Dick Dale is an Australian writer/director/producer with a strong focus on video nasties and splatter films. Dick is most notable for directing the short dark comedy Creamy Love (2001) and the upcoming splatter horror Ribspreader (2022).

Excited about his upcoming release, we decided to reach out to Dick and ask him some questions we were dying to find out.

When did you get involved in making movies?

I have always been interested in making movies and particularly the horror genre since I was a kid. Reading horror comics and film-making magazines like ‘Famous Monsters of Filmland’. I used to get them from a local secondhand comic store back then. They were affordable for me from there. Usually by the time I actually saw the movies I read about in FMOF they generally never lived up to what I had expected. It was fuel for my imagination though. 

I only actually got access to a video camera when I stayed on for years 11 and 12 at high school back in the 1980s. I lived in a small regional town in Central Queensland. There wasn’t any incentive to do anything there but get a job, buy a house, have a family, and work until you die! One of the big drawcards for me to do was the introduction of a Film and Television subject at school. I got to make a few shorts during that period. After school finished, I got distracted by drama and then playing in punk rock bands. 

Many years later once I had moved to Adelaide in my mid 20s I got hold of a camera again and it reignited my passion for film making. My first was a 40 minutes splatter punk zombie movie called Blue Dog. Made on weekends with friends. I had a premiere screening of it down the local dive bar with horror-themed punk rock bands playing afterward. After a few of these, I entered a film competition (1997) on Foxtel. The Graveyard shifty Film Competition. I ended up coming second Nationally with my film, The Beast from Bomb Beach. After this I was hooked. I even started my short film program, Trasharama-agogo to showcase more of my shorts as well as ones from like-minded sick and twisted film makers. It is now in its 25th year!

You established the Trasha-rama go go film festival. Could you tell us a little about this?

Trasharama (see above) is Australia’s nastiest short film program. I started it in 1997.  I was sick of going to short film programs where there were so many ‘boring’ films but usually, one that was made for laughs or a genre, horror or science fiction film. I thought, why not have a film program where it was just ‘good’ films!! There was nothing else like it around. So I thought. I found out Andrew ‘Stumpy’ Leavold from Trash Video in Brisbane was doing something similar. We hooked up and swapped our selections for a few years before Andrew drifted off into making his own documentary features and such. Originally I had to source my own films and then I started to get them submitted. For the last ten years, it premiers at Monster Fest in Melbourne, and then I do what I want with it. It is a mixture of submissions but I still generally have to source some. It is celebrating its twenty-fifth year. I can’t think of a better way t celebrate than by releasing Trasharama Films’ first feature movie. Australia’s splatterpunk video nasty, Ribspreader.

Who are your favorite filmmakers?

This week it is EARLY pre-hobbit Peter Jackson (Bad taste, Meet the Feebles, Braindead), Frank Hennenlotter (Basketcase, Brain Damage, Frankenhooker), John Carpenter (The Thing, Halloween (78) and Escape from New York). Ask me last week or next week and you could get John Waters, Lloyd Kaufman, Martin Scorcese, Francis Ford Coppola, and Brian Trenchard Smith!!! They aren’t even filmmakers who I am obsessed with simply for ONE film they have made. I think JAWS is the perfect film!

When did you begin making Ribspreader?

Seven years is a grey area really. I started writing the treatment among other things about 2012-2013. I was also working full time at a bar then and moved house halfway through that period. About 2015 my life was back on track again and I started to film pieces to create a teaser trailer. My plan to use that to eventually raise money to actually make it. I shot a scene I wanted in the film and I had cameos from Laurence Harvey (Human Centipede 2) and Spencer P Jones (Beasts of Bourbon) to garner interest.

This one scene was filmed in both Adelaide and Melbourne and some months apart with stunt doubles in place for actors who weren’t there. Through a series of events, building a cast and crew, and the planets being aligned I finally got together a Kickstarter campaign. This raised enough money to go into Production. I was still filming cameos before this as they appeared to insert into my story.

The production was ambitious and consisted of practical effects, miniatures and puppets to name some of the ideas I pursued. I was very detailed with what I wanted and I think did a pretty good job of sticking with my vision.

Still from Dick Dale’s Ribspreader

What type of response has the film garnered at festivals?

It is only played at The Adelaide Film Festival at the time of writing and went very well. It had a maximum capacity screening on the opening night. It sold out at the Imax cinema in less than two days. Eventually, they opened up two more cinemas the same night and they too sold out. About 500 punters. It’s one thing people turning up but the fact that they actually seemed to love it so makes me very happy. The Festival then had an encore screening at the end of the Festival. That was a nearly full screening at the Imax as well. In total, about 700 tickets were sold. It picked up Audience’s favorite feature Film Award too. I don’t think they saw me coming. 

Next is Monster Fest in Melbourne. I can only hope people turn up there and enjoy it. It is harder work getting people not in your hometown out. We shall see. I think being horror freaks and supporters of Trasharama they’ll get it and have a good time. 

Due to heavy censorship in the country, are Australians used to seeing gory films?

Some are, some don’t. My Mum isn’t. In fact, she’s banned from watching my film. In case even tries it has the Banned IN QLD logo on it as she lives there. If you want them you can find them easily. Gore hounds will find gore! If you mean have we made any? Sure. Body Melt (1993), the Wolf Creek movies, Turkey Shoot (1982), and 100 Bloody Acres off the top of my head. 

When will Ribspreader be completed?

It IS completed. I did hand it in two days before the screening in Adelaide though. Other funded films did similar so it’s not uncommon. I couldn’t pay anyone so if you can’t pay anyone you pay with people’s spare time. After watching it a couple more times I have decided to polish up a few sound levels and fine-tune some of the color grading. 

By this weekend, done and dusted and ready for more Festivals. Don’t be concerned, it’ll still be gritty and dirty. That’s it then. I’m not George f**king Lucasing it!!

What lies in the future for you?

Like everyone, Death awaits. I hope I can make some more features in the meantime. Have a bigger budget to pay for itself, and my hard-working cast and crew to do it. That would be nice. I have some ideas…

This interview was provided to Grimoire of Horror by John Wisniewski.

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