The Movie Waffler Waffling With BONEJANGLES Star/Writer Keith Melcher | The Movie Waffler

Waffling With BONEJANGLES Star/Writer Keith Melcher

Keith Melcher on Bonejangles' trilogy, his proposed Friday the 13th reboot and his love of Marvel movies.

bonejangles poster

Does one just wake up one day and say ‘I’m gonna be a screenwriter’? How did you get your start?

You know, that's not really far from the truth. Before screenwriting, I always wanted to be a comic book writer, which is a really hard profession to break into unless you self publish, so comic book writing kind of transitioned into screenwriting. I had a friend who went to film school, so he helped me learn the basics and I was pretty much off and running after that... and my first few scripts... were God awful. But I think I've learned a few tricks of the trade since then. I even managed to win the 2007 Nevada Screenwriting Competition with one of my earlier scripts. The prize was a framed post card of the "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign. So I've also learned to lower my expectations ha ha ha.

Were you a creative kid? Was it a given that you’d end up having something to do with the arts as you got older?

Fairly creative. I wrote and drew my own comics as a kid. I was a very lousy artist, but my grandma liked my comics at least! In high school I got involved in drama and acting for a while. While in college I started focusing more on my writing. But I'd say it was a given the arts were in my future starting at a young age.

Tell us about some of the scripts you wrote earlier that just never got up – please tell us there’s an unproduced Elm Street or Halloween sequel in there!?

Well the script that won me the Nevada prize is an action comedy called Edward Kowalski Must Die. It's basically Ocean's Eleven just with more swears, Star Wars references and poop jokes. And it will be made one day. Oh yes, it will be made. I did start work on a Friday the 13th reboot for my own enjoyment that may have been way too out there for fans of the series. I went the Wes Craven's New Nightmare route with it and had it take place in the real world where all the other movies in the series were just that, movies, but movies that were based on an actual murder spree that happened at Camp Crystal Lake in the early '80s. The movie then follows two different plot threads. The first one has a group of would-be filmmakers attempting to shoot their own Friday fan film at the abandoned camp while a killer who may or may not be the real Jason Voorhees picks them off one by one. The second plot follows a journalist attempting to interview Pamela Voorhees, who has been confined to an asylum since the murders. Eventually the two plots converge at the camp and Jason is revealed to be a sort of golem made out of the muck of crystal lake, brought to life by Pamela's grief and rage and containing within it the mummified remains of a stillborn Jason. Again, it was pretty out there, but if you're reading this Paramount, the script's waiting for you!

These days, do you write knowing you’ll have only limited finances to play with – a’la Saw?

Not really. I should if I want to see these scripts ever get turned into movies, but I don't let budget considerations temper my imagination in any form when I write. Of course when it comes time to film the movie, more often than not "an army of zombies hundreds of miles long" usually is transformed into "a few zombies shamble along the countryside." But I think big in my scripts. That's something I just can't help.

Speaking of, how much has Saw and the success of James Wan and Leigh Whannell encouraged indie horror filmmakers to get up and put their Nikon where their mouth is?

Well judging by the wide variety of indie horror flicks now available on Netflix or Vudu, it must have encouraged somebody out there, and I'm all for it. The more horror the better. Sure, not all of them are of the same quality of Saw, but hey, at least people are out there doing what they love, so more power to them!

Do you think the success of that movie has convinced too many folks though that they’re going to make money and be superstars off the back of whatever indie horror film they do? Does everyone think their film is ‘the next Saw’?

That is the downside to whenever there is some big hit in any genre and everybody jumps on the bandwagon and tries to be the next whatever. I've learned firsthand that just by putting a movie out doesn't mean there's going to be a guaranteed payoff. Indie filmmaking is a risky venture. I know we had no intention of Bonejangles becoming "the next _________". We just wanted to make a good movie that people can be entertained by and I'd like to think we were successful in that.

What was the goal with Bonejangles?

To make a kick ass horror-comedy that people can enjoy. I know the movie isn't for everybody, but I'm hoping horror and comedy fans will find something to love about it. To me, it's a love letter to all the horror movies I grew up with: Friday the 13th, Evil Dead, Night of the Living Dead, even a little Deliverance thrown in. I'm hoping fans of those movies will appreciate what we did with Bonejangles. And if not, just don't be a dick about it. That's all I really ask for.

How close to achieving that goal are you? Are you satisfied with how it’s all gone?

I'm satisfied with the reactions so far which seem fairly positive for the most part. I'm happy with the finished film. The cast and crew knocked it out of the park as far as I'm concerned. It's been a long journey but I'm happy for us to finally get to this point and have it released nationwide.

For you, personally, what do you hope to get out of the film’s success?

I hope it can open some doors for me and lead to more film projects down the road. I have a lot of other scripts I'd love to see become movies. And the inner geek in me would somehow - and don't ask me how this will happen - but I'd like to somehow get involved working on a Marvel Studios production. So Kevin Feige, if you're reading this along with Paramount, once I'm done writing their new Friday the 13th reboot, I've got a kick ass Moon Knight script waiting for you! You never know. Stranger things have happened. That's a good show too. I wouldn't mind writing a few episodes of that in the future  ha ha ha. But honestly, if the movie can help me get a date on a Saturday night, I'd be happy with that too ha ha ha.

The movie seems to be all over the web - much more so than a lot of other low-budget indies - what’s the secret to getting coverage for a film? Is it persistence or does it come down to the product itself?

If I knew the answer to that, I'd probably be a much more successful filmmaker. I think we found the right marketing firm for Bonejangles who were able to share it all over the web for us. Social media has also helped out a lot, at least with Bonejangles. I haven't had much success with it with some other projects I've been involved with, so who really knows? Maybe it's because of the Juice Lad in our movie. Kids just love the Juice Lad!

And finally, will Bonejangles return!?

Oh yeah. The scripts for Bonejangles 2 and 3 have been written and we might be doing some early work on them in the next few months. The plan is to shoot Bonejangles 2 and 3 back to back so yes, Bonejangles will be back. With a vengeance!