By Michael Gingold
Independent filmmaker/distributor Ron Bonk sent along info and some photos from his latest directorial effort, the intriguingly titled MS. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, which is currently wrapping up postproduction. The movie is set in a rundown apartment building on the eve of its demolition, when a female zealot and her cannibalistic followers arrive to terrorize the remaining residents.
Bonk goes on to explain that MS. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST reps his attempt to make a more accessible movie for a wide genre audience. “My past flicks like CLAY, STRAWBERRY ESTATES and THE VICIOUS SWEET weren’t really standard horror films, and reactions varied. With MS. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, I just wanted to make a movie that appealed to a broader horror fan base. I also wanted to try my hand at action—most of my movies have been slow-burn types with maybe a few action moments. MS. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST has almost nonstop mayhem, and shooting that much was definitely a learning experience. We’d take a long time to block out martial-arts fights sequences, based mostly on my own tae kwon do training—this summer I’ll be testing for my third-degree black belt. Once we shot and edited them, we found they zipped by much too quickly. That’s why MS. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST will be my shortest movie, clocking in between 65-70 minutes, but at least it never lets you stop and take much of a breath! It’s also far gorier than anything else I’ve made.”
A much more expensive and equally sanguinary feature, Bonk reveals, provided indirect inspiration for this project. “MS. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST was initially titled ONE,” he explains. “After shooting CLAY, which was very dialogue-heavy, I had joked to producer Jonathan Straiton that my next movie would have little dialogue and tons of action. I said it would be like 300 but on a low-budget level, and joked that I’d call it THREE. We laughed about it, but I actually instantly had a plot idea for THREE—so what started as a joke soon became my newest labor of love. But after working out the basis for a story, I knew it was too large to do on an ultra-low-budget level—and I needed to shoot some of the ideas I had for THREE first, specifically the action stuff, before trying to take on such an epic project. So I conceived of two other projects, calling them ONE and TWO, that I planned to write and shoot first, both to get used to shooting heavy action, but also as potential showreels to help raise the funds for THREE.”
Needless to say, a more commercial and attention-getting moniker was required for ONE, and Bonk figured MS. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST would definitely catch horror fans’ eyes. But by the time he had finished that screenplay, the moniker no longer applied. “I gave it a new name to be announced, and put it on the shelf,” he explains. “But I liked the title MS. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, and didn’t want to let it go, so I quickly formulated a new plot that would fit it.” The story wound up going through numerous changes due to casting and especially the central location, which changed repeatedly as Bonk got closer to shooting. “Somehow it all came together, and the end result is a movie that’s getting my best responses from horror fans who have managed to see it at private screenings I’ve held.”
For a further taste of MS. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, check out the trailer below, and see the movie’s Facebook page here.