Kill Roy (1985)

Kill Roy was filmed a year before The Wrath of Eukor but didn't see completion until nearly a year later. I was inspired to make a movie that took place entirely within the confines of a stall in a men's room by my job at the Kingdome at the time. The Dome was too cheap to turn on the lights in the bathrooms during the hours we worked, and the many times I sat in darkness gave me the idea for a thriller. I must also confess seeing a bootleg video (at the time) of Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window (1953), which had a big impact on me.

Getting my Dad to let me use the family garage for the two weeks and turn it into a soundstage was like pulling teeth. Ten years later I still got the feeling he held it against me. Maybe it was because our lack of thorough cleaning job -- even today the safety strings that held up the lights are still intact in the garage's ceiling!

A builder named Thom Sisk was hired to build the bathroom, the condition being that the entire set had to "wild," that is, every wall had to be able to moved out of place in order for the camera to film from any angle. The porcelain toilet itself was stolen from behind Karl Krogstad's house.

Two units were required in order to get the filming done on time: the first worked during the day, recording all the footage with the actors. At night,  a second unit would arrive at the house where we would work into the night grabbing all the insert shots of walls, feet, etc. that would fill up the movie. The entire film was elaborately storyboarded (I was still taking my cue from the Master of Suspense), but it also allowed me to make sure that during the piecemeal way the film was shot I didn't overlook a vital shot.

Initially I visualized the film as running between 30 and 40 minutes, with the first part being a slow build-up to the action and suspense that was to follow. This was great in theory, but after I assembled my first rough cut I realized that it made the opening of the movie deadly boring. But I couldn't bear to cut any of it!

Eventually I turned the film over to editor Alan Blangy, who finally managed to convince me of the vital cuts the film needed in order to be watchable. About the time I was ready to begin the extensive sound editing the film would need in order to sell the reality of the whole thing, I became bogged  down with planning and shooting my first Doctor Who film, The Wrath of Eukor. Because I was facing a two month deadline to complete Eukor, Kill Roy was put on the back burner for the time being.

Ultimately, it wouldn't be until Spring of 1985 that I had the time, money, and energy to finally complete Kill Roy. The sound was professionally mixed at Forde Labs in Vancouver, B.C., and premiered at the Harvard Exit theater. It went on to be shown at the Seattle International Film Festival, Bumbershoot, and a copy was sold to and is part of the collection of the King County Library System.


Kill Roy
20 minutes. 16mm. Filmed May 1983, released May 1985.
Cast. . . George Catalano as Roy Greer, Coby Scheldt as Robbie, F. Wilson Milam as Neil, Gary Menkler as the Boss, Charlie Rathbun as the Cop. (Little known trivia fact: Randy Rogel from my Doctor Who movies provided one of the voices in the film.)
Written by Bruce Mason. Produced and Directed by Ryan K. Johnson

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Version 1.1
January 3, 1996