Interviews: Director Josh ‘Sinbad' Collins & Writer Steven G. Michael Talk About Their Trashploitation Flick Fags In The Fast Lane

Celebrate Pride Month with trashploitation wunderkind Josh Sinbad Collins’ (the deviant genius behind cult sensation Pervirella) return to the cinema spotlight with the low-fi extravaganza Fags In The Fast Lane

Following in the tradition of queer classics such as The Gay Deceiver, Pink Angels and Zorro The Gay BladeFags In The Fast Lane is a glorious, hyper-real fantasy, packed to the gills with bizarre characters, revolting villains, grotesque burlesque, eunuch assassins, androgynous Elvis’s. Backed by some of the raunchiest rock n’ roll on the planet from the likes of ‘The Mummies’, ‘King Khan and his Tandoori Knights’ and more! 

Fags In The Fast Lane is a depraved mashup that’ll have you laughing and gagging from the first frame to the very last. Brimming with old school special effects and mind-boggling visual illusions the deranged smorgasbord will leave you begging for more. You can read our review here

Fags In The Fast Lane is an all-out celebration of all we love in cinema, it’s trashy and vile, beautiful and sweet, sexy and surreal all in the same breath-” says Psychotronic auteur Josh Sinbad Collins, “it’s like the bastard love child of Priscilla Queen of the Desert and the Rocky Horror Picture Show, or a road trip to disco Armageddon if John Waters and Tarantino were sharing the driving!” 

The film is written by Steven G Michael and stars Russ Meyer’s most iconic starlet and muse, KITTEN NATIVIDAD, cult retro rock legend KING KHAN, the Mexican Elvis, EL VEZ, and with narration by Aussie rock maestro TEX PERKINS. The film has left audiences bug-eyed and salivating from its world premiere November 2017 and following its extensive screening tour. 

Fags In The Fast Lane Special Collectors Edition DVD is available for PRE-ORDER NOW at The Zombie Zoo Shop ahead of its worldwide release June 1st and includes: 

- Reversible sleeve

 - Audio commentary with auteur Josh “Sinbad” Collins, DOP/Special Effects Stuart Simpson and writer Stephen G. Michael 
- The King Khan and BBQ Show Music Video “Illuminations” 
- Trailers and teasers 
- The Cartoons of Lluis Fuzzhound the artist behind the retro title sequence. 
 - World Premiere Featurette 
- Fold-out insert Poster, with illustrations by brilliant Brazilian artist, Juarez Ricci. 
- Collector’s edition bumper sticker 

There’s adventures, there’s misadventures, then there’s this adventure… Fags In The Fast Lane is like a packed jockstrap of color, sleaze and pure unbridled, life-affirming joy!

We had the opportunity to interview co-writer/director Josh ‘Sinbad' Collins and co-writer Steven G. Michael about the film.

Josh ‘Sinbad' Collins 

TMS: First off, can you provide us with a little bit of background information. Did you always want to be involved in filmmaking? What type of training or schooling did you have?

JSC: I have a background in Theatre design/cabaret/live music/festivals and such like with a degree from St Martins in London! Our gang ran a notorious London Club back in the day 'The Frat Shack” and there was always a big film element with that as we were basically trying to recreate all the great movie party scenes from the sixties (Riot on sunset strip/Beach blanket Bingo/Head/village of the giants…). We produced a couple of features at that time (90s) Perv Parlor and Pervirella plus many shorts always shot on film from standard 8 through to 35mm. After running some great bars and clubs in Australia ( Devilles Pad The Luwow) and retro music festivals in Spain and The USA it was time to make another film!

TMS: Did you have a lot of support when you decided to get into filmmaking?

JSC: A very supportive wife who didn’t mind the family savings being squandered on such a lunatic project. And really good enthusiasm from everyone involved we had a blast making the movie and I hope that shines through. Enthusiasm and encouragement is worth so much.

TMS: Your films are clearly influenced by cult films and a variety of cult film and exploitation subgenres e.g. Ozploitation, Sexploitation? How and when did these influences form?

JSC: I’ve always been a keen moviephile, as a kid I loved Tarzan and Godzilla and this evolved into a more widespread sleazy offerings as I grew up. The Scala cinema in London’s Kings Cross was a regular weekly thing for me, seeing Russ Meyer/JohnWaters triple bills or all night marathons of gay or zombie fare constantly seeing new amazing films there was a great inspiration. The amazing Psychotronic shop in London was a great source of out-there cinema too.

TMS: Your first feature film was released in 1995. How would you say that you have evolved or changed since filming The Perv Parlor?

JSC: Well hopefully I’ve got a lot slicker, certainly the technical side has improved leaps and bounds. Perv Parlor was entirely shot on a wind up Bolex so had to be over dubbed as the sync was all over the place. However I am glad to say the ethos and general mad cap nature of the movie making is very much intact.

TMS: What’s up with Fags in the Fast Lane? Where can people see it? And what do you want them to know about the movie?

JSC: I mean how can you resist a film with Kitten Natividad, King Khan , El Vez and The Mummies plus a whole heap of degenerate Australians. Films like this are not made everyday! We are streaming world wide on Vimeo, itunes and have great Spanish, French and German subtitling and are selling a very well packaged DVD through Monster and Zombie Zoo Productions’ websites. The great thing about this movie, and I can genuinely say this, is it is the opposite of The Hollywood generic codswallop that keeps getting churned out again and again. We are film makers who genuinely believe you can make good entertainment without too much formula or too much money!

TMS: What was the inspiration behind this story?

JSC: We did follow a classic 3 act script structure with the film, but then tried to take it as far out as possible. Pretty much every crazy idea we had ended up in the film one way or another. The story evolved out of this and actually started life as a complete "Gay Mad Max” but ended up as a warped Americastralian road movie instead.

TMS: Were there any direct cinematic influences or homage in this film?

JSC: Maybe too many to mention! Kenneth Anger, John Waters, Russ Meyer, Gerry Anderson, George Kuchar all contributed and are alluded to in the mind set of the film, but a particular influence, from my 3 favorite Gaysploitaion epics, would have to be included; Pink Angels (Gay Bikers in really bad drag) The Gay deceivers (OOh those one liners) and of course the daddy of them all Zorro The Gay Blade!

TMS: Your listed as a co-writer. How involved were you in drafting the script and how did that process work?

JSC: Well Steven J kept me in line and taught me a thing or two I can tell you! Generally I would work on ideas and Steven would whip them into shape and make them come alive and fit within the overall arc of the film and the character arcs of the story.

TMS: How long of a shoot was it?

JSC: Over a year! That's why some parts are played by multiple actors or standins. For instance Ollie Bell who plays the Squirt character left after a while to be Peter Pan at Tokyo Disney on an 18 month contract!

TMS: In terms of directing choices, anyone that you try to emulate? Or ones that have influenced you?

JSC: I just run with it really, and trust the actors, we can be doing up to 70 shots a day sometimes so not really time to get fussy, just get on with the job! I read a lot about directing and a few Books by directors. Strewth, they’re depressing types, best avoided if you ask me.

TMS: Can you talk about how the main actors were ultimately selected?

JSC: With a lot of bloody difficulty! Basically you are watching the only people in Australia who were willing to play those roles! And what a great crew we ended up with. Mainly musos, writers, and other entertainers co-opted from my years running events and all stars in their own right. Puggsley Buzzard who lays the Chief is a fantastic Blues pianist, Justine Jones who plays Billie Jean is a fantastic saxophonist, Aimme Nichols is a writer of lesbian erotica, Chris Asimos The lead is a male stripper...

TMS: Can you talk a little bit about the score and soundtrack. How did you end up selecting the bands that appeared in the film?

JSC: I have been promotng bands and putting on events for many years and acts Like the Mummies, El Vez and Kng Khan are simply jaw droppingly amazing, how could you not want to put them in a film. Local acts like Sugar Fed Leopards and their Boogaloo disco, The Seven Ups and their spaghetti afro funk, or Hotwings and their instro mania are just perfect shoe-ins for a movie like this too. But the bulk of the work was kindly offered by Switzerland’s Men from S.P.E.C.T.R.E and the insanely hard working Raul Sanchez (Magic Dirt/Ape). Raul could knock a symphony up overnight and he often had too. About 1 hr of the 90 mins is his direct compositions. From psych swamp beat to techno, From Elvis ripoffs to Disco Love this man is a master of all genres!

TMS: The action figures and toys that are used in certain scenes are some of the funniest moments of the film, to me at least. Where did the idea to use them end up coming from?

JSC: This is a method I have played with for years, for instance in Perv Parlor we used dolls for all the sex scenes and in Pervirella we had a 50square metre model city for the Condon scenes. I just love the magic of cinema, false perspective, models, and the way that clever editing can bring even some thing quite shonky to life (Jaws). Of course its also a budgetary thing but the aesthetic is so great and it works!

TMS: Along those same lines, you also incorporate animation, claymation, and puppetry into the film. Can you talk about how those methods ended up in the film and how it was working with them?

JSC: Its purely a case of "wouldn’t this be great if we could do it this way”… Alex Machin is a great claymation guy he used a ton of hair gel for the water and it worked really well. And I have a long association with Vince Ray so was keen to get his art into the movie for the fairground sequence. He really can draw hunky men!

TMS: Low budget film productions have been historically known for being difficult and demanding. How was this production on the cast and crew? Any challenges or funny stories?

JSC: My favorite one is where the girl for the porno movie that sheer Khan is making pulled out at the last minute, so we replaced her with two blow up dolls, which was actually better and much cheaper. Now i have two divine goddesses to keep me company on a cold winter night that I can conveniently wipe up and store away in between times. It’s quite a game to check out all the 'Plan 9 Bela Lugosi moments’ in 'Fags In The Fast Lane', where actors have been replaced by stand ins. King Khan is played by at least 3 other actors and a shop dummy and he still won "best supporting actor' at the maverick movie awards. Its amazing what you can get away with and Ed Wood showed us that its totally possible.

TMS: Is there anything you learned from making the movie?

JSC: It won’t kill you, though at times it might feel that way, and then you can have a lot of fun showing it to everyone!. It’s one of those films where people are so reluctant to come out and see it, but once they do they love it. Especially if they see it at a screening where I assault everyone with male pheromones, trumpet blasts, rubber snakes, exploding balloons and white silly string. Seriously start and you shall finish!

TMS: If the movie was playing as one-half of a double feature at a Drive-in theatre what would be the perfect support feature?

JSC: Great question and one with too many answers but Pulp Fiction as I would love to compare the two back to back.

TMS: If you had a choice to remake a genre movie, what movie would you like to remake?

JSC: I love my genre movies and have too many ideas for other movies to remake something, but would love to make the porno version of Jurassic Park, damn, there is one I looked it up Jurassic Pork.

TMS: What are some films that you’ve recently seen that you would recommend?

JSC: I loved Beasts as its so totally not a film you could make any more, I mean real elephants knocking down walls, men wrestling lions covered in fake blood, setting fire to rats, its mind boggling! Howling 2 is as insane as its gets, and I am a big Marsha Hunt fan, so add that and the Peter Cook and Dudley Moore Hound of the Baskervilles is great too. Lets also mention the Slipper Room film The Cruel Tale of the Medicine Man it's super stylish and a great watch.

TMS: Can you tell us anything about the other projects that you are working on or planning on working on? Or, anything else that you would like to plug?

JSC: Cool! Babz and I are preparing a low down rock and roll festival in Chicago 'The Chicago Grind', a Wild Weekender in Marbella (check out the Wild Weekend films on Tube) and I am attempting to develop a Leigh Bowery insanus biopic and a sublime Were Beasts fur fetish barbarian manga movie called FURBEAST with Steven G Michael again (hence watching Beasts and Howling 2)!

Steven G Michael

TMS: First off, can you provide us with a little bit of background information. This is your first feature film credit, but your IMDb bio says that you have worked many people in the Melbourne independent film underground.

SGM: Ok no worries! I’ve have been writing for the last 3 or 4 years but FITFL is the first feature I’ve had produced. One thing you learn quickly as a writer is you can make a living writing stuff that never gets made. Among other stuff, I’ve written a motorcross-outback-horror script for Stu Simpson - director of Chocolate Strawberry Vanilla and cult web series Dragon Force X. Also a cannibal horror romp for Melbourne based group Monster Pictures. I’ve also optioned out a couple of original scripts which are at various stages in their hunt for finance.

TMS: What’s up with Fags in the Fast Lane? Where can people see it? And what do you want them to know about the movie?

SGM: Josh is still taking the film on the road - but the DVD is out in a matter of weeks!!! And it’s in a super groovy box - like an old fashioned G I JOE Action figure packet!! Get one - get TEN! It’s also on streaming services etc..

TMS: Do you remember when the idea for this project first sprouted?

SGM: Josh came to me with a concept and character breakdowns - and we just went for it from there, created everything as we went along. It was an evolving beast!

TMS: What was the inspiration behind this story?

SGM: Check in with Josh for his take - but once we were in the thick of it - we certainly spent time working on making the film say something.. that’s how the disclaimer at the start came about ‘For anyone who’s ever needed a gay hero - this one’s for you’…

TMS: How did the co-writing process work?

SGM: It was Josh’s vision, and he really came to me for the screenwriting skills. So it was a matter of getting years of ideas out of his brain and onto a page - and then I bounced off those and we sat and wrote for days. I brought my understanding of story structure and together we wrangled the exotic locations, musical numbers, fight scenes, sex scenes and everything else into a narrative story.

TMS: How long did it take to get out that initial draft?

SGM: As we weren’t working full time, we spent a good six months or more on it - and then did some tweaking as shooting got closer. Budget restraints, casting changes etc - called for some last minute maneuvering!! But that’s the nature of the work I guess!

TMS: How much did the script change over the course of the next few drafts?

SGM: It was really just one big evolving draft.. we never locked off then started over.

TMS: Is there anything you found more challenging when penning the screenplay?

SGM: The whole thing was a gorgeous challenge. I’m actually very proud of the Josh-sploitation epic we created!!

TMS: Is everything that we see onscreen essentially what was in the final draft or did it change during shooting? How much of the action figures, animation, claymation, and puppetry were written into the script?

SGM: Lots of the look of the film was crafted during production - most of it was written ‘for real’ in the script. So if there was a ‘forest full of cocks’ needed - then that’s exactly what the script said. It all came to life during production and believe me - I got plenty of thrills seeing it for the first time on the big screen!

TMS: In terms of writing choices, anyone that you try to emulate? Or ones that have influenced you?

SGM: I think I just try to stay true to what I consider good story telling. I love out-there concepts - Serial Mom is one of my childhood favorites - a John Waters studio picture, so not lauded like his independent stuff, but the concept of a psychopathic friendly neighborhood mom is cool. Just like a team of 'Gay Avengers’ - cool concepts do it for me.

TMS: The film has a style reminiscent of exploitation and grindhouse cinema from the '70s, but also mixes other subgenres into it. What made you choose that style and were there any specific films that influenced the style?

SGM: Josh is a cult cinephile - so his influences show strongly. I was more along for the ride!!

TMS: Is there anything you learned from writing and working on Fags in the Fast Lane?

SGM: That if you want to write whatever the heck feels good at the time and work out the ‘how-to’ later - then you really can just do it!! And on any budget.

TMS: If the movie was playing as one-half of a double feature at a Drive-in theatre what would be the perfect support feature?

SGM: Hmm.. Perhaps one of Kittens hey-day films? She really was (still is) a sensation. People would get a kick out that I think.

TMS: Your bio says that you’re always seeking out collaborations that are extreme and obscene. What are some of your favorite films, books, etc. that might be considered extreme and obscene?

SGM: Hmm.. I love horror, camp horror especially - like anything from the Ozploitation era… Thirst is a favourite, Patrick, The Long Weekend… Most of Tony I Ginnane’s early films are in my top collection. But I’m also a hopeless slasher fan. Kevin Williamson is a genius - The Faculty is a great one. '90s twist on the old my teacher is an alien thing.. love it.

TMS: If you had a choice to write the remake of a genre movie, what movie would you like to remake?

SGM: I’ve forever wanted to remake the 1970’s Ozploitation vampire romp THIRST - such a cool concept - and the original is actually pretty good.

TMS: What are some films that you’ve recently seen that you would recommend?

SGM: I just saw Annihilation - very cool… And A Quiet Place was a freaky experience.

TMS: Can you tell us anything about the other projects that you are working on or planning on working on? Or, anything else that you would like to plug?

SGM: I’m working with Josh on his follow up to FITFL… loosely at this stage, but hoping it will be something I can sink my teeth into once the Fags Fiesta comes to an end!