Dick Dale Talks RIBSPREADER Feature Film & Crowdfunding Campaign!

24 May 2019

If you haven’t heard of Australia’s sickest and twisted film festival, TRASHARAMA…you don’t know Dick!

Dick Dale is more than just a festival director though, he’s a champion of international genre cinema, raconteur and legendary shorts filmmaker (PELICAN BOY, CREAMY LOVE, FAMILY BIZNESS) and now he’s making the leap to feature film with RIBSPREADER!

RIBSPREADER follows Bryan Burns (Tommy Darwin), whose life in ruins decades after his illustrious run as the tobacco advertising icon ‘CC Ryder’. Looking for love in the wrong places and having just buried his mother who died of lung cancer, he is tormented by a cartoon cigarette on an anti-smoking billboard and his mind finally snaps and he transforms into the RIBSPREADER, a killer stalking the city, extinguishing smokers and cutting out their lungs to make his macabre smoking jacket. He soon discovers he is not alone. He lives in Murder City, a hunting ground of demented serial killers and he learns he must get in line. Will he get ahead of the pack or break free of insanity? Only one thing’s for sure: Smoking will kill you one way or another.

Cult of Monster caught up with the one and only Dick Dale to discuss the film upon this week’s launch of the crowdfunding campaign to complete the film.

RIBSPREADER seems to verge on absurdist territory, but are there elements of it that are based on real-life events, experiences or thoughts of yours?

The film and idea is totally fictional and it’s set in an alternate reality and time. I’m not going to let facts get in the way of a good story! The film itself is set in Murder City, the city of corpses. A title that Adelaide (where I am currently based) has been sometimes named. This city has had a large amount of strange and bizarre murder cases and disappearances in it’s sordid history.

RIBSPREADER is not set in Adelaide but in a dirty city inspired by the movies of my teenage years. I can’t say that subconsciously I wasn’t a bit inspired by this place though. The story is filled with an array of bent and twisted killers and depraved perverts. None of them are based on any real life cases. (I’m aware of anyway) I wouldn’t do that out of respect of any victims or families of. I’D RATHER INVENT MY OWN PSYCHOS ANYWAY! This film is a very dark comedy and real life murder isn’t funny kids. Kay?

One thing I did throw in however is ‘The Hand of Death Cult’. ‘The Hand of Death’ is a alleged cult of serial killers, satanists and sadists that may or may not exist. Killers Henry Lee Lucas and David Berkowitz (Son of Sam) said they were part of this world wide evil entity. You can Google it. In my film, it does exist and we meet the Australian HOD chapter. Another fact in my story is that ‘SMOKING KILLS’. It’s not in the traditional sense though but with tasers, bloodied saw blades and nasty Rib-spreading machines instead.

What made you decide to broach on such heavy topics like addiction within the genre of Trash Horror? How does this specific genre ‘work’ for a film like RIBSPREADER? Do you think it conceals or reveals these underlying themes?

I can’t recall how the idea first entered my brain. Maybe it was the idea of making a ‘smoking jacket’ out of dead smoker’s lungs I thought was an interesting concept. I was very happy when I went to see Lloyd Kaufman’s ‘Make your own Damn Movie’ masterclass at Monster Fest in 2014. He said it’s a good idea to put topical and contemporary ideas in your plot. For instance THE TOXIC AVENGER and CLASS OF NUKE ‘EM HIGH both have themes of the dangers of nuclear waste in their plots. I’ve got nicotine addiction and serial killing. I have been trying on and off for years to quit that filthy habit, not serial killing. Maybe a part of me really wants to kill that disgusting habit. I currently vape, chew nico gum and size up smokers lungs with an evil glint in my eye. On a serious note, death by tobacco is also a theme in this film. As long as people are smoking cigarettes, that is always going to be contemporary. I guess, my RIBSPREADER character can be seen as the grim reaper of that. If it makes people think or be more aware about the fact smoking kills, I’m happy with that.

How would you describe your directorial techniques? Are they light-hearted or serious?

I don’t think there can be anything light-hearted about directing and producing a feature film. It is a hard job for everyone involved. I do like to keep a good sense of humour about me though. Especially when things go wrong. If anyone out there knows about making a film, something can generally go pear-shaped or happen you didn’t expect. I try to prep as much as I can to minimize problems but there is always a chance something will rear its ugly head. In the cast I actually prefer ugly heads a lot of the time.

I do want everyone on my set to hopefully take something away with them whether they’ve learnt something or just have had an enjoyable day. It’s pretty ambitious project. I’m not about making some boring drama all set in one room. That would be too fucking easy wouldn’t it? Breaking a few of the rules they suggest you stick with for your first film, I’m about creating the type of exciting mindless fun entertainment that has inspired me and that I love. The crazy early works of Peter Jackson with the guerrilla aesthetics of John Waters with an ice-coating of uncle Lloyd Kaufman’s advice and remedies. I think ‘light-hearted’ is not the correct term here. Everyone generally has a good time working on my movies so far. I think rather painless as possible for all involved would be a better description. I appreciate everyone’s time and effort and I wouldn’t waste it. I want us all to walk away in the end with a great, memorable and unique movie. One worth repeat viewings even! The budget might be low (compared to studio films) but that doesn’t mean the entertainment value shouldn’t be high!

How much work actually goes into creating the ‘trash’ element of Trash Horror, and how much of it is incidental?

I’m not trying to ‘make it ‘ trashy, I think these are just the ideas that come out of my mind. I think they are probably more black comedy horror? I might have a trashy mind. My sense of humour could well be in the gutter, I don’t disagree. Hard work. It’s VERY hard work. The bigger the crew gets, the more people involved, my mind feels like it will explode, e.g. shot-lists, schedules, FX teams, puppets, costumes, locations, miniatures, actors etc. What the fuck was I thinking?!?! Not to mention, I get into details, little tiny details…everything I have been doing for the last twenty odd years has been heading to this project. I’ve been making short films, touring the Trasharama program around Australia and have been part of the underground music scene. Lets hope it pays off.

I’ve been reading and re-reading the ‘Make your own Damn Movie’ book series and have discovered I’m pretty much doing the same things. Keeping costs down and still having quality is one factor I’m always wrestling with. I keep saying, this is like Peter Jackson’s BAD TASTE not BRAINDEAD. If I had funding and a bigger budget then we can do that. Maybe in the future.

What caliber of people do you imagine will crowdfund this film?

45 calibre Magnum handguns, the lot of them! I would hope film lovers who miss movies when they were fun and exciting and you could go to the cinema and see something ‘real’. Not a CGI cartoon fest! When stories were good and original and not a reboot or remake. Anyone who has come along to Trasharama and had a good time. I have always screened the goods I have promised. I have never let the audience down with a quality program of entertainment and laughs. Once again, I will deliver what I say. Top quality entertainment, with surprises, shocks, twists and turns all jammed in your gob with a healthy dose of messy old school Special FX fun mixed in. Anyone who wants to invest in or be part of an AUSTRALIAN ‘cult’ film that is quite long overdue then this is what I am bringing to the table. I am making this film, not matter what. I believe in it 100%, it will be unique, exciting, funny, maybe even scary in parts. I took two solid years to write this and I’m still adding details. YOU CAN’T STOP A MADMAN!

How do you respond to people who call your films ‘offensive’?

Do they? I’m offended by that. Have they actually seen any of my films? I suggest they just stay indoors in an empty dark room and live the rest of their banal lives surviving on Uber Eats. There are more offensive and disgusting things in the real world than anything I have ever put on any screen. I’m think I’m more like the Walt Disney of sick and twisted humour. Bringing joy and good tidings. Relieving the tensions and misery of real life through laughter and over the top cartoon like ultra violence and gore. There’s a ‘special’ place for me in heaven. It’ll hopefully have custom Mad Max style straight jackets, 24/7 cinema and an all you can eat buffet in which I will be hand fed by beautiful vampire looking Death Metal Rock angels.

What would be your advice to burgeoning filmmakers without the industry connections that you seem to have?

Just stick with it and keep going. Don’t have negative people in your life. Make your own waves. If there is nothing going on in your town, make it happen yourself! There was nothing going on when I created Trasharama. Now there is with events like Monster Fest. You need to meet people and tell them about your insane idea. Find like minded lunatics and misfits in your city. They ARE everywhere! Get out to events. Be like me, THE THING THAT WOULDN’T LEAVE! The only reason I have any contacts is by being persistent. Lets see if it helps. I will make this film. If it’s the last thing I do and it probably will be!

In your opinion, what does Trash Horror have that makes it different to more conventional horror sub-genres?

They are generally original and not boring! If I live to make this damn movie then the proof will be in the pudding. Fuck the formulas. Invent your own. I’m sure as hell bored of slasher films, scary house paranormal movies and well, just MOST horrors I see being a rip off or remake of something already made in general.

They just keep telling you:
it’s only another movie repeat formula…
it’s only another movie repeat formula…
it’s only another movie repeat formula…

Maybe it’s because a lot of ‘Trash Horror’ films break all the so called rules? The naughty juvenile delinquent kids of movies. Which makes them a lot more entertaining, less restrained and less colour by dots? Unless of course they are taking the piss of the formula tropes. A lot of them are DIY labours of love so the creators have complete creative freedom to do what they like. And the best ones do, in bucket loads.

Not sure if that answered your question there. Not even sure I know what the hell I am talking about. Thing I have discovered about making a movie is sleep becomes a thing of the past. Thanks for your time mate.

Support Dick’s RIBSPREADER Kickstarter campaign here and help make Australia’s first true splatterpunk video nasty!