News / 05 December 2022


Over the years, Monster Fest has had the honour of hosting Australian Premieres of visionary filmmaker Joe Begos‘s previous features VFW, BLISS and THE MIND’S EYE and this year is no different, having held the Australian Premiere of his latest, CHRISTMAS BLOODY CHRISTMAS, in Melbourne as the opening night feature of Monster Fest 2022.

Now on the eve of the film’s release on Shudder, CHRISTMAS BLOODY CHRISTMAS will open our Monster Fest 2022 festivals in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide & Perth this Thursday (December 8).

EDIT: CHRISTMAS BLOODY CHRISTMAS is now streaming via SHUDDER and is essential festive viewing.

Monster Fest’s Jarret caught up with Joe for a chat about the film and what’s next for this prolific and singular filmmaker.

We had the pleasure of hosting the Australian Premiere of CHRISTMAS BLOODY CHRISTMAS two weeks ago in Melbourne and the audience went wild for it.

Oh fuck yeah. And they got to watch it on a big screen, which is the way to watch it.

Absolutely. This Thursday night, we’re opening Monster Fest with it in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. So we’re bringing to the big screen for the rest of Australia too.

That is fucking cool. I think that’s possibly one of the only times it’s gonna happen in Australia. Hopefully not ever at least in this in this quarter of time. So I’m glad they’re going to see it properly.
I believe that CHRISTMAS BLOODY CHRISTMAS began as a rejected pitch for a SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT remake, is that true and if so did that pitch include the cyborg Santa?

Yeah, it was in the initial pitch. It’s funny, as after we made the movie, I went back to the first document that I sent to the SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT rights holder. At the time it was like a nine page document and fuck it’s beat for beat CHRISTMAS BLOODY CHRISTMAS. I could remember what I based it off but I couldn’t remember if I did deviate at all. It was fucking beat for beat, the only difference being she took the robot out a little bit differently in the last five minutes but that was it. Like everything else was the fucking same. And that’s why like after they turned it down, because it was too different, the story was too different than the original, Covid started and so I was kind of bored and I was like I’m just gonna fucking turn it into a script and see what happens.

And it got financed like really fast and at twice the budget that I was gonna have for the remake if it was a remake. So now it’s a bigger budget in an original movie that I own the copyright to. I usually would not do remakes because I don’t want to try to make something that’s better than one of my favourite movies. Though SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT was always something where it’s like when you describe it or think about it, it’s actually in your head better than the actual movie. So I always thought it was prime for a remake, but now anytime I get asked to do a remake, I’m just gonna come up with a batshit pitch that they’re either gonna go okay or no but at least I spent my time wisely, I guess I got a treatment for a cool movie that I can just make an original thing. So that’s gonna be my thing. Absolutely. I’m not wasting time on a bullshit remake.
Remake genesis aside, how would you say your approach to writing CHRISTMAS BLOODY CHRISTMAS differed to that of your previous films? As it’s quite dialogue heavy, the best in my opinion you’ve written, it’s like a rock n’ roll BEFORE SUNRISE in a festive HARDWARE world.

Yeah, I mean, it, it’s the fucking speed that I wrote. This thing was so fast. It might have been because the treatment was so detailed, but I wrote the first draft of the script, which was pretty close to the movie in like five days. I knew kind of like where in my pitch, it was like they’re arguing about this or that. So like, I was just sitting there and I was just downing whiskey and getting into the dialogue and I’m just writing, I’m laughing to myself because their arguments. I’ve never written another movie where the characters can be horror fans, you know, they can be like me, but they always have something else they’re driving through. I wanted to do a hangout movie, I want to sit there and discuss the merits of PET SEMATARY TWO versus the first Cemetery two versus one because that’s something I know I can get passionate about.

So like I would be sitting there drinking and I’d be like laughing my ass up and getting through this dialogue and all of a sudden I have fifteen pages and I realise I got through that stuff really fast. And then the set pieces were kind of worked out and I get giddy about that stuff. So it was just, and because it was point A to B to C and not like a multi-day journey where there was a big character change and like somebody’s doing something that’s like, no, they’re gonna hang out and talk about movies for half the movie and then it’s gonna be a bunch of cool ass set pieces. So like it kind of wrote itself once my mind was kind of buzzing about it, you know.

It’s funny as the discussions and arguments within the film extended to the foyer of the cinema after the screening where folks were talking about the strengths of Mary Lambert’s PET SEMATARY TWO and whether SUPERUNKNOWN was as good a record as BADMOTORFINGER.
With regards to casting, how active a role did you have in that as both leads Riley Dandy & Sam Delich are pitch perfect.

It’s a testament to my partners who financed the movie at RLJE and Shudder, it was non-cast contingent, we had a couple million dollars to shoot the movie and usually at that budget level, you gotta have some sort of name. And to them they were like the robot Santa was the selling point and you can cast whoever you want. Aside from Riley, most of the cast were people that I knew who were friends, who were actors and people I worked with before, but with them too, I wanted to find somebody new. So I found a really great casting director who casts a lot of Jim Cummings movies and a lot of really cool indies in America, Amey René.

And she came on and she found me a bunch of great, like hundreds of people. I watched ’em all. I just kind of narrowed it down and seeing them like passionately say some of these arguments that sold me on it. And then when I got in there and was able to work with the narrowed down list, I like riffing, but I like following my beat points but then if they deviate off those topics, I like to be able to riff. And when I started riffing with them, Sam and Riley, like Riley in particular, she started riffing stuff that sounded like I would’ve written it or said it and she didn’t know me and she’s so passionately defended PET SEMATARY TWO.

I thought that she was like a fan of that movie. It turns out, doesn’t like horror movies, doesn’t like metal. Wow. Sold me on that. And then to her credit, after she got cast in the movie, she’s like, all right, I’m gonna watch every movie referenced and I’m gonna listen to every album referenced. And I was like, this poor girl who doesn’t watch horror movies is about to do a double feature of BLAIR WITCH 2 and and FREDDY’S DEAD. You gonna be like, why the fuck are you taking this movie? You know, this guy on the Zoom call looks like Charles Manson and is making you watch BLAIR WITCH 2 for homework.

That’s dedication to the craft.
Can you tell me a little about your long-running working relationship with Josh Ethier. You’ve been working with one another since the very beginning with Josh editing, producing and acting in your films. How did you meet and what it is that has driven your ability to continually collaborate?

Well we went to school together, high school. So we met when we were like 14 or 15. We had some of the same general interest in movies and music stuff and I was just making shit by myself, like with my dad’s camcorder. We would hang out and he’s like a really good musician and he was good with editing music and sound. So like he came on and started editing and then because he was there and he has a big towering presence and kind of looked a lot older and bigger when we were younger, he was good in front of the camera too. So we just started making movies together in high school, then investing in equipment.

And then when we were 20, we just got in a car and moved out to LA, into a tiny apartment. I was sleeping in the living room for a few years, we were trying to cut our teeth out here, kept making shorts. He got editing internships, I got directing internships. Then we finally thought that we were in a place where we could just get a bunch of credit cards and put in together to make ALMOST HUMAN. I think that it works good because we compliment each other, you know, like I’m not a good editor. He’s a fucking amazing editor. We both share producing duties, but like once the movie kind of gets going he takes over and brings it to the finish. It’s interesting as now he’s gone on to cut ORPHAN: FIRST KILL so now he has to come down in stature to work with me. So yeah, we’re six movies in and getting better and he’s always getting better, I like that he goes and does that stuff like ORPHAN: FIRST KILL cause then it means that my movies are going be cut even better when he comes back.

Twenty years and we’re like business partners, I get to go to work with my best friend all the time and people trust us implicitly, like on this movie, both Shudder and RLJE financed it and the second that they gave us the money, nobody’s emailed us. Nobody was on set, we just delivered the movie. Like we literally just got a couple million dollars and they let these two metalhead scumbag horror fans just go eight hours away and blow a bunch of shit up and like spend the money however the fuck we wanted as long as we delivered a movie back and we did. So I’m hoping that relationship continues with, with these guys.
And you actually have another film in the works at the moment, that like CHRISTMAS BLOODY CHRISTMAS is being shot on 16mm?

We’re shooting this month. The rest of it I, it was like a Covid project. I was like I’m gonna make a movie because somebody made a movie on Zoom and I was like I’m gonna make a fucking cool movie. I’ve got a bunch of 16mm cameras and I’ve got all my friends and let’s go fucking do it. I thought that would be easy. But of course I wrote a fucking super complicated movie that’s basically like Gaspar Noé made BRAIN DAMAGE and FIRE IN THE SKY. It’s like all shot in my apartment, we’re 60 days into shooting, it was supposed to be 30 days. We ended up shooting 60 days. CHRISTMAS BLOODY CHRISTMAS got financed and I needed to turn it around really fast so we had to shelve it and now I’m back and like we’re prepping.

We actually start shooting on Monday again and of course I’m like doing press now. I just wanna get it out. I just wanna finish it. So like trying to do press for CHRISTMAS BLOODY CHRISTMAS and simultaneously going to shoot this other movie that I star in because we didn’t wanna use acting unions due to Covid. So it’s like I star in it, fucking wrote it, there’s animatronic aliens, there’s fucking oceans, there’s like crazy fucking cameras. It’s all shot on film, like the most ridiculous lighting and with a crew of three to four people. Everybody’s saying when is this thing gonna be done? I’m like we gotta come back Monday guys. We’ve got three weeks. Nobody’s got work the rest of the year.

And they’re like how many days do we have left to shoot? I’m like I don’t know, we have complicated things to shoot and there’s like three of us so let’s just get to the finish line, let’s just chip away at it because it’s gonna be done and we’ll sell it and we’ll finally get paid. That’s gonna be my next movie that you see because I’m have to finish before I start writing or doing anything else. If I go do another movie in between, suddenly more time will pass and I’ll look older in the film.

Inadvertently becoming Linklater’s BOYHOOD if it’s left any longer.

Yeah, that’s just your mind playing tricks on you, I’m ageing before your eyes on the screen.
With Vinegar Syndrome heavily feature in the production design of CHRISTMAS BLOODY CHRISTMAS, particularly in the record store, I’m guessing you’re a fan?

I am a fan of Vinegar Syndrome and because of that I became really good friends with one of the owners, Joe Rubin. He’s like a kid my age who just loves film and has such a passion, he loves scanning film, talking about film, restoring film, and they are the same kind of films I love. We actually became very friendly as I have a big 16mm film collection and a big screen in my apartment. I’ll screen movies here and I invited him over. He directed a movie last year that I acted in. He came and helped out on the alien movie with us and then I asked him for some stuff to help fill out the record store. He sends this gigantic box of stuff. And it’s funny as now on Letterboxd, people are saying it’s good to see Vinegar Syndrome’s financing movies now. Then I see people tweeting like  just bought movies from the Black Friday sale and these six I saw in CHRISTMAS BLOODY CHRISTMAS. So I’m like screenshotting that and texting it to Joe and I’m like you’re fucking welcome motherfucker.

Non-intentional subliminal advertising, well played.

So where do you stand on Soundgarden’s SUPERUNKNOWN?

Actually most of her opinions are something that I agree with but I actually like SUPERUNKNOWN. It just fit into the dynamic of the conversation regarding cutting the hair. But besides SUPERUNKNOWN, I actually do think that everybody else got bad when they cut their hair, but SUPERUNKNOWN is really good. I also love DOWN ON THE UPSIDE.

But yeah, the opinions of hers that I don’t agree with, I threw to Sam just for the dynamic of the conversation. But yeah SUPERUNKNOWN fucking rips.

CHRISTMAS BLOODY CHRISTMAS is the fourth film of yours we’ve played in Australia, hopefully we can get you down here with one of your future features.

I’ve always wanted to go to Australia.

Keep December next year free.

Luckily I got something that might be ready to screen next December, well if we finish this goddamn fucking movie. Might only be on Day 200 by then but no it’ll be finished so let’s talk more.

CHRISTMAS BLOODY CHRISTMAS opens Monster Fest 2022 this Thursday (December 8) in Sydney at Event Cinemas George St, Brisbane at Event Cinemas Myer Centre, Adelaide at Event Cinemas Marion and in Perth at Event Cinemas Innaloo.

Adult Tickets: $21
Concession Tickets: $17.50

10 Film Pass $150
The 10 Film Pass may be used for all 10 Monster Fest film sessions from Thursday 8th to Sunday 11th December including Opening Night, Closing Night and Special Events. It cannot be used for multiple tickets to the same session.

5 Film Pass $80
The 5 Film Pass may be used for 5 Monster Fest film sessions from Thursday 8th to Sunday 11th December including Opening and Closing Night but excluding Special Events. It cannot be used for multiple tickets to the same session.

For Session Dates/Times, Information & Ticketing visit