Movies & TV / Columns

Dylan Reynolds Talks w/411 About His New Movie 4/20 Massacre

April 9, 2018 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
4/20 Massacre

The 411 Interview: Dylan Reynolds


Dylan Reynolds is a filmmaker who has been involved in the moviemaking business since at least 2004, working on various movies in and TV shows in different capacities (check out his imdb page for more details). Reynolds has directed four movies to date, including Chain Link and Nipples & Palm Trees. His latest directorial effort is the slasher survival horror flick 4/20 Massacre, which is now available on home video (check out my review of the movie here). In this interview, Reynolds talks with this writer about 4/20 Massacre, his movie influences, and more.



Bryan Kristopowitz: How did you decide to make 4/20 Massacre your next movie?

Dylan Reynolds: I remember sitting around brainstorming- and I really wanted to make a horror film for my next project- and at some point the title 4/20 Massacre came into my head- and then I did some research and there were a couple “real world inspirations” that further shaped the story that eventually became what I would pitch simply as “Friday the 13th… with weed”.

BK: Where did you film 4/20 Massacre?

DR: We shot the movie just outside of Big Bear, California for 10 days straight.


BK: How did you cast 4/20 Massacre? How did Jim Storm get involved?

DR: It was a combination of working with friends who we respected as artists and then a casting call for some of the other roles. It was almost a “natural” process where we came to find the dynamic that we liked. Jim Storm was in my first film Chain Link where he played a grizzled junk yard owner. It was great working with him and he has an amazing presence on camera, so I basically wrote the role of Ranger Rick with him in mind.

BK: What was the hardest part of making 4/20 Massacre? The easiest?

DR: We shot on location out in the forest so we were struggling with “the elements” like bugs, dirt, animals, etc. But, for the most part, we held it all together and everyone really got behind the movie. However, I’m not sure if there’s anything “easy” about making a low budget movie lol.

BK: How long did it take to make 4/20 Massacre, from finishing the script to finishing post-production?

DR: I wrote the script off and on for a year after I got the initial idea. Then, once I decided it would be my next film and I finished the script and started pre-production, and now with the final release, I would say two years.

BK: Is it right to call 4/20 Massacre a “survival horror” movie or is it more of a slasher movie?

DR: I always considered it more of a slasher film but there is certainly inspiration drawn from “survival horror,” which is basically derivative of The Most Dangerous Game storyline- i.e. “man hunting man.”


BK: Was the killer always going to be a guy in camo? Were any other ideas floated for the killer’s outfit?

DR: At each stage of 4/20 Massacre I tried to take the slasher tropes and make a choice that was “a little different”. As such I think the obvious direction with the killer for this film would be to do a big Jason Voorhees- esque dude wearing mask/overalls and hacking people up. Instead, I developed the concept of the killer being more stealth and a “special forces” kind of bad ass. With James Gregory (who played the Shape and designed the costume) we leaned towards a ghillie suit- with the idea of “The Shape” maybe looking like an animal/ creature and therefore keeping it a little mysterious for the first part of the film.

BK: 4/20 Massacre is a pretty tight movie. It takes its time but it doesn’t waste time, either. Was it hard to get the movie cut down to its current release version? How much, if anything, is left on the cutting room floor in terms of extra scenes?

DR: I tried to create a “lean and mean” slasher flick in terms of plot while still allowing scenes to have more character development than you would normally expect in the genre. As such I don’t think there are any full-on scenes that got axed, but I certainly cut “within the scenes,” mainly to trim or tighten dialogue.

BK: Is 4/20 Massacre pro-pot, or is it wrong to read too much into the movie in regards to that?

DR: My metaphor for my approach to this film is to be like a painter. I’d throw out some brush strokes and allow people to interpret what they want. In some ways you can call the movie just a dumb popcorn slasher flick but a few have pointed out some possible “political/ social” commentary related to gender roles, homosexual relationships, veterans, PTSD, guns etc. All I can say is that some of it is intentional, but I didn’t try to get on any kind of “soap box” or push a specific “message”. And truthfully, at the end of the day, it’s just a B horror flick 😉

BK: Can 4/20 Massacre become a low budget horror movie franchise, or was it always designed to be a “one and done” kind of deal?

DR: I have ideas for a sequel. If things go well and I can make some money back I’d gladly “flip it” into another film. My general plan is to do a different slasher sub-genre in each instalment- part 1 is a “backwoods slasher” and part 2 would be an Argento/ Bava Giallo-esque “mystery” slasher.

BK: Who are your movie making heroes?

DR: I was born in 1980 so I grew up on Spielberg and Lucas movies as a kid and then in the late 80s/early 90s came the big wave of Sundance indies- and like many filmmakers of my generation I assume we’re all in one way or another inspired by Ricard Linklater, Kevin Smith, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. I’m also a big fan of “maverick auteur” filmmakers like John Cassavetes and John Carpenter.

BK: Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

DR: Right now we’re just getting 4/20 Massacre out into the world. It will be available on DVD and VOD starting April 3rd. We’re also going to have a premiere screening Friday, April 20th at the California Institute of Abnormalarts. Here’s the Facebook event page:

BK: Have you ever found pot in the woods?

DR: Lol- nope! Ironically, when I came up with the idea for 4/20 Massacre and did some research I found stories about illegal marijuana grow operations where “the farmers” would greet unwitting hikers with violence when they stumbled onto their turf. This developed the idea of the “weed farmer as the slasher” concept for the film. Needless to say, after reading some of these stories if I ever came upon a marijuana field in the middle of the forest I would get the hell out of dodge.



A very special thanks to Dylan Reynolds for agreeing to participate in this interview and to Chris Clare for helping set it up.

Check out the 4/20 Massacre Facebook page here.

Check out the 4/20 Massacre Twitter page here.

Buy 4/20 Massacre here or here.

Dylan Reynolds image courtesy of Dylan Reynolds. All other images courtesy of October Coast PR.