Discount Assassin at Samurai Comics

By Joseph Golfen

It’s a total drag when you really need someone bumped off and you’re a little short on cash. Enter the Discount Assassin.

The super-low budget short by local filmmaker Shaun Clayton, premiered at Samurai Comics on Saturday night. The six-minute film takes a look at the gritty underbelly of the economical gun-for-hire game here in Phoenix. It turns out it’s cheap as chips to take someone out. In terms of the film, this meant that even though it was obviously shot on a handheld camcorder at various apartments around town, the goofball script and clever acting keep the comic short alive.

“Ever since it’s been possible to make movies cheaply using a computer, I’ve been making them,” says Clayton, whose other shorts have been shown and won awards at several film festivals including the First Friday Shorts contest at The Loft Cinema in Tucson.

“The Loft is one of my favorite places to show my movies, because even if you don’t win there’s usually about 500 people there,” says Clayton. “ It’s a really good way to get some exposure and get your name out there.”

Discount Assassin has Clayton teaming up with Bill Binder, a local improv actor at the Torch Theater in Phoenix, who turns in a great performance as a deadly serious hit man who will take down anyone for $3. This simple premise lends itself to some pretty funny moments, like when Binder informs his targets that bullets cost 76 cents each.

“That means you should stop running around so I don’t have to waste money on bullets,” he says. This kind of dark humor allows Discount Assassin to rise above it’s modest means and turn into something pretty entertaining.

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Discount Assassin and many of Clayton's other films are available on Youtube, including the particularly hilarious The Adventure Adventure, an animated spoof of the classic Atari video game. While some of the films may look like too much like home videos, their clever humor make them worth a look …and maybe even $3.

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