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It's 11:30 p.m. on a Friday at Churchill's Pub (5501 NE Second Ave.), and Miami filmmaker Aiden Dillard, age 26, is positioning the legs of an inflatable doll on his shoulders. She wears a pink chiffon dress and sequin Santa hat.
"Ho, ho, ho, it's that gift-giving time of year," he says, holding in his right hand a red Christmas stocking jammed with copies of his latest film, Meat Weed America! — a wholesome, highbrow flick about cannibal farmers in Durham, North Carolina, who show their patriotism by smoking terrorists' foreskins. In Dillard's other hand, he's clutching a bullhorn, complete with a function that blares car alarm sounds.
The film cost approximately $12,000 to make. Produced by Troma, the company behind the USA Up All Night classic The Toxic Avenger, it's a sequel to Dillard's first feature, Meat Weed Madness, a spoof of 1936's Reefer Madness. "The premise of that movie," he explains with eyes bugged and brows high on his wrinkled forehead, "was four women come to Meat Weed Manor and are attacked by transvestite lunatics who hack them up and make marijuana out of them."
The plot of Meat Weed America!? The same. Except there's a jihadis-versus-nuns twist that Dillard says resulted from the suggestions of liberal, left-wingers who picked up some of the film's tab.
"I'm mainly into the trash and the sleaze because I'm a very repressed, perverted person," he adds. "I try to let everything out in my movies. Otherwise I may go around attacking people and whatnot."
He says all of this mere minutes before Meat Weed America! is to make its Miami debut on Churchill's starlit patio. The screen is already in place, surrounded by paintings of the London Underground symbol and a pig with bursting teets. About 30 bodies occupy half of the vacant, paint-chipped seats.
Dillard and I stand behind a flimsy cotton curtain that separates the screening area from the rest of the patio. He holds the bullhorn, which he plans to use "like a circus promoter," as he adjusts his wig and secures the plastic, air-filled legs around his neck.
Then he busts through the dark cloth, enters the densely populated bar area, and sounds the bullhorn's car alarm. The crowd doesn't respond, so he starts shouting what sounds like "Fkdhfskfhskdfh corn holing eiurowrueworu macrobiotic pussies kkdsfslfjslfjd," into the bullhorn.
After 10 minutes, about 10 more people have filtered onto the patio for the start of the movie. When the projectors roll, Dillard appears onscreen making a monkey noise. He's completely naked, revealing a lean, cut body with nether regions badly censored by a superimposed image of Osama bin Laden's head. "Hello, my name is Aiden Dillard and I am the director of this here motion picture," he says as he kicks, wiggles, punches, and flings his limbs about like a ninja on meth. The smiling face of bin Laden floats around slowly, lazily covering his package, leaving nothing to the imagination.
He quietly explains to me that the actors are friends (or friends of friends), so they weren't paid much. The story line was greatly affected by "who'd call in sick, who'd wuss out and didn't really want to do it, or who's car broke down and couldn't make it."
Watching Meat Weed, you can tell this. Sometimes the actors appear, well, a bit unprofessional. For instance, in one scene, Topless Tattooed Chick with Short Hair in Pigtails drinks the blood of her victim through a large plastic straw. She picks up a bucket of blood and pours it over her face. Then she begins to crack up.
"If I was a smoker, I'd be smoking right now," says Maurice, a 31-year-old, well-groomed guy with a budding 'fro who sits next to me.
As he says this, on the screen a farmer who lives in Meat Weed Manor is being circumcised by a gang of turban-wearing Suicide Girls (terrorists) in an act of revenge for smoking the foreskin of their leader, bin Smokin. Maurice's hand covers his face, leaving a small space between his fingers for viewing purposes. "Is there some kind of political, social point to this?" Maurice asks as one of the terrorists butt-rapes the farmer with a giant ear of corn.
I turn around and find Dillard in the back by the curtain. He's smiling as he observes the audience. He jerks his torso back and forth, resembling a Punch-a-Clown or someone who's had one too many Red Bull and vodkas. I walk over. "How much acid did you take before making this movie?" I ask.
"Actually this is really embarrassing to admit," he says, turning his head and confiding in a neighboring wall, "I've never even had a single beer in my entire life.... But I'm not opposed at all to drug use or alcohol use or any kind of use. I just don't do it myself. I make these movies because I wish I did it. I wish that I drank. I wish that I smoked pot. I wish that I had sex a lot."
During his confession, people walk out for more booze. Onscreen a topless dominatrix crams terrorist crackers — animal crackers that read "Bin Smokin' Crackers" — into the mouth of the farmers' leader, Lord Meat Weed. The dominatrix screams, "Eat the crackers!" A nun comes to rescue Lord Meat Weed with a strangling snake, which a second later looks more like a sock puppet.