Meet “Bonejangles”: An Interview with Writer and Actor Keith Melcher

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Keith Melcher as the titular character in Larry and the Monsters (2015)

Keith Melcher got his start making short films before playing the titular bachelor in a TV mini-series, Larry and the Monsters, in 2015. His second script, the horror-comedy Bonejangles also shows Melcher as the titular killer, who must be released when police break down in a town full of monsters. The film is currently available on Video on Demand and at Redbox from Wild Eye Releasing.

World Film Geek got the chance to interview Melcher about his experience on the film, which marked his feature film debut.

Being the writer of the movie, did you always envision playing the role of Bonejangles yourself?
Not at all. My plan was to just stand on the sidelines and hit on the makeup girl. But when the search for an actor to play Bonejangles was looking like it was going to cost us too much, Brett DeJager, the director, offered me the part since I knew the script inside and out. And I’ll admit, deep down, I always secretly wanted to play a slasher villain and I think it worked out in the end. And besides, the “makeup girl” wound up being a big, burly, tattooed guy like me anyway, so there you go!

Why did you think you’d be the best man for the job?
I honestly didn’t. I am extremely near sighted without my glasses, so I wound up playing Bonejangles almost completely blind. I also wound up being shorter than most everybody in the cast, especially my victims, which makes it kind of hard to look like a bad ass serial killer when you’re a foot shorter than everybody else. But thanks to some movie magic and the use of lots and lots of apple boxes, I was able to look pretty damn scary in the finished film if I do say so myself.

Did you base the character on any past horror monsters or real-life monsters?
I will admit there’s quite a bit of Jason Voorhees in Bonejangles. Maybe a little bit of Leatherface and Michael Myers thrown in as well. I wanted him to basically be a slasher archetype who borrowed a little bit from all the greats who came before him.

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Keith Melcher as the titular Bonejangles (Wild Eye Releasing)

Did you chop and change his ‘look’ as development on the film went on?
His look pretty much was redesigned on set before we shot his first scene. Our original FX artist, who will remain nameless, bailed on us shortly before filming and made off with the original mask, FX props and the $6,000 we paid him in advance to design everything. So Ben, the above mentioned “makeup girl” now found himself the new FX artist and also was given free rein to design Bonejangles’ look. And I think he knocked it out of the park.

 How empowering did it feel wearing the guise of Bonejangles?
Very empowering. I’m pretty self conscious about appearing on screen, but wearing the mask eliminated all of that and gave me the freedom to unleash my inner serial killer and to take out all my aggressions by fake murdering a bunch of people. I’ve worked in the tourism industry, so I’ve got a lot of aggression to take out!

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Keith Melcher about to unleash all Hell as Bonejangles (Wild Eye Releasing)

Is there a particular scene you enjoyed filming most?
There is a flashback scene that captured the tone of the scene in the script 100%. It’s just as goofy and over the top as I envisioned to be and it cracks me up every time I watch it. As for any scene featuring myself… beating the hell out of some poor camper with a guitar was a hell of a lot of fun to film. I’m just disappointed we only had one guitar and it smashed to pieces pretty quickly.

What do you consider yourself first and foremost – an actor or writer?
Writer definitely. That is my favorite part of filmmaking, coming up with a script. I don’t usually adhere to a strict outline and mostly make stuff up as I go so I like seeing scripts go in different directions than I originally envision. I’m a fan of merging genres too. As for acting, I do enjoy it, but if I had a choice, remaining behind the scenes is where I would prefer to be.

What do you hope Bonejangles does for your career?
I’m hoping it can open some doors and lead to some other film projects down the line. I have a lot of other scripts I’d like to see get turned into movies at some point. And the inner geek in me would never forgive myself if I didn’t say I’d love to be involved in a Marvel Studios production at some point. So Kevin Feige, if you’re reading this, I’ve got a kick ass Moon Knight script just waiting to be read.

A Special Thank You goes to October Coast PR and Keith Melcher for making this interview possible. Check out Bonejangles on VOD and at all Redbox locations.

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