Charlie Sheen, Alison (Nellie Oleson on Little House on the Prairie) Arngrim, and radio personality Rush Limbaugh star in Sam Kinison’s The Honeymoon Killer now in post-production. The late Sam Kinison’s take on the slasher genre, which was previously covered here, deals with an unhappily married man who targets brides on their wedding day. During a recent interview conducted by email, executive producer Bill Kinison, Sam’s brother, provided Retro Slashers with details about the new production and the long lost promo video Sam shot for THK during the early 1990s. Kinison also sent a rare behind-the-scenes photo (above) taken during the filming of the promo which shows Sam dressed as the killer while holding a glass of liquid inspiration, director “Bill Blackman” offering encouragement, and Robin Williams clutching the script.
Retro Slashers: As I understand it, the script for The Honeymoon Killer never translated into a finished film because of Sam’s problems in Hollywood.
Bill Kinison: Sam was supposed to make Atuk for United Artists but the project fell apart on the first day of shooting. UA sued Sam which led to him getting blacklisted in Hollywood for several years. The Honeymoon Killer is just one of the projects Sam worked on during the blacklist years that never got a sniff from the major studios. There was also Stranger in Town written with Dan Barton and The Mistake, a comedy Sam worked on with Rita Rudner.
RS: What can you tell us about the promo trailer Sam had made and what are the chances we’ll ever get to see the footage?
BK: Sam really believed in the script so he called in a bunch of favors from some old friends to shoot this trailer and sent it with the script to the studios. Ron Jeremy shot and edited the footage for Sam but used the name Bill Blackman in the credits. Robin Williams made a cameo as the dedicated marriage counselor trying to stop the killer. Some of Sam’s Comedy Store buddies did bits to help out. John Fox, Larry Reeb, Bill Hicks, and Carl LaBove contributed cameos. Sam couldn’t afford special effects so he hired a dancer named Kitten Natividad to play a stripper in one scene. She performed an amazing dance in a glass bathtub. Sam cast himself as the killer. I don’t know if the footage Ron shot for Sam still exists. Right now all we have is the one photo. If we find the original footage it will be included as a bonus item when the dvd for the new film hits stores.
RS: When did production on the new film start?
BK: Last year. It looked like Brother Sam was finally going to get made so I dusted off some of Sam’s old scripts to see if any of them could generate some interest while the iron was hot. Honestly, The Honeymoon Killer wasn’t my first choice but then I started getting emails from Sam’s fans wanting to know more about the script. Most of the emails started with “Hey, I just read about Sam’s movie over on this slasher site.” Somehow Slash heard about the script through the grapevine and gave me a call. He had just started his production company Slasher Films and was looking for horror scripts. He read it, loved it, and gave us the green light to rock and roll.
RS: Who’s directing the new film?
BK: Ron Jeremy is directing only this time he’s putting his real name, Ron Hyatt, on the credits. Ron and Sam were really good friends and Ron wanted the opportunity to finish this project for Sam. When Sam was blacklisted Ron went out of his way to find Sam work in independent movies, including a small part in Savage Dawn.
RS: How did Charlie Sheen, Alison Arngrim, and Rush Limbaugh get invovled in the making of The Honeymoon Killer?
BK: We were really lucky to land Charlie. Our first choice to play the killer dropped out at the last minute. Ron is friends with Charlie and talked him into taking over the role while Two and a Half Men was on temporary hiatus. We shot most of his scenes then but we brought him back for additional shooting after CBS cancelled the rest of the season. Charlie is great fun to work with. A generous actor and a generous man. He often took the cast and crew out for breakfast after gruelling twelve hour night shoots.
Not many people know this but Alison Arngrim was performing stand-up comedy years before Sam ever got started. Sam and Carl LaBove used to crash at her condo when they were broke and starving. Alison took in a lot of starving young comedians back then and fed them piazza and jelly-o. Her place was known as The Condo of Lost Souls. Anyway, Sam wrote a part in The Honeymoon Killer just for Alison to pay her back for all of the kindness she showed him when he was struggling. She plays the killer’s ball busting wife. It’s a pivotal role because her character is the reason he’s murdering brides on their wedding day. Alison gives an amazing performance when she goes into super bitch mode. I don’t know how Charlie kept a straight face. Members of the crew were turning colors because they were laughing so hard between takes.
Rush Limbaugh plays the town mayor who deals with a major crisis by playing golf or going on vacation when it looks like things are really hitting the fan. Limbaugh came to us and said he wanted to be part of the film. Rush was just another top 40 DJ until he met Sam and asked him for career advice. Sam told Rush the secret to connecting with an audience is making each individual feel like you are talking to them. It doesn’t matter if your audience is 3 or 3000. Sam’s jokes about ending world hunger were a major influence on Rush during the early formation of the Rush Limbaugh Show. Limbaugh learned his timing and delivery from watching Sam’s act.
RS: Who are some of the other actors in the cast?
BK: We have a couple of young actresses who aren’t widely known but have the potential to be big stars one day. Ashley Austin Morris plays the Bride from Hell. She looks so sweet and innocent but when she puts on the wedding dress it’s time to turn off the lights and call the police. Morris is a theater actress and this is her first feature film. Singer, actress Hayley Kiyoko plays the Dragon Lady, a mail-order bride. The Dragon Lady character is based on comedian Tamayo Otsuki, one of Sam’s old girlfriends. Sam was in love with her for about a year before she ripped his heart out and ate it like sushi. She was his last girlfriend before he met Malika and Sabrina.
Sebastian Roche plays the marriage counselor chasing the killer. All of these slasher films have a British doctor trying to end the murders so Sam changed the character to a self-righteous marriage counselor. Roche is actually Frence but he talks British really well so we hired him.
RS: When will The Honeymoon Killer hit theaters?
BK: Right now we have a tenative release set for May 2012. Fans attending Charlie Sheen’s “Torpedo of Truth” tour will get to see a special 7 minute trailer for The Honeymoon Killer Ron put together for Charlie. The trailer will act as a short intermission so Charlie can catch his breath half way through his 80 minute show.
Special thanks to Bill Kinison for agreeing to this interview and for providing Retro Slashers with the photo. To see Ashley Austin Morris discuss her audition for this film check out her video blog “Baby Got Back” on her official site.