BMX Bandits & The Headman’s Daughter: An Interview with Brian Trenchard-Smith by Kent Hill

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I have a pair of cousins with whom, during my formative years, I watched a selection of movies that, without the restriction of the parental guidance that was recommended, I might not have seen till much later in my cinematic education. Thus it was during one of our all night video marathons, I happened to see a little movie titled Turkey Shoot.

I found it frenetic, funny – a great beer and pizza movie – or soda and potato chips I should say, in case my mother reads this. The director, whose name I would enthusiastically relay to my friends, after watching the flick again a number of times, was Brian Trenchard-Smith. A name not easily forgotten – so much so that when I next strode those long crimson carpeted aisles at my beloved video store, I looked for his name, for more of his work, soon discovering a treasure trove of great films: The Man from Hong Kong, Deathcheaters, Stunt Rock, Dead End Drive-In, Frog Dreaming, and Day of the Panther just to name a handful. I am not ashamed to admit I love the Leprechaun movies and Brain also helmed a pair of those.

Back in the middle of all these discoveries I came across his film called BMX Bandits. It like so many films during that period of my life became something I would revisit constantly over the years to come. It is the film that brought Nicole Kidman to public consciousness as well as, I believe, is a movie that was at the forefront, as far as having guys robbing banks in novelty masks. It is also the film that boasts one of my favourite lines of dialogue: “I’m not going into that cemetery dressed as a pig.” It has the brilliant photography of a future Oscar winner, a rip-roaring chase sequence, a delightful moustache-twisting villain, comedy aplenty as well as being playfully sinister at times.

Being a fan of all of Brian’s movies it was tough, before asking him for a sit-down, to decide which film to focus on. I admit I had fantasies about taking an hour to indulge in production tales from Leprechaun 4 but I, in the end, opted for my sentimental favourite.

We began our discussion with Brian’s new book, The Headman’s Daughter which, once I finally get a shot to kick back and read it, I’ve a feeling that his unique, sometimes crazy, often thrilling cinematic voice will come to life on the printed page.

So find a comfortable chair and listen along as we talk about a brilliant filmmaker’s literary birth on top of the movie that Quentin Tarantino weathered a storm of discontentment over, after he confessed before an audience that he liked it better than The Goonies.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the one and only, Brian Trenchard-Smith . . . .


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