‘Feed Me’ Filmmakers Richard Oakes & Adam Leader Talk Horror, Comedy, & Cannibalism In Our Interview

October 28, 2022

Written by Kelli Marchman McNeely

Kelli Marchman McNeely is the owner of HorrorFuel.com. She is an Executive Producer of "13 Slays Till Christmas" which is out on Digital and DVD and now streaming on Tubi. She has several other films in the works. Kelli is an animal lover and a true horror addict since the age of 9 when she saw Friday the 13th. Email: [email protected]

Filmmakers and have a new dark, comedy-laced movie headed your way, Feed Me, which is inspired by the true story of the cannibal Armin Meiwes.

 

Feed Me follows Jed, whose life is shattered when his wife suddenly dies and Jed feels directly responsible. Spiraling into an abyss of depression, he finds himself in a bar with a deranged cannibal, Lionel Flack convinces him he can redeem himself through the glorious act of allowing himself to be slowly eaten to death.

 

Lionel Flack, Christopher Mulvin, Hannah Al Rashid, and Samantha Loxley star in the film.

 

 

 

Kelli: “Ok. First, tell me how y’all got involved with this film?”

 

 

Adam: “So we were on a, a shoot, I guess a, about a year and a half ago, we were shooting a music video for someone. And, I approached Rich with the idea about maybe writing a story based on the true story inspired by the true story of the guy that willingly gave himself up to a cannibal. The Armen news story. And, yeah, like Rich was on board with it. We both just got together and just, storyboarded this whole thing and ended up with this ridiculous film, [laughter] inspired by an even more ridiculous story, [laughter]. So that’s kind of how it happened.”

 

Kelli: ” It’s crazy. I know the true story.”

 

Richard: “Yeah [laughter].”

:

Kelli: “How did you go about capturing the real story, but at the same time making it a little more comical?”

 

Richard: “Well, the hardest bit for us was actually capturing the real part, which is, you know, crazy. How do we convince an audience that someone would be willing to do that? And that was the hardest bit of it, so we had to kind of add in the grief and that’s what we were thinking that would drive someone to that, grief. And also, you know, with there being eating disorder involved, there’s a poeticness of someone who wouldn’t eat to someone who lets themself getting eaten. And so we thought there was, nice juxtaposition there, but that was the hardest bit, was trying to convince people of what someone had actually done in real life. And then the rest was kind of just very much our wheelhouse, which is just being idiots. [laughter].”

 

Adam: “I guess the comedy came easy to us because we do have a strange sense of humor. The fun part for us is putting in stuff that we find funny. Um, yeah, I guess it’s the easiest part in a way.”

 

Richard: “Yeah. And we initially weren’t sure how comedic it was gonna be. It was probably originally gonna be a bit more serious and a bit darker. But the more we kind of progressed the more we just like to, I guess, ruin our own things. And [laughter] we just started suggesting really ridiculous things and we were like, we had a conversation saying, ‘Oh, do we go this path?’ You know, cuz this could alienate us. And you know, this might not be for everyone. Everyone has a very particular taste in comedy, so it could alienate us, but we just decided, you know what? We can’t worry about what other people think. Let’s make a film that we like and that we want to make. And if, if we are happy at the end of the day, that’s all that matters. And if people resonate with that, then great. But we’d rather have a film that we are proud of than something that ticks boxes that we think other people will, like, which can end up being quite boring or bland at the end of it. So that’s the route we decided to take for better or worse.”

 

Kelli: “What originally drew you to the real story? I mean, what was it that made you wanna make a film about it?”

 

Adam: “Well, it’s always been a story that I was fascinated by. I tend to watch and, and be interested in, serial serial killers in general and the psychology of it and what makes them who they are. You know, is it a nature or nurture kind of thing? And just the whole psychology of it. I think it fascinates both of us. But I mean, myse,lf in particular, I’ve spent years just, just watching loads and loads of documentaries about all of them. And, and that was one of the stories that  I heard and it was so bizarre because it’s not just your average story, you know? It’s even, arguably more bizarre than Dahmer, you know because Dahmer did stuff against other people’s wills. But then when you’ve got this guy that’s like, ‘Yeah, of course, I’ll sign the contract. You, you can eat me.’ It just makes it weird. It’s just so strange.”

 

 

Richard: “There’s also something really interesting there it’s definitely something we wanted to implement from the beginning, which was this killer. But there’s this kind of buddy movie where they’re bonding through the process, which you just thought was so bizarre, but so interesting at the same time it’s almost, Stockholm Syndrome, but to the next level. It’s not just a kidnapper that a victim that falls in love with that kidnapper. It’s a victim that falls in love with their own murderer. And that’s just so strange but incredibly interesting.”

 

Kelli: “It is a bizarre story. I’m into true crime myself so I understand. There are some rough scenes, like the one that involves a finger. How did y’all pull those off?”

 

Adam: “We didn’t pull it off, we cut it off [laughter].”

 

Richard: “I mean, we, it’s just movie magic, It’s just a prosthetic finger, and that’s kind of how we did it. Everything was 99.9% of the film was done practically, which I think helps sell it. Whether we used real meat or prosthetics or things like that. So just to make it as believable as possible for a couple of shots that couldn’t have been done that way we ended up using visual effects. But yeah, the vast majority was done practically, which we prefer.”

 

Kelli: “I respect the practical effects. They, take things to another level and add realism to things. Yeah. I found Feed Me pretty unnerving, but at the same time, it’s, you know, funny in parts.

How did you go about casting the film?”

 

Richard: “We knew Neil Ward who plays Lionel Flack. It was essentially written for him. We always wanted to have him. Particularly in a comedy-esque film because he only ever really focuses on, or has fallen into the serious side of acting, I guess, which he’s very good at, but he’s also really good at being funny. And we feel like he just did it perfectly, but, it was always written for him that. The rest of the cast, you know, we worked with some of our previous films. Christopher Mulvin who plays Jed, he’s someone that I think, Rich, you suggested Chris originally, and I was like, Yes, definitely. Like, he’d be perfect for it. And he did a tape and holy shit, man, he like, just, he nailed it. So good, so good.”

 

Kelli: “What do you think will the audience’s reaction to this will be?

 

Richard: “Well, we’ve had the pleasure of seeing it at a couple of sold-out showings here in the UK, and it had its world premiere at Beyond Fest. And to be honest, I’m quite surprised at how well it’s gone down. Not that I think it’s a bad film, but like, we’ve been told by a few people in the industry, it might divide people because it’s so visceral yet, you know, funny and it’s different from what you’d normally see. So we kind of went cautiously into the screenings, and we had two sold-out screenings in the UK and yeah, the auditoriums were rolling with laughter, and all the jokes seemed to be hitting the beats. And we came away from it really happy and, and with the result that we wanted. And we’ve been winning a lot of awards as well at the festivals and stuff. So I think we’ve got 14 awards now. So I think it’s going better than expected. So we’re really happy and we just hope more people enjoy it. It’s not for everyone, but I think it’s more people are enjoying it than we expected.”

 

Kelli: “Well congratulations on all the awards!”

 

Richard: “Thank you.”

 

Adam: “Thank you, Kelli.”

 

Kelli: “If you had to give an audience one reason to watch it, what would you say? How would you get ’em to get into the theater?”

 

Adam: “It’s definitely one to suppress the appetite if you’re trying to lose weight [laughter].”

 

 

Richard: “[laughter] I think if you’re into stupidity and gore, you’ll be a fan, but there’s also more than that to it. There is a heart to it, and there is depth and layers to the characters, but I think if you are, you can get past the stupidity and the gore, then you are, you’re kind of golden.”

 

Kelli: “Well, there’s nothing wrong with different. I like different, you know, we get tired of being the same old thing over and over and over. Armin Meiwes isn’t Bundy or Dahmer. He’s not been featured over and over and that’s a great thing. He’s not worn out.”

 

Adam: “Absolutely. Absolutely.”

 

Kelli: “When does Feed Me come out?”

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Adam: “October 27th on VOD across North America and Canada, so very, very, very soon. Literally 48 hours. Is it 40? Oh my God. 48 hours. And then America will see how ridiculous our film is. [laughter”. Yeah.

 

Richard: “People compared it to kind of Sam Ramey kind of vibes where it’s, it’s kind of that silliness and that’s great. That’s perfect for us. We’re fans.”

 

 

Y’all went with a kind of gritty feel with Feed Me. It feels dirty.”

 

Richard: “I love David Fincher movies, and Fight Club is, a big one for me. But I wanted this film to look like Fight Club and the, uh, Paper Street, especially the house that, they set up. So there’s a lot of kind of homage to that. There’s like magazines and newspapers all around the house and stuff very similar. And the color tone, I kind of went in and tried to emulate a similar look and that’s kind of where it came from. But we do, you know, it’s a horror film. We wanted it to feel uncomfortable and lots of people have found that said that they find the house almost as grotesque as what’s going on. And that’s, that’s great. That’s kind of what we wanted. We just wanted every room and every angle to be bizarre. Whether it’s the pets that Lionel has hanging from the ceiling, or whether it’s the paintings he has up, or, photographs or popcorn littering every surface. There’s, a shoe nailed to the wall [laughter]. And we just, we wanted to just make it as bizarre and grotesque as we could within limits. While keeping, a kind of comedy tone to everything that you look at.”

 

Adam: “It’s so filthy that you could almost taste the filth on the walls. So, it seems to have worked.”

 

Richard: “The great thing was though, that being everyone’s like, how did you deal with being on set? Cause it was disgusting, but it was actually extremely clean. Yeah. And smelled like fresh paint and soap because it was actually just all paint, so it would just smell. Yeah. It smelled like a freshly painted house.”

 

Adam: “Or a freshly painted restaurant. Cause we were cooking meat every other day, [laughter]. So it was, it was great. It was fantastic. Like, imagine going to your favorite restaurant when they’ve just had a renovation done. Perfect [laughter]”

 

Richard: “Lionel’s restaurant [laughter]?”

 

Kelli: “Yes, I love it!  Okay. And I have a question that’s gonna be a little tough. What are each of you’s favorite horror movies and why?”

 

Richard: “It’s hard to say favorite, but I guess I always go back to like the original ones that got me into horror. I think that that helps. So I was kind of brought up on like the eighties, nineties creature features like The Blob is one that I loved the remake.  I like Tremors and Critters, which is great. Um, [laugher], but they’re all kind of fun, kind of the eighties, nineties horror, but then I love Alien, which is obviously another creature feature. Yeah. So, that’s kind of where I come from with my horror as you’re more on the other side.”

 

Adam: “Yeah, the very first horror movie I ever watched was the original 1984 Nightmare on Elm Street when I was about eight. And as soon as I watched it, I fell in love with the genre and then discovered The Exorcist after spending a while convincing my parents to let me watch it. I was a difficult kid, [laughter] And, I watched it and that became my favorite film. But I think in recent years, I think Hereditary is one of my favorites, purely because it’s not just a typical, ‘Oh, it’s a ghost and it’s a demon or whatever.’ It’s like the primary thing in that film is the grief that the family is experiencing. And the supernatural element of it is kind of just, what’s the word? Like sprinkled on for decoration. The real horror in that is the drama that this family is going through and that’s terrifying and that really resonated with me. We went to see that film together actually when it was on opening night here in the UK. Yeah. That’s fun.”

 

Kelli: “Okay. Have y’all already found your next project?”

 

Richard: “We [laughter], we’ve got something fairly, uh, ridiculous written. We need to do another draft of it, but yeah, it’s definitely got legs. If you enjoyed Feed Me, um, you’ll certainly enjoy this next one. It’s, it’s arguably more ridiculous than this film. We’re in the development, I guess, early pre-production stages of that and hope to be shooting that in the first quarter of next year, all being well. So we’ll see.”

 

Kelli: “Does it have a title yet?”

 

Richard: “I don’t know if we’re allowed to say anything yet.”

 

Kelli: “Alright. Sorry. You can’t blame a girl for trying [laughter].”

 

It was a blast talking with Adam and Richard, they are such funny guys. Speaking of funny, if you’re a fan of true crime, horror, and gore, Feed Me is definitely one movie you should add to your watch list, and the good news is, it’s out today on Digital and On Demand from XYZ Fils. It’s guaranteed to be a bloody good time!

 

To stay up to date on Adam Leader and Richard Oakes‘ projects be sure to follow them on social media.

 

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