Addison Binek’s Psycho Ape! might seem like just another goofy, low-budget horror spoof… well, okay. It is. But sometimes that’s what a person wants to see! The movie is intensely self-aware, always making it clear that it’s about a Psycho Ape (Stephen Albers) going around killing people. However, there is one special lady who has that magical influence on Psycho Ape and occasionally tames the savage beast. Or does she really only inspire further carnage?
We interviewed the film’s director about this and other questions and are reminded that sometimes these projects are valuable because they add fun to people’s lives.
PopHorror: How might one avoid Psycho Ape attacks?
Addison Binek: Avoid eating bananas in public. Or wearing banana scented perfume or cologne.
PopHorror: What is so special about the character Nancy Banana (Kansas Bowling) that Psycho Ape spares her from his primal rage?
Addison Binek: Her last name is Banana and instinctually/telepathically, he somehow knows this. It’s something I think we lost from ape to man evolution.
PopHorror: What can you tell people about Dr. Zoomis (Bill Weeden)?
Addison Binek: Dr. Zoomis is a psychologist, zookeeper, and underground rap artist. He vomits up mom’s spaghetti before a rap battle like the best of them.
PopHorror: How many revisions, if any, were made to the Psycho Ape! script?
Addison Binek: The script was an 11-page outline with specific scenes written out that included cast required, props needed, and which famous movie scenes were going to be parodied like Inglourious Basterds, King Kong… Most, if not all, of the kill scenes were improvised the day they were shot depending on who showed up that day to help with the movie and what props were available. The Ratatouille/Toy Story debate was entirely improvised on the spot… as if that wasn’t 100% clear. The shooting of the film was very loose and we filmed every Thursday over the course of several months.
Psycho Ape Thursdays consisted of filming a kill scene or watching a bad ape movie like King Kong Lives, Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes, or Going Bananas with Dom DeLuise and writing a scene that might parody or reference these films. We filmed and edited bit by bit until we had an hour-long movie. That was our goal. Short and sweet.
PopHorror: What are some of your favorite horror movies?
Addison Binek: My top favorite horror movies are Dawn of the Dead ’78, The Return of the Living Dead, The Devil’s Rejects, The Toxic Avenger, and Evil Dead. Horror comedies are my absolute favorite. Horror spoofs, too, like Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein and Dracula: Dead and Loving It.
PopHorror: Psycho Ape! has little musical break sections. Was that inspired by Austin Powers?
Addison Binek: Definitely inspired by Austin Powers. I came up with that when we were filming the movie because I randomly binged the trilogy.
Comedy helps us cope with reality
PopHorror: What is your advice to people getting started in filmmaking?
Addison Binek: Don’t take yourselves too seriously. Props break, actors flub lines… embrace it. Low-budget filmmaking should be fun. People who watch independent films love these kinds of do-it-yourself movies.
PopHorror: What are some misconceptions people have about a movie like Psycho Ape?
Addison Binek: The true story behind the film is actually quite tragic. My co-writer/cinematographer/editor Greg Deliso and I both lost loved ones in our lives just prior to shooting. One of my close friends who I had known for 18 years who was also originally going to play the ape passed away suddenly, and then Greg’s wife passed away a few months later. We were both lost and depressed, so we distracted ourselves by making a silly, low budget, killer monkey movie.
We tossed continuity and believable costumes and props out the window and just had fun with it. The film may appear to be a wild splatter comedy spoof about an ape killing people with bananas, but it’s really us just working through some grief and trying to make ourselves laugh. We’re glad that people think it’s funny, too!
PopHorror: Much of Psycho Ape! seems to revolve around banana attacks. What are some of your favorite weird weapons in horror?
Addison Binek: Toxie’s mop from The Toxic Avenger. The lawnmower from Dead Alive. I also love when Jason Voorhees [Kane Hodder] freezes a woman’s face in Jason X and smashes her head onto the table.
PopHorror: Does a movie like Psycho Ape! corrupt the youth?
Addison Binek: Probably. But they should watch it anyway. Then make their own silly independent movie!
We’d like to thank Addison Binek for answering our questions. Also, Psycho Ape! is probably lurking somewhere near you…