Billy’s Cult takes us into the demented mind of Billy, a ruthless killer unlike any other seen before. Born out of sin, Billy is given up at a young age for adoption by his mother, Lenore Kingsley. He grows up wanting revenge on his mother, and biological father, a Roman Catholic priest, Father Allen Perry. Meanwhile, Detectives Gates and Steele are in pursuit of this killer, trying to put an end to the killing spree, while at the same time, attempting to exorcise their own inner demons.
Staff member, Christine Caprilozzi, caught up with writer/director, Michael Lucas, to talk about Billy’s Cult.
Horror News Network: The premise of the movie is of a vengeful man given up for adoption after being born out of wedlock to a young woman and a Roman Catholic Priest. What was the inspiration for the story?
Michael Lucas: There really wasn’t anything in particular that inspired the story. I think when I sat down and started outlining the script, I was trying to think of things that would be intriguing to an audience. I grew up Catholic and was taught that Priests were supposed to be able to connect with God, they are able to forgive our sins and perform sacraments, therefore they must have some sort of special powers. Prostitution is considered the oldest profession and is often associated with evil, so I thought the two coming together and creating life would be a fascinating way to start the story.
Horror News Network: Besides the serial killer plot, was the premise meant to be sort of a commentary on the Catholic church and the tangled web it has weaved over the years?
Michael Lucas: It wasn’t really meant to slander the Church, but I admit there are far worse things that have occurred in Churches around the world. I looked at it as a way for the devil to come into my story. There are a lot of films that use the devil in different ways and I wanted to have my devil enter in a unique way. I think being conceived on the altar of a Catholic Church is a unique way.
Horror News Network: Billy is obviously disturbed and out for revenge on his biollogical parents. Tell us about the character development, (or degeneration) of Billy Kingsley?
Michael Lucas: You don’t learn too much about why Billy is such a dark character in the first film. We are planning more films and there is definitely some back story that will be uncovered, but you do realize that Billy wants to rid the world of people that are like his parents. He has a hatred for women that choose to give their kids up for adoption and he really wants revenge on his father. The Billy character is twisted and in his mind believes he is doing the world a favor by killing the people he hunts.
Horror News Network: Billy is played by Donovan Kern. How did you know he was the one to be your demented killer?
Michael Lucas: Donovan and I have known each other for a long time. When I started this project, I wasn’t exactly sure he was going to be the Billy character. It was after the script was written and I started thinking about the story and how the character needed to look and act that I knew Donovan was perfect for the role. The Billy character is unique because there is no hiding his identity and I wanted a character that can look normal at times and then demented in a matter of seconds. Donovan brought the character to life like I wanted and actually added more to the Billy character than I envisioned. I am thrilled with his performance.
Horror News Network: Tell us a bit about Detective Steele and Detective Gates? How are they affected by this gory and disturbing investigation?
Michael Lucas: The detectives are characters I felt were vital to the storyline. I have watched so many films about killers, murders, monsters, etcâ€¦ and there never seems to be a realistic storyline or police investigation. I am not saying our film is one hundred percent accurate, but I think we do a pretty good job of portraying an investigation.
The Detective Gates character, played by Lou Martini Jr., is a family man. He is a bit on the corny side, but his character isn’t in it for the glory of solving crimes, he is more interested in the job paying the bills and feeding his family. Martini does a great job with the character and really gives you a sense that he is a guy that realizes how lucky he is to have a beautiful wife played by Suzi Lorraine and a loving daughter. He cares about his job, but not enough to put everything he’s got into it. This creates problems for him and his partner Detective Steele.
Steele is played by Debbie Rochon. Debbie is a cold, job first, life second type of character. She eats, breathes, and sleeps her job and at times seems to take herself a little too serious. Debbie does an amazing job with the character and her range of emotions is incredible.
Horror News Network: Debbie Rochon (Detective Steele) is a renowned “Scream Queen.” How did her casting come about?
Michael Lucas: We landed Lou Martini Jr. and he actually suggested we contact Debbie. She was on our list already, but we didn’t have accurate information for her. I sent her a few emails and they went unanswered until Lou and I talked and I realized I didn’t have her correct contact information. After I finally contacted her, I spoke to her for a while on the telephone and she was a sweetheart right from the beginning. I explained to her the plot, what I was trying to do, and when I wanted to film. She basically said, send me the script and I will let you know. She contacted me a few days after I sent it and gave me a list of days she wasn’t available and told me any of the other days she would gladly come film. We were so excited to cast her and it worked perfectly because she was available the same days that Suzi Lorraine and Lou Martini Jr. were able to come. I filmed around all their scenes and then had five days to film all their parts. It worked perfectly.
Horror News Network: In terms of hardcore horror fans, what can they expect in terms of suspense?
Michael Lucas: I think it is a pretty suspenseful film. The one thing about the movie that I think might be a little different or unique is the way it flows. It is really fast moving and there are a lot of scenes, but they aren’t really long drawn out scenes. I tried to tell the story in a way that keeps the audience guessing. I feel like some films insult the audience’s intelligence and give way too much detail. I like to try and make people think about it and sometimes draw their own conclusions.
Horror News Network: How about the “blood and guts” factor?
Michael Lucas: There is a good amount of blood and guts. Mostly blood and some guts! We have a few scenes in the film that will definitely strike up some conversations. There are a few parts that I still cringe when I see, but mostly I think the violence is necessary and I like the amount we have in the film.
Horror News Network: Have you always been a horror fan? Since it’s the season, what is your absolute favorite horror movie of all time (not including “Billy’s Cult”)?
Michael Lucas: I started watching horror films when I was around five or six years old. My grandmother and I would watch them and we were basically the only ones in my family that really enjoyed them. I was a huge fan of “Creepshow” I was around 5 years old when I saw that and it scared me to death. I don’t know why, but I loved that feeling and couldn’t get enough. I would have to say that is probably my favorite in the horror genre and I am also a huge fan of “Silence of the Lambs.” I know that isn’t a traditional horror film, it’s more of a thriller, but I sort of compare Billy’s Cult to that same type of film. If we achieve one hundredth of the success, I will be truly honored!
Horror News Network: As of now, there is no formal distribution for the film. Where can horror fans currently check it out, or reserve a copy?
Michael Lucas: That is the big question. We recently sent the film to some well known distribution companies and we’ve had good feedback so far. Hopefully we will know something in the very near future. We are hoping to solidify a deal very soon.
Horror News Network: Thank you for your time, Michael. Comment on this interview here.