BEEF, You Are What You Eat: The Movie With Bodybuilders On The Menu

In the following interviews, producer and director Pete Jacelone gives a complete overview of this flim and what inspired him. Actors Anthony Catanzaro and Marv Blauvelt also discuss their roles...

Lending a whole new meaning to the bodybuilding phrase "sliced to the bone", BEEF, a Screamkings Productions movie, portrays bodybuilding as a sport good enough to die for. Combining all the elements of a good horror/slasher film with liberal doses of irony along with the day-to-day realities of top-level bodybuilding, BEEF, which premiers on April 25 at New Yorks Anthology Film Archives, explores previously uncharted territory.

It's press release reassures that those who attend the premier will receive complimentary barf bags. With its premise being "you are what you eat" BEEF is the story of a disgruntled, tragic bodybuilder, Drew, who can't quite achieve the recognition he seeks.

Throughout his life he is bullied and abused, until the final straw - his girlfriend leaves him for what she perceives to be his obsession with bodybuilding and health - pushes him over the edge.

With nowhere to turn, Drew methodically turns his rage on his own kind: local bodybuilders. As he stalks and slays, all the while searching for the ultimate key to health and strength, he discovers an ancient secret, a truth that provides him with food for thought and strengthens his hope for bodybuilding immortality.

In the following series of interviews, producer and director Pete Jacelone gives a complete overview of why and how this flim came into being and what inspired him to pursue such an ambitious project. Actors Anthony Catanzaro and Marv Blauvelt also discuss their roles and what the film required from them as actors.

Interview With Director & Producer Pete Jacelone

[ Q ] What gave you the idea of producing a horror movie starring bodybuilders?

I came across a short story that featured a bodybuilder who becomes the victim of a psychopathic photographer. It was very chilling and morbid. I wanted to film it and put it on a "Tales from the Crypt" type compilation. But when I showed it to my partners, we decided it was too good for just that, so we had our writers expand it and make it feature length.

[ Q ] What is it about bodybuilding's merging with horror that makes a movie such as BEEF effective?

I think there are a few reasons. First, I can't think of any other horror movie that features bodybuilders as the main characters. The fact that the bodybuilders are the victims in this movie makes it even more interesting. In traditional horror movies either over-sexed, drugged out teenagers, or screaming girls are the victims.

There aren't too many movies that make big strong men the victims of a psychopath. Then there's the whole "cross-promotion" idea about it. I believe this movie will attract the attention of not only traditional horror fans, but also those interested in bodybuilding as an art and sport.

[ Q ] What about this movie will capture the interest of horror movie fans?

Probably the blood and gore.

[ Q ] What specific genre would this movie be classed under and why does this genre appeal to you as a producer?

I believe this movie would be classified as a "slasher film", probably based on the body count. I personally consider it simply a "horror film".

I've liked horror movies since I was a child. As a producer of films, it's a challenge to successfully stimulate people's emotions, trying to make them laugh one minute, then cry, then scream the next.

[ Q ] Horror movies have quite a large following. In your view, why is it that many have a fascination with what could only be described as acts of explicit, graphic violence?

This is perhaps a question for psychologists. Who doesn't slow down and gape as they pass an automobile accident to see if anyone was hurt or killed? I think graphic violence is partially the appeal of horror films, but I believe horror is also popular because people simply like being scared and shocked in a fantasy setting.

If you recall, the old horror movies rarely showed graphic violence, but were scary nevertheless. Sometimes it's not what you see that is most frightening.

[ Q ] How do you feel about the final result? Has the movie met your expectations?

As a filmmaker, it's hard to be objective of ones own work. There's a lot of good talent in the movie and I believe the acting is convincing. I think the story is somewhat different and has a twist ending. I'm personally happy with the end result.

[ Q ] What special challenges are there in working with bodybuilders?

In making this movie I learned a lot about bodybuilders. Every one of the guys was absolutely great to work with. But I'd say the biggest challenge was dealing with a bodybuilder's unique diet requirements. (Some had to feed themselves every few hours). Plus (I hope no one will be offended), I found they tired easily after doing their posing routines.

I learned that a great deal of energy goes into and is expended after a routine. I might have been ready to do two or three more takes, but there was no way we could have done it. Perhaps the same is true in any sport. I guess I wouldn't expect a football player to play a second or third game right in a row just so I could capture it on film!

[ Q ] Without giving too much away, what is the story about?

The story is partially a tragedy about a bullied young man who aspires to be a body builder, but just can't quite achieve his goals. He's pushed beyond the brink of madness after his girlfriend leaves him for being too much of a health fanatic. In a word, he becomes a "psycho". But beyond that, the story also touches upon some profound topical concepts of health and fitness involving muscle growth and strength and anti-aging.

[ Q ] It says in the BEEF press release that those attending the premier will be provided with complimentary barf bags. Just how gory is this movie? Have you explored new ground with its special effects?

In terms of gore, the movie has its moments. In terms of effects, I don't think we've done anything totally unique. But the story itself could have an adverse effect on some people. The Barf Bags are just an extra precaution. (Probably less expensive than hiring a clean-up person!)

[ Q ] Whom is this movie targeted at? Who do you think will enjoy it most?

Horror movies traditionally target a younger audience. I believe the statistics say young males between the age of 13 and 25. (Of course, that's just a generalization). I think BEEF should appeal to a traditional horror audience, but again, because of the bodybuilder element, it will probably also get the attention of bodybuilders and other health enthusiasts.

[ Q ] Does BEEF contain any kind of message, or is designed to purely entertain?

"You are what you eat."

[ Q ] What are some of the scenes you are particularly proud of and why?

As a producer of horror, I particularly like the murder scenes.

Seriously, I suppose I'm most proud of some of the interactions between our main character, Matt Weight, who very convincingly plays the psycho, and the bodybuilders, who all did a tremendous job bringing their characters to life.

[ Q ] How do you think this film portrays bodybuilders? Was your objective to portray them in a certain way?

I think the movie portrays bodybuilders as they truly are... just people with a particular athletic talent, but each with their own unique personality, some nice, some humble, some cocky. Of course each character was written a certain way, but I allowed a good deal of flexibility in allowing each actor to develop his own character's personality. So hopefully they will all appear totally real and natural.

[ Q ] What did you enjoy most in terms of working with the actors during production?

In all of our productions, we have actors either audition in person or submit videotaped auditions, as was the case in this movie. You can get a fairly good feel as to the real personality of the actor. If anyone seems like a jerk, even if they're a good actor, we don't use them.

Everyone in this production turned out to be genuinely nice, so the production was truly fun. Of course its hard work, but I wouldn't do it if it weren't fun.

[ Q ] How would you like this film to be remembered in the annals of horror movie history?

At this point it's hard to say... but hopefully it will be remembered as the horror movie that featured bodybuilders... and the one that required Barf Bags for successful viewing!!

Interview With Anthony Catanzaro (Mario)

[ Q ] How did you become an actor in this film (describe the selection and auditioning process)?

Well, I received an email from Screamkings, the production company for this film. They were interested in shooting a first time ever horror short film about bodybuilders. They told me it was going to be simular to "Tales from the crypt", and asked if I was interested in one of the roles, playing a landscaper.

After a month or two, they decided to make it a full-length film. That's when they created the role of Mario - a self-absorbed, great looking guy more along the lines of a model than a competitive bodybuilder. I also have a girlfriend in the film and guess who that was? Tina my wife. Also, Some of the filming took place at my workout studio, which was a lot of fun.

[ Q ] What did you like most about the filming process?

The director/producer Pete Jacelone is a great guy. All of the guys at scream kings are very professional. It was fun meeting the other actors and working with them.

[ Q ] How would you describe BEEF? What kind of film would you consider it to be?

I tell you David, when I first got the call, I immediately knew it was going to be good. It's a horror film called "BEEF" so you know there is going to be muscle. They definitely stayed with the tales from the crypt concept, which was great. I know for a fact that any one who loves horror movies will love BEEF.

[ Q ] Describe your role? Was your character like you in any way?

Not really. The only similarity is that we're both very confident. But my character Mario is also extremely conceited and knows he is very good looking. He is the character everyone will hate, but will find cool at the same time.

[ Q ] You are a busy guy. How did you work filming into your schedule? As a bodybuilder, how hard was it to balance your filming requirements with training, eating and resting?

Fortunately, my part in the film didn't take long to shoot. I'm a professional and I knew exactly how I wanted to portray this character so it really moved quickly. And of course as a bodybuilder or anyone who is trying to stay fit knows, you have to bring your meals with you.

[ Q ] How was it working with other bodybuilders?

The guys were fun to work with, but to be honest most of the filming was done with us individually so we weren't really all together during filming - just behind the scenes stuff. But when we were together, we would all laugh and joke around. I remember imitating Arnold Schwarzenegger in Pumping Iron; all of us guys had great laughs.

[ Q ] What was your favourite part of the film? Any special moments you were particularly proud of?

My character Mario is crazy. Just wait until you see how conceited this guy is. He always looks in the mirror: it is really funny, and he thinks there is no one as handsome as he is in whole world. I loved playing him and I'll laugh when I see it.

[ Q ] I hear the posing in this film was quite strenuous. Tell me more about that?

Without giving out too much information, there is plenty of" BEEF" in this film from posing to working out, fighting scenes, and tons of blood.

Beef is really a cut above the rest.

[ Q ] From beginning to end, what was the experience of working in this flim like?

When I first started shooting, I knew right away it was going to be interesting because Pete gave us actors a lot of freedom which I believe all the best directors let their actors do. I always say, "When you act that's when you are lying".

The best actors are natural; you can't learn how to act, only control how to act. That's why I never went into acting. My acting school was my hardships, my ups and downs in life. Wait till you see the film, I know you are going to be impressed. Beef is the real deal.

[ Q ] How do you think this film will be received by both bodybuilding and non-bodybuilding fans?

Honesty I'm not a big fan of slasher type films, but Beef really brings everything to the table. This film has everything from a dark side to a humour side, it was done very well and all the actors including myself had a great time being involved in it.

[ Q ] What makes BEEF a film worth seeing?

Whether you are a bodybuilding fan or just a fan of horror films, you will enjoy BEEF.

I can't talk too much about the film, but what I can tell you is it will blow your mind. Remember: you are what you eat.

Interview With Marv Blauvelt (Professor Daniels)

[ Q ] How did you become an actor in this film (describe the selection and auditioning process)?

I received E-mail from (a web-site that I am featured on with over 100 other bodybuilders), asking for bodybuilders who are interested in auditioning for an independent Horror film about a serial killer who targets muscular men.

Since I am a huge horror film fan and have been an amateur competitive bodybuilder for 12 years, I jumped at the chance. Pete from Screamkings sent me a portion of the script, and with the help of my wife, Linda, and my stepson, Tyler (and some fake blood and knives), we filmed the audition at my house in Indiana.

After I sent it in, Pete called me about two weeks later and offered me the role of Professor Vincent Daniels. Pete said that he might include the bodybuilder's audition tapes at the end of the DVD. That would really be hilarious.

[ Q ] What did you like most about the filming process?

I learned a lot about making films on a tight schedule and budget from Alex and Pete and Steve Hicks (the special effects guy). Everything was very structured and ran quick and smooth. It was great meeting everyone.

[ Q ] How would you describe BEEF? What kind of film would you consider it to be?

BEEF is a combination of several types of Horror films. First, it is a slasher film (like Halloween or Friday the 13th). It is also a bit like Psycho or Fatal Attraction because as the movie progresses, the audience witnesses the main character, Drew, totally lose his mind. And finally, BEEF has a shocking twist ending that may borders on science fiction.

[ Q ] Describe your role? Was your character like you in any way?

My character has a very mysterious and dark nature; he is incredibly intelligent and incredibly evil (sort of the Hannibal Lecter of the film). No, thank God, I am not like my character (however, I would love to be that smart). I will say that my character was probably the most fun character in the whole film to play.

[ Q ] You are a busy guy. How did you work filming into your schedule? As a bodybuilder, how hard was it to balance your filming requirements with training, eating and resting?

I am very busy, not only as an amateur bodybuilder, but also with my career as a Bio-tech pharmaceutical consultant and as a husband and a father of my 11 year old daughter, Aubrie. I knew that the five days that I was in New Jersey filming BEEF were going to be extremely busy.

Time was very tight. Needless to say, I got very little rest, so, let's just say I really over-compensated on training before I left. When I got back from New Jersey, I caught up on my eating and resting. It was such a great experience, though, that it was well worth it.

[ Q ] How was it working with several other bodybuilders?

Great. We all got along very well and became friends. I still hear from Tony and Justin.

[ Q ] What was your favourite part of the film? Any special moments you were particularly proud of?

Well, like I said, there is a GREAT twist ending in this film (that I helped Pete and Alex write), that does involve my character. The audience gets to see Professor Daniels' dark side and believe me, it is pitch black. It was fun getting into that state of mind, but also a little scary.

[ Q ] I hear the posing involved in this film was quite strenuous. Tell me more about that?

Nowhere near as strenuous as being on stage in front of judges and an audience. I think it was pretty strenuous for Adam, since his scenes were filmed out-side and it was over 100 degrees that week.

[ Q ] From beginning to end, what was the experience of working in this flim like?

What can I say; it was incredible and very surreal. I owe Screamkings and a lot, because they have opened up a new door for me. Since BEEF I have been in two other independent films: a science fiction film called Boxworld where I play a power lifter of the future and another horror film by Impact productions called RAGE 2, where I play a muscle-bound bar thug.

I need to thank Pete and Alex (Screamkings) and Mike ( for getting this all started with BEEF and giving me a chance.

[ Q ] How do you think this film will be received by both bodybuilding and non-bodybuilding fans?

Horror fans will love BEEF because it takes the slasher film formula and switches it up. Instead of having hot college girls getting horribly murdered you now have these big muscular guys getting killed one by one.

I think that bodybuilders will relate to this film because it is about going to extremes to have that perfect body and definitely crossing the line in terms of extremeness. I will say if anyone is squeamish about blood and gore, they probably want to stay away from this movie, because it is loaded with both.

[ Q ] What makes BEEF a film worth seeing?

Good story and a great twist ending. BEEF not only proves that decent movies can be made on a very small budget, but also, that a group of bodybuilders with little or no acting experience can put out some very good performances. I hope everyone sees it when it is available and can agree with me on these points.