On the last day of the convention (Sunday) Robert Hall stopped by to show his never-seen-before trailer for his new project, Old Scratch and to answer his fans questions. And believe me, his fans had a lot of questions!! Please note; all pictures other than of posters are the ones I took at the festival
Let me first introduce Robert Hall for those of you who don’t know about this prolific man. Robert Hall’s been on the scene since 1993, but he really made his mark with the second movie he directed, Laid to Rest (2009; see my review here). Laid to Rest was a brutal back-to-the-basics slasher flick with some amazing special f/x. Amazing f/x!! But he’s also done the special f/x and been in the make-up department for over 70 films. For shits and giggles let me list a few of them: Wishmaster (1997); Carpenter’s Ghosts of Mars (2001); 7 episodes of TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2001-2003); 62 episodes of TV’s Angel (2001-2004); Frankenfish (2004); Superbad (2007); Pineapple Express (2008); The Burrowers (2008); Quarantine (2008); and The Crazies remake (2010). Pretty impressive resume.
Hall first screened his “hot off the presses” trailer for his upcoming flick, Old Scratch. Well “upcoming” is a bit of wishful thinking. He told us that he actually had to stop shooting Old Scratch because he “ran out of money.” Hall really bared his soul about the state of (trying to) make horror movies in today’s climate and it was pretty depressing. Bottom line is unless you’re doing a remake, the money ain’t there. Pretty depressing. Old Scratch is another kick ass 1980‘s throwback horror flick. As Hall describes it, it’s an “80’s rock and roll horror movie.” In it Hall examines what he calls the “last great American urban legend”: Backward masking on records (the belief when an album is played backwards there are satanic messages in the lyrics). He didn’t have much to tell us about the project (especially since it’s been halted for the meantime) and I unfortunately don’t even have a one-sheet for it!! The only thing I can tell you is that Rob Schneider and Hall regular Kevin Gage (who plays “Snake Man”) star.
More interesting is that Hall didn’t even have enough material shot to make a trailer for Old Scratch. So to complete the trailer for the TFW, he hired a stand-in to play the lead actor (the lead role is being recast and Hall’s trying to attract a bigger name). Pretty crazy. But based on the trailer I don’t think he’ll have trouble attracting a known lead or even some financial backers.
And then the Q & A started and after a few questions I got to ask Hall mine. My question: “I hear that there’s already a new generation design of ChromeSkull [the slasher from Laid to Rest] made. Is this a project that’s on your radar? Are you involved?” His initial response was “wow, I didn’t think anyone knew about that.” And then he proceeded to tell us that not only is Laid to Rest 2 written and ready to go into pre-production, but a PART 3 is also already written. That is sweet fucking news. One is going to be a sequel and one a prequel, Nick Principe is attached to be ChromeSkull again, and part 2 will be shot by the end of the year!! You heard it here first on http://anythinghorror.com: There’s gonna be 2 Laid to Rest sequels and the the first will be shot by the end of the year.
Hall also gave us a lot of stories about his early career and some insight into a few of his non-horror projects (he loved working on Superbad and Pineapple Express and would love to direct a comedy one day). We also learned that he directed one shot on The Crazies remake (the scene towards the end where Tim Olyphant is underneath the truck in the oil-changing bunker). It was an uncredited gig but it was him. Someone else asked Hall what makes him decide between shooting on film verses digital. His response was pretty straight forward; budget constraints. He says that Laid to Rest would’ve never been made if it was shot on film. He took all the money from what it would have cost to get the film processed and “put that money up on the screen.” Interesting stuff. He also tells us how he taught himself to edit film while working for Roger Corman who “wouldn’t pay to get a real editor.” And about his first industry job: “I was working de-boning chickens when I read that a horror movie was going to be filmed in Alabama [his home state]. I jumped in my car and drove out there and begged to be apart of the project.” He was hired and worked on it in another uncredited role.
So what’s next for Robert Hall? Besides finding the financing to finish Old Scratch and plans to shoot Laid to Rest 2 before the end of the year, he’ll keep plugging away as the special f/x guy on a few projects (“it pays the bills”), the most notable being Quarantine 2, the US remake of [rec]2. He tells us there’s plans of shooting Quarantine 2 but doesn’t know if he’s gonna get it because “the project is gonna move fast.” And he also plans on continuing his web series Fear Clinic, which can be found on http://www.fearnet.com (look under the “shows” category).
Robert Hall proved to be a really nice and well-spoken guy who has a passion for making horror movies. Make sure you support Hall; he’s part of a dying breed. His panel discussion was a great way to end the Texas Frightmare Weekend!!