well as it did. And Steve Railsback  was a hit! You couldn’t get a better Manson. I had a ball and met the best people; it was a real good experpience. Of course, then you had to worry about when it came out. There were some gripes and I remember when we shot for the La Bianca house, we were on their block and we were in a house two doors down (from the origianl La Bianca house) and the people thought we were so disrespectful. They turned their music up really loud, thinking they would screw us up, but we were shooting without sound that night. It just put us in more of the mood of Manson. It was too perfect.”

L.F. Was that a little bit creepy, though?
M.B. “Of course it was creepy, but ya know, the movie was creepy, the character was creepy, so it just helped the actors. Everything was wrong; let’s face it, that was really wrong, everything that happened.”

L.F. Did you meet Ms. Kasabian?
M.B. “Oh gosh, no. I know some people met the people they were portraying, but not me. She’s in the witness protection program somehwere. She’s the only one that was at both murders and because she was a rat, she gets off. She is the only one of the whole gang who managed to be in the car twice. I had to really work on Kasabian to figure her out and make it believable.”

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L.F. When you played Sally (TCM) and Faye (Eaten Aive), was that hard for you? Were you tied to that bed in Eaten Alive forever? That’s what it felt like.
M.B. “Yeah, Texas Chainsaw,  I did a lot of physical stuff and it wasn’t hard. I just wanted to give them a 10; the best I could do. The only thing I could do was give Tobe a 10 and he could bring me down if he needed to, but he never did. A couple of times on Chainsaw, when I ran into the bbq place, I ran into the camera, the camera man…..you know, I didn’t want to look like one of those stupid girls who is running in one clip and then the next time you see her, she’s casually going into somewhere…oh, help me…..
He would tell me, Marilyn, slow down; hit your mark and don’t hit the camera man.”

In Eaten Alive, that had it’s issues. Yeah, I think they did have me tied up there forever and gagged. Some of the actors were way too into their parts and I had to remind them that we’re acting.(starts laughing) That’s probably why it looks so damn real!
L.F. Yeah, it looks awful.
M.B. “Yeah, it was pretty uncomfortable.”

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L.F. Was Texas Chainsaw Massacre 4 the first time you did a cameo?

M.B. “Yes, Kim had wrote me a real good part, but they werent S.A.G. ,so, I couldn’t be in it unless someone dubbed my lines. So, I just played someone on a gurney as Anonymous. I thought it was just going to be in the background; it was going to be our private joke.”

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L.F. Did he write that part for you in Butcher Boys?
M.B. “Oh! I don’t know. I think so. He definitley had me in mind.”
L.F. I felt really bad for you when they took your dog.
M.B. “Oh, that was terrible! Dang it I haven’t even seen that.  Is it good?”

L.F. Yeah, it’s fun and crazy in a really great way.
M.B. “I’ve got to see that! You did your research, girlfriend!”

L.F. Well, I’ve had a great time working with Shawn Ewert.
M.B. “Oh yeah, he’s remarkable, isn’t he?  You know what? It was my birthday on Wednesday and when I came home from dinner, there was this box of flowers. I thought, who is this from?  It was from Shawn and I was never more amazed.

L.F. Avery Pfeiffer and Troy Ford ( the two leads in Sacrament) both spoke very highly of working with you. They said that you were so wonderful and so easy to talk to and really helpful.
M.B. “That’s lovely. I’m glad to hear it. I certainly enjoyed the whole experience.”

L.F. Well, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me. It really was an honour.

M.B. “Oh Lisa, it was great talking with you.”

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Butcher Boys

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Four teens out on the town celebrating a birthday run into the wrong people. Sissy (Ali Faulkner), her brother Mikey (Phillip Wolf) their friend Kenny (Matt Hensarling) and random, token slut Barbie (Tory Tompkins) have a chance encounter at a convenience store that sets off a violent chain of events. In a seedy part of San Antonio, a group of men begin relentlessly pursuing our teens. Why? Because they’re cannibals, that’s why.

Inspired by Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal these are the Boneboys; a motley group of men who are hunting human flesh. Some of them act like junkies and the leader, Bossboy (Johnny Walter) is a tall drink of water and a real smooth criminal. If you aren’t familiar with A Modest Proposal, I highly recommend checking it out; it really is a delightfully twisted read.

As our cannibals descend on their prey, the males are swiftly taken out while Sissy and Barbie are left to run around dark, back alleys. Alone. At this point, I feel compelled to admit that I only watched the first half of this movie on my first go and I’m about to tell you why. So, SPOILER ALERT. I’m about to get lengthy and preachy. You’ve been warned.

A film has to work pretty hard to offend me when it comes to using women as mere objects, but Barbie is one of the most offensively written slutty, unintelligent, disposable characters I have come across in a long time. Her greatest attribute is that she wants to make out with everyone. While running for her life, she literally runs into the boy whom she was making out with earlier in the film. Naturally, she screams and then exclaims,”what are you doing here? you’re totally hot” and proceeds to make out with him. I’m not kidding; this girl was just hiding in a locker, Texas Chainsaw 2003 style, fearing for her life and three seconds later, she is making out with this guy. What the what?! It gets better: when she realizes this group has only bad intentions towards her, she screams, ” I would have given all of you a blow job, but forget it!” When the guy who has been awarded the first go at her doesn’t immediately take charge, she slaps him and says, “what? are you gay?” Um, are we trying to make a world record of how many people we can offend in 20 seconds? Well,  thank goodness for the super close boob shot we are treated to before Barbie is eaten alive. The boob shot is one of the worst cases of editing in nudity I’ve ever seen. Also, dumb question, can you scream when someone is ripping your throat out with their teeth? This would be when, upon first viewing, I began to run out of patience. As a woman who is constantly defending Eli Roth and his portrayal and use of women, I feel pretty good about my tolerance level when it comes to finding something so unbelievably misogynistic that I’m not even offended by it, I’m just annoyed that my intelligence has been insulted and my time has been wasted.

Meanwhile, Sissy, who is clearly meant to be a modern day Marilyn Burns, is ignored by the police and ditched by the group of thugs that only stopped so they could, I’m assuming, rape her; after they see who is chasing her, they jump back into their stereotypical SUV and speed away. Apparently, people who live on “the other side of the tracks” know all about the Boneboys and choose to turn the other cheek when privileged white girls are being hunted. Enter the real Marilyn Burns walking her dog: because all women walk their dog’s alone, at night, in their bathrobes, through the worst part of town where the Boneboys are known to hunt. Well, one of these boys decides to steal her dog and this would be the exact moment when I shut off the movie. Why are we stealing a dog from a nice lady? What is going on here?!

Alright…second viewing and, yes, I watched the beginning of the film again. It was all still annoying. Now, we enter into the second half of the film. The Boneboys have gone back home to J.Swift’s (get it?), a large building that holds jail cells full of women, some sort of after hours establishment and the headquarters of the Boneboys. Oh yeah, and a makeshift gynecological exam room. Yes, I said gynecological exam.

I really enjoy the soundtrack at this point. It kind of sounds like tribal music made with aluminum trash cans and dumpsters; its very cool and suits the setting perfectly. As Sissy navigates her way through this mishegas, there is also a clever use of security cameras to help move the story along that I really liked. It isn’t new or groundbreaking, but it was a nice visual change up.

Walter does a great job with Bossboy. I absolutely adored the way he looked and his demeanor and presence. He is that bad guy that you shouldn’t find attractive or humorous, but his masculine energy cannot be denied. Bossboy is not to be trifled with. It really felt as though Walter had a great time with this character and it’s infectious.

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Everything that happens at J. Swift’s is either an homage or a blatant rip off of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and I will leave that up to the viewer to decide. We have a crazy dinner party, a chainsaw, someone who doesn’t seem to possess all of their mental faculties and a guy who likes to wear makeup. Yup, everyone is here. There is a super awesome, gory treat at the center of this dinner table; it really is a wonderfully gruesome sight to see and I would never ruin it for you. Faulkner also manages a pretty lovely Sally Hardesty moment towards the end of the movie. The last 9 minutes of Butcher Boys is some sort of statement on vegans crossed with the initial rapture/apocalypse scene in This Is The End, impregnated by Commando and influenced by John Waters. I say all of this as a huge compliment. I don’t know what was going on, but I loved every second of it.

I view this movie in two parts. The first half was an assault on my intelligence and my gender. The second half is a roaring good time. I love Sissy. She is a great entry into the Final Girl gamut. Faulkner plays her as smart, brave and tough, never screeching or annoying. Sissy is such a cool cucumber, she even keeps herself together when she runs into an older gentleman slathering his body in shortening. Yes, you read that correctly. The soundtrack is also pretty awesome. There are two uses of classical music that worked really, really well and as stated before, the industrial tribal music is cool. While I understand how the two parts of the story went together, I just cannot stomach that first half. It’s not gratuitous violence or nudity that bothers me; it’s the lazy writing of throwaway female characters who are only good for one thing. The fact that Butcher Boys is written by Kim Henkel (TCM 2003, TCM 1974, TCM:The Next Generation and TCM 3D) is what I find the most confusing. I love all of those movies. The Next Generation is a gem and I had tons of fun at TCM 3D. Directed by Duane Graves and Justin Meeks (The Wild Man of the Navidad) this entire movie is a giant celebration of Texas movie making. We are even graced with cameos by Marilyn Burns and Ed Guinn and a full role inhabited with crazy glee by Edwin Neal.

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Ultimately, the second half of this film is a crazy, violent and gory good time. I am very happy that I returned to the movie to see why it has such a fervent fan base. Some find it disturbing, but I found it to be humorous and in on it’s own joke. Despite all of the negativity I have thrown at Butcher Boys, I would recommend it; not to everyone, but to some. And the insanity that ensued at the end of the movie only makes me want to check out Graves and Meeks other movies.

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Butcher Boys is currently available on Netflix.