B: Welcome to The B Club, Greg. We really appreciate you taking the time to talk with us.

Greg: Thanks so much for having me. Pleasure to be here.

B: So, Hectic Knife… it’s quite the trip! A pleasure to watch, but it’s challenging to review! For fans who haven’t seen it yet (no spoilers!), how would you describe Hectic Knife?

Greg: I just tell people it’s a comedy. But to be more specific, it’s a sarcastic take on all the big superhero, comic book movies that Hollywood is making. It essentially follows the same structure—a beginning, a big, long, crazy middle that means nothing, and then an end. Ours just tries to have jokes at every beat instead of FX and wizards or whatever else they have nowadays.

B: We get that, especially with current superhero films (generally DC and Marvel) leaning heavily on CGI, which can actually cheapen a film as it’s so obvious. To each their own!

Our understanding is that both you and Peter Litvin (co-writer and star) didn’t initially plan on making Hectic Knife a full-length feature. Why was that, and what made you change your minds?

Greg: Peter and I were making a bunch of goofy short films just for fun. We threw them on YouTube, but they were really for us to just have fun with and do projects. We’ll be releasing them all on a DVD called “Short Films For Nobody” soon. This was back in 2010. I was broke, living on his couch (Link’s room in the movie), and had a mouse die in my laundry bag.

One of the shorts we made was Pete in the Hectic Knife costume (unbeknownst to us at the time), and I filmed him doing knife moves on our apartment roof in Brooklyn. We just thought it was really funny. I made it black and white. Pete wanted the character to fight bad guys, so we went on Craigslist (NYC classifieds). We started shooting every Monday, and by the third Monday, I said, “This is a movie.” Once that became solidified, it all started to fall into place and make sense—to me, anyway!

B: So Hectic Knife sounds like he was an accident? That makes the character even more awesome!

Two things… 2010, film released in 2016?? Hectic Knife didn’t look like he aged a day (even in the flashbacks!). Is that true—six years in the making? Also, as you mentioned Link’s room, the couch? You’ve got to explain that.

Greg: Haha, look again, dude. There’s a scene where he has a full 5 o’clock shadow, and then it’s gone in the next close-up because it was a reshoot two years later!

Yeah, I was living in Pete’s living room with no fourth wall, so just an open space. The couch wasn’t vertical, but that bed that Link lays on when he comes in was my bed in my room.

And yeah, it was a six-year, $20k production, all out of our pockets. Pete was 25 when we started shooting, and I was 23/24, I can’t remember. When we finished shooting, Pete was 30. I’m 31 now. Hectic Knife was done when I was 29. I wanted it done before I turned 30, and I just made it.

But there’s a ton of arrested development. It was clearly made by a growing 24-year-old me, not me now, which I like. But, man, too much swearing! Haha! Check it out! (VIEWER DISCRETION)

B: Wow, when you put it that way, two minutes forty-two… impressive! So the couch? Genius comedy. Who came up with that and why?

Greg: Well, it seemed dumb to just have the couch in the room, right? Like, why would Hectic have a couch? But it was kinda too big to move out of the way, so it was just set dressing that got incorporated into the dialog because it was there.

B: Obvious, really, when you put it that way! So tell us more about you and Pete. Old school buddies? Similar tastes in movies? Both like your metal (killer riffs in the movie, a perfect blend!)?

Greg: Haha, yeah, Pete and I go back to high school. He was a grade above me. We’re from suburban Detroit. After high school, I moved to NYC right away to go to New York Film Academy and try to make movies. I finished at NYFA when I was 18 and stayed in Brooklyn for the next six years. Pete moved there a few years after me. Even though we knew each other in high school, we really became close then. Pete likes everything ever, and my taste is really narrow. But yeah, Pete is a lifelong Troma fan. I’ve never really seen an entire Troma movie unless you count Cannibal: The Musical, which was a HUGE inspiration for me!

Pete is a musician first, which worked out great for us because he mixed our sound, recorded all the ADR (Automated Dialog Replacement or Looping), and did the score himself! So we saved hundreds of thousands in budget, but it just took five years of our personal time.

For me, Pete’s music makes the movie! But luckily, our professional skills didn’t overlap. So we co-wrote it completely, and it’s pretty much all written—not much improv. But I shot, edited, and directed. He co-directed but starred in it and then did the post-sound while I did the visual post. It was a clear delineation and it worked out really well!

And we learned A LOT! Like, don’t start mixing your sound until you’re picture-locked! Unless you have a fluid way to make the changes. We probably lost over a year of technical work time making up for lessons learned like that.

And yeah, funny enough, Pete is the best guitar player I know in life, but he didn’t do any of the metal riffs, I don’t think. He can play metal, but he’s a jazz, punk, rock, pop kinda player, really. Our good buddy Jesse Wozniak, who recorded foley (special FX recording) for us and also plays The Junkie in the very beginning, he does the Slayer-style metal song over the fight scene.

B: The B is in shock… you really should lock yourself in a room, with a TV, remote, and good internet connection, sign up to watch.troma.com and have a tromathon!!! 240 hours should cover it!

Who were your influences (if any) for the final edit? The B got a hint of Return of the Killer Tomatoes with the “we’re in a movie” and “director please say cut” scenes.

Greg: Haha, well, since we’ve joined the Troma Team, I’ve studied up, of course. I like Toxic Avenger, but that’s a given. I like a lot of the documentary stuff they put out, and I loved Lloyd’s book Make Your Own Damn Movie. That book, which I read when I was 20, was a good influence on me! I’ve never seen Killer Tomatoes, actually.

The number one influence was David Wain’s Wet Hot American Summer.

And then, and this is true, I once had a thought when we started making Hectic Knife, “if only I could put these two movies together somehow…” Well, years later, someone on IMDb that I’ve never met saw the movie somehow and literally said the exact two movies… Eraserhead meets Airplane! It’s in a huge, long review the guy wrote on IMDb. I was so honored and amazed that he picked the exact movies I had picked six years prior in my little Link bedroom! It’s really one of the coolest things that’s ever happened to me. I’m totally serious!

But yeah, I’m a Spielberg kid—grew up on Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones. Although Back to the Future and Ghostbusters are just as close to my heart. My favorite movies are Signs, American Movie, and Raising Arizona. I’m a documentary-head and a comedy nerd.

B: Awesome. So Troma—pretty epic moment for you. How’d that happen?

Greg: For sure. So, just from living in NYC and freelancing around for seven years, I knew a few people who knew Lloyd, so I just got his email address. I said to him, “Hey Lloyd, I took your advice and made my own damn movie. Now everyone says Troma would love it. Want me to send it to you? It’s got Blood, Babes, and Bagels…” Lloyd responded about 13 minutes later and said, “Hectic Knife is the story of my life, send it over.” A week later, we started negotiating our contract.

Dream come true for sure—my first feature, published by Troma, a company I had heard of! It’s still a thrill!

B: The B can imagine! From all the work, the time, the effort, and the end product—very much deserved. So what’s next for Greg and Pete? Staying a team or moving on and hoping to cross paths again?

Greg: Haha, well, we still love each other at the end of it all, ya know, as friends—NOT THAT THERE’S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT. But yeah, I got married during production. I’m in Detroit, living, having fun, working on tons of projects. Beyond prepping for the VHS and Blu-ray releases of Hectic Knife, I’m getting ready to raise money to finish my 12-year-long project in the making—a 2.5-hour documentary about music with over 100 interviews all over North America!

Pete is doing his music thing. He’s always releasing funny, cool ideas on YouTube, and last year he wrote a draft of Hectic Knife 2 plus another feature called Dragos that he is going to make in Romania—totally not kidding!

Hectic Knife 2 will probably exist someday. But, ya know, we’re still new, so the demand isn’t really there yet. But trust me, it’s in the works—color, HD, space adventures!!!

But yeah, my doc is called What Kind of Music Do You Listen To? and Pete’s movie is called Dragos. He’s always got cool stuff happening, and I’m juggling a few larger projects and whatnot as well.

B: So life’s good! Good luck with everything you work on. Thank you so much for bringing Hectic Knife into our lives. We’ll be checking for Hectic Knife 2 updates daily! Thanks for your time.

Greg: Yeah, man! Thank you so much for having me. My pleasure, totally!