Last year we went to the premiere of indie flick called Hellaware at BAM in Brooklyn. It was self-aware, darkly comedic, and entirely entertaining. It also featured a made up Delware horrorcore group called Young Torture Killaz which, when the video for their song "I'll Cut Yo Dick Off" was posted online people became totally convinced YTK were an actual band and the video became a kinda-viral hit. Because Hellaware is currently screening at Cinema Village in NYC (watch the trailer below) we tracked down the writer/director of the movie Michael M. Bilandic to tell us what happened.
Last year we made a movie about an obnoxious, self-important, photographer looking to make a name for himself in the NYC art world. After his girlfriend leaves him for a pig-tail sporting, black metal obsessed, former pro-skater turned painter he realizes he needs to step his game up substantially. A random coked up YouTube search leads him to an obscure teenage white rap group from Delaware called the Young Torture Killaz. They have one music video called "I'll Cut Yo Dick Off" (below)—which is basically three teenagers running around the woods pretending to cut each other's dicks off while smoking blunts and sipping Pinot Grigio.
The obnoxious photographer decides to drive up to watch them perform in their native habitat, their parents' basement. After getting them wasted on a cocktail of drugs he takes a series of Larry Clark-style pictures of them. In his attempt to "ethnologically" chronicle their lives for a coveted art show he winds up getting in over his head and forced to see just how far is he willing to go to achieve notoriety.
A large part of the film consists of different characters, professors, gallerists, critics, friends, etc. all watching the low budget gross out music video and "deconstructing" it. So that piece had to be shot and edited before the shoot began. Our cinematographer happened to be out of town during most of pre-production. So instead of waiting for him to get back, or finding a comparable DP to match his work, we took a different route. While street casting an anti-robo tripping PSA, our producer and set photographer found a high school kid loitering around Union Square, New York. He looked like he could pass for a syrup casualty. He turned out to be a heavy duty cinephile and aspiring filmmaker. He wound up not getting the part but we asked him to shoot and edit the "I'll Cut Yo Dick Off" music video. He brought his own camera and energy to mix and made something far more raw and weird then would have been done otherwise. The video shoot took place over a crazy afternoon at a half built yoga retreat center in upstate NY made to pass for rural Delaware.
In the final version of the movie only half of the music video really gets seen. So we knew we had to do something to get the whole thing out there. Hellaware had its world premiere last summer at Brooklyn Academy of Music during their BAMCinemaFest. On a whim we decided to throw it out onto YouTube with no mention of the movie. Soon it was on WorldStarHipHop and all over the internet. We got over a 80,000 views in a day. We were pretty sure people would realize it was a joke, but viewers wanted to believe it was real. Not to really compare the two, but in the way that people wanted to believe JT Leroy was real, an HIV-positive, West Virginia bred, truckstop prostitute, criminal, self harming, tortured genius writer, people want to believe these fringe Middle-American eccentrics are real.
Even though Buzzfeed posted an article immediately mentioning the movie in relation to the video the comments kept flooding in. At 631 comments and counting, some of the best are "I DONT WANNA BE WHITE ANYMORE" and "Heard they worked closely with Kanye on Yesus, check the creds." They ranged from pure disgust with how terrible it was, to the classic, "Well, it's still better than Lil B" or "Lil Wayne," to the epicly nonchalant "Fuck it. I fucks wit it."
A response video emerged from The Madd Rapper show, where two angry dudes dissected how atrocious it was. A rumor that one of them died circulated. It was super funny. Finally on the eve of the screening Deadline Hollywood posted the trailer for the movie. The response has been great so far and now it's currently screening in New York City. So even if their career as the internet's worst rap group may be over they can hopefully still live on in the movie itself!