Monday, December 8, 2008

Interview with Mycho Founder MJ Dixon

Mycho is an independently run production company based in Northern England specializing in low-budget horror, horror-themed events and even their very own horror band, Hockey Mask Heroes. A true lover of horror, founder MJ Dixon runs Mycho not to make money but because of his dedication to the genre.

We had a chance to chat with MJ Dixon about Mycho, the horror genre, his inspirations and much more!

Fatally Yours: How and when did your love of horror begin?

MJ Dixon: I can’t really pin point the moment that it began, as long as I can remember I was always attracted toward anything macabre. But the first time I ever remember being scared was watching Universal Studios’ The Mummy when I was about 7 years old, that when my obsession began, and I spent the most part of my childhood drawing red ink on the TV paper circling the weeks horror movies. It was only when I was about 11 that I saw Halloween and from that moment I knew that I wanted to spend my life making Horror Movies.

Fatally Yours: Can you tell our readers something about your production company, Mycho?

MJ Dixon:  Mycho is based in the North of England and focuses purely on creating original, entertaining Horror films. In addition we put on Events like the House Of Mycho as an outlet for the films and music that we create. The most important thing is that it’s all done completely on no money and lots of love.

Fatally Yours: What led up to you starting your own production company?

MJ Dixon: Mycho was created from many factors combined, When I left high school at 16 (Over 10 Years ago) I began to work on small independent productions in my area. There wasn’t a lot going on so I grabbed hold of any opportunity that I could. But it was rare that any of them were Horror films and trying to get my own stuff out there was proving increasingly harder in the North of England where people only wanted to see Kitchen Sink dramas.

I realised that if was going to get to work on Horror Films I would have to make them myself and so I set up a production company and shot my first film Destination. There was a bit of buzz about it on various Horror Boards and I knew I was on the right track. Then money became involved and the people I was running the company with got greedy. They stop thinking about what we would make next and more how much they would get paid, I decided to get out at that point.

I had learned a lot of lessons from that first film and decided that I would create, not only a production company, but a film making philosophy, and so I created Mycho. Mycho was about making movies for the love of movies and focused purely on Horror, my biggest love.

Fatally Yours: What are all the duties and roles that you perform for Mycho?

MJ Dixon: I take care of almost everything, I take on cast and crew as I need them, although I have picked up a few like minded characters along the way who have become regulars. But my duties mainly are putting together every project from start to finish. I spent a long time training myself to edit so that I could take care of that and studied composition and sound design at University as well as screenwriting and anything else you could think of.

Fatally Yours: Tell us about what youre working on now
MJ Dixon: Well at the minute we’re in pre production on Creepsville which will be Mycho’s debut feature film. It’s been in development for years and I decided that now was the time to go for it. The past year or so has been spent tightening up every aspect of Mycho’s productions and I think now its time to take on something big. It’s scary as the film has no real budget, its all based on the “beg, borrow, steal” philosophy, which is nothing really new to us.

Fatally Yours: If you could put together your dream cast and crew for a horror film (or even to host one of your events), who would you choose and why?

MJ Dixon: Well funnily enough I’ve been writing a film with Troma star Trent Haaga in mind for about 6 years and during trying to raise funds we actually shot a micro cameo with Doug Bradley of Hellraiser fame. It’s a high budget affair really so it’s been very hard to ever get it up and running, but I’m a big fan of Trent both as an actor and a writer and well, I grew up as a huge fan of Hellraiser, so trying to get Mr Bradley fully on board would be a dream come true.

As for events well I would love to have Alice Cooper play, I’m a huge fan of the band and Mr Cooper himself. Mycho actually has its own band Hockey Mask Heroes, that record our soundtracks and such, that is very much in the same vein as what Cooper was doing in the 80′s and 90′s.

Fatally Yours: What have been some of your favorite horror films of 2008?

MJ Dixon: There’s been some really strong Horror this year, Inside was one that stands out, the French don’t give us horror very much, but when they do it always hits me hard. Teeth was another, it just had such originality and really entertained me and the string of people I’ve shown it to. I also loved Jack Brooks – Monster Slayer, it just took me back to the first time I saw Evil Dead 2. I hope those guys get a sequel.

Fatally Yours: Whats your favorite horror film of all time?

MJ Dixon: That’s always a hard question, I get asked that a lot, I would say it’s between Halloween, The Hitcher and Hellraiser. They are three films that I can watch again and again and they never lose any impact. It’s a shame that the remakes of the first two were a little lacklustre, I’ve got nothing against Hollywood remaking films, but I wish they would look at why the originals were so scary. Let’s just hope they get Hellraiser right.

Fatally Yours: What do you think modern horror movies today are doing wrong? What do you think they are doing right?

MJ Dixon: It’s strange, we have grown more acceptant as an audience these days, so what would have scared us many years ago now has little or no impact. I was watching the making of Constantine the other night and the director used the term “Popcorn scare” and I think it’s that mentality that is causing the problem. There’s no sense of dread in most commercial, modern horror, its all just mediocre jump scares that are instantly forgettable on leaving the theatre or turning off the DVD player.

There are people out there getting it right though. All The Boys Love Mandy Lane for example was something fresh and new and I got a lot from it as a viewer. With people like Adam Green and Eli Roth out there I feel that Horror is at least in safe hands. Saw had it right for a couple of years, but I think by now they know that we’ll hand our money no matter what crap they put on the screen.

Fatally Yours: What is the one thing you hope people come away with after seeing one of your films or attending one of your events?

MJ Dixon: I want people to be entertained, that’s why I started doing this and that why I’ve never stopped. I spent a lot of time around people making art films, but of course no one wanted to watch them and these people pass that off as the audience being ignorant. But the simple fact is that film is there to entertain, that’s its main purpose, if you don’t give the audience something for their time they are just gonna be pissed off.

Fatally Yours: You are based in the UK, but do you have any plans to expand into other countries, perhaps even the United States?

MJ Dixon: Yeah, I think with any kind of business you have to look to expand in any way that you can. The move to LA is inevitable, after all the film scene in England is not really geared toward Horror. There have been some classics in recent years The Descent, 28 Days Later, Shaun Of The Dead, but they all still had American studio backing. I plan to do as much as I can here in the meantime, but eventually LA is gonna have to happen.

Fatally Yours: Can you tell our readers about Mychos parties and events?

MJ Dixon: We run an event every month called House Of Mycho, its basically a themed night, always revolving around Horror, for example our New Year’s Evil party on December 31st. We get some awesome bands to come and play, people dress up and we show Mycho movies and play awesome music and just generally have a great time and give Mycho some much needed exposure as a label and as a movement.

Fatally Yours: What are your plans and goals for Mycho in the future?

MJ Dixon: Well after Creepsville, I would want to do a Christmas Horror I think. I don’t really know why, but I’ve always loved Christmas-based Horror films. So I think Mycho could quite possibly be releasing one for next Holiday season. Other than that Hockey Mask Heroes will be releasing our debut E.P this Christmas and we’re planning to tour with that next year and aiming to get some label interest.

Plus the short films will keep coming in the meantime and obviously the House Of Mycho events will keep coming every month. I would really want to keep Mycho independent, that’s probably my main goal. That way we can make Horror that we know people want to see and not this O.C. generation of Horror remakes like April Fools and Prom Night. Mycho’s overall goal though, is to entertain Horror fans and I think we can do that as we’re Horror fans ourselves.

Visit Mycho’s Official Site!

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