They write, produce, direct, act, score, and are funny as hell. The native Angelinos Sam and Lee Boxleitner have a knack for creative innovative horror, and turning small budgets into big productions. Whether it’s a ghost story or a crazed lunatic in a diaper, every Boxleitner project always seems to astound us with its originality and master crafted shots. Before we get into their films, let’s find out where these two come from.
Bruce Boxleitner (TRON)
The Boxleitner Bros were born to famed actors Bruce Boxleitner (Tron, Babylon 5) and Kathryn Holcomb (Rock-A-Doodle, How The West Was Won). No doubt, film surrounded the brothers, as they would routinely watch films at home. Friday nights were pizza and a movie night. With a loosened leash, the young brothers were allowed to rent all the horrific, glorious horror films like Nightmare On Elm Street and their personal favorite Friday The 13th Part Three. The general rule as the gorier the cover, the better the film. The only movie they were forbidden to rent was Silent Night, Deadly Night with fear that they would become afraid of Santa Clause. According to the brothers, once they saw the film as adults, they agreed that mother knew best.
Everything changed for Sam and Lee when they were introduced to Sam Raimi’s cult classic masterpiece Evil Dead 2. This film had it all, demons, gore, comedy, and one of the most bad-ass heroes of all time. The idea of making a film that can be both funny and frightening hit their brains, the Boxleitners were off. They knew they were going to make films. Not just any films, but horror films. “It’s the only genre that encapsulates the widest span of human emotion (sometimes.) There are certain horror movies that make you cry, make you jump, make you laugh and terrify you all within the period of ninety minutes. Very seldom do you find that in any other genre, unless it’s starring Jennifer Lopez.“
While the two brothers work together, their paths to film making spit them up for a little bit. Lee studied at the Los Angeles Film School to grasp the more technical aspects of writing and directing, while Sam studied on the street with rock n’ roll as his teacher. Upon graduating, Lee got a job at a low budget production house where he quickly learned how much of his formal schooling was useless in practice, which was a surprising all of it. Sam begged and pleaded for Lee to put a call into the production company for a job, which led to Sam’s employment as a production assistant. He was instantly bitten by the movie making bug, and gave up his ambitions for rock stardom and groupies to become a filmmaker, a decision which he still ponders whether or not was right.
“Filmmakers today tend to take the material more serious, sacrificing camp for heightened scare moments.”
When it comes to making films, the Boxleitners have quite the list of inspirations. They call upon the likes of Hitchcock, Romero, Craven, and Raimi, who were all able to find the perfect level of camp and authenticity. That’s not to say they don’t find inspiration from modern day filmmakers. James Wan and Guillermo del Toro heavily inspire the brothers works, but these are purely based on their technical abilities. “Filmmakers today tend to take the material more serious, sacrificing camp for heightened scare moments.”
Lee (Left) and Sam (Right) Boxleitner
Sam and Lee Boxleitner have a unique style, making low budget films and giving them millions of dollars worth of production value. A lot of this lies in their camera work, as well as spot on actors (including both brothers) and some truly disturbing stories, all while maintaining a certain level of camp and humor. Their first film together, Las Duelistas, is an homage to classic kung fu films, in which a master and student battle by way of rock, paper, scissors. The film, is a stepping stone to what the brothers can achieve. While not their most excellent work, the beginnings of their style are apparent, and the humor and gore are definitely there. The film stars Charlotte Waters and Andrea Steele, who would later work on Boxleitner films as costume designer and make up respectively.
We will have a more in depth review of the Boxleitner films, but we wanted to bring up one short that shows off just how talented these brothers really are. Last year the brothers released a seventeen minute short film titled DOWNSTAIRS. Starring Sam Boxleitner as Flip Schubbers, a security guard who is led downstairs by some less than nice spirits. The film is startling and funny, but all around terrifying. Reminiscent of Dewey from the Scream trilogy, Sam gives an incredible performance as Flip, making you love this poor guy, despite his pitiful mustache. everything from the camera movements to the ghosts look like a million dollar budget, and the direction from Lee rounds the film out beautifully. The award winning short film has seen over 100,000 views on YouTube, and you can watch it right now just below.
Today Sam and Lee Boxleitner are hard at work on their anthology feature Die Sitter Die! The anthology will feature three parts, each of them paying homage to some of the Boxleitners favorite genres. The first of the three, Rupert, is a psychological horror short, which is currently traveling through the festival circuit. The other two films to be included in Die Sitter Die! will be The Princess and the Frog Man, which will pay tribute to the slasher genre, and Peggy Sure Got… Murdered, which will be an ode to the paranormal.
When it comes to working as a team, no one does it like the Boxleitners. It is vastly apparent by watching any of their films, that they love what they do. It becomes even more apparent once you meet them in person. Their works are not to be taken lightly, as they are heavy hitters. They know what they are doing, and they refuse to stop for anything. As filmmakers, we look up to these guys, not just because they’re taller than us, but because they have the heart and talent to take them wherever they intend to.