We had the opportunity to interview director/writer Steve Wolsh of Muck and the upcoming Kill Her Goats and Fog City. Kill Her Goats is coming to VHS soon, courtesy of a successful Kickstarter campaign!
Have a look at the trailer below, then read on for our killer convo with Steve Wolsh!
PopHorror: Hi Steve, thank you so much for taking the time to do this with us. The movie looks amazing.
Steve Wolsh: No problem, cool. Well, do you want to go through your questions? I’m ready.
PopHorror: I’m kind of a cryptid/urban legend enthusiast. The first thing I thought of when I saw the trailer for Kill Her Goats was the old stories I’ve heard of the Goatman. Did you get any inspiration from that?
Steve Wolsh: No, it wasn’t. It was really born out of wanting to do something kind of iconic and original and also challenging to pull off with practical effects. It was kind of an idea I had, so I ran it by Ben Bornstein, who does all my creature effects for all movies. And he’s like: we could probably blow that out of the water and make something really, really cool. So it was really born out of like, what has no one done and once you see it, you will definitely remember it.
PopHorror: Yeah, it definitely looks like it turned out well from the trailer and I’m excited about the practical effects aspect of it.
Steve Wolsh: Yeah, for me that’s the most fun part of making the movie, trying to figure out how to pull off the violence, gore, and stunts. Like, alright how are we gonna do that? For example, in Muck, how are we gonna throw a naked girl through a window on camera? The truth is it actually takes longer and costs more money. You could easily just have someone jump through a window, you could do a million takes. But to throw someone through a window and clear six feet of porch, and land in the yard, all in one take, a lot of things have to go right.
PopHorror: Right, it was Tom Savini I think I heard say that it’s like putting together a magic show.
Steve Wolsh: It is, it is. Especially when you combine the aspect of no CGI and practical effects shooting in 6k for 4k. Everything is lit very, very well, so you’ve got to be better at it. A lot of times, when people are doing practical effects it’s a lower budget movie, and it’s going to be darker with less cameras, and some of that blurry, muddiness can mask some of the things you’re trying to do in camera. Where if you have everything lit and are shooting in 6k, you’re going to see everything, you don’t get the luxury of hiding some of the lines or whatever. It’s got to be perfect and it has to look real. I’m fortunate that Tony and Ben come work with me on all these projects, they’re really great at what they do. We were able to pull off some pretty amazing stunts and creature effects.
PopHorror: Right, yea. So, when I think of someone called Goatface running around with a chainsaw, my first thought would be some sort of backwoods Slasher movie. What drew you to Cape Cod as the setting?
Steve Wolsh: So, I filmed all my movies in Cape Cod. I have a house on Cape Cod, and you know, one of the reasons is that I can destroy my own house for the movie. So we did. But also, Cape Cod has the best tax credit in the country, so there’s a financial incentive. We started doing Muck, and continued through Kill Her Goats and Fog City, all these movies take place in the fictional town of West Craven, it’s a stand-in for West Dennis which is where we do most of our filming in Cape Cod. So we had this idea, there’s lots of legends and ghost stories there. It’s one of the oldest parts of the country, it’s been around for a long time. There’s a lot of folklore and I decided that this beach town on Cape Cod can be the center of it. All the movies take place there, regardless of what they’re about, and we plan on continuing that. Another movie called Fog City, which is going to come out later this year, also takes place in West Craven.
So it just gives you everything. I mean, you got beaches, you got woods, all the houses are their own thing. Half the movies made are shot at somebody’s cabin because that’s easy, or their in LA and that’s no fun. So it just gives it its own kind of aesthetic and that’s kind of unique, at least unique to my horror films. So they all kind of fit together that way too, but they all kind of have their own look and feel.
PopHorror: So would you consider them to be in the same horror universe?
Steve Wolsh: So, I just saw that some people picked up on it already in the comments and things. So the main house in Kill Her Goats, the Tupp House, was kind of an ancillary house in Muck. No one ever goes inside, but they come across that house in Muck, at least Lauren’s character, Mia does. Now in this movie it’s the main location. The main character, Audra, her dad has bought this house, and it’s been empty for a long time. It was empty in Muck. And then the next movie, Fog City, takes place in the Muck house but at a different time. So they’re definitely connected and as we go, more things will connect. There’re people that will be relatives of other characters from other movies, and we’ll learn more about some of these families and locations as we go.
PopHorror: So this is your second collaboration with Kane Hodder, correct?
Steve Wolsh: Yes.
PopHorror: How did that come to be, and will we see him in anything in the future?
Steve Wolsh: I love working with Kane. I really liked the Friday the 13th movies, and for whatever reason, I don’t know if it was just my age or whatever, but I really liked Jason Takes Manhattan. I feel like I’ve watched that and owned that more than anything else. When we were making Muck, we made that movie for next to nothing and I thought he would add some gravitas to it so we reached out. We actually had kind of a good bond, that was actually the first movie he’d ever been shirtless in.
I don’t know if you know, but back in like ’76, when he was just starting out, he was almost killed in a car fire stunt. He’s got scars all over his body and we actually incorporated those in his look in Muck. We had a good time and we brought him back for this movie and we’ll definitely have him back in the Kill Her Goats sequel. Everyone loves him, he’s fun to have on set. If anything we could bring him on as a stunt coordinator on future films if there isn’t a role that makes sense for him. He’s a blast.
PopHorror: in the trailer, it shows him using some pretty interesting and unique-looking weapons. How did those come to be? Especially what looks like it might be a double-bladed chainsaw?
Steve Wolsh: Yeah, so Kane loved that. He tried to take it home with him. Sort of the same thing, I’m always trying to find things that are original. Every movie has a butcher knife or an ax and there’s not a lot of sport in that. So we tried to dream up some original weapons and things the bad guys can wield. That and we were trying to push the envelope of what we can do practically, what we can make. We basically took an electric chainsaw type thing down to the gears, then built it up with spare parts, there’s a little side thing for gas but it’s not actually doing anything, it’s still electric powered. We put smoke effects in there along with sparks, but it’s still powered by electricity. We welded it together and put on these ridiculous handles and taped them all up and invented this thing, and it turned out really really cool.
The other thing you see briefly in the trailer, is the Muckchete. Originally, this company sent it to me as an example of cool stuff they can do. They make unique end-of-the-world, zombie-type weapons. So the actual hero Muckchete is razor sharp on all sides, even the handle guard is jagged. There are videos, you can chop through cinder blocks with it. It’s pretty hardcore. It’s all one piece of metal that’s made into this weapon. Then we had another made that’s dull and slightly smaller so people can interact with it, but we never ended up using it in Muck, so it makes its first appearance in Kill Her Goats. But it probably won’t be the last time you’ll see a Muckchete. If zombies ever come, it’s behind my mirror.
PopHorror: Muck and Kill Her Goats have some interesting similarities in the casting with the usage of models. Can you tell me more about that?
Steve Wolsh: With Muck, when I was casting that movie, there’s no money for actors. I knew when they were going to announce the Playmate of the Year, and she basically goes from a model to someone that has a title known worldwide. You’d assume a horror movie is going to have hot girls in it, but when you hear Playmate of the Year, that means something. That means there’s going to be REALLY hot girls.
So essentially I called Playboy up the day after they announced and I booked her and we got Jaclyn for three or four days. Then fortunately they promoted it and we premiered Muck at the Playboy Mansion, they were super supportive. I was actually the last person to host a party there before Hef died.
At the Muck premier, Dani Mathers was a Playmate, not yet crowned Playmate of the Year. She was one bunnies at the premiere, and she was like: “I wanna be in the next movie.” Long story short, she is. Later that year she got the title of Playmate of the Year. The next year we filmed Kill Her Goats. We ended up casting a couple more Playmates: Monica Sims and Amberleigh West. And then Ellie, she’s not a Playmate, she’s a Guess Girl and national ambassador for the Wildlife Association and she did some movies. She did a movie with The Rock last year. I don’t know exactly how we came to connect but she really wanted to be in a movie so we did that, it never hurts to have an attractive cast.
PopHorror: I was looking at the Kill Her Goats merch on the site and came across the vinyl soundtrack for Kill Her Goats and was wondering if you wanted to get into the scoring and soundtrack of the film?
Steve Wolsh: Yeah, so the vinyl is twelve of the songs in the film, the score’s not on there. The score is one of the things I’m most proud of in these movies in general. So for Muck, we had three guys, one of which is like my best friend, Josh Bassett. They recorded just epic amounts of score, and there’s no synths, no computers. Everything is real instruments. We have cellos and oboes and jazz guitar, electric guitar, drums, tons of winds, violins. I had this insane idea for my quarter-million dollar movie, Muck, that every character should have their own instrument.
We just created so much score for Muck, that we could never use it all. So we repurposed a lot of that leftover score, with some modifications and some original stuff for Kill Her Goats. They had a hundred-and-two-year-old grand piano we used. Big movies, they have sound engineers that can create part of the score, but here everything you hear is an actual instrument. Which should have cost more than the movie itself but obviously it didn’t. So yeah, I’m really proud of our score, and because there’s so much of it, we also used it for Fog City. It creates a similar sound throughout the movies. It’s really well-placed.
Steve Wolsh (Cont.): As far as the soundtrack, I’m the de facto music supervisor. We just found these really cool tracks for all these movies, it’s something I work really hard at. There’s a song in Fog City that’s owned by Disney, and we had to go up the chain to the vice president of Disney Music to get them to agree to give me the song for $250 which they contracted as a loss. They told me this is the lowest amount of money they’ve ever contracted a song out for in the history of Disney Music for a film. But I got a hold of the artist and they wanted to do it so they pushed it through. We don’t have any money to pay for music but we don’t let that stop us from having, I mean this soundtrack is a really cool mix of music of blues and rock and pop, and it just had to be on vinyl. It was a big investment to release the soundtrack for this movie, that has no following yet, on vinyl. But we believed in it and we did it, and we’re selling so many that we’ll have to press more. We pressed a thousand originally and we’ll probably end up having to press more before the movie’s released.
Plus it’s got awesome art, some people just buy it for that. It was important to me that it looked like an album, not just with the movie art as the cover, or some iteration of the movie art as the cover. I wanted something that looked like a vinyl record, not like the movie poster on a vinyl. I think that’s part of the reason it’s doing well and people are into it.
PopHorror: So if someone was to plan on ordering one, should they hurry?
Steve Wolsh: Yeah, it’ll probably take 6-8 weeks to restock them once we’re out. We’re also selling out of our steelbooks for the preorder. We’re working and scrambling to order more because that’s also got a 6-8 week lead time. I mean, it’s a good problem to have, but it is still a problem.
PopHorror: yeah, definitely. I saw on your site, three live goats were used in the movie. Were there any complications or funny stories that went with that?
Steve Wolsh: You know, the goats were really well trained. There weren’t a lot of issues, there’s a couple goat bloopers in the bloopers for the movie. The main thing was, I planned on having the goats the last day of filming. It was a running joke with the crew: were there really gonna be goats? I kept telling everyone, yes, we’re going to have goats, they’re on the schedule, they’re on the call sheet. We have to do a lot of things with the goats, they have to be in the house, they’re outside, they’re on the beach, they’re running up the hills, there’s a lot of things that happen with the goats. My crew doesn’t doubt me, but they also thought maybe I was just yanking their chain. I wanted to do it the last day, partly just because someone called animal control. We dealt with that, that was fine. I just don’t know if we exactly had permission to have live goats around or not. So I just figured we could do it the last day and if there’s any issue, we’ll be done. The goats were good, they were fun. Everyone likes goats.
PopHorror: If I can, I’d like to circle back to Muck really fast and just ask if the whole trilogy is still coming or not?
Steve Wolsh: Sure, yes it’s been gestating for lots of reasons but yes, that is the plan. There were some delays and setbacks with the pandemic, like everything had. These two movies, Fog City and Kill Her Goats were meant to come out sooner. And originally the Muck prequel was supposed to be what became Kill Her Goats. We had all kinds of things that from start to finish morphed it into something different. But yes, those are on the to-do list as well as Kill Her Goats Christmas and then Fog City 2. So we have lots on our plate.
PopHorror: To wrap it up here, do you want to give our readers any more information on any future projects?
Steve Wolsh: I think we’ll keep most of that under the wraps other than Fog City will come out later this year. It’s completely different in basically every way thematically Kill Her Goats but still takes place in kind of the same fictional town of West Craven. It’s in the same world but it’s a different thing. That said, it’ll be released in 4k and it’s also no CGI, all practical effects, including orange fog that you can’t buy and doesn’t exist in nature. So having that as an element surrounding a two-story or three-story house or having cars on bridges that have to drive through it etc. It’s definitely the most challenging no CGI, practical effect we’ve taken on. It’s an undertaking having orange fog come over the hills and trees are 50/60/80 feet tall. It’s a whole thing, but it’s worth it, I think the end result is great.
We really upped the ante on what we can do with practical effects in that movie. It’s very violent and a lot of fun, you know for the kids! Everything we do is for the kids, man. Once you see the trailer you’ll understand. It’s not like one shot of fog, it’s all fog, there’s so much fog, fog on the beach and fog in the marsh and fog around the house. Even when they’re upstairs there is moving orange fog outside the windows. It’s quite a difficult element to create. It’s not like it’s a fog machine, they don’t make orange fog machines. There’s all kinds of different ways we created that.
PopHorror: Thanks again for doing this with us.
Steve Wolsh: Yeah, no problem.
Kill Her Goats releases on VOD, Blu-ray, and 4KUHD on March 13, 2023. Preorders are available at killhergoats.com!