Joe Christ makes bad movies. Movies about girls who get off on cutting themselves and girls who enjoy drinking the blood (Communion in Room 410). Movies about "repressed memory" flashbacks (Amy Strangled a Small Child). Movies about men with no dicks and girls who enjoy fucking them (Sex Blood & Mutilation). Joe Christ also makes movies about Amish men who kidnap women and use them as "breeding stock." Well, that's the subject of his most recent flick, My Struggle, which was shot in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he used local genetic mishaps as unpaid "extras."
Joe Christ hung up his punk rock career in 1988 (aside from his occasional band, Bigger Than God) to pick up a camera, when a film student friend gave him all his old equipment. "I discovered quickly that being a 'touring filmmaker' was a lot more newsworthy, as far as the papers and other media were concerned," Christ says. Since then, he has been terrorizing the small theater and club scenes with movies that he not only directs, but that he writes and composes all the music for.
His movies are usually described as "sick" or "immoral," and Sex Blood & Mutilation in particular has been known to cause grown men to faint while viewing it. The sight of a real-life castrated penis may have something to do with this. It's also the movie that gained him the most notoriety.
Christ's movies are available online. He is married to horror writer Nancy A. Collins (Sunglasses After Dark and Swamp Thing) and they now make their home in Atlanta with their Boston terrier Scrapple.
GETTINGIT: I don't suppose the Amish keep up on independent movies, but have you heard anything from their community about this?
JC: No, I haven't, but we lived there for a couple of years, until this past spring, and I could always find some reason to work the subject into the various conversations I'd have with people. I had already based a movie on a person I had met in the area -- that's who Amy Strangled a Small Child was all about. I found Lancaster, Pennsylvania to be so creatively stimulating that I had to base an entire film on the local culture, as a tribute -- the Amish have become so inbred that there are two types of dwarfism which are only found in Lancaster County and the surrounding areas. Needless to say, the subject of "inbreeding" is a very sensitive matter in that area.
In my current project, My Struggle, we have Amish men who are so inbred that they've taken to kidnapping female tourists who the Amish hope will help dilute their stagnant gene pool. To achieve this objective, the kidnappers use rape, but only after the victims are forced to wear Halloween-type sheep masks. I'm in the movie as well, as a wacky Gulf War vet who lives in an attic and tries to pass off paint-by-number pieces to galleries as his own work. His life story is very similar to Hitler's, though instead of attempting to conquer Europe, my character ends up "rescuing" kidnapped tourists. I don't want to give too much of this away, but I think you get the picture.
GI: I've read you're a big fan of John Waters. Has he seen your movies?
JC: I really like John Water's work of the era starting with Multiple Maniacs, and ending with Desperate Living. I guess that would cover all of his work from the 1970s. As I understand it, John Waters has seen my movies, and considers them "bad" bad taste, as opposed to his concept of "good" bad taste. But when my band pulled a big publicity stunt -- on the 20th anniversary of his assassination, we rode in a limo through the JFK memorial services in Dallas in costumes resembling JFK and company -- John Waters personally congratulated us over the phone on our immensely bad taste.
GI: So why did you give up being in a band to become a filmmaker?
JC: I had two different mental pictures going: the image of a 70-year-old film producer, and the image of a 70-year-old rock star. The rock star one made my stomach hurt and my ass cheeks clench up.
GI: Care to dispel the rumor that you were actually the dickless Les Johnson in Sex Blood & Mutilation?
JC: People wondering whether or not that's me at the end of Sex Blood & Mutilation is probably one of the reasons that Sex Blood & Mutilation is still my best-selling tape. I could've shown the individual's face, but not showing it was so much more mysterious. My following and I have been circulating various rumors about this ever since the movie came out. It's possible that maybe a thousand extra people heard one of those rumors, which couldn't have hurt sales.
GI: What is Christmas in the Christ household like?
JC:We really don't celebrate it as a real holiday the way many people do. I think we've had a tree once, and that was because one of my kids was visiting. We send gifts to and receive gifts from friends and family because that's what is expected of us, and it is a nice thing to do once a year.
Eve Rings is a 29-year-old Latvian Amazon who is running away to Germany to become a princess.