Lily and I made the Troma panel at this year’s Stan Lee’s Los Angeles Comic Con a priority as Lloyd Kaufman and his family of wildly creative misfits never disappoint an audience. There were a multitude of entertaining Troma stories from years past, but it was young director, Kansas Bowling’s experience working with Kaufman that caught our interest to the degree that we had to hunt her down at the Troma booth. We were dying to ask her about her debut feature, a prehistoric feminist slasher film shot on 16mm, B.C. Butcher, which she directed at the age of seventeen. B.C. Butcher received post-production funding from Kaufman and is being distributed by Troma, and it was the catalyst for the creation of the Troma Institute for Gifted Youth, which inducted Kansas as its first member. We caught up with Kansas and one of the film’s stars, Natasha Halevi for a short interview.
Generoso: I have loved Troma movies for most of my life because I was lucky enough to have seen The Toxic Avenger when it was released at the old TLA theater in Philly where I grew up. You grew up loving Troma as well, so being part of Troma Entertainment now must be a dream come true for you! How did you and Lloyd come to work together on B.C. Butcher?
Kansas: I made the film without any real plan for it; I always just wanted to make it and then see what would happen, but I had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to reach out to Troma because I have been a huge fan of what they do. So, once I finished shooting, I found Lloyd Kaufman’s email and wrote him and explained that I was this seventeen year old girl who had just shot this film on 16mm and that the film was the first prehistoric slasher film and also that Kato Kaelin was in it. Lloyd responded and wrote that it sounded interesting and wanted to meet with me. Not too long after that, we met up and had lunch when he was in town for San Diego Comic Con, and I told him that I ran out of money, so he then offered to give me money for post-production. And when he saw B.C. Butcher completed, he then said that he wanted to distribute it through Troma.
Lily: We know from the synopsis that B.C. Butcher is a prehistoric slasher film. That description by itself is pretty Troma-worthy. Can you tell us more about the inspiration for the film?
Natasha: This is indeed the first cavewoman slasher movie. I really want to stress the female aspect of the film as Kansas went out of her way to bring in so many female roles, and I think that there is an overall feminist tone to the film in that the women in it are quite intelligent, although a bit dangerous when dealing with one another, whereas the men have a long way to go in terms of development. Most of the men just grunt, and the women speak, but I will say that most of the men are hysterical in the film. Kansas created this amazing jungle world in her backyard that was full of scantily-clad cavewomen while running one of the most professional sets that I’ve ever been on, making the whole experience great. Kato, for example, had a blast improvising as he was wowed by all of the women in the film.
Generoso: Kansas, during the panel that was held earlier today you mentioned Caveman, the 1981 Ringo Starr film, as an example of previous prehistoric films that you watched when you were younger, but we got the sense that the film wasn’t one that you really enjoyed? Was it due to the way the film objectified women, or was it due to all of the scatalogical humor?
Kansas: I will say that I do love Barbara Bach; she is an awesome actress, but no, that film didn’t inspire me to make B.C. Butcher. I was always inspired by Roger Corman and what he has said to young filmmakers, and that is to just make a movie with what you already have. I had the location as my dad lives in Topanga Canyon, which is surrounded by forest land that creates a jungle-like world, so everything sprang from that. Also, I must say that The Ramones were a huge influence to me because when they started out, all of the music on the radio was like Pink Floyd with twenty minute experimental guitar solos, so what The Ramones wanted to do was strip down the music back to rock and roll, and I’m sure you know their song, “Sheena Is A Punk Rocker,” so I thought about a cavewoman rock and roll thing. So, why not make a simple horror movie crossed with a prehistoric Annette Funicello movie?
Lily: I know that Troma is distributing B.C. Butcher, so where does it go from here?
Kansas: Troma has it on their streaming service right now and on Amazon and iTunes as well. We did have a huge red carpet premiere at the Egyptian Theater, which was very exciting. It has been screening all over the world, recently at a film festival in Spain, and even today it is screening in Washington, D.C. This is awesome.
To see The B.C. Butcher:
Thanks to Kansas Bowling and Natasha Halevi for taking the time to speak with us and to Lloyd Kaufman of Troma for setting this up and for being Lloyd Kaufman.