Movies Galore of Milwaukee recently conducted this interview with Denver filmmaker Dakota Bailey of American Scumbags. Topics discussed in this interview include American Scumbags, My Master Satan, the most memorable behind the scenes moments & more.
MGOM: First let’s begin begin with your name, where your from, and What were your inspirations for becoming a director of independent films?
DB: “First off, thanks for the interview and your support-I appreciate it. My name is Dakota Bailey,I’m 21, & I am an Independent/underground filmmaker from Denver, Colorado.
As a child I constantly watched films and I developed a love for movies and that eventually led to wanting to make films, so I started off making films in the sand I with a battered camcorder. And as I grew up I continued to make films and eventually progressed into what I am now and found a style/niche that suits me well and I am sticking to it.
MGOM: Why did you choose horror? Or at least the genre your creating in Independent Film?
DB: Well, as a child the films I always watched seemed to be horror films-as a matter of fact-horror has always been my favorite genre of films as far back as I can remember. To this day-I watch all types of different horror films from silent horror films to extreme underground horror. I have always been attracted to dark things, or dark subject matter-so naturally I always gravitated towards horror.
However, I’m not sure that you could necessarily label my films as “horror” films. You see, my films are not about ghosts, vampires or werewolves; the films I make are more about real life horror-like serial killers, drug addicts and other vile & socially unacceptable people. I want to the leave the viewer with a feeling of realism and make them realize that there are individuals just like the characters in my films out there that actually exist-that is pretty terrifying if you think about it.
MGOM: What kind of challenges did you have in making “My Master Satan”?
DB: Well, the film itself was not very challenging to make-the only problem or challenge was the sound quality in My Master Satan. The sound in My Master Satan was horrible due to the fact that we were shooting on VHS so there are some parts in the film where the audio is inaudible.
MGOM: “American Scumbags”?
DB: American Scumbags was relatively easy to make. We shot the film using better equipment so there was no hinderance due to poor sound quality. I had no shortage of ideas and everything seemed to go as planned. The only challenge I faced during the making of the film was finding the right actor to portray Billy. Eventually I asked my neighbor Darien Fawkes if he’d like to play the role of Billy and he enthusiastically accepted the role & he did an incredible job. Two other actors tried before Darien Fawkes and failed; they couldn’t hold a candle to Darien’s acting abilities. Finding the right actor to portray Billy was imperative to the film and we were very fortunate to get Darien to play the role.
MGOM: Did you have a favorite scene or shot you remember that you can share from “My Master Satan”?
DB: I have quite a few actually-it was a blast filming My Master Satan and almost every scene turned into a ton of fun. If I had to pick only two of my favorite memories it would be filming the scene where Woody kills Charlie with a chainsaw and dies of autoerotic asphixiation. I remember how ridiculous it was and Brian Knapp (the guy who plays Charlie and also a friend of mine) dosent normally laugh at my jokes or get my weird sense of humor. I though it would be really funny to have a scene where Woody (the serial killer in My Master Satan) killed Charlie and then died of auto erotic asphixiation. Brian on the other hand didn’t think it was funny-as I mentioned previously-he doesn’t get my sense of humor. But I remember when Wild Willy Wakefield (the actor portraying Woody) pretended to hang himself and reached for the region of his crotch area-I stopped the camera & started laughing uncontrollably. I remember even Brian started laughing too.
My other favorite scene/memory would be filming the scene where Alister & Charlie break into Little Blunt’s home, catch him having sex with a sex doll & proceed to rob & murder him. Wild Willy Wakefield played two roles in My Master Satan. He played the serial killer Woody, but he also played the small time drug dealer Little Blunt.
I remember that it was another once of those scenes where I started laughing because of the pure absurdity of the situation. The dialogue in that scene was improvised-we just let the camera roll & then shut the door while Wild Willy pretended to have sex with the doll & then Brian & I bust in & Wild Willy just really went off with the dialogue & it turned out extremely realistic. I was watching My Master Satan a few nights ago & I saw that scene & I think that scene in particular was pretty impressive.
MGOM: ”American Scumbags”?
DB: Well-as with My Master Satan-almost every scene turned into something memorable, but if I had to pick any memories or favorite scenes in from American Scumbags, it’d be the scene where my character Johnny chases down Lucifer and throws him off a bridge. For that scene we went down into the industrial part of Denver to film it. We filmed the parts where Johnny walks up to Lucifer & then a chase ensues & Lucifer gets thrown off a bridge. However, it did not get really exiting until we filmed the parts where Lucifer (played by my friend Nick Benning) was dying in a pool of blood.
Below the bridge where Lucifer had gotten thrown off was a bicycle path. We went down on the bicycle path and Nick laid on the ground & we covered him in fake blood. Then once we started filming, bicyclists started driving by us saying ”Is he oK? Did He fall?”! The bicyclists actually though Nick was dying in a pool of blood!
The scene also sticks out to me because it was a very solid scene & looked extremely realistic in my opinion.
MGOM: Where did you happen to film “My Master Satan” & “American Scumbags”?
DB: Both films were filmed all around Denver, particularly the industrial parts of the city. However, some scenes were filmed in my house & neighborhood.
MGOM: Who were your make up artists for “My Master Satan” and “American Scumbags”? And how were your relationships with them during production?
DB: We have actually never had any makeup artists-we actually never do makeup in our films. As for the special effects, we pretty much do everything ourselves. However, Katy Katzar (the actress who played Billy’s ex girlfriend) is a makeup artist & she did her own makeup for the scene where Billy throws acid in her face.
MGOM: How do you think your characters or effects turned out after production for “My Master Satan” and or “American Scumbags”?
DB: I am actually extremely satisfied with the results from both of my films. Although My Master Satan had a sound issue, it is still an incredible & unique film, it is an anti-film meaning it was purposefully uncommercial and as far from mainstream as you can get- it was basically a fuck you to mainstream films. I made the movie I wanted to, The movie has a very strong heavy metal edge and I really like that (being the HUGE metal head that I am). The film has a lot of deeper meaning as well. A few examples I can give would be the fact that the film showed two underworlds-the underworld of crime, drugs & murder & the other underworld of Hell, Satan & fire & brimstone. The film also has a deeper meaning regarding modern religious morality. All the actors did a good job embodying the characters-I admit that Woody & Bubba’s wigs were ridiculous & kind of took away from the realism that we were striving for but I think the rest of us such as myself, Brian & my father looked the part & our characters were pretty convincing.
American Scumbags on the other hand (to me at least) feels more like a legitimate attempt at a film. Meaning its my ant filmmaking style when I am being more proficient with the technological aspects of my films. While My Master Satan was a heavy metal themed film, I think of
American Scumbags as kind of a punk/hardcore companion piece to it. And more importantly, American Scumbags has a deep meaning. The film is a reflection of modern day lower class America. It shows a seedier & darker side of American culture that people refuse to acknowledge exists. The whole cast including myself did an incredible job with our characters. American Scumbags is my best film yet & I love it & I am completely satisfied with it.
MGOM: Did you have any problems casting for either film? And how was your relationship with your casts and the rest of your crew or crews for “My Master Satan” and or “American Scumbags”?
DB: I usually have the cast of actors in mind when I create the characters. As I mentioned previously,The only issue I have ever had with casting was with finding the right actor to play Billy. Pretty much everyone in my films are my friends. L.B. the man who plays Wheelin’ Deals in American Scumbags & Dealin’ Dick in My Master Satan is actually my father-so a big thanks to him. He has always been participating in my films for as far as I can remember. I worked with Brian, Matt Marshall, & Wild Willy Wakefield. I met Nick Benning at a thrift store & he referred me to Fred Epstein when I needed an actor to play Chester. We became good friends. Then there is Darien Fawkes, I have known him for years & he is my neighbor. I asked him to play Billy in American Scumbags & we became good friends. That is how I have always done it-just get real life people & friends that you know to play a role in my films. It gives the films way more realism in my opinion if you have an everyday person act in your film as opposed to a professional actor who has to transition from role to role.
MGOM: Is there anything else that you’d like to ad? I heard you have a possible new film in development why don’t you tell us a little about it?
DB: Yes, I am in the preliminary stages of a sequel to American Scumbags. It will bring back my character Johnny, Billy, Wheelin’ Deals & Angel. And of course it is going to introduce new & twisted characters. Then after that I am going to make an extremely trippy and weird underground horror film similar to My Master Satan but it will be its own entity entirely, I am contemplating releasing the two films at the same time or may be a month apart. It is my goal to film & release two films for 2017.
Well Mr. Bailey thank you so much for your time and for letting me delve deep inside your Sadistic Mind!