LOS ANGELES — What started out as a repulsive short film turned into a three-year labor of love for porn star Tommy Pistol. The result is the first full-length, independent feature in which Pistol not only starred, but also wrote, produced and directed.
Now “The Gruesome Death of Tommy Pistol” is ready for a run on the film festival circuit.
“I’m actually waiting on seven festivals to hear back from,” Pistol told XBIZ. “I’m not going to hear back from them until September, and I haven’t had a premiere yet which I’m going to do. I’m just waiting for the final audio and color correction.”
Billed as a “surreal horror-comedy,” the 91-minute movie is laced with dark humor and gratuitous violence. It follows Pistol’s disappointing life as a struggling actor who has turned his back on family and friends to pursue a dream of Hollywood stardom. But he fails miserably at every turn on his way to hitting bottom, so finally he seeks solace in a penis pump. It turns out he can’t even get that right, and the grisly hi-jinks ensue.
The project started with Pistol’s 19-minute short “Attack of the Staph Spider,” which grabbed attention at the Backseat Film Festival in 2009 in Philadelphia.
“It won Most Disgusting Movie, which I was honored to get,” Pistol said. “So I thought why stop with the short? So I took some time to think about it and I wrapped the screenplay around it, working it in as a dream.”
Three years and countless hours of hustling later, he has received more than 20 early reviews from various websites on “The Gruesome Death” with comments such as “instant cult classic,” “unpredictable” and “has balls.”
“There were a lot of things on this movie that were done as a favor,” Pistol admitted. “I never want to make a movie like that again, asking everyone for that help and then waiting.”
He said the inspiration for his short film came not long after he was laid off from his gig behind the camera at Naughty America, where he wrote and directed three scenes a day every week for more than a year in 2007-08.
“I needed to do something to heal the wounds and I wanted to keep the juices flowing so I came up with this idea, that somebody got bit on a porn set — a spider bite — and it ended up being a staph infection,” he said. “Taking three years definitely helped. It gave me time to let it dwell in my head, like what I needed to change and what it’s missing.”
“It’s a surreal movie. It’s not a horror or a comedy, it dances in a few worlds,” Pistol said. “I want to get it out to a wide range.”
The movie also features Mia Tyler, Caleb Emerson, John Kayrus, Vincent Cusimano, XBIZ Award-winning actress Kimberly Kane, former adult performer Gia Paloma and well-known adult producer Eon McKai. The cinematography was done by respected adult shooter Matt Holder.
Pistol noted that director Brett Brando, whom he met while at Naughty America, helped him considerably during the early stages of the project.
It was produced by Pistol and his wife Karen’s company Baby Yetti Productions.
“We’ve done some music videos, but this is our first feature,” Pistol said. “I love horror. I did sketch comedy for 11 years when I was in New York. Any chance I can bring in comedy or slapstick, it just comes second nature to me.
“There are some great people who work in the horror genre. I wanted to take the leap and do the movie the way I wanted to do it and not be worried about what people are going to say. I thought I’m just going to do it and whatever happens, happens. The best advice I could give somebody is do what you want and be happy.”
The native of Astoria, Queens in New York made his adult industry debut with Burning Angel in late 2003, winning an industry newcomer award a year later. Nowadays Pistol has established himself as not only a capable performer, but also a good actor who can deliver in a high-profile role. His turn as the classic anti-hero Travis Bickle in Pleasure Dynasty’s “Taxi Driver XXX” parody that will be released by Exile Distribution this month is one of his latest efforts. He also has a prominent part in DreamZone Entertainment’s upcoming “Mork & Mindy XXX” parody.
“Things have picked up with work,” Pistol said.
His hope with “The Gruesome Death” is “just to make a stamp and get my name out there that this is what I can do.”
“My goal is to have people like it and say we want to see more from this guy,” Pistol said.
His plans for the L.A. screening include turning it into “an event” with stand-up comedians.
“I want to do it the right way,” he said.