The Horror Honeys: Tonjia Atomic's 6/6/6 with Circus of the Dead's Billy Pon

Tonjia Atomic's 6/6/6 with Circus of the Dead's Billy Pon

The more I learn about Circus of the Dead's director Billy Pon the more I love. I like to think of us as kindred spirits as we are both of Asian and mixed heritage, we both make music and films, and we both have a background in martial arts. Here's Billy's answers to my 6/6/6 questions. Enjoy!

1. Circus of the Dead is a thrill ride full of a colorful, interesting, violent, and unexpected moments. What are some things that inspired you when you wrote it?

So many things inspire me daily. Things I read, see, hear and mostly think about is what inspires me the most. Everyday is different and new. You just never know when that inspiration will hit. When it does I see it like a big wave. The goal is to ride that wave as far as you can because it won't last forever. I think the sole inspiration/goal for Circus of the Dead was to just make a good movie that happens to be a "horror" movie. Doing a "clown" movie is a very big uphill battle for a filmmaker. The public will automatically assume it's cheesy, hokey and a joke. The trick is to make it serious but still have lots of humor... Or in our case "dark" humor!  

2. Your many talents also include music. Tell us a little about that.

You said "talents", not me! Ha! I saw Van Halen as a teen and King Edward inspired me to pick up a guitar and learn. Now, I'm not a pimple on his ass but it is a really fun hobby that calms my otherwise crazy mind. When I play I turn the brain off and the heart on. Now one of the funnest things I do in music is play a fat white Jimi Hendrix in the band the Billy Hendrix Experiment. If you see me in person as "Billy Hendrix" you'll never get that image out of your mind! I do that band in tribute to the late great Jimi Hendrix who I keep gravitating musically to. Something about his playing and message that suits my soul.

3. Did you ever have a fear of clowns yourself? A love of clowns? 

No, the only thing I fear is failing. I need to work on that. Now, did I fear making a movie about clowns and being taken serious as a director. Yes, that's still ongoing! :)

4. Tell us about your haunted attractions. 

 I have two Haunted Attractions. Def Con 1 Haunted Warehouse and Circus of the Dead: Murder Maze. Def Con is an abandoned military base that's run rampant with flesh eating zombies. Circus of the Dead is a big maze with macabre sideshow attractions and cannibal clowns who run a muck! Def Con has been around since 1998 and Circus of the Dead: Murder maze has been around since 2005. Both are in Odessa, Texas. I do these because of my love for horror. They came before the movies.

5. You have a martial arts background. Tell us more.

 Being a "mix breed" my dad was always pro Chinese Gung Fu and introduced me to all things Bruce Lee. I spent my childhood watching Kung Fu Theater loving every minute of it. Then I spent my teens and early 20's learning Shaolin 5 Animal. Late 20's and 30's studying Wing Tsun in Lueng Ting's system of Wing Chun. It's seems like a long time since I've studied. It's always on my mind to get involved again but life get's busier it seems the older you get. 

6. Is there a plan for Circus of the Dead 2? 

 Yes... I'd for sure like to do it. But I do know I'll do at least one or two other projects first. To me it's all about the story first. When the story is ready then I'll make the movie.   

Name 6 movies that every aspiring film-maker should see.

1. Star Wars
2. Jaws
3. Texas Chainsaw Massacre '74
4. Halloween '78
5. The Exorcist
6. Raiders of the Lost Ark

Some possible upcoming projects are a Doll Boy feature and a Mister Fister feature. What are 6 things are you excited about? 

1. No Clowns.
2. A fresh start.
3. The process.
4. Improving on what I did before. 
5. Playing more music.
6. Learning. 

Tonjia Atomic is a frequent Guest Honey contributor and is a filmmaker, musician, and freelance writer. You can find out more about her at or connect at Twitter!