of the Giant Leeches (US-2008, directed by Brett
Kelly directs and acts in independent films
made under the auspices of his own production company.
Genre movies such as The Bonesetter, The
Bonesetter Returns, The Feral Man, My
Dead Girlfriend and Kingdom of the Vampires
only scratch the surface of his ambition. Many more
films are scheduled for production, with his remake
of the 1950s B-monster "classic", Attack
of the Giant Leeches, due for release in 2009.
[See the Undead
Backbrain article for more information.]
Search-Robot Avery (otherwise known as Avery Battles)
asked Kelly about the remake and about his ambitions.
Remakes seem to be rather popular among filmmakers these
days. Why do you think that is the case? Why have you
chosen to do a remake now after making so many original
films in the past?
Kelly: I was thinking about the glut of horror
remakes out there and I would always say;"Why don't
they leave the great movies alone and start remaking
movies that could actually be improved on." I guess
that's why I thought of remaking Attack of the Giant
What attracted you to the 1950s Atomic Age monster theme
of this film? Do you particularly like this subgenre?
And why, of all the possible candidates, did you focus
in on Attack of the Giant Leeches?
novel version of The Bonesetter
I love the "classics" and was raised by a
dad who loved movies of all sorts. I was weaned on the
Universal Monsters and through the trickle-down effect,
discovered the 50s monster/scifi flicks. I love them.
Leeches is a fun movie with a different twist
-- it kind of wanders into Tennesse Williams territory
for a while, then comes back to being a monster film.
It's a riot.
Avery: How closely do
you plan to stick to the original or will you take it
in an entirely new and different direction? Were there
any parts of the original that you particularly liked
or disliked -- and how have you dealt with those?
The remake is loyal in many regards. It's set in modern
day and many of the characters are similar, we improved
on intercharacter relations, and of course, the creatures
are better. It's sexier, and has many touches that fans
of the original will dig.
The 1950s version had some strong sexual undertones.
Should we expect the same here?
Yup. Although Yvette Vickers in her prime is something
to behold -- we also have a few fireballs in our movie.
Where is the production of Attack of the Giant
Leeches up to now? When and where can we expect
to see it?
The movie is in post at the moment. It's in the can
and ready to be edited. It's a slow process to get a
top-notch professional movie for a small budget, so
I'm expecting a public screening in 2009, hopefully
with a DVD release not long after. We're still looking
for a deal.
Has it been a difficult production so far?
They all have their moments. Filming on water is always
a pain but we pulled through. I always find post-production
to be the more stressful, because I have to beg, borrow
and steal to get things to look the way I want. Hollywood
folks can throw money and problems, we indie guys don't
have the same luxury.
is indie film making like for you? How do you find the
budget and crew for such projects? How do you make the
It's an addiction. I can't stop. Finding budgets is
tough but i never let people tell me that I can't do
what I want for a living, so I always make it happen.
I'm detirmined. Making connections is a gradual process
of finding like-minded individuals.
Your filmography is very impressive. You've dabbled
in various horror subgenres -- zombie films, vampire
flicks, ghosts movies, and now the monster subgenre.
Which of these would you say is your favourite?
I love all genres of film and I'd love to take a stab
at all of them, film-noir, western, sci-fi. Who knows?
As far as fave movie of my own, that's a tough one.
I seem to always be proudest of the most recent one.
That being said, I'd recommend folks pick up Prey
for the Beast when it comes out and go buy the
Kingdom of the Vampire DVD from Tempe. Folks
also seem to dig My Dead Girlfriend.
working in each of the different subgenres present particular
problems or are the challenges pretty much the same
no matter whatever the genre?
Each one has their own set of challenges, but for me,
I love a challenge.
What sort of films did the young Brett Kelly enjoy watching?
Who were some of your favourite filmmakers? Who would
you say has influenced your film making approach the
I think my favourite films as a kid were the standard
adventure films of the 70s: Star Wars, Battlestar
Galactica, Buck Rogers, etc. As far as
filmmakers, I really enjoy Billy Wilder, Sam Raimi,
Sergio Leone. I'm not sure who has influenced my style
per-se. I guess that's for the critics to figure out.
At what point in your life did you decide you were going
to become a filmmaker? How long from that point did
it take you to finally 'get your foot in the door',
so to speak? How did it come about?
I was a working actor for years in Ottawa when I realised
that work was drying up. I decided to finally make my
own films in order so that I could work as an actor.
Now, however, my focus is primarily on directing. I
guess I got my "foot in the door" when I met
J.R. Bookwalter in Ohio, he's a great guy who has had
a lot of faith in my work.
What's next for you? Are you going to try a different
genre, or do you have plans to return to one of the
previous ones? Given the positive media attention you've
received so far with this project, is another "classic"
monster an option?
Sure, anything is possible. At the moment I'm in post
on Leeches and a pirate film called Pirates:
Quest for Snake Island. Next month I start shooting
Iron Soldier, which is a hostage drama with
a sci-fi twist and will star Joe Estevez. As for what's
next, I guess we'll see. I'm open to suggestions.
In an ideal world, what would you like to see happen
for this film and for the future?
I'd love for folks who sit down with it and have a fun
evening. It would be great if it got awesome distribution
and opened doors for me to direct more films. That's
what I really want- to keep going.
out the Brett Kelly Productions website
Battles describes himself as "a big
kaiju fan, obsessive completist, and animal/nature
lover". As 'Kaiju Search-Robot Avery' he helps
Backbrain to keep up-to-date on kaiju
cinematic rumblings and to maintain the giant monster
and zombie film lists. He also frequents RoboJapan
/ MonsterIsland News as a blogger where he's known
as 'avery guerra'. "I love to help promote
projects that I'm passionate about, no matter how
big or small."