5 Questions: Jeremy “The Beast” Sumrall

In preparation for a spectacular moment in Houston movie history, the debut hometown screening of award-winning horror film ‘Sweatshop,’ we fired up the GonzoGeek M1A1, drove north into the woods, and cornered it’s arch-villain (‘The Beast,’ Jeremy Sumrall) hunched over his forge creating god-only-knows what. Before you write the mechanized weaponry off as overkill, just take a look at the heavy metal he’s swinging!

The Beast - 'Sweatshop'

The screening event takes place at Meridian (1503 Chartres), where the movie was shot, at 8 pm this Friday, July 2. Screening event, you ask? Why yes. Sabrina Sin is hosting the screening as part of her Fetish Friday, featuring the music of  Lucid Dementia and serving as the wrap party for the entire cast (Ashley Kay, Peyton Wetzel, Melanie Donihoo, Julin, Danielle Jones, Brent D. Himes, Naika Malveaux, Krystal Freeman, Vincent Guerrero, Jeremy Sumrall) and crew. So, yes, there’ll be plenty more fun to be had once the credits have rolled.

Anyway, he’s busy and doesn’t exactly look thrilled to see us, so let’s get on with it.

1) What should folks coming out Friday night be most excited about?
Well, the coolest thing about the screening Friday night is that we’re finally going to be showing it in Houston, which is where it all began! We started this journey almost three years ago in the nightclub Meridian – which, coincidentally is where we’re screening it Friday evening! – and we’re able to finally bring it full circle after sweeping most of the major awards at the Texas Blood Bath Film Festival in October of last year, and winning Best Special FX at the New York City Horror Film Festival in November, and Best Special FX at Texas Frightmare Weekend back in May! Most of the cast and crew will be in attendance at this special Houston screening, and it’s our first public screening since we announced distribution from Synapse Films! ‘Sweatshop’ will be available everywhere on DVD in America through Synapse early 2011, and Screen Media Ventures has sold the international rights to several foreign markets, so this little Houston-based film is taking off in a big way! This is our official wrap party, so come out and get nutty with the cast and crew!!!!

2) What should they be most scared of?
Obviously they should be scared of me!!!  Hahahaha! Actually, I think they should be most scared of the screening selling out before the day of the event! Get your tickets early, people!!! The movie itself is a roller coaster ride, much like those early 80s slashers we all grew up on! It’s a hell of a good time, with tons of boobs, blood, gore, insane kills, and one of the handsomest serial killers in history! 😉

3) What does it feel like to be The Beast?
To be honest, it’s a dream come true. As a kid, while everyone wanted to be the next Michael Jordan or Mario Andretti or Earl Campbell, I was soaking in the blood from the 80s slashers, so I was always hoping I’d get the opportunity to play an unstoppable killing machine along the lines of Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers, and now I have. Stacy Davidson (co-writer and director of ‘Sweatshop’) really gave me a blank slate for the character, so I was able to add whatever weird little quirks I could come up with, like the way The Beast walks, or cocks his head when he’s confused, the way he breathes, etc. One of the most interesting character traits about The Beast though came about through pure necessity. I was in the middle of a scene and I felt my huge welding glove start to slip off my hand, so to prevent breaking character, I adjusted them mid-scene in a menacing way, and Stacy loved it so much that it became a trademark. That was pretty cool that something so innocuous became this neat little character trait.

4) Is the giant sledge your ultimate fantasy weapon?
Ultimate fantasy weapon? I tell ya, the screen-used hammer is plenty heavy, so the idea of wielding a real-life anvil on a sewage pipe does give me pause!!!! But, it gets the job done in a very, very messy way! And it sends the message that this guy is not one to be fucked with! So yeah, I guess it kinda is my ultimate fantasy weapon!

5) What’s happening on the ‘Possum Walk’ front?
‘Possum Walk’ – if you don’t know already – is my directorial debut. I wrote the script a few months after we wrapped ‘Sweatshop,’ and we were in production a short year later. We wrapped picture lock about a month ago, and the movie is with our post-production audio guy right now. If all goes well, we should be done with that shortly! After that, it’s just a matter of getting the score done and putting a final stamp of approval on the movie! We’re shooting for a fall release with that one!

Alright, thanks evil dude!

We’re outta here, but you know your mission folks: You’ve got the rest of the long weekend to sit around eating barbecue and thinking about how wonderful God and country and family and nature all are. How ’bout starting the holiday off by celebrating the other side of what makes America great…..creativity!

What’d you think I meant?

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