News / 07 April 2022

Kiefer Findlow Talks HEAVY METAL DRUMMER

Filmmaker and Monster Fest alumni Kiefer Findlow, has taken his writing talent from script to panel with his latest project, HEAVY METAL DRUMMER, a psychedelic horror comic book series.

Set in the mid-eighties, HEAVY METAL DRUMMER follows Dave, a junkee and heavy metal drummer who trades his sticks for an axe in an inter-dimensional battle against possessed geriatrics and forces far more deadlier.

Jarret caught up with Kiefer to discuss the origin of HEAVY METAL DRUMMER, the collaborative process and the differences of writing between mediums.
Can you tell us about the genesis of the concept for HEAVY METAL DRUMMER?

The concept originally began as a much smaller story that was more of a set up teaser for what we eventually ended up doing. We saw it as a 8 to 10 page short that introduced the body horror possessions of these elderly women and our drummer Dave (which is all still in the first issue). We wanted to capture a real “off the wall” style of the underground sci-fi/horror comics of the 70s & 80s. Some weird little story you’d find in a sci-fi annual or horror magazine. So we took a blend of inspiration from films and stories we both loved and it sorta just birthed itself.

What’s the writing dynamic like with your co-creator Emiliano Plissken?

It’s been surprisingly smooth considering we have been working from opposite sides of the world. It worked really on momentum. I would get a flow for a few pages and then when it stopped we would handover. Back and forth, we were able to build the story really organically. It would be great to get stuck at a point and then get Emiliano’s pages and just being thrilled… which then re-energised my momentum to pick up the next leg. We were oddly in sync the whole way through. I think that’s one of those special connections when artistic collaboration works at its best and I think it shows.
How did you enlist artists Luca Vassallo (Cover Art) and Tokebi (Colorist)?

The recruitment was Emilano’s speciality. We both had talked about what style we wanted it to be and we looked at a number of different artists that were working on indie comics. Emiliano & Emilia had worked with Tokebi before on “The Gatherer” for which he worked on a cover. It was also published by Behemoth and worth checking out. Emiliano found Luca through Instagram and he got the project really quickly. His work captured exactly what we envisioned and when combined with Tokebi’s colouring in the psychedelic sequences, it was just beautiful. We got really lucky to have such talented artists work on it.

What are the pro and cons on working within a comic book medium as opposed to film?

The versatility of writing for a comic I think is a huge pro, not having to worry about “how will get the money to do that” is really freeing after writing screenplays burdened by budget for so long. You can tell these really big, epic, strange stories that would take years to get made as a film if not never. But there were plenty of times I wished the book had a score or the ability to translate camera movement better. There’s a depth that gets lost from the medium. So it’s a trade off. We both still want to make a “Heavy Metal Drummer” film adaptation, there’s something still to add in telling it in that medium I think.
How has the reaction been to HEAVY METAL DRUMMER thus far?

It’s been very positive so far… I grew ever my concerned as the first issue drew closer that this weird metal/sci-fi/erotic thriller/horror mutant was going to be too insane to live. Turns out it fell into the right freaky hands and has kinda spread through the online comic community by word of mouth. People who got it just seem to get it but can’t explain why to anyone else. It just has to be experienced… to have so many say that really is just amazing to be a part of as an artist.

Lastly, outside of the comic book realm, what works would you compare HEAVY METAL DRUMMER to for those interest who aren’t comic savvy?

So… as we are both filmmakers at heart we drew a lot of inspiration from movies. We both love John Carpenter films, THEY LIVE & THE THING in particular were key in the original conception. There’s elements of SPECIES as well as THE TERMINATOR and a bit of MANIAC for sure. We both also saw MANDY around the same time so there’s a bit of that craziness to it. Lastly I’d say the film of HEAVY METAL really was the spirit we were trying to capture.