Interview With ‘Hacksaw’ (2020) Writer And Director Anthony Leone

Writer and directer Anthony Leone—a passionate, new addition to the genre—will have his feature film debut with Hacksaw, under the Midnight Releasing banner, January 5th on Vimeo On Demand. A found footage style slasher, Hacksaw follows newly engaged couple Ashley (Amy Cay) and Tommy (Brian Butler) as they head home on a impromptu road trip. On the way, the pair decide to visit the site where notorious multiple murderer, Ed “Hacksaw” Crowe became legendary. True to horror film formula, they will soon regret this decision.

We got to chat with filmmaker Anthony Leone where he discussed his inspirations, what it was like completing his first feature, and what’s up next for himself.

PopHorror: I saw that you gave thanks to filmmakers Tobe Hooper and Dennis Hopper in the credits of Hacksaw. What was it about their work that you admire and wanted to, in some ways, pay homage to?

Anthony Leone: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, in my opinion, is one of the greatest horror films ever made. When I was a kid, I was a fanatic of that film, including the sequel he did. I loved how raw and real the film felt, almost like a documentary. So I tried my best to bring that real, raw feeling to Hacksaw, like Hooper did with Chain Saw. Tried. Dennis Hopper is one of those rare gems I feel we’ll never get again. Easy Rider is one of those movies I can watch every single day and never get tired of it. So, I tried to pull that road trip feeling like Hopper did in Easy Rider. Giving the audience that road trip experience before shit hits the fan (laughs).

PopHorror: When did you know you wanted to be a filmmaker, but most importantly, a horror filmmaker?

Anthony Leone: The moment I finished watching Only God Forgives by Nicholas Refn, I knew this is what I wanted to do. Not so much making horror films only. I love all genres and respect each genre and what purpose they serve for the audience. Horror is just really close to my heart, taking me back to when I was in middle school having sleepovers with my cousins, all of us having movie marathons watching Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street and the Friday the 13th series. I picked horror as my first thing because all I could think of was Texas Chain Saw Massacre while I was putting the project together.

PopHorror: How did it feel to wrap on Hacksaw?

Anthony Leone: It felt pretty surreal that after a year of shooting we finally wrapped. With limited resources and a shoe string budget, I was very lucky the film wrapped, because I’ve heard so many stories about movies that don’t make it past the finish line to its official release.

Actress and producer Amy Cay in Hacksaw.

PopHorror: What were some of the challenges, if any, you faced while in production of Hacksaw?

Anthony Leone: The non-existing budget (laughs). When you don’t have any money, you have to be extremely creative and use your locations available to you at your advantage in order to make it work for your film.

PopHorror: If you could work with any actor/actress—living or deceased—who would it be and why?

Anthony Leone: Depending on if our country isn’t shutdown the entire year, I really hope to work with Danielle Harris. I grew up watching her in the Halloween films, and then she came back in the Rob Zombie series, pretty legit and badass. I know for a fact this will happen one day. So definitely Danielle Harris. Cortney Palm, she’s another actress who I’ve known for a couple of years now. We have a project that we’re going to work on eventually, that’s going to be a lot of fun. A lot.

It just all depends on how next year turns out with the country and the new laws and restrictions that are going to be coming out.

PopHorror: I saw that you have another film in post-production currently: Mike and Fred VS. the Dead starring the fan favorite Felissa Rose. Can you tell us a little bit about this? Is there any word on a release date?

Anthony Leone: Mike and Fred is like Friday meets Day Of the Dead. We follow these two idiots on their journey to pick up their grandpa from a retirement home. While there, shit hits the fan around them. I’m still shooting Mike and Fred right now actually and haven’t even started editing yet, so that probably won’t be ready until early 2022. Maybe. There’s a lot that needs to be done still on that film. But it’s coming along very nicely.

Felissa Rose was amazing to work with. Amazing. Her energy and level of focus on set was great. She was extremely kind saying yes on coming on board this project. Since then, we worked on a second project, Kirby, a fun little comedy short film shot during quarantine. Felissa is someone I know who I’ll work with for a long time.

Scene from Hacksaw

PopHorror: If you were granted the opportunity to program a Double Feature at your local Drive-In, what two movies make the bill?

Anthony Leone: Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Hacksaw (laughs). Texas Chain Saw because that’s a classic and my film because well, it’s new (laughs). I need people to see the film somehow. So that would be pretty cool if it was attached to that bill. Hacksaw definitely has a drive-in appeal to it—for that midnight viewing with the audience—especially during Halloween.

We would like to thank Anthony Leone for his time and hope you head over to Vimeo starting January 5th to experience Hacksaw!

Check out the trailer below!

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