Bad Girls is one of my favorite modern grindhouse titles of the decade. It’s rude, crude, and full of attitude. With audiences clamoring for new and unusual programming it is a must see. Director Christopher Bickel has a style that reminds us that there are still players out there who are willing to push the envelope. We had the opportunity to pick Chris’s brain about the film scene in South Carolina and fun details about his film Bad Girls.
What is the indie filmmaking world like in South Carolina?
There is a small scene of no-budget filmmakers in Columbia and Charleston. All of the filmmakers basically share the same pool of actors and crew. South Carolina is one of those states that talented people tend to move away from when they graduate high school — I’m not sure what that says for the rest of us.
What movies inspire you the most?
Underground film. Cheap film. Anything that might have been dubbed a “drive-in picture” in the 70s and 80s. My tastes tend to either be high-brow art films or the lowest of the low-brow horror and exploitation.
What inspired you to write “Bad Girls”?
I co-wrote “Bad Girls” with my friend Shane Silman and it was loosely based off of a stage play he had previously written called “Girl Gang Rampage.” The original play was kind of a parody of a Russ Meyer type story. I took some of the characters and situations and tried to make the whole affair slightly less campy with more of a “Doom Generation” road trip flair.
He What is the craziest thing that happened on the set of “Bad Girls”?
We shot without permission at a tourist-trap called “South of the Border” — that place played the part of “Mexico” in the movie. We were there for two days and at the end of the second day the security guards figured out we were making a movie — they probably thought we were making a porno. Anyway, even though we had paid for motel rooms for everyone they told us we had to leave the premises. Luckily we had JUST wrapped our last shot!
How would you describe your style?
Other people have described my movies as “modern grindhouse” and I don’t take offense to that, but I have never tried to intentionally make something that is a throwback or a “fake grindhouse movie.” The stuff I love cinematically comes out in what I do, but I’d like to believe I have a unique voice in assimilating my influences into something new and unique.
What is something about you that would shock people?
There’s nothing shocking about me at all. I’m really boring.
What do you want the world to know?
I want the world to know about the world of underground movies outside of Hollywood and mainstream distribution networks.
What kind of stories are you drawn to?
I’m drawn to stories that are entertaining, that move me emotionally, and that have an underlying allegory.
How would you describe the world “Bad Girls” takes place in?
Definitely not “the real world.” It’s hyper-real storytelling — like an alternate, more fun universe.
What makes a baddass hero to you?
I’ve always been drawn to tough women characters. I enjoy revenge stories. I don’t like superheroes, I like real people who fight like real people. I like heroes with normal human abilities.
How has your background influenced your work?
I’ve worked in record stores and have been involved in the music scene all my life, so the most profound influence on my work is in relation to music and sound-design. Sound can cover up a lot of the defects of a no-budget production.
Christopher is a modern grindhouse filmmaker that any fan of the genre should keep their eye on. He doesn’t imitate the look of grindhouse to achieve this title but rather tells stories that bring the genre into the modern age. Learn more about Christopher and his film BAD GIRLS here.