Writer/director Anthony Catanese

Anthony Catanese, the writer and director of “Teenage Bloodsuckin’ Bimbos” gives a bemused smile as he describes his new film. “It’s a fun B-horror comedy with an edge. It goes back to the movies I’d watch late at night on USA’s ‘Up All Night,’” a series of low budget B-Horror Films.

True to that spirit, Catanese’s film is about a trio of young female vampires sucking blood and other fluids from Trenton bikers, prostitutes, or anybody else who happens to end up in a scene with them in this 145-minute feature film made in Trenton.

An employee of Exit 7A Creative Services and Studios in Trenton, where he sits at a video editing console during this interview, Catanese says the film’s ideal audience is “anyone who loves horror films.” But then he deprecatingly adds another demographic, “or 14 year-old boys.”

But generally he takes his tongue-in-cheek work seriously and says the film should appeal to fans of horror and horror comedy: “People who like things on the edge, oddball things. People looking for something not the same-old-same-old.”

That seems to include the New Jersey Film Festival reviewers who selected “Teenage Bloodsuckin’ Bimbos” for a screening in the annual spring festival, running January 25 to March 1. “Bimbos” is scheduled for Saturday, January 26.

While the film follows a less respected tradition and is unabashedly politically incorrect, Catanese says he is proud of the production. “For the time and budget we had, I can’t believe we pulled it off. I look at the film and can’t get over it.”

He says the film was part of a progression stemming from when he began making movies at age 15 in his Groveville (Hamilton Township) home, where he lived with his construction worker dad and mom who worked in a supermarket meat department.

After graduating from Steinert High School in 1998, he wasn’t interested in going to college but signed up for a few local classes and wrote a letter to Troma Films in New York City — the independent makers of the “Toxic Avenger,” “The Class of Nuke ‘Em High,” and other low budget favorites.

Troma invited him in and gave him a hands-on education on low-budget filmmaking with duties ranging from production assistant to wardrobe manager.

They also gave something you don’t learn in college. “From Troma I learned how to do things with what we have and make it work — that’s the key to low-budget or no-budget filmmaking. You need to get it done.”

In addition to Troma Films, Catanese says other influences include Woody Allen and the Baltimore-based, very independent filmmaker John Waters, whose “Pink Flamingos” is noted for its wit, whack, and shock.

The cast of ‘Bloodsuckin’ Bimbos,’ above, Penny Praline, left, Destyne Marshai, and Gigi Gustin.

Eventually Catanese returned to the Hamilton-Trenton area, sold drums at Russo Music, began playing drums with the Trenton band Honah Lee, started working with 7A, and began a series of B-horror films, including the 2015 film “Sodomaniac.”

IMDb (the Internet Movie Data Base) describes the film as “a group of degenerate serial date rapists” who “have the tables turned on them when a masked killer begins to hunt them down one by one and killing them in the most painful, degrading way possible.”

“We had an idea that we thought would kick the door open with ‘Sodomaniac,’” says the director. “But it was very niche audience. So I thought, let’s make a movie that is broader. And I thought, ‘Vampires! Everyone likes that.’ So I tried to make a broader (audience) movie, but it’s still a little weird. The point was to make a movie that we could sell and reach a broad audience. But it’s still a niche audience.”

Catanese says while the script for “Teenage Bloodsuckin’ Bimbos” was written in just a few months, the production took a few years.

There were several reasons, he says. One of the actresses landed a job on a reality show, left for a few months, and then got more job offers. “We had to wait for her to film a show. When she came back we had a small window to finish the shooting.”

Another was the need to wait for the return of summer for a needed shot. “We had to wait six months until we got one shot and hoped no one noticed anyone’s hair or tan change,” Catanese says.

“If we did it like a regular Hollywood movie, it would have taken a couple of months. It’s tough when you don’t have a lot of money and people have other jobs,” he says. Production cost $4,000.

“We had no money but said, ‘Let’s do this,’” he says. “We have equipment. And usually every movie comes out of our pockets.”

The money for this film came from an investment from the Punk Rock Flea Market producer Joseph Kuzemka (who is credited as a producer and appears as a vampire’s victim), and a gift from his Baltimore-based aunt, Robin Bokhari.

Catanese says other resources came from “the generous giving” of others. That includes Exit 7A and company owner Scott Miller, who volunteered equipment, served as a sound engineer, appears semi-nude as an actor, and is listed as a producer. “We wouldn’t have a film without Scott and 7A,”says Catanese.

Trenton-based filmmaker Jeff Stewart also stepped in to serve as photography director and one of several cameramen. He is also listed as a producer.

Another producer is Sara Casey, who edited the film. The Hamilton resident and graduate of the Arts Academy of Philadelphia is a co-partner in the company through which “Bimbos” was produced, d.i. why? Films, listed on their website “as a low budget production company based out of Trenton.”

“We chose (the name) d.i.why? as kind of a joke, like ‘Why are we doing this?,” says Catanese. “It’s also a play off of d.i.y, (do it yourself), because our films are very do it yourself. Being a small film company with just two of us we basically do everything ourselves.”

Money was spent on the performers contracted using a standard form Catanese and Carey used while making “Sodomaniac.” It stipulates future payments or royalties. “It eases up our liability and makes sure people know what they’re getting into,” the producer/director says.

Despite the subject matter and Catanese’s admission of liking “gross out stuff,” there are several aspects of the film that makes it artful.

One is the way it looks. That includes both some active and attractive images of Trenton shot by drone operated by Jin Wu. “He was doing some stuff for Scott, and we said we need some drone shots. And he went out and got some. He was excited and wanted to be part of (the film).”

Catanese also credits engineer and “color corrector” Peter Kuhn, who integrated the film footage shot by several different cameras and a cell phone operated by different people. “He is the genius that made the look of the film. He made it look like one camera. I’m pretty proud of Pete for doing that,” he says.

Then there are some flourishes in the writing — like the scene where the lead vampire, Tricia, quietly shares her desire to become one of the undead. It happens when her religious parents are suddenly killed and she grows angry with God.

“I was brought up real Catholic,” says Catanese, and he and heard people talk about “God’s plan.” “God messed up her plans, so she wanted to mess up his plan” by becoming an evil vampire, he explains.

The scene is enhanced when Tricia begins a chant to make another vampire. “That’s a real vampire chant,” says Catanese of the long single scene. “I found something online. It could be some vampire lore — or some real kid.”

Nevertheless, the combination had a moment. “That was really a powerful scene.” And while the characters are “bimbos” and “killers,” he says “they’re also real people with problems.”

Another is the soundtrack — mainly of music from the Trenton region. “I wrote the whole movie to ’80s rock, then I was thinking I’m in a band, so I hit up my friend Drew Russo — drummer in the area metal band Midnight Hellion — who knows everything about ’80s music.” The result was pulling in music from successful and artistically strong Trenton-area bands to replicate the ’80s sound. “The big thing was finding the right bands that fit the tone,” he says.

Then Jim Smith, the Hamilton-born electronic composer and owner of the music company TEEEL, took a liking to the project and allowed access to his work.

The result, says Catanese: “We basically got the perfect soundscape we wanted. I’m really happy how that came all together — I like it better than what I had hoped to use. I was really happy.”

He is also upbeat about one other important ingredient in this and all his work: Trenton. “I love this city. There’s energy and things happening. We make fun of Trenton in the movie. And you have to be a little harder if you’re working in Trenton. Just being in Trenton influences me. I couldn’t do what I do if I were somewhere else. I’d never get anything done if I were in New York.”

In addition to his work at 7A and work on a new horror-comedy film to be included as part of a collection of stories, Catanese is the film festival coordinator for NJ Horror Con in Atlantic City, and under the stage name Tony Goggles he continues to drum for Honah Lee and hosts the monthly “Shitty Karaoke” night at the Mill Hill Saloon, where he lives in one of the upstairs apartments. He also recently got engaged.

Assessing his work, Catanese says, “We make B-movies, but I like people to say, ‘That was a lot better than I thought it would be.’”

New Jersey Film Festival, Voorhees Hall Room 105, 71 Hamilton Street, Rutgers University; January 25 through March 1. “Teenage Bloodsuckin’ Bimbos” on Saturday, January 26, 7 p.m. $9 to $12. 848-932-8482 or www.njfilmfest.com.

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