The Gruesome Death of Tommy Pistol interview with Aramis Sartorio

Both funny and sick at the same time, The Gruesome Death of Tommy Pistol follows the tale of frustratingly-lovable loser Tommy Pistol (Aramis Sartorio), an actor that risks his friends and family for his shot at stardom. When he daydreams about his failures, both personally and professionally, Tommy awakes to find that what he really yearns for is another shot at redemption. Unfortunately, his revelation may come too late as he learns that nobody is guaranteed a second chance.

HNN staff member, Sean McLaughlin, caught up with writer, director and star Aramis Sartorio to talk about the inspiration for “The Gruesome Death of Tommy Pistol”, possible backlash from Hollywood royalty, and the film’s creative use of ordinary kitchen gadgets.

Horror News Network: First things first……where the hell did the concept for the infamous “cheese grater” scene come from?

Aramis Sartorio: The cheese grater scene went down like this. How the hell am I going to top everything that’s been done. What the hell would be the best possible unexpected and affordable weapon I can use to kill some one. I started through the kitchen and decided between the cheese grader and slap chop. And yes I tested them both on my hand!

 

Horror News Network: We know that this movie has been a labor of love for you, taking a long time to complete and find distribution. Now that Breaking Glass Pictures has released it on DVD, how great does it feel knowing that your work will be available to the entire public?

Aramis Sartorio: I found out from other film makers taking four years to make a film is actually a reasonable time frame. Surprise to me. I thought I wasn’t going to finish at times and for the record this being my first film I have to admit I kinda fudged how much I actually spent on it, it’s been bothering me not being honest about that. In the beginning I said $50 grand. HA HA, I wish. It was actually $7 grand. I said a high number with the fear that if anyone invested in my next one they would want it for cheap. And I’d be like “no.” The goal isn’t to make low budget movies like this forever. I want to make movies and have fun, in a timely manner but most of all I want everyone who works on it to get paid. And myself. It’s only fair. I know in the beginning you ask friends/family for favors and making this movie became emotionally hard because I put so much faith in everybody. And they stuck by me the whole way. To me, I’m in for ever debt to Karen my wife and Caleb Emerson. She helped me the whole way and always had the best advice. And Caleb did such an amazing job editing. He never gave me attitude and always helped. So back to the question am I stoked now the movie is out there for the public to see, with distribution? FUCK YEAH! Not just for me, but for everyone that worked on it. And doing it with a small budget from start to end makes this such a personal victory in my life. I’m extremely proud.

 

Horror News Network: “The Gruesome Death of Tommy Pistol” follows several different paths, and switches from comedy to the surreal in the blink of an eye. When you began working on the script, did you set out to have such a roller-coaster feel to the story or was that a by-product of your awesome screenplay-writing skills?

Aramis Sartorio: My writing skills are awesome:)! Thank you for noticing. Yes my goal from the beginning was to make a insane comedy/horror and the best advice I was ever given about writing. Write what you know. The benefit to taking so long to make this movie was time. I had so much time to add and erase scenes. I had a script written but on those days when people would show up, wait for their scene, then when it comes up say I need to leave in an hour, I had to shoot something, something had to happen. Some day’s I only had access to a DP and camera man for a few hours so I had to take it and re-write on the fly. Honestly I think some of the best scenes in the movie came out because my back was against the wall and we had to make it work, like now!

 

Horror News Network: Since the film’s title references your real-life alter ego, how close to the real “Tommy Pistol” does this movie come? Are the internal struggles and conflicting family life situations issues that you find yourself dealing with a lot?

Aramis Sartorio: This movie is extremely close to my heart. This movie relates to anybody who works or wants to follow their dreams. Because when married, there comes that day when you have to ask your self “am I still going to persue this” And not just your dreams but any job. Is this job actually making me enough money to live on and take of your family. Or am I being selfish. This was a huge question I struggled with I think only people with family really relate to.

 

Horror News Network: Of the three sequences in the movie that portray different sides of your character, which do you think is the most accurate?

Aramis Sartorio: I think the first story Snuff Said I relate to the most. Not that I ever killed anybody in a snuff film but at how naive I could be at the situation going on at the moment some times. I can be stubborn and hard headed some time when I don’t get my way.

 

Horror News Network: Have you heard any feedback from a certain ex-action star (and former governor of California) for your hilarious sendup of him in the film?

Aramis Sartorio: None sadly. It would mean the world to me to know Arnold watched it and wanted to fire back insults at me. That would mean it’s gotten in the right hands and landing on the desk of important people to.

 

Horror News Network: Your film is certainly gory, but it has a comedic vibe to it similar to the Troma films. Were you fan of that studio’s work, such as The Toxic Avenger and Sgt. Kabukiman, NYPD?

Aramis Sartorio: I loved the Toxic Avenger. I watched it so many times. Troma has that unique style that screams JUST FINISH IT. No matter what the budget is, or the problem. You started it now finish it. Anything done on a certain budget looks like a Troma movie. Because that’s what we relate it to. I love TROMA and their movies are a huge inspiration to me.

 

Horror News Network: This marks your first stab at a mainstream vehicle. Any plans to continue in this arena, or will you be sticking with porn going forward?

Aramis Sartorio: I’m full steam ahead in making mainstream movies. I’m pitching my screenplay “It Ate His Face” to possible producers right now. Synopsis: After setting out to research an unknown section of the great lakes in Michigan, four adventurous students find themselves battling crazed rednecks, and something lurking in the water the hasn’t’t evolved in over 250 million years. This pre-historic parasitic monster has turned the once quintessential eco-system in this small town flat on it’s back and all living creatures are soon finding themselves prey to it. Initially distracted by the good time they are having and the loss of their friend’s brother in a sick and twisted unexplained accident only a month before they find themselves trapped in a gruesome situation as old as time itself- will they kill or be killed? They will discover that this evolution phenomenon is as deep and wide and dark as the great lake they came to research- if they survive.

 

Horror News Network: You’ve starred in porn spoofs of several classic horror films, including The Exorcist and Re-Animator. Any plans to parody more movies in that genre?

Aramis Sartorio: Evil Head coming soon! For real this time.

 

Horror News Network: Can you ever look at a cheese grater the same way again?

Aramis Sartorio: Not with out Mia Tyler’s face for a second. LOL!

Tommy Pistol horror movie

Tommy Pistol horror movie

Tommy Pistol horror movie

Tommy Pistol horror movie

Tommy Pistol horror movie

Tommy Pistol horror movie

Tommy Pistol horror movie

Horror News Network: Breaking Glass Pictures released “The Gruesome Death of Tommy Pistol” on DVD back on March 27th. It is available at most major retail outlets online, including Amazon and DVDEmpire.com. Have a comment on this interview? Post it here.

Sean McLaughlin on Twitter
Sean McLaughlin
Staff Writer at Horror News Network
Sean McLaughlin has been writing for Horror News Network since 2012. Catch up with him on Twitter at @Makasupa and read his in-depth bio on our About Us page.
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