A righteous roar could be heard down the street of the Hitching Post Theater Wednesday night when the villain in the internationally acclaimed film "Artik" was dished out just desserts in a special showing.
In the movie, the producer and starring actor, Jerry G. Angelo, portrays a serial killer, Artik, who has lost touch with reality and lives in the pseudo world of a blood-soaked comic. Thinking he is a hero instead of a monster, Artik resides on a sunflower farm along with his equally deranged wife, a straight edge son and a disturbing cache of misfit boys he keeps locked in the family's barn.
Angelo attended the Tehachapi premiere along with the movie's writer and director, Tom Botchii. Following the showing, both Angelo and Botchii greeted the audience, answered questions about the workings of the production and signed autographs.
Asked about the significance of the straight edge reference of the serial killer's son, a subculture lifestyle centered around abstinence, Botchii said, "In any horror (film), it's very cool or very in right now to always cast your character as a pot head, and I'm kinda tired of that, so I wanted to do a character that I have yet to see on screen … something that reflected my past growing up."
Botchii said he came up with the character of Artik after moving to Los Angeles about four and a half years ago. Once he arrived, he bought a Nissan Versa, which was broken into a week after he got it. Inside the vehicle, the car bandit spray painted "ATK," which he later learned from the police was the insignia of a gang banger named Artik.
As an actor who is known for his positivity, Angelo was asked how he was able to bring the role as a dark, mumbling serial killer to light.
"It's fun to play something that you're not," Angelo said. "I got to portray something that doesn't exist. ... Once we found an accent for Artik, he started to come to life and to breath. Anything that I wouldn't want to happen to me, is exactly what I wanted the character to be able to do."
Botchii said the entire film was shot in 11 days during the winter on a patch of bare dirt surrounding a farm in Albuquerque, N.M. The cost of the film was $100,000, of which half of the budget went to reproducing the sunflower special effects, which served as a large portion of the backdrop in the movie, but did not actually exist.
"I have played dark characters, but I know that it's just not in me to be dark," Angelo said. "There are nightmares that come in and you can't sleep because your mind is going to scenes you want to do. ... At the end of the day, making a horror film for the audience who likes horror genre, you want to hit those peaks and valleys."
"Artik" is currently available on YouTube, Amazon Prime, Google Play and Vudu. Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie a 100 percent review. Spoiler alert: The fork scene is not for the weak of heart.