Please Eat Organic

An encounter between a trio of hippies and a group of religious locals leads to some horrifying consequences in Please Eat Organic. We talk with writer-director Jacob Thompson and producer Joe Craib about their new grindhouse-inspired short.

Set in the early-1970s, Please Eat Organic tells the story of a group of travelling hippies (played by Heidi Lynch, Gabe Meacher and Brendan Cox) who set up a roadside vegetable stand to make some quick gas money for their VW camper.

Things take a dark turn into grindhouse horror-land, however, when the trio are confronted by a group of rural locals (led by the “sickly sweet” Philippa Domville) who claim the spot as their own. A uneasy stand-off quickly ensues (we won’t spoil the rest).

As writer-director Jacob Thompson explains, the film draws heavily on inspiration from the neo-western crime flick Let the Corpses Tan and the indie classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

“I love the style of those films, so the idea spawned from there and then I started writing the script,” Thompson says. “I really wanted people to feel they were watching something from a 70s movie or a spaghetti western – I wanted it to drip with genre.”

Please Eat Organic (2023)

After penning a first draft, Thompson reached out to long-time friend and producer Joe Craib, who says he was drawn to the project because it seemed like both a natural fit and “another great notch on the belt.”

“There was this very unique and specific vision that was there from when Jake first pitched it to me right up until we saw the final cut,” Craib says. “Whenever the vision is that specific and interesting, it’s always a plus, especially when you can see it on page from the start.”

“Whenever the vision is that specific and interesting, it’s always a plus, especially when you can see it on page from the start.”

The pair auditioned more than 30 people for the eight roles in the film. Looking back, Thompson says it was one of the most interesting parts of the entire process.

“It’s always fun to see how many people are interested in your project and then getting to pick between the nuances of everyone’s performances,” he says. “But the best part was really working with so many actors and seeing how they all went through the process differently and needed different types of direction.”

Please Eat Organic (2023)

The film was shot over three days in September 2022 on a farm north of Vaughan, Ontario. According to Thompson, even just locking down the single location for the shoot was an adventure in itself.

“That was a four-month journey into the crevices of every local community Facebook group that we could find. We needed something that wasn’t too far from Toronto, but far enough that it would look rural,” he recalls. “We also couldn’t afford a public road with police officers, so we had to find a private driveway that we could fake as a road.”

“We needed something that wasn’t too far from Toronto, but far enough that it would look rural.”

The shoot itself added numerous twists and turns, including contending with a wedding party on the property where they were filming and needing a props person to “MacGyver our way into” a locked vintage picture car.

“We went into production very prepared, but we also had to make a lot of last-minute changes based on circumstances,” Craib says. “You have to be as prepared as possible, but also know that you’ll have to throw some things out the window and come up with it on the fly. It’s a mix of being prepared and being adaptable.”

Please Eat Organic (2023)

Please Eat Organic premiered at the Macabro International Horror Film Festival in Mexico City last July and recently made its Canadian debut at the 2024 Toronto Short Film Festival. With more screenings set for this summer, Thompson and Craib finally have time to reflect on the experience so far.

“The nice thing about producing it was that we got to bring in people from all these corners of our lives to make the thing,” Craib says. “Jacob and I have a lot of people in our lives that we overlap with, so it was great to assemble them to make something where we were all familiar with each other going into it.”

Thompson adds that the positive response they have received from who have seen the film so far has motivated him to think about developing more projects, and he hopes to encourage others to do the same.

“Just go for it. If you believe in the story and it’s a passion project of yours, it’s worth going for it, because you’re going to sit there and think of what could have been if you don’t do it,” he says.

Connect with Jacob Thompson via his website here or follow him on Instagram here (@jakethompsonnn). Follow Joe Craib on Instagram here (@joe_craib).