Search This Blog

Friday, October 26, 2012

13 Question Marks of Horror with My Pure Joy's James Cullen Bressack

If you're a fan of extreme horror then you're probably no stranger to James Cullen Bressack.  This one man film crew is responsible for such extreme horror like "Theatre of the Deranged II", 'Treasure Chest of Horrors', and "My Pure Joy". I recently caught up with James to discuss his new film that's guaranteed to shock and disturb; Hate Crime. Here is another edition of 13 Question Marks of Horror.

1.      What was the first horror film that you remember seeing?
The first Horror movie I remember seeing was HellRaiser. I was obsessed with the movie as a child. I liked how pinhead looked. He was awesome. I guess I was about 4 years old when I found the VHS in my family collection. I kept holding the box and staring at the cover with pinhead holding the box in his hands. It looked so cool. I kept asking everyday if I could watch the film, of course my parents said no. So I would just sit there everyday, once a day, staring at that box trying to create what the story of the film was In my head and loving how pinhead looked. I was a reflection of pinhead, he held a box in his hands and I held the box of him holding a box in his hands. After a month of asking and staring at this box, my dad finally said I could watch it, and I did. That was the day my love affair with horror started.
2.      How did that love progress into hardcore?
It was just a natural progression to be honest. The more horror films I watched the more I began to love the genre. They felt like dark fairytales for adults. I felt like I was seeing something I shouldn't see and loved it. The horrors of the mind or human nature.
3.      You started directing at a young age. How did that come about?
I honestly shot my first short one day in 6th grade because I could. I was at a friends house and the camera was there. I had been thinking about making a movie for some time, because I had been watching so many films. So we picked up the camera and just shot something. The movie wasn't very good but it was a lot of fun.
4.      You are a one man film crew. How and why did you learn so many facets of film making?
I taught myself everything I know, or learned it from watching films. I also learned a lot about writing and story telling from my father and grandmother. I had to learn everything I could because I simply didn't have budgets to have a crew, or friends that would volunteer to help that knew how to do what needed to be done. At the very beginning no one really wanted to help out, and I think it worked out fine because I needed to learn how to do it all. It strengthened me. I was the only person I could count on back when I was making shorts.
5.      You started off making several shorts. Were the bulk of those early film horror or were you experimenting in different styles?
They were actually all, but two, comedies believe it or not. One that wasn't a comedy was a horror film. The other a romantic silent film. I guess we see which style stuck with me most. I had a lot of fun experimenting with the other genres though and would love to branch back to them at some point.
6.      How did you decide to jump into features?
I just felt it was time. It was now or never. I had just graduated highschool, I decided to write a feature and see if I could get it made, if I could then it was a sign, if I couldn't then I would go to College for film school. Luckily I got it made! That film was called “MY PURE JOY”
7.      Your first feature was “My Pure Joy”. What was the genesis of that project?
I had just graduated high school and wanted to make a film around my mental state really. Strip away all the murder and at a base level the film is about growing up and moving on. Ending friendships, splitting from your parents, saying goodbye to old girlfriends, defeating old rivals, moving from the nest, and all while completely filled with angst. I wanted to make a movie that was part SUPERBAD and part AMERICAN PSYCHO.
8.      A lot of independent film makers make the mistake of going very tongue and cheek. Did you have any urge to go “silly” with the kills?
I like to do interesting kills. I wouldn't quite say silly, but I do have an over the top style. I'm not afraid to make an audience squirm or say what the ****! My Pure Joy they were a bit over the top, but I think in a sick way rather then a funny way. If people laugh its because they are uncomfortable, or as sick in the head as I am. Let me leave you with this question, is it funny to see a woman's nipples cut off or a man's tongue cut off or a girl get stabbed in the vagina in full screen closeup (entry was shown)? Because that all happened in MY PURE JOY, so as I said morbid, not silly.
9.      Your new film is titled Hate Crime. Is the title self-explanatory?
It is 100% self-explanatory and yet I do not think the title can prepare you for how severe the crime of hate in the film is.
10.  It’s a very dark and hard watch. What was the message you were trying to get across?
The message I was trying to get across was that hate in this world is an epidemic. There are so many barbaric crimes committed every year against people due to prejudice, and if we don't take notice then it will only get worse. History has a tendency to repeat it's self. We can no longer ignore whats going on, and I figured the only way to get people to realize it was to shock them.
11.  You’ve stated that the film is based on some personal experiences. Can you elaborate?
Last year I was on my way to oklahoma city with Jarret Cohen for a showing of MY PURE JOY. We stopped at a little bar in Texas on the way there. Jarret, whom is also jewish, was harassed at a bar we stopped at for being Jewish. He was surrounded by skin heads. The skin heads kept asking to see his horns and making fun of him. Someone walked up to me and told me that we should probably leave before something bad happened so we did! Thankfully all they did was heckle, however after experiencing Jarret and I had to start writing this film.
12.  Do you have your next project after Hate Crime yet?
Yes I do! The film is called PERNICIOUS and it is shooting in Thailand in January. I wrote it and am also directing it. If you would like to keep up to date with the film please visit
You can also like the film on facebook @
Or you can follow the official film feed on twitter by following @__pernicious__
The film is being produced by Daemon Hillin and Benetone films!
13.  What do you hope people take away from your films?
I hope they take away an experience. I hope that my movie makes them feel something and I hope that they allow me to share my stories with them.
Other Horrific Musings:

Is it really real? Hate Crime (2012)

13 Question Marks of Horror: Wrong Turn 2 's Matthew Currie Holmes

13 Question Marks of Horror: The Hard Cut Director Vince D'Amato

No comments:

Post a Comment