In the latest episode of BMBR Interviews… we welcome the creators of the unforgettable ‘Yeti: A Gay Love Story’, and it’s even less likely to forget sequel, ‘Another Yeti A Love Story: Life on the Streets’, for an in-depth discussion on everything Yeti!
Back in the mid-2000’s, a group of lusty film students got together to make a movie that would many years later become a cult staple of the Troma family of ‘so-bad-they’re-good’ movies, all the while shocking us with a litany of well-endowed fictional appendages, homosexual misadventure, and a certain Mr Sex Piss.
Yeti: A Gay Love Story can be held as one of the finer examples of what a group of shameless kids with no money could achieve with nothing but a couple of film cameras, and a desire to gross you out and make you laugh.
Fast forward to 2017, and this band of plucky film-makers would follow up the cult success of Yeti: A Love Story with its frankly incredible sequel Another Yeti A Love Story: Life on the Streets.
Trust me when I say…you need to see this film.
My time with Another Yeti can best be described as one of the most painfully hilarious movie watching experiences of recent memory. You know the kind: Hurts to breathe throughout followed by standing ovations and fond emptying of sick buckets.
Adam Deyoe and Eric Gosellin
Greetings gentlemen. Welcome to BMBR!
Eric: Thanks for having us! I love talking about myself.
What were your backgrounds as film-makers leading up to the first Yeti movie? Were you doing the student thing?
Eric: Adam and I were going to film school at Emerson College in Boston. We were working on our senior thesis film at the time which our friend Dave (Dick from the Yeti movies) directed. Adam and I were both jonesing to direct something ourselves, so we decided that we should make a quick and dirty movie.
Adam: While working at a mom and pop video store in high school I became obsessed with John Waters and George Romero and made a few movies trying to emulate them and failing quite miserably and continuously. I met Eric in college and after making a zombie movie for 80 bucks the only place to go from there was to double the budget and make it about yetis.
“Our main concern is that we didn’t want to make something boring and serious. There’s nothing worse than a no-budget movie filled with 20 year olds that takes it self seriously.“
What motivated you guys to create A Love Story? And why Yeti’s?
Eric: The way I remember it happening is that Adam and I were driving out of the city to our friend’s house for the weekend and were brainstorming about the kind of movie we should make. Our main concern is that we didn’t want to make something boring and serious. There’s nothing worse than a no-budget movie filled with 20 year olds that takes it self seriously. We’re both fans of Lloyd Kaufman and John Waters, and straight to VHS no-budget horror movies. We thought it would be fun to really lean into the dumbness and lack of money and use that to our advantage. We wanted to make a movie that someone would find at a video store and pick it up because it looked strange, and then maybe they’d watch it and laugh.
If I remember right, we settled on a yeti because we thought it would look funny. Yetis are dumb.
Adam: Additionally since we were making our college thesis film at the time about a weird white drippy monster we had purchased a TON of liquid latex and made gallons of fake blood. We thought we could make another movie on the side with all this leftover stuff and not have to waste it. Reuse and recycle and you too could have a Yeti movie on your hands.
Was there a philosophy behind the films? Was the theme of exploitation something you had in mind, first with the cult in Yeti 1, and then with Billy Faunz in Yeti 2?
Eric: Hoo-boy. Our idea was to make fun of homophobic jocks in a satirical way. The yeti is this embodiment homophobic fears. He’s a big hulking monster with a huge dick that rapes men to death. But, once you dig a little deeper you find that he’s not at all bad, he’s being exploited against his own will and really just wants find love.
In a nutshell that’s kind of the ‘theme’. Unfortunately I don’t think we completely nailed this concept. We were 22 at the time and really wanted to be shocking which is why the word “faggot” is constantly being used. We’re in our mid-30s now and are actually very embarrassed by the use of that word in the movie and are painfully aware that as straight dudes, we really don’t have the right to use it.
That’s the pretentious answer. The other thing we wanted to do is make a super dumb wtf movie that was bad, but funny.
I don’t know that we had the conscious idea to incorporate the theme of exploitation, but I’m definitely obsessed with stories about cults. And, yeah, I guess looking back Pimp Billy is sort of a cult-leader in a way.
Adam: Yeah, I just really had a problem with frats back then. At the time it was really beaten into me due to having been to a college that worships them. The hazing of my classmates and bullying of anyone who was thought to be gay or was overweight or was a different race made me mad. I even was attacked by an entire fraternity that kept calling me faggot after I stood up for a girl they were throwing pizza and ice at and calling her piggy. I also remember one of the frat guys pushing me against a wall and saying he was going to “eat my mother” whatever that means. They camped outside the window of my dorm and smashed bottles against it. Finally a bunch of my friends fought them and if I remember correctly a huge brawl broke out. So after those pieces of anecdotal evidence I wanted to make it my mission to paint frat guys in our movies as homophobic angry jerks.
Luckily I was then able to transfer to Emerson College away from all that and met Eric. Is this a therapy session?
I think Pimp Billy came from the idea that pimps look funny sometimes and we wanted our producer/best buddy Jim to look like an asshole and have his wife hate his facial hair.
“The name Sex Piss came from my friend Spencer D’Agostino who said it to me once as a euphemism for jizz and I thought it was really funny. Also one day we were drinking beers on a hot summer day and I cut off my jeans into daisy dukes and cut the sleeves off my shirt just to be funny. I guess Sex Piss was born that day.”
How were the characters developed? In particular Sex Piss?
Eric: Boy I really don’t remember. Our friend Moses Roth first took a stab at the script based on an outline Deyoe and I made. We wanted to make a ‘dead teenagers in the woods’ movie so we based the characters on stereotypes: an obnoxious homophobe, the dead behind the eyes frat guy, the smart girl, the ditzy girl, a nerd…really 5 people who would never be friends in real life.
The name Sex Piss came from my friend Spencer D’Agostino who said it to me once as a euphemism for jizz and I thought it was really funny. Also one day we were drinking beers on a hot summer day and I cut off my jeans into daisy dukes and cut the sleeves off my shirt just to be funny. I guess Sex Piss was born that day. I guess I just wanted to play the worst person I could think of. In Yeti 2 I thought it would be funny to make him sort of this lovable pervert. He’s not angry like his is in part 1. He’s really happy with where his life is.
Adam: Sex Piss is definitely a fan favorite. Chicks dig that lovable lug nut. He’s who we all aspire to be. Everyone else was played by our close friends and we really just wanted to put them in horrible and uncomfortable positions. I remember thinking ‘what would Adam Malamut (who plays Adam) never want to ever do?’ The answer is have a sex scene with one of his best buddies dressed as a yeti. So we wrote that into the movie and he became that character. Dave (who played Dick) we wanted to have a sex scene and make out session with one of our other best friends…I think you can sense this theme.
I read somewhere that the strange character ‘Tentacle Boy’ was based on a dream that you had, Eric. Please elaborate. Were you mocked accordingly?
Eric: Yeah, it’s true. I was working as a waiter and I was single…surprise surprise…and I had this dream where I was waiting on a couple on a blind date, and the dude has this huge tumor on his nose and little tentacles hanging from his mouth. The woman was wearing blinders so she didn’t have to look at him directly. I remember thinking “Man, even tentacle boy can get a date.”
Adam: I love that story. Tell it again!
Eric: Sure! I was working as a waiter and I was single…surprise surprise…and I had this dream where I was waiting on a couple on a blind date, and the dude has this huge tumor on his nose and little tentacles hanging from his mouth. The woman was wearing blinders so she didn’t have to look at him directly. I remember thinking “Man, even tentacle boy can get a date.”
“Lighting was just a worklight from my dad’s basement and one light I think we took from our college. Everyone worked for free of course. We shot the whole thing in 5 days mostly in my parents backyard…“
How were you able to make the whole micro-budget thing work? What were some examples of penny-pinching that you found allowed you to produce the film?
Eric: We didn’t have access to the digital cameras at our college because they were only rented out to ‘video’ students. It was like 13 years ago, so digital cameras were still pretty new. We’d find out when they weren’t being used and ‘borrow’ them.
Adam: The budget (I still have the receipts) was around 198 bucks. As I mentioned before, we reused our special FX stuff from another film. Also, We had a friend named Sang Lee who owned a digital camera and he came out and shot B-Camera. Lighting was just a worklight from my dad’s basement and one light I think we took from our college. Everyone worked for free of course. We shot the whole thing in 5 days mostly in my parents backyard and my childhood friend Dan’s backyard. I mean, I know it looks like a $550,000 movie but in reality it’s not.
Considering it’s super-low budget, did you find that most of the problems you encountered were funding related?
Eric: The biggest challenge in Yeti 1 was that Adam and I literally did everything behind the scenes, and sometimes in front of the camera. There wasn’t a crew. There was only us. Yeti 2 at least had a little bit of a crew, but they were working for free, so it would always default back to Jim, Adam, and I putting on many many hats. Also, yeah. You always need more money.
Adam: I remember the biggest challenge being getting people’s schedules in line. Everyone was busy at that time in college and sometimes we had to shoot scenes weeks apart. Then Adam Malamut claimed he got pneumonia and couldn’t do the yeti love scene.
We told him we didn’t care and he had to do it anyway. He will die for our art if he must.
The incredible Yeti 1 hunters backstory animation! – Was that your doing Adam?
Adam: Nope! I wish I could have done that at the time. Brilliant flash animation on top of the line computers.
This was animated by our friend and roommate at the time James Lesage. He edits big TV shows now like Mr. Robot. I still think the animation in Yeti is the best thing he’s done though.
How did you end up releasing the Yeti 1 through Troma? That must have been a big thing for you guys?
Eric: Adam and I always wanted to release the first movie with Troma. It was a dream of ours because we loved Lloyd Kaufman. Once we finished the first movie they were the first people we contacted. Them putting it out helped us because it got a lot of eyes on it…but we never made a single penny off of it, and we knew that would be the case going in.
Adam: I didn’t think they would ever release it due to the abysmally low quality, but we sent it to them anyway.
Sure enough I was at the dentist one day and they called me Praising The Yeti! We were shocked and excited beyond belief. It was a great experience all around getting Troma on board with the film.
What were some of the responses to Yeti 1 from fans and friends, parents, teachers, and contemporaries etc? Any odd sideways glances?
Eric: To my knowledge my family has never seen it, and will never seen it. Most people are really confused and angry at it and I doubt that a lot of people make it all the way through. The movie definitely has it’s fans, though, and I try to interact with them as much as I can because it’s fun for me.
Adam: A lot of our friends really like the movie (aside from a few) because it’s fun to look back at it and see us all being stupid. Some moments are cringy, but overall I love when someone tells me they have watched it. My folks have never seen it, but Dave Paige’s (Dick from Yeti 1+2) have. We had a screening of it and Dave’s parents were in town. I was sitting next to them in the theater and it was horrific watching them during Dave’s sex scene and during his childhood friends Yeti death sex scene.
Some of our teachers were in the film. My high school photography teacher played the yeti hunter, our documentary film professor played the monk, and our colleges audio and editing engineer played Raymond the cult leader. None of them used their real names though.
Eventually Yeti 1 was rediscovered by the Reddit crowd. How did that come about?
Adam: We kinda forgot about it. We were scared we wouldn’t get jobs out in LA if people saw it. Then it went on a streaming on demand service called Xfinity. Whoever had to sit through the film and write the synopsis was the person that got the movie back out there.
A screen grab of the synopsis got posted on reddit under r/funny and r/wtf and jumped to the front page. Then it was all over.
How did this resurgence shape the prospects for creating the sequel?
Eric: It was really strange how Yeti 1 started to get some traction. The movie had been out for a few years at that point, on DVD and on Youtube. The fact that it was a Troma movie helped out a lot because Troma has some die hard fans that will watch everything they put out. In between Yeti 1 and 2 we made a couple more movies, Street Team Massacre (Troma put it out on youtube but never made a DVD of it) and Psycho Sleepover (also up on Troma’s youtube and on DVD). They played at some film fests and it was fun.
Then one day Adam called me and told me that the screenshot of the VOD description of Yeti 1 was on the front page of Reddit. The Youtube page got some massive hits right after that (Troma has since taken that original posting down and made a new page for the movie, which messed up the number of views). I started to see people talking about it on Twitter. It was very very surreal because we’d moved past that movie and assumed that was the end of it.
I had made an outline for Yeti 2 shortly after the first one was done. I sort of forgot about it and we thought “hey maybe we should dust that thing off”. All three of us (Adam, Jim, and myself) made a new outline, and then Jim and I got together to write it. It was very fun to revisit these characters, as dumb as that sounds.