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Rick Popko & Dan West
Horror Interview by The Drug Stuffed Corpse

Q: When I was a teen I was at a party one night. A friend and I decided that it was nice enough night to go outside, get some air and hog an 8-ball of blow I scored turning tricks in the Regent Park area of Toronto. We got to the side of the house and from the bushes crawls this obviously drunk and stoned chick. She looked about 20 or so, and was crawling on her hands and knees towards us. She was pawing at our crotches and drooling, so we did the polite thing and pulled out our cocks. She didn't suck them so much as lick them and slap them off of her face. When we finished, being gentlemen, we dragged her back into the bushes from where she emerged, finished the ball, and went back to the party. The next day I returned to the place of the party to compliment my friend on a good night. He told me that the cops were just at his house because his next door neighbor's retarded daughter got out last night and was sexually assaulted. So there is my experience in being eaten by a retard - please tell me about any retard and/or zombie experiences you have had that brought you to creating a retard/zombie film...

Dan: Oddly enough, I'd had a very similar experience in my teen years, but it differed slightly in that I was out of my mind on PCP at the time and MAY - and I stress MAY have fucked a chicken at some point in the evening... I read a story about something to that effect in the papers the next morning...I also woke up the with blood on my hands that was obviously not my own, so I assume I also must have killed something or someone in the course of the evening, but the rest was almost exact to your own experience...go figure. Being high on PCP, I saw plenty of zombies as well as werewolves, clowns and Regis Philbin's head sprouting from the body of a gigantic tarantula. I think Regis was the one that might have encouraged me to fuck the chicken, but that's Regis for you, that crazy son of a bitch!

Rick: Let me interject here. It wasn't a chicken, it was a guy wearing a chicken suit. You'd freak out too if a 180 pound stranger jumped on your back screaming, "Who's your daddy, be-otch?!" It took me and two other guys to pry you off the dude… The whole time he's flapping his wings, screaming, "Rape! Rape!"... feathers were flying everywhere. Thank God you kept your pants on the whole time and were only dry humping the poor guy. The blood you're referring to was from the concussion you received when you told the guy at the taco truck later that night that he was three beans short of an Enchirito. Dude, the shit I put up with when I hang out with you. One of these days you're going to get us both killed.

Q: There really isn't a better way to go than by a pseudo-beastiality, interracial violence fuelled rape and murder, and with that I'm going to segue into stating that I like to imagine that Retardead started with a title way before any script had been started - am I correct?

Dan : After we completed Monsturd back in 2002 or whenever it was, we kicked around ideas for another movie for months before we agreed on anything. While we were firing out titles and plots, I came up with a title, Special Dead; I wasn't sure if there was anything there, but the title was funny. I pitched this to Rick and Rick responded "They're "RetarDEAD!". And we laughed at that for about two minutes before we decided that "RetarDEAD" was a great, catchy title and started brain-storming a Monsturd sequel on the title alone. A few years later some like-minded film makers actually came out with another zombie comedy titled, Special Dead, so I guess "great" minds think alike...or at least exploitation film makers with questionable morals certainly do at times.

Rick: I like to think RetarDEAD is a bullet proof title. If someone watched it and didn't like it, what are they going to say - "That movie was retarded?" Well, no shit, Sherlock. What were you expecting from a movie called RetarDEAD? Citizen Kane?

Q: Not unlike Citizen Kane, Retardead is a comedy, but also an exploitation film - did you ever consider going 'full retard' and hire real retards instead of retarded actors pretending to be retards?

Dan: We didn't want to steal Crispin Glover's thunder on that front. He was, after all, technically, the "Thomas Edison" when it came to casting actors with down syndrome in a movie with his film, What is It? It would be like trying to recreate a cinematic milestone achievement like Blood Feast or Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS. Plus, I think if Rick and I had gone that route we would have possibly been physically-assaulted outside the theater where we premiered "RetarDEAD." I may like to do a lot of odd things, but those things do not include being physically assaulted, unless you're speaking in terms paying money for that sort of thing, then it's ALLLLL good! The title was tasteless enough, and, being the highly-sensitive, artistic filmmakers that we are, we did try to walk a fine line with the joke by not going to the extent that Troma did on Citizen Toxie - with the excessive drooling an such. Actually, if you really analyze the movie, the entire cast of characters seem to suffer from at least some form of mental retardation, so everyone in our fictional county lives in a metaphorical glass house when the term "retard" comes into play.

Rick: Metaphorically speaking, we're all retards in our own unique ways. For example, if you put me in a room full of electrical engineers trying to solve the problem of where to put a new light socket in the ceiling, I would be the complete retard in the room. I don't know my AC from my DC. If they told me to figure it out and they all left, I'd most likely end up electrocuting myself. Face it, we can't all be smart at everything.

Q: But you could have saved some cash by paying the retards in monopoly money...

Dan: Actually we paid the entire cast with over-sized, novelty store, one hundred dollar bills, explaining that the bills had traveled through a mysterious cloud of radiation and had grown to gigantic proportions, therefore making them worth even more money! We also gave one individual a gigantic, fake cashier's check from the Publisher's Clearing House and a balloon that read : "Get Well Soon!"

Rick: Don't forget the hot dogs! I was the designated onset hot dog maker. Since we couldn't pay people with real money, we figured we had to at least nourish them in some way. Oh, and we pretty much always had hearty supply of beer on the set.

Q: Some filmmakers like to follow a subject around before trying to commit them to celluloid. How many months did you spend on the short bus taking in the various nuances of the retarded lifestyle before filming began?

Rick: When I was in Jr. High, I actually used to have to ride the short bus to school for a couple of years. I lived on a remote mountain top outside of a small town. There weren't enough kids on the mountain to justify sending up a full-sized school bus, so they would send out the special kids' van. The van had super padded seats and crazy seatbelt restraints so that the kids couldn't hurt themselves or each other when they were going from home to school and back. In addition, the special kids in our community were fairly integrated into our schools. While they had special classrooms, they were free to walk around with the rest of us during recess and lunch breaks. I don't mean that to sound flippant, but there are some communities that try to hide their special kids away from public view… Pretend that they don't exist if you know what I mean. That was definitely not the case with the schools I grew up in.

Q: And in regards to kids - what I liked about the film was how it was narrated by a little girl telling her dad the story of the Retardead. I'd like to have seen dad's expression when his daughter used countless strings of profanity and her describing the Weenie Wagger jerking off in front of women...

Dan: Yes, she has quite the perverse imagination, maybe one day she will grow up to be a serial killer or have a hand in snuff films. We actually like that gag, too. We always hope the audience, at some point thinks, "What in the fuck is wrong with that kid?!"

Q: You guys have done a shit monster movie and a retard zombie film - what's next?

Dan: We aren't at liberty to discuss the next sequel yet, but we can assure you the next movie will be as classy and tasteful as our first two horror outings.

Rick: We might try our hand at a Sci-Fi-like premise.

Q: Let me throw an idea at you. I've been pitching this one for years, but no one wants it: it's a coprophilia/phagia period-piece comedy sex-romp that is set in the Netherlands during World War II. It's about a girl and her family who have absconded into a hidden room in an abandoned office building in order to avoid being found by the brave and benevolent soldiers of the Third Reich. When their food rations are utterly depleted, desperation forces them to 'recycle' their waste in order to survive. Hilarity (and much sexualisation of fecal matter) ensues. It will be called The Diarrhea Of Anne Frank. What do you think?

Dan: Throw in a song and dance number concerning a botched abortion and you have what some folks in "the biz" define as "comedy gold"!

Rick: What if the poo magically helps Anne regain her sight and hearing at the end?... I smell Oscar gold!

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