Chris Sun Talks About BOAR Ahead of this Sunday’s Event Screenings!
Chris Sun, already a household name among genre fans in Australia for oeuvre of films that include CHARLIE’S FARM, DADDY’S LITLE GIRL and COME AND GET ME, is now making waves internationally with his latest, BOAR.
Carved from the darkest recesses of Sun’s twisted imagination, BOAR is an outback horror about a giant, brutal and blood crazed pig. Premiering at the prestigious Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival in April to a rip-roaring response, BOAR then went on to sell-out its Australian premiere last month in Nambour, the town in Queensland in which it was filmed.
This weekend all of Australia will have a chance to see the film thanks to Monster Fest Presents and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment ANZ when it plays at over twenty cinemas across the country on Sunday June 17th 9pm. Cult of Monster’s David Churack caught up with Chris for a chat ahead of this weekend’s screenings for a chat about all things BOAR.
What was the inspiration behind making BOAR?
I always wanted to make a creature feature. A lot of people have this misconception that is was ‘RAZORBACK-lite’ or something like that. I mean I’ve done the different sub-genres so far: I’ve done an Ozploitation film, I’ve done a revenge film, a slasher film. So for me it was about doing a creature feature and creating this big monster that runs in the outback and eats people.
So why did you choose the pig in the end? What appealed about that creature specifically?
Well I hate the fucking beach so a shark movie wouldn’t have been for me. And there’s all those crocodile features – ROGUE is one of the greatest and it’s not that old. I thought about doing a ‘Drop Bear’ film: I’ actually still thinking about doing that. But I thought a big pig running around: I am a fan a fan of RAZORBACK. Back in 1984 it was one of my favourite films. I think there’s just something really cool about this giant pig running around eating people that’s just too much fun: I had to do it.
With our BOAR, its got that great element of comedy, as in all of my films. There’s always that cool comedy aspect to them. I’ve been saying lately that I don’t think to date I’ve ever made a truly scary film. I think that’s gonna have to be on the cards for me cos most of my films you’ve got the comedy, then most of the kills are really violent and fucked up, but they’re not a jump-scare kind of movie. Although, I get different reactions from people who’ve seen BOAR. Some people say it’s really intense, some people say it’s a great comedy, some people say its scary. It depends on the person watching the film.
So what is it about you that makes these horror-comedy hybrid kind of films?
I love practical effects. I love making stuff myself, we have a bit an effects background here. But I think when you do the style of films that I do, I’m very inspired by the 80s, all the practical stuff. There’s nothing better than making silicone props, ripping them off, having blood spirting everywhere. Doing all that stuff is just a fun style of film for me to shoot. I love shooting practical effects as much as possible. And with BOAR it was great cos not only did we have all the props and severed heads and body parts, but we also to build this big giant pig. And that was a lot of fun to work with on set. Although it had its challenges, if you cut practical effects and light them well on screen, it looks fantastic. Thankfully I have a great editor who cuts the stuff so it looks shit hot on screen.
I’m glad you brought up the BOAR because I have to ask questions about that. What went into creating it?
The beast itself took about six months to build: we built two of them. One was the full-size pig, then the other one was like a quarter size. So it was like these front shoulders and legs. Then we have the ‘hero-hog’ which was full animatronic, so its eyes and tongue and snout all moves, all that cool stuff. Then we had the ramming the head so we could ram it into stuff. I let people like Nathan Jones go a bit harder and beat it up a little bit more, so we had to make it stronger.
The full-size pig would take three blokes inside it to make it move. One fella would drive the pig, move the head up and down and move the mouth and tongue. Then somebody would sit behind him to move the shoulders and make it breath it in and out. The third bloke would assist with the breathing, move the tail and be there if we wanted to move the balls around – but we never did hahaha. Then on the outside of the pig you’d have somebody remote controlling the eye movement and stuff, and you’d also have between six to eight people on set to move the pig. If we needed to make him shoot forward or backwards, or to make him look like he’s grunting and moving at you. That would require another whole team of people.
So you go on set thinking in eight hours we’re gonna accomplish so much: the moment you bring that pig on set eight hours turns into twelve, then turns into two days. Because obviously moving the pig from A to B is a real challenge. Even five metres, you’ve gotta put poles in him, lift him up, put him on wheels wheel him over, reset him up again. But the end result is so worth it on screen.
That sounds so complicated! But I’m assuming we’ll get a good look at the BOAR in the film?
You definitely see the Boar in the film – its about the big pig! We’ve got the POV stuff, but the audience today want to see the pig, they want to see the monster and the kills. That’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but for those type of fans, they want to see the death, they want to see ‘rip her head off’. So filmmakers are definitely pushing the boundaries. My last film CHARILE’S FARM was R-rated, and there were some wicked violent kills in there. With BOAR we’ve had to go MA15+, so I’ve had to learn how to cut a film to not show too much.
But you definitely see a lot of the pig. And there’s a CGI element as well. Since moving the pig around is a lot of work, to make him run on screen we can’t have six blokes running around him. It’s about 70% practical, 30% CGI. You have no choice today. Go back to old-school movies, there would be just be quick cuts of a fiberglass monster. Audiences today, they would be a little disappointed if that’s all they saw – a quick glimpse then somebody running. Nowadays CGI can help enhance practical effects and make them better.
With BOAR we didn’t have a $100 million budget – we didn’t have a $5 million budget. For us, the practical effects are really important but we did just enough to make it passable CG-wise. And so far the audiences haven’t gone ‘You have a CG pig!’ Most people are having so much fun they see right past that shit.
You’ve got an amazing Australian cast, with John Jarratt, Simone Buchanan, Chris Haywood and Ernie Dingo. Not to mention American horror icon Bill Moseley. What was it like being on set with this cast?
It was a great experience for a couple of reasons. Number one, veteran actors can bring a lot to a set. When you’re an up and coming director, you get the opportunity to learn as well as direct. So these guys bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to your set. John Jarret, Bill Moseley, Roger Ward – these guys have starred in a lot of movies. Bill Moseley has done over 78 films or something, so when he comes on set, you know your job is gonna be a lot easier and you know you’re gonna learn stuff.
Johnny Jarratt is one of the funniest fuckers I’ve ever worked with. That guy is unbelievably talented and he’s just so damn fun. He’s not about ‘I’ve done WOLF CREEK’ – John wants to act, he just loves acting in general. So when he gets to play a character that’s not Mick Taylor, he absolutely loves it. And he’s great at coming up with little one-liners. A lot of people give the director all the credit, but I’ll be the first to say there’s some one-liners in BOAR that are all John Jarrat.
And Nathan Jones – I mean MAD MAX: FURY ROAD, TROY, CONDEMNED he’s done all those. Out of all the actors, he’s probably done the biggest budgeted films. And Nathan’s normally cast as the big bad guy cos he’s a 7-foot dude. His role in BOAR, we made him deliver a lot of dialogue, we made him run, and he got to play a character that he’s never had to play before. So it was a great experience for him.
Ernie Dingo – when I wrote BOAR I wrote Ernie cos I knew I wanted to cast Ernie Dingo. So his character is called Ernie. Just to meet him, I mean he’s a fucking living legend. Just to hang out with him was a huge honour.
Chris Haywood from RAZORBACK – one of my favourite scenes from BOAR is Chris with Ernie in the pub together with Melissa Tkautz. And Chris is a phenomenal veteran actor. An absolute pleasure to work with.
Roger Ward, I kicked his arse on set mate, the poor old bugger, We worked on Roger hard. He is such a lovely man, we’ve become very very good friends. I learnt a lot from Roger, and I think a film like Boar takes a lot out of some of the older guys cos there’s a lot of physical work they have to do. But Roger he never complained, if he had to run or be jerked around. He needed a bit of help but he just had such a good time.
Lets talk about Simone Buchanan – her claim to fame came from HEY DAD back in the 80s. She’s done some great films like the remake of PATRICK. But Simone’s performance in BOAR is one of the greatest performances I’ve seen in an independent horror film from a female actress. She delivers so much emotion and fear, she is a dead set standout and I couldn’t be prouder of her.
You’ve got Melissa Tkatuz, from REAL HOUSEWIVES OF SYDNEY and – she’s done so much stuff over the years. She just nails her role.
Finally – what would you like to tell our readers about what they can expect from BOAR?
Mate, fun. Lots of fun. They’re gonna see a lot of comedy, they’re gonna see some gore, they’re gonna see some great kills, some great action. Go watch BOAR and you’re gonna have a barrel of fun. I’m gonna tick all the boxes: laughs, blood, some fucking kills, that little bit of suspense. It’s the whole package, so go there and just enjoy a big pig running around fucking things up.
Catch Monster Fest Presents BOAR screenings across Australia this Sunday June 17th 9pm:
LOCATIONS & TICKETS
Event Cinemas Cairns Central
Event Cinemas Chermside
Event Cinemas Loganholme
Birch, Carroll and Coyle Cinemas Maroochydore
Birch, Carroll and Coyle Mackay Mount Pleasant
Birch, Caroll and Coyle Cinemas Noosa
Birch, Carroll and Coyle Cinemas Rockhampton North
Birch, Carroll and Coyle Cinemas Southport
Birch, Carroll and Coyle Toowoomba Grand Central
Event Cinemas Townsville Central
NEW SOUTH WALES
Event Cinemas Burwood
Event Cinemas Glendale
Event Cinemas Liverpool
Event Cinemas Macquarie
- SYDNEY CITY
Event Cinemas George St
Event Cinemas Tuggerah
AUSTRALIAN CAPITOL TERRITORY