Sometimes, it is great to be weird. Sometimes it is so much fun to be strange. But to be weird and strange, that is when shit just gets beautifully complicated. One of the most wonderful things about the world of film is that it can be a forum for truly talented people to celebrate the weird and the strange. And I can think of very few filmmakers who have managed to showcase how delightful the deranged and demented can look on film than legendary indie filmmaker Tony Watt.
Tony Watt is a guy who has made some films that would make Lloyd Kaufman seem like Stanley Kaufman, or John Waters seem like Steven Speilberg making another movie with Tom Hanks as yet another lovable asshole. Watt’s filmography is littered with nothing less than some of the most creative and bizarre scenarios that will leave you wondering: Is there something wrong with me for really loving this sick shit? The answer is no. Celebrate the weird! Celebrate the strange! And on that note, I am very happy that we got to ask a few questions from this amazing multi-media mastermind. Ladies and Gentlemen…..Tony Watt!
So much of your work is build around an obvious love for all things bizarre. Frankenpimp and Acid Head: The Buzzard Nuts County Slaughter alone sound incredibly strange and awesome just by the title. Tell us if you would be willing to answer a simple but maybe complex question…..How do you come up with this shit?
-Before the Internet— I wanted to become a rock star, or a cartoonist…. I thought that the miracle of Film-making came like magic, to an elite, lucky few in Hollywood, U.S.A. ,from God’s personal blessing (When film equipment, analog film-editing & analog sfx, was more expensive; pre-YouTube days…) I covered all this ephemera, in my book Kount Kracula’s Twisted Sinema,available on Amazon, BarnesAndNoble.com..and the finer e-book stores, near you (*Smiles*).
…As movie influences; my mom & Raymond, my Dad; used to throw laundry on top of me and my younger my brother, in the back seat of their car & sneak us into the Jamaican ‘Harbour View’ Movie Drive-In, to see a Mainstream & sometimes Exploitation movies. I remember them gently pushing my & my brother’s head down & telling us to go to sleep, whenever a titty scene came on).
In the late-70s & ’80s on theToronto-based, Elwy Yost hosted the Magic Shadows public television, movie showcase series [ I viewed such cinematic ephemera, like Mighty Joe Young, 'Animal Farm & Buster Crabbe's 'Flash Gordon..etc..] and regular American tv shows [Like Adam West's Batman, Redd Foxx's Sanford & Son, Gabe Kaplan's Welcome Back, Kotter', Starsky & Hurch, What's Happenin', Diff'rent Strokes, The Dukes of Hazard, Elizabeth Montgomery's Bewitched & Lee Major's Six Million Dollar Man... Britain's Red Dwarf and the Monty Python series...etc..], as well as the WUTV Buffalo U.S.A.-based (and Canadian seen) Creature Feature and Sci-Fi Theater’ afternoon Showings of Japan’s Mothra, Godzilla and Gamera-type movies.
Thankfully, in the early 2000’s when I was just starting out in film; I was able to transfer my expensive analog-based film-making footage efforts to the cheaper digital medium (and to also edit in that electronic medium (as analog film editing took way longer and infinitely more expensive). I think my film-making is an amalgamation of my self-taught, self interest ‘sequential arts’ studies.
What is it about the bizarro category that intrigues you?
-As a kid-to- teenager in the 70s & 80s ( when an average kid’s meager disposable cash was only able to go so far, towards, say 45 vinyl records..candy & comic-books ), I had a $1.50-$2.50 weekly allowance.Thankfully I wasn’t interested in video games.
And with such a meager allowance; personally going to movies, in the local mall-theaters, was a rarity. So I really wanted to focus become an animator, or cartoonist… moviemaking thoughts were a million miles away…though I fancied acting very much…even took courses….anyhow, lost the plot..where was I..oh, drawing became my main hobby.
I only needed a pencil and clean paper, to be a happy boy….. But, my art skills then, were OK for impressing my friends with sketchy porno & Hulk drawings…but, as far as being professional , I was far below par. And also, I had many artistic focuses, in music, acting, writing,,drawing… which pissed off my hard-working, blue-collar father to no end.
…But, I could afford comic-books…. kept drawing for years…. trying to create better form.. studying the art books and looking through various comics helped me find my own personal style…… I prowled flea-markets and got a lot of the classics, near classics and non-classics…. My early artistic entertainment mostly came from comic-book reading (mostly compiled from my mom’s brother: Uncle Charlie who had a lot of Cracked Eerie & Mad magazines, as well as DC, Charlton & Marvel Comics…My mom’s sister Aunt Jill, had a lot of Harvey , Disney & Archie stuff) & I dug reading Sunday Paper Funnies (a lot of it [the Weekend Newspaper Color Comic Strips] were collected & compiled together and placed inside each other, like a huge ash-can comic, minus staples), gotten from my Grandma Gwendolyn[aka Precious], who over months, slipped them all into one honkingly huge comic-strip omnibus, and also , who I credit, as being very integral in fueling my artistic hunger (as well as being the real creator of the trade‘graphic-novel’) *Laughs*…
…The comic 70′s and 80′s color weekend strip pages were larger, and more colorful than today’s—- & had many, many ‘genres’ in those days. …. not just the funny sitcom stuff.
In the late- 1970s, I had a buddy, in Brampton Ontario, Canada; named Stuart, who’s older brother Collected Robert Crumb, Spain Rodriguez, & Gilbert Shelton…mostly ’60s-70′s ‘Underground’ stoner comix…And my mom had her crazy Mickey Spillane & Harold Robbins books… Good times!
.. In school, I also loved reading biographies, Mark Twain, Dickens, Southern USA & West Indian folklore and Norse / Greek mythology books( as well as the epic tales from the King James’ children’s bible) ..so you see, before films: books, t.v. and comics where my main source of entertainment and storytelling influences) …. Even more so, when VCRs came in, in the 1980s…But, I’d say mostly comics…mainly Heavy Metal Magazine..I’d put on a cassette of Zeppelin, Queen , Pink Floyd, or Genesis, or whatever..and slip away.
..Later, as a teen; (in the mid-80s to Early ’90s), before I dropped cartooning,& grew my hair long, to start rock bands, for chicks. I studied almost every major comic creator (even from old 50’s E.C. & Gold Key Comics), from Jack Kirby, Jim Steranko, Wally Wood, Steve Ditko, Carl Banks, Frank Miller, to Engand’s 2000 A.D. Magazine‘s Alan Moore and Alan Davis, to Heavy Metal Magazine‘s Jean Giraud (aka Mœbius), Philippe Druillet, Richard Corben & Simon Bisley…. so, to answer your question about my intrigue, about the bizarro category…. I look at my film projects as living comic books… Something to take you out of this serious world for an hour and a half..or , in the case of my comic books : 20 minutes, to half hour,
…When I firmly decided to become a comic ‘creator’, back then (in the late-70s), as a kid; I first looked through a lot of related ‘artist’ books at the local library….Walt Disney, Frank Frazetta, Chester Gould, Al Capp, Walt Kelly, Milt Caniff, Alex Raymond & Burne Hogarth (etc.) stuff was the amongst first library books that I borrowed, based on art ( I was hooked on the sci-fi fantasy world within the worlds and works the artists created)…Their fine art, in the comic strip & book medium (Hogarth and Raymond’s Tarzan & Flash Gordon), really took me to other worlds; that I saw in the movie theater (My mother took me to a lot of Johnny Weissmuller ‘Tarzan’ movies, in a velvet-curtained theater… which was awesome) in the early-mid 70s.
In turn, from these cartoonists’ initial influences (as well as EC/DC/Marvel/Charlton & 60s-70s underground comix), inspiring my late 80s and ’90’s foray into creating T&A fantasy comics, for various Canadian ‘gentlemen’s’ adult magazines..up to my own recent ’10s indie graphic-novel output..like: Code Name: King, Bird of Steel and also my Space Chick & Nympho:Vampire Warrior Party Girl comix series (all upcoming , or available on Amazon, BarnesAndNoble .com and others of the finer e-book stores near you, Sir, don’cha know!?* laughs*).
I know you are probably sick of explaining this, but I have to ask…..Where does the nickname “Tex” derive from?
- I served in the U.S. AIR FORCE , in Fort Worth Texas, a while back…..and that….
…. So, when I came back to Canada, ‘Tex’ the nick-name stuck…It’s a hell of a lot better than ‘Toronto’, I guess.
What was not so insane, but still strangely brilliant was your 2009 Documentary, Dobbie Dobson: An Interview with Jamaica’s Music Ambassador. This seems like such a stretch from your normal works.
I believe folklore culture is important in all societies… even the mindless smut I create, takes a lot of personal research into getting a drift, on anything I’m writing about script wise, and that..
… A lot of the vintage West Indian ‘music scene’ is not documented, very well…Especially seeing from my research & interviews; how a mixture of African Culture and North American culture (both of which I grew up in), can make such a sweet gumbo, of the Jamaican music styles…and how (just like my art was partly influenced by Japanese monster B-movies, that wafted from an American tv station’s airwaves into Canada) these talented West Indian artistes adapted the North American pop music sound, which wafted over from Miami, U.S.A.’s radio-wave signals, into their own various music sounds and stylings; like Jamaican doo-wop, reggae, ska, lover’s rock,roots rock, rocksteady, toasting (early rap), dancehall and other such delights, Mahn…T-tt! (“Laughs*)
Dobby Dobson records were also a part of my family’s vinyl collection..I especially remember digging the East Indian-looking lady, drinking milkshake with him, on his ‘Sweet Dreams’ album cover picture, when I was 6, or 7…. Very Talented man, that Dobby Dobson… He is a musical amabassador….. In concert he sings in all the Jamaican styles I mentioned, even gospel. (these days…..google, youtube, , I-tune, or Catch his stuff live, you can…… There’s more than Marley, out there kids.. Yuh bet yuh Bumbo!!..Big Choons , Sah!..Chuss I-yah!… His site is at DobbyMusic.com! (*Laughs*)
So, how did your manage to hook up with the reggae legend to make this thing happen?
-Dobby & I met in the late 2000s, at one of his Toronto area concerts & he knew I was a filmmaker…
…. so, we chatted & I found out that he wanted his music in my movie (Vixen Highway 2006: It came from Uranus) & I also helped him with his ‘rockumentary’, that you mentioned. Also, by coincidence, my aunt, Dr.Mavis Burke, a Jamaican educator/author , taught Mr. Dobby, in Kingston College, when his was a youngster…. Life is stranger than fiction, man!
Check out the entire documentary, free at IMDB.com.
You have worked side by side with your partner, the wonderful Vivita for quite some time.
-We met on the internet …now, before you get the wrong idea we found each other in the filmmaker section of Meetup.com and she became my wife a few t.v. shows and movies later.
What do you believe it is about this relationship that works out so well professionally?
… I was a filmmaker.t.v. producer looking for a female editor, who could hopefully act ..and she was an actress who just took up editing, right…..
We hooked up to work professionally, and the… well, shit happened, y’know! Not exactly a text book romance though…I came on a bit heavy, on our first meet-up and she told me to agitate the gravel, eh.
So, later, after I was in a major car accident and she stalked…er… visited me… strangely ver-ry often., at the Toronto area St. Michaels Hospital… then love was in the air…..ah, the smell of hospital urine and formaldehyde, must’ve done it… and things grew from there….actually I grew from there…She’ll kill me for saying this, but she once took me, on the hospital bed, behind the screen.. and when we were done..er..communicating… I was back in my sexy blue backless nightgown, literally a few seconds before hospital security showed up, behing my tented casbah— thank God! But, at least it got me released from the hospital, earlier! (*laughs*)
Is there some sort of spirited connection that gives you two the ability to create such great entertainment/art together?
Our mutual lust for glory…..and bread!
Another individual you “work” with is a little somebody named Sophia The Cat. Who exactly is Sophia The Cat?
-Sophia The Cat?… Sophia The Tabby….Sophia The Super-Bitch Diva?…She owns Vivita and I…We are her ‘humans’…she let’s us (and her little felin- friend, Dino) live with her.
She’s our Pussy Queen.. When she was a kitten, last year…..we were filming a t.v. & online crowd-pledge fundraiser for, our upcoming Pam Grier-influenced ChickRevenge flick Violet Is Blue & Sophie hopped up on the synthesizer keyboards (with an old-time organ sound), which happened to be on at the time and walked across it (the video is on Youtube)..
We then used the tune in Nosferatu vs. Father Pipecock & Sister Funk (in the scene when the hero, Hutter wakes up & checks a second time to see if Count Orlock the shape-changing vampire is still alive, before he ran up to his room, being followed by the demonic, sexually ambiguous, homicidal bloodsucking aristocrat)…We also got the cats to act in the movie, as well.
Can you tell us a bit about your latest film Nosferatu vs. Father Pipecock & Sister Funk?
…I re-dubbed, reedited and added scenes to the original director: M F.W.urnau’s classic, Nosferatu (1922) movie…… big fan of the original film
What exactly is this film about?
Well, according to Amazon.com , in Nosferatu Vs. Father Pipecock and Sister Funk (2014)’ the ‘Original 1922 star: Max Schreck plays (in newly tinted archive footage, mixed, with new) Count Orlock, a deviant, adulterous, shape-shifting Transylvanian vampire aristocrat & super creep, who is tearing Bremen, a new corn-hole & it’s up to a ‘brotha-in-a-collar’ and a creole nun with a flamin’ gun, to stop him, in this ‘creature-feature’ fang-fest! Co-Starring Canadian Scream Queen: Vivita, with new footage shot in tantalizing Watt-a-Rama & dubbed in Tex-O-Phonic Super-Sound; Nosferatu Vs. Father Pipecock and Sister Funk , kicks ass! ‘…. Basically I added naked tits & rumps…..and some colour sequences…Just like Murnau intended , but, was born 100 years too early…I also sexed up the Count and gave him a few lusty, nublile vamps for his wives…now, the old boy is pimpin’ , necromancin’ and getting some sweet tail!
What would you say is the biggest difference between Tony Watt in 2004, when compared to Tony Watt in 2014?
Older , fatter, & not as smart as I thought I was, as a youth… less starry-eyed …but, I feel more accomplished artistically, and also it so pleases me to be aesthetically satisfying my one, or two fans, out there… and that fact means more to me, than anything else.. other than my marriage to the lovely, infamous, uni-named Vivita, of course (she’ll be reading this, so I’ll be forced to mention that)…. and spending time with Dino & Sophia, the wonder-cats!…And sneaking out junk food, to nosh on!
…Thankfully I can hit the gym to loose the weight, though, when I get the notion…not really interested in getting smarter, or more starry-eyed ..just to get more commercial…and richer, these days; is my main focus, now that I’ve got a few people’s attention…. I definitely smell better … shorter hair and more expensive suits…. just a more conservative a-hole, these days.
What is one project or idea you have yet to had the chance to tackle , that you hope to complete before you are worm food?
- I’ve pretty well done everything I wanted to do, artistically…..um….After I finish drawing/publishing Space Chick & Nympho: Vampire Warrior Party Girl Comix #2 and my & Vivita’s ‘Frankenpimp’s Revenge’, ‘Violet is Blue’ & ‘Bird of Steel’ movies (updates will be on my IMDb.com,or TonyWatt.com pages, by the way)..also, my wife intends to put me in pumps— and make me work the street-corners; to pay for cat-food….so, I guess shopping for a couple strong knee pads, work on my fluffer technique….and hopefully work on, or act in a Major Studio movie, with the help of Anik, my new agent.. Oh, and to complete a few more Kount Kracula t.v. show episodes with V. and ‘Jazzy’ Johnny Migliore..seen on www.Blackflag.tv, of course!
What else does the future hold for you? Any new projects you would like to pimp out right about now?
My three movies,: Frankenpimp’s Revenge, Violet is Blue & Bird of Steel & also, my upcoming Space Chick & Nympho: Vampire Warrior Party Girl Comix #2 ..all on Amazon and finer e-stores, baby!
What kind of advice would you give to young filmmakers out there looking to break into the underground world of film?
-Quit!!…no, I’d say to you aspiring film-makers….”get rich..get popular, from my sage advice ..Then hire me as an actor and pay me millions of dollars, as a grateful homage.
AND…For God’s sake…. DON’T FORGET my own fucking trailer, you pompous ass-holes!!!..and I need classy, big-boobed hookers, Sirs…and very cle-e-e-an!!!!!” …. Then my humble, kino-matic mission on this planet, is done.
What was the last thing that made you smile?
-That’s very personal…How dare you, Sir!…… but, I’ll tell you…whatever I did…it made my wife smile, also! (*winks & smiles*)