Making the First Film: An Interview with Johnny K., Director of The Killer of Grassy Ridge

Horror Culture Fan sits down with director Johnny K. to talk about the making of his first film, The Killer of Grassy Ridge.

In my last interview, veteran independent film maker Jim O’Rear gave insights into his career and the highs and lows of independent film making. Jim has been in the business for years and worked in all aspects of it. This interview is from the other end of the spectrum; a filmmaker just getting started.

Johnny K. has just finished his first film, The Killer of Grassy Ridge, which premiers in a few days.  Johnny tells us about his experiences, what he learned, and how he made his film. Some of the questions I asked him were similar to the ones I asked Jim in my last interview. The differences in their responses are illuminating.

I also want to thank Johnny for “getting into the weeds” with his answers. Any of you that are interested in making your own film will appreciate the detail that he goes into.

1) To start off, tell us who you are and what we are talking about.

Damn, these questions are getting hard already…  My name is Johnny K., and I’ve just finished my first short film, The Killer of Grassy Ridge, which premieres February 10th on YouTube, and is currently on the festival circuit. The film stars Heather Stone and Michael Stumbo, who both did an amazing job putting up with everything I put them through.

2) I have had a chance to see the film. I suppose the closest genre it would fit into is the “slasher” genre. Why did you choose this subject for your first film?

I’ve always loved horror, the classic stuff and especially into the 1980s. Growing up with Michael, Jason, Freddy, and Chucky definitely scarred all of us, and a horror film is a relatively easy way to get your first film under your belt. Horror can be ultra low-budget, which was obviously appealing to me, and you can get some great spooky and atmospheric results without the need for renting huge sets, finding a ton of actors, and expensive effects shots. If you dial-in that spooky atmospheric tone just right, you can pull off some great results using very limited resources. 

 I’m also into psychological stuff – what happens when two characters with very opposing points of view come together? How does that confrontation change when you throw an axe in between them? Horror tends to lend itself well to things like that. Plus horror fans are simply the best. They’re so passionate about the things they love, and they’ll defend them to the death! You don’t always get that passion with romantic comedies….

Read the full interview with Horror Culture Fan HERE!