Interview with Horror Filmmaker Jill Sixx Gevargizian

Interview Call Girl

From her first horror short CALL GIRL, to POLICE BRUTALITY and indie Kickstarter short THE STYLIST, Jill Sixx Gevargizian is killing it in horror and has become one of the front running faces of female horror directors. So I was excited to have the opportunity to catch up with horror director Gevargizian. We had a chance to discuss her new horror film short, GRAMMY, which will be debuting at Spooky Empire in Orlando this year, as well as giving us an update on THE STYLIST and she also lets us in on how much really goes into bringing a horror short to the screen. So, sit back, relax and enjoy the horror goodness of Jill Sixx Gevargizian.

filmmaker Jill Sixx Gevargizian
filmmaker Jill Sixx Gevargizian

EvilQueenB: Congrats on the success of all of your short films! How do you balance the cons, screenings, filming and being a hairstylist?

Jill Sixx Gevargizian: Thank you! I’m not sure how I balance it honestly. I do hair full-time and spend almost all my free-time on filmmaking stuff. That is my only means for making a living–movies only cost me money! Every part of filmmaking costs–making it, submitting it to festivals, traveling to those festivals. It’s a never-ending money sucker.

Evil: THE STYLIST, which was successfully funded on Kickstarter is being completed, can you tell us about that and when we will be seeing it?

Interview Stylist

Jill: To be frank, our Kickstarter only funded 1/3 of that project. Another third came from a private investor and the rest from myself. I produced the film with director of photography Robert Patrick Stern and production designer Sarah Sharp. Thanks to their talent and experience I think we created something really special. We will soon start submitting to film festivals and hope to premiere somewhere exciting in the Spring. Najarra Townsend (CONTRACTED) stars in the film as Claire; a hairstylist obsessed with the notion of perfection. She was a true pleasure to work with and her performance brought this character to life in way I could have only dreamed. THE STYLIST is a very emotional film, which is a first for me. I have never felt so connected to something I’ve made and I want to continue to feel that way about my work.

Evil: How much pre-production goes into bringing a short film to the screen?

Jill: I, personally, spend a shit load of time in pre-production. Everyone is different. On THE STYLIST I spent 4-5 months on prepro and I think it shows. The less you prepare, the sloppier the final product is. Prepping is my thing and most important in filmmaking- or anything really!  It also depends on the project–THE STYLIST I knew was the film I wanted to change the game for me, so I hired an all-pro crew and spent a lot of time preparing with them. That film is 15 minutes long. And to give you an idea how long the entire process takes–we shot it in February and we’re just now doing the final assembly. That 8 months of post-production! It’s taken me over a year to complete THE STYLIST. It takes a lot of focus and passion to finish a film. It’s full of up and downs, but you just have to keep going. In comparison, GRAMMY is only 2 minutes long and it took only 2.5 months to complete from beginning to end.

Evil: Now that you have tackled short films will a full length horror film be in your future?

Interview Gammy

Jill: People ask this so often–it’s a matter of opportunity and money. I would LOVE to make a feature-length! It takes so much money just to make a short and it’s very hard to find the money. I just can’t see how one would find enough to make a feature, without a big company behind them forking out the money. One day, I hope!

Evil: Tell us about your newest short film, GRAMMY which will be screened at Spooky Empire.

Jill: GRAMMY is a micro short that I made for Crypt TV–which is a online distributor of horror content owned by Eli Roth. It should premiere on their platforms later this year. So, I thought I’d try to get it into a few festivals prior. I wrote GRAMMY with my good friend Jill Towerman and it was inspired by the pressure society places on women to wear makeup. The short itself is fun and bit silly. I can’t say too much without spoiling the film. It’s about a little girl (Hala Finley) who wakes up from an overnight at grandma’s house to discover there’s more to Grammy (Marilyn Hall) than meets the eye. I doubt people will pick up on my political subtext, but it’s there! HA!

Interview Jill1

Evil: So far, what has been one of your best moments working in the horror genre?

Jill: I’d have to say it was seeing my first film, CALL GIRL, adapted into a comic by Japanese artist Daiju Kurabayashi and producer Hiro Fujii. Not only is the the most flattering thing that can happen as an artist–to inspire more art–but it’s better than my film! And anyone can download it for free–in English or Japanese–here: http://callgirlcomic.curse.jp/

Evil: What’s your next project?

Jill: I do not have another project slated as of now. I will be focusing on submitting THE STYLIST to festivals all over the world and writing. Next year I plan to travel a lot with THE STYLIST. I think that is an important to enjoy all the work you put in. I also find that my work has a much bigger effect on people if I am at the screenings. Rather than just finishing a film, putting it out and moving onto a new project. It shows a whole other level of dedication. But I hope to be working on something new soon and am open to any possibilities! I would really love to work with Robert Patrick Stern and Sarah Sharp again.

Twitter

www.SixxTape.com

www.SlaughterMovieHouse.com

Stay Bloody!!!

Interview with Author Eric S. Brown

Eric S Brown1
author Eric S. Brown

Today I have a special treat for you as well as myself. Eric S. Brown is one of my favorite writers on the genre scene today. The only reason you don’t see more reviews of his books is because my reviews were getting too repetitive!! How many different ways can you write that an author’s books kick ass and are highly enjoyable with lots of violence, fun characters, and more action than you’ll find in the entire Indiana Jones trilogy??

Brown is the author of way too many books to list here but is known for his BIGFOOT WAR series. I lost count at the number of books in that series after ten!! If you’re not familiar with BIGFOOT WAR it takes place in North Carolina and shows the consequences of when Man tries to mess with Nature. A man seeks vengeance against the monster that brutally killed his family and in doing so starts a war between human beings and a race of Bigfoots. The series is graphic, gory, fast-paced, and so much fun that I burned through them as fast as I could buy them!! You can cheek out my reviews of BIGFOOT WAR, BIGFOOT WAR 2: DEAD IN THE WOODS, and BIGFOOT WAR 3: FOOD CHAIN.

Eric S Brown Season of RotBut Brown is about so much more than just Bigfoots. He’s also about zombies, space aliens, Lovecraftian horrors, and gigantic Kaiju creatures. If you have a nightmare, Brown has probably written about it!! Enough of my babbling; here’s my interview with Eric S. Brown:

Me: How long have you been a professional writer, Eric? How old were you when you wrote your first story? Do you still have it? What’s it about?

Eric: I have been writing since around the second grade though most of it was fan fiction until I hit high school age. I got into writing from my love of comic books, Sci-Fi, and horror. I wanted to grow up and be the next David Drake or do something awesome like write Wonder Woman for DC Comics. Strangely though, the first story I ever sold, at the age of 26 when I started submitting my work, was a zombie apocalypse tale. Writing darker fiction came easy to me, especially zombie stuff, so I spent the early years of my writing career writing mostly horror.

By 2009, I had made a “name” for myself in the small press with zombies. SEASON OF ROT from Permuted Press is what I think of as my “breakthrough” book. The bookstore chain Borders picked it up to be carried nationally in their stores. That same year, I was also featured in Jonathan Maberry’s nonfiction book on the genre, ZOMBIE CSU. In 2010, adding zombies to classic works for fiction was the “in” thing. Simon and Schuster approached me wanting to release my book WAR OF THE WORLDS PLUS BLOOD, GUTS, AND ZOMBIES in the mass market. The next thing I knew I had an agent and I was a full time, professional writer. The advance on the Simon and Schuster and book allowed me to focus and not worry about the bills so much.

Eric S Brown War of the WorldsThat same year, BIGFOOT WAR was released from Coscom Entertainment and after kind of just sitting around on the market for a while suddenly exploded into a massive cult hit. It garnered so much attention it put my mass market book to shame. Suddenly, despite all those years writing zombies, I became “The Bigfoot Apocalypse” guy. As BIGFOOT WAR grew from one stand alone book into a successful series, I was approached to write the novelization of BOGGY CREEK: THE LEGEND IS TRUE. Of course I said yes and in the process of working with the folks behind that film, BIGFOOT WAR got optioned for film as well. Life was fantastic. I was living the dream and paying the bills mostly with just writing. I even went back to writing a comic book news column for the local paper, rambling on about my favorite heroes and story lines. Publishers were coming to me for stories and I had so much worked offered to me, I no longer even needed to submit stuff anymore.

Eric S Brown BF War RedneckThen things got even better. In 2013, I got the call that the BIGFOOT WAR movie had been greenlighted. I had my contract for the movie the next day and got paid for the rights shortly thereafter. My wife left her job to be a stay at home mom and I kept right on writing not only scary stories but began to expand into things like writing Military SF and even scripting a few indie comic books as well. The BIGFOOT WAR movie was released in 2014 and the BIGFOOT WAR book series still continued to refuse to die. BIGFOOT WAR: REDNECK APOCALYPSE, a reboot of the first book, was released and in its wake came BIGFOOT WAR: AFTER THE FALL. The best thing that’s happened to me as a writer so far though is working with Baen Books. After meeting my childhood hero David Drake and signing at him (literally side by side, sharing the same table!) at a convention, I sold a story to The Grantville Gazette (the magazine of original fiction set in Eric Flint’s 1632 universe). Those two things opened the door to me selling my first story to Baen. That story was by far the coolest thing I have ever done as it was a sequel to one of David Drake’s. As for now, I am still writing. My book KAIJU APOCALYPSE, coauthored with Jason Cordova, became a hit for Severed Press spawning two sequels of its own and leading to three more stand alone Kaiju books including MURDER WORLD: KAIJU DAWN, KAIJU ARMAGEDDON, and ZOMBIE KAIJU APOCALYPSE.  Currently, I am finishing up my first truly historical horror novel with Steven Shrewsbury which we hope to have finished up and in the hands of my agent by fall, 2015.

Eric S Brown4Your writing is firmly grounded in the horror and sci-fi genres. Have you written anything outside of these genres? What attracts you to the horror and sci-fi genres?

Yes, I have written other things but horror and SF are really the genres that I love and I think my love of them comes through in my work. As to what attracts me to them, well, frankly, they are FUN to write. I like to write the type fiction that I as a fan really want to read but just doesn’t seem to be out there yet.

You tackle everything from zombies to military sci-fi adventures to giant Kaiju creatures to Bigfoot. What has been your favorite creation?

Eric S Brown Zombie Kaiju ApocalypseWhen I look back at my own body of work BIGFOOT WAR is really the book that stands out for me. It was in many ways the first of its kind. Up until its release, Bigfoot horror wasn’t really a huge thing in the world of literature and there certainly (at least to the best of my knowledge) hadn’t been a truly apocalypse-centered take on Bigfoot before it. Even all these years later, new readers are still discovering BIGFOOT WAR and diving into the insanely long series of sequels and spin-offs (like the CRYPTO-SQUAD series with Jason Brannon) that it gave birth to.

If I’m not mistaken, the BIGFOOT WAR series is your largest series of books. Did you ever expect that first Bigfoot novel to be such a hit? Have you ever been contacted by a Bigfoot expert telling you you got it all wrong? How did you respond to them?

No, I never thought BIGFOOT WAR would take off like it did. BIGFOOT WAR was mainly a book I wrote for myself after years of doing pretty much only zombie stuff. It was my escape from zombies while staying true to the sort of “end of the world” writer that I am. And no, I have never been approached by experts telling me what’s wrong with the book because the first BIGFOOT WAR starts out with an intro I wrote explaining why the Sasquatch are the way they are in its pages. BIGFOOT WAR is love song to the apocalyptic genre with bigger, faster, and stronger monsters.

Eric S Brown Witch of Devils WoodsYou already have one film, BIGFOOT WARS, based on your writings. It was a big hit and sold out of Wal-Marts (I believe) across the country. Will we be seeing more of your books on the big screen?

One the short stories from the BIGFOOT WAR universe was adapted into a short cartoon by the Walmart Corporation in 2014 as well. It aired on the Walmart TV network as a Halloween treat for the corporation’s employees. My book THE WITCH OF DEVIL’S WOODS has also been adapted into a low budget indie film as well by the Great Lake Artists group and is supposedly set for a 2015 release. Beyond that, I signed my first ever TV related option contract just this week so who knows what the future holds? I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see.

Tell your fans something about yourself that they may not know.

That’s a tough question. I have done so many interviews over the years, I am not sure there’s that much more left to know. I am a Christian. I’m a hardcore comic book geek who spends way more than he should on comics. I have a son who loves PACIFIC RIM and a little girl who is as a diehard Flash and Wonder Woman fan as is her dad. David Drake is my hero in terms of the writing world and I feel very blessed to have reached a point as a writer where I can write him up and say “Hey Dave, what are you working on now?”, chatting with him about various projects, the industry, etc. Rush is my all time favorite band and I listen to them a lot while I am writing. And something you may really not know is that after all these years, Stephen North and I are at work on a sequel to our space based, Military SF zombie apocalypse book, BARREN EARTH. Meanwhile, the original BARREN EARTH book is slated for a 2015 re-release from Grand Mal Press.

Eric S Brown Crypto SquadObviously you’re an avid comic book collector and fan going back to your youth. How have comic books influenced your writing, if at all? Have you ever created your own superhero or written a superhero novel? And I must ask, who’s your favorite superhero?

Oh yeah, comics, along with David Drake, got me into writing. They’re a huge part of what I am and what I do. Both my A PACK OF WOLVES series from Grand Mal Press and the CRYPTO-SQUAD series with Jason Brannon are reflections of that. A PACK OF WOLVES has a very X-men in the old west feel to it. Think of a family of super-powered, mercenary werewolves trying to save the world in a very John Constantine sort of way and that’s what A PACK OF WOLVES is. CRYPTO-SQUAD is similar though set in modern day. One of the CRYPTO-SQUAD series’ taglines is “Only our monsters can save us!”. Mothman leads a team of government funded and controlled Cryptids against world ending threats ranging from the zombie apocalypse to the corruption of the government itself. As to my favorite heroes, well, I am a hardcore Legion of Superheroes fan and I also love the original Doom Patrol. I am also a fan of most of DC’s mystical characters like John Constantine, The Spectre, The Phantom Stranger, etc. But at the end of the day, Flash, Wonder Woman, and Captain Cold are likely THE heroes/villains of the comic world to me.

Eric S Brown Hand of GodWhat other projects do you have coming out in 2015?

The second book of my Military SF, HOMEWORLD series entitled THE HAND OF GOD and coauthored by Jason Cordova was just released. Also Dark Silo Press just released a Lovecraft based zombie apocalypse book from me called THE TAINT. In addition, I have a centipede themed horror book, CRAWLERS, coauthored by a long time friend of mine, due out soon from Great Old Ones Publishing.

—–

Thanks so much for taking time out of your crazy-busy schedule, Eric!! If you haven’t yet read any of Eric S. Brown’s books than you are in for a treat. His stories and writing style are addictive and the BIGFOOT WAR novels were damn near impossible to put down. I’ll make it really easy for you; here’s Brown’s Amazon Author Page.

I wanna hear from you … what books from Eric S. Brown have you read?

Stay Bloody!!!

Girls & Corpses Magazine Interviews Laurence R. Harvey … on the Toilet!!

Back cover smLaurence R. Harvey, the star of THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2, was recently interviewed by Corpsy of Girls and Corpses Magazine … and the interview took place on the toilet!!  Check out the press release and the complete interview below:

Girls and Corpses Magazine and EmmReport bring you one of the most harrowing interviews of the modern era. Robert ‘Corpsy” Rhine’s crack reporting breaks new journalistic ground as he interrogates the elusive star of “The Human Centipede II,” Shakespearean thesbian, LAWRENCE R. HARVEY… on the crapper:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2lBvnbIMsI&feature=em-upload_owner
 
Yes, expectations for a Pulitzer Prize are high for this exclusive, in-depth examination into one of the creepiest, sickest, most horrific murderous mutes of the modern area, Martin Lomax.  The Human Centipede III (also directed by TOM SIX) is currently in production with both Laurence R. Harvey and Dieter Laser (from The Human Centipede I) starring. Word is that part 3 makes the first two Centipede films look like Disney on Ice (if the show featured ass-to-mouth connected skaters). So, buckle up and watch this stupefying interview. Trust us, you will not be the same after you watch it… or will we… even though we have already watched it.
 
See more LAURENCE R. HARVEY then you ever dreamed in the current Vol 7 Spring issue of Girls and Corpses Magazine (and the origin of the very first Human Centipede in 1669) on sale now at Corpsemart:http://girlsandcorpses.com/store/index.html   FREE preview of the issue here: http://girlsandcorpses.com/
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Now dig on the interview:

Stay Bloody!!!

The Undead Teds

Some more of Phillip's remarkable work...Are you a horror fan (and if not, why are you here?) and you want that extra special gift for that extra special person, but you’re of the opinion that the Hallmark people can go kiss the fattest part of your ass before you dish out any money for a stupid card? Well then the Undead Teds might be just what you’re looking for!

The Undead Teds are the creation of artist Phillip Blackman. 45-year-old Phillip, from Suffolk, England, had long been a fan of film director George A Romero, creator of some zombie movies you might have heard about, and he combined this love with training in theatrical and special effects make-up, and a moment of inspiration, to make teddy bears – with a difference. When I first heard about them, I went to www.undeadteds.com and contacted Phillip for a quick interview.

Phillip with one of his cute creations. Aww...
Phillip with one of his cute creations. Aww…

“About three years ago, I hit on the idea of making zombie teddy-bears,” Phillip told me in an interview. “The inspiration came from a rather obscure in-joke between my partner and I. She had a terrible cold at the time and we’d been talking about a gift for a friend’s baby. With a very stuffy nose “teddy-bear” kept coming out as “deady-bear” and we joked about zombie teddies that creep from under your bed at night to feast on your brains while you sleep. Being an artist and illustrator (See www.biro-art.com) I couldn’t just leave it at that so after a few false starts and I produced my first Undead Ted.”

Awww, he got a boo boo...
Awww, he got a boo boo…

Phillip initially tried sewing bones and organs out of felt, but felt his sewing skills weren’t up to it. So to properly transform the kids’ toys into Undead Teds, Phillip sculpts the bones, teeth and other organs by hand, from polymer clay or latex, then opens the bear’s carcass, takes out some of the stuffing and fixes the gory details in place with glue. Finally, he paints on the blood and adds a layer of varnish for a wet effect. Some designs, including the Valentine Undead Ted, have a strong wire frame retrofitted to ensure they keep their pose and don’t fall over.

“I’m getting faster now,” Phillip assured me, “But each Undead Ted still represents something upwards of six hour’s work. They used to take me days to make!” He prices them individually depending on size, complexity, materials used and time taken.

A Don't Care Anymore Bear
A Don’t Care Anymore Bear

And the Undead Teds, with their mix of the cute and cuddly and the gory and gruesome, were an immediate hit. “People’s reaction from the start has been variations along the lines of ‘That’s Horrible! I want one!’ The demand has been phenomenal and took me entirely by surprise. I simply cannot make them fast enough. As soon as I list a batch of six to eight in my store they sell out in under a minute. People set alarm clocks and take time off work so they can get online at the right time to try and snag one. I’m humbled by people’s enthusiasm for my work and hugely thankful to them.”

Phillip’s typical customer is in the late twenties the early thirties range, according to his Facebook stats. “People don’t buy them for their kids of course, they’re not toys after all, but they do buy them for their partners and significant others. The majority are either bought by women or bought by men as gifts for women, a fact I was quite surprised to discover!”

Don't worry, he's 'armless enough...
Don’t worry, he’s ‘armless enough…

And they definitely aren’t for little children, though not so much because of how they look as because they contain small toxic parts and aren’t suitable for rough handling (if they get a little dirty, a gentle pat with a wet cloth will suffice rather than a trip in the washing machine).

“I can and do ship to pretty much anywhere,” Philip assured me. “A large percentage of Undead Teds have gone to the States and Canada and a few as far afield as Australia.” He has also had customers send him teddy bears to be customised, though this arrangement isn’t viable for overseas jobs in case the Customs people have some unreasonable

Though he’d love to set up his own shop it’s not possible with him doing the work himself. Until then Undead Teds are available through his Etsy store (http://www.etsy.com/shop/undeadteds) and occasionally through Ebay, and though demand remains high people who follow him in various Social Media platforms are alerted when new Undead Teds are available.

My amazement for the level of detail and craftsmanship Phillip puts into his work remains high, and I wish him continued success in the work! I’d get one myself now, but I’m afraid my cat might get jealous… or eaten…

MISSING: One bear. And the child who owned it.
MISSING: One bear. And the child who owned it. And some campers nearby.

Written by Derek “Deggsy” O’Brien

Interview: Horror Icon Barbara Crampton

Ms. Barbara Crampton!!

I really don’t think I need to introduce the subject of this interview.  Any horror fan worth their salt knows Barbara Crampton and the important contribution she’s giving to the genre.  Beginning her career in 1983 on DAYS OF OUR LIVES, her talent and drop-dead gorgeous looks landed her in her first feature length film, FRATERNITY VACATION (a popular teen-sex-romp that was so popular in the 80’s).  But that same year, 1985, Barbara Crampton would be thrust into the horror archives for her role as “Megan Halsey” in Stuart Gordon’s RE-ANIMATOR, a genre-defining film that blew away horror fans around the world.  Then after the hugely entertaining CHOPPING MALL, Barbara Crampton teamed up again with Stuart Gordon and Jeffrey Combs to make FROM BEYOND, another classic horror film that gave fans both a fantastic story and mind blowing special f/x … practical f/x.

I originally got in touch with Barbara Crampton through twitter and she was nice enough to agree to doing a interview for anythinghorror.com.  So after I calmed to hell down I sent her over my questions and here we are.  So enough of my rambling … here’s my interview with my all time favorite Scream Queen, Ms. Barbara Crampton!!

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Is this not one of every horror fan's favourite sceneS?

Anything HorrorTell us a little about your upbringing.  I read somewhere that you travelled a lot growing up because your father was a carnie.  Is that true?  Did that life style in that environment draw you closer to the world of horror?  What, if any, effect did it have on you?

Barbara Crampton:  Yes, I grew up on a carnie lot. Rides, games, and cotton candy at my fingertips daily. We travelled in the Summer when we were off from school.  There were many types of people who are drawn to that way of life. Transients and drifters being very common. I’m not certain it drew me to the world of horror, but it certainly exposed me to the type of individuals who are on the fringe of society and afforded me a kind of acceptance for ALL creatures horrible and not!

Who are some of the directors, actors, and actresses who’ve influenced your horror performances?  Were you drawn to horror roles or did you approach them pragmatically like your other roles?  What are some of your all time favorite horror films?

My favorite actors growing up were Bette Davis, Miriam Hopkins and Danny Kaye. I used to love to watch old black and white movies after school on the daily ‘Million Dollar Movie.’  Those actors were fearless, strong and always made bold choices. I was mesmerized with them! The fact that they always took risky chances was what I loved about them. I’d like to think they have influenced  my performances whether it actively shows or not…in my own mind they do.

Barbara behind the scenes getting ready for her famous scene.

I have always loved horror movies and anything that scared me from a very young age. The adrenaline you feel from watching a great horror flick is like taking a very good drug without the annoying after affects. I was raised on THE TWILIGHT  ZONE, THE OUTER LIMITS and DARK SHADOWS. I just loved vampires!…but who doesn’t.

I was very lucky to be cast in Stuart Gordon’s RE-ANIMATOR. It was just a part I auditioned for and booked. I didn’t have any evil or otherwise plan to have a horror career. It just happened, as Stuart cast me again in a couple others…and a few other directors did too. Lucky me.

I like the classics: TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, DAWN OF THE DEAD, POLTERGEIST, THE SHINING, THE FOG, INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, NOSFERATU, THE OMEN, THE EXORCIST.  Yet I am very fond of the Slashers, for their it’s spine tingling cringe inducing feelings. I was shocked and absorbed watching PIRANHA 3D. I can’t wait to see the next one! Some really scare me and disturb me on a very deep level and I have to look away from the screen. So I can’t say that I’ve seen the original HELLRAISER and SAW in it’s entirety. Or THE ENTITY or THE DEVIL’S REJECTS… or that I ever will. I will go to the bathroom or linger at the fridge until the ‘bad’ parts are over. I just can’t stick my eyes to the screen, I’ll have nightmares!

Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, & Bruce Abbott on the set of RE-ANIMATOR.

Thank you for that moniker. I’m not sure if I deserve it…I was fortunate to be in some terrifically written movies with some great roles for woman. RE-ANIMATOR was delicious! Funny, creepy and weird. Meg Halsey was written strong and I played her that way. That was in the writing. And how much more poignant and tragic…spoiler alert!!…that she dies at the end. How much more meaningful. If she had been just some bimbo or a nagging B**ch, you wouldn’t have cared that she was strangled by a dead guy and Dan was grief stricken. But you care because she’s a real person. I was given a great part…already on the page.

In FROM BEYOND Katherine stands out as a strong person too. And In CASTLE FREAK Susan must bear the burden of holding onto a crumbling family. Stuart Gordon and Dennis Paoli gave me strong roles. These are complex stories with characters who have layered personalities with desires and fears. Yet there are plenty of heroines in this genre who have had strong roles who are great screamers…I can’t even list them all! Sigourney Weaver in ALIEN. Linda Hamilton in TERMINATOR  Nicole Kidman (love her) in THE OTHERS… Faye Raye, Gloria Stuart, Patricia Neal, Beverly Garland, Jamie Lee Curtis, Dee Wallace, Ashley laurence, Rose McGowan, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Karen Black,  Danielle Harris, Amber Heard. There are many slasher movies with less developed characters who get offed…and you don’t care. But you’re not supposed to. That’s not their point. There are many great scream queens out there who get killed in all sorts of fun and cool ways and their characters are not developed cuz it’s not in the script. I’ll let you tell me who they are!

We all know where this is "headed"!!

Did you have any idea when filming RE-ANIMATOR and FROM BEYOND that they would have the following and popularity they do today?  These aren’t just genre-defining films; they’re modern-day classics in every sense of the word.  Characters from each of those films became instant house-hold names and as iconic as Jason and Leatherface.  What do you attribute the longevity of these roles too?

RE-ANIMATOR was Stuart Gordon’s first film. He had been active in theatre in Chicago for a long time. His pals from that era included William Macy, George Wendt,  Dennis Franz and Joe Mantegna. He was already a very creative guy working with some top notch talent. Jeffrey, Bruce and I also had theatre backgrounds, so we rehearsed for three weeks prior to filming. When does one do that on a low budget movie? The script was great and fun but we had no idea whatsoever that people would continue to watch, love and talk about this movie some 25 years later. All the elements just seemed to come together. The score by Richard Band is so memorable. Makeup by the now known greats: Anthony Doublin, John Naulin and John Buechler. Mac Ahlberg, photographed the movie and worked very closely with Stuart, and taught him about the camera.  They forged a deep friendship and went on to make many movies together. It was a magical script. Jeffery is of course fantastic and he is the heart of the movie.  Yet the longevity of this and FROM BEYOND really come from the single minded and laser focus of Stuart. He has a passion and a strong force of will to bend others to his thinking! His movies are full and cohesive, and he knows what he wants. He gets the performances he wants out of everyone. The behind the scenes people and the actors in front. He will tirelessly push you in a very calm yet energetic way. He is the movie.

Barbara Crampton in CHOPPING MALL.

You’ve starred in some of my favorite genre films:  RE-ANIMATOR, FROM BEYOND, CASTLE FREAK, CHOPPING MALL, and PUPPETMASTER.  What has been your favorite genre role, and why?  What’s your personal favorite role out of all the various films and TV shows you’ve been in?

I loved playing Katherine in FROM BEYOND. There was so much range in that character. Repressed intellectual, sassy seductress, and heroine all in the space of 86 minutes. We filmed the movie in Italy, my first time there, on the old De Laurentiis lot. It was a lovely shoot. I also had a very juicy part in THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS for many years. “Leanna Love” was her name. She was a borderline personality and had a very tortured relationship with men.  So that keep me going for a long time. It’s also nice in an actor’s life to have a regular gig once in a while. It made me feel safe and I was able to put some money away for the lean times.

This doctor gets a little too touchy-feely for Barbara's tastes.

In total you’ve starred in over 30 projects in everything from soap operas to comedies, to dramatic-thrillers.  Why do you think the horror genre is most connected with your name?  What is your favorite genre to work in?  Do you have a favorite film that you worked on?

I’ve just been lucky enough to have been in some terrific horror movies and to have worked with a great director. I definitely have a soft spot for horror movies. It is my favorite genre. So much energy and thrills!

RE-ANIMATOR is my personal favorite movie. It has become so iconic, and I get to keep talking about it and reliving it. We had a 25th reunion at a horror convention last year. Everyone was there! So many fans came out to talk to us about the movie and it was so satisfying to see how people are still talking about it. New fans too, from a new generation.

Tell us about your new film YOU’RE NEXT.  Can you give us any exclusive news about it?  When do you expect it to be released?  What drew you back to the horror genre, and more importantly, are you staying?  

Ms. Crampton today!!

YOU’RE NEXT is a thriller horror piece. It was written by Simon Barrett (one of the funniest people I have ever met) and directed by Adam Wingard. What happens when a family comes together for a reunion at a somewhat remote old house and they come under attack from some unknown forces? That’s the basic premise. I have been sworn to secrecy and cannot reveal any more than that! Oh…I can tell you, I play the Mom.

I had such fun working on this movie. So many very talented people. Sharni Vinson and AJ Bowen [from THE SIGNAL] are terrific. Some friends of Adam’s who are film makers themselves came out to play roles in the movie. Joe Swanberg, the amazing director who has a one page idea for a movie and has his actors improvise the story. He sells all his movies to IFC. They eat him up. He is astoundingly facile with nuance and invention. It was amazing to watch he and AJ Bowen (my new favorite person on the planet) improvise together at a dinner scene in YOU’RE NEXT. Sheer brilliance! Ti West, director of HOUSE OF THE DEVIL and THE INNKEEPERS came out to play a role. He is friends with Adam and others on the movie. Amy Seimetz who makes her own movies makes a lovely appearance in the film. All these other film makers came to be a part of it. I was amazed by their friendships, and their desire to help each other out. Such creation lovers! Adam and Simon are great collaborators. YOU’RE NEXT is very character driven. They love to work with the mind of every performer. If Adam heard one wrong or phony note on the actors part. We would stop. Discuss. Try again. Perhaps change a piece of dialogue with Simon’s aid. Discuss, film. No one working on this movie had any ego. I’m certain Adam got some great performances out of his actors. he wouldn’t settle for anything less or move on until he got something great.

Bruce Abbott & Barbara Crampton hamming it up.

It’ s noteworthy that different directors work in different ways. The creative challenge is to stick what works for you and see it through. Adam and Stuart worked differently but I felt so comfortable with both of them as they believe in their own style and vision, and work with commitment to that end.

I was skiing In Tahoe with my family when I got the call about YOU’RE NEXT. I was in a professional slumber. Not having worked very much in the past few years, I was busy raising my two children, now 8 and 9.  I wasn’t thinking about movies or my career. I had taken up gardening and was happily working in their school garden part time 20 hours a week, and doing general ‘Mom’ stuff. I read the script on my IPhone and loved it. So I went to Missouri a week later. I had the best time. So, I guess I have the bug again. I’ve been hounding my agent ever since! I joined twitter so I could keep up with what’s going on! Now that my children are a bit older, I feel better about leaving them for little spurts. Yes, I’m looking. I’m available. I would love to work more….If you’ll have me. [I think I speak for everyone here Barbara that we welcome you with open arms!! — AH]

If you knew what was good for you, you'd just leave that thing alone!!

Here’s a question I ask all the people I interview:  A big studio approaches and tells you they want you to write, direct, and star in a remake of any horror movie (the choice is yours).  Money and time are of no concern.  What would you remake?  Why?

How about ROSEMARY’S BABY? I have always loved Ira Levin. He is a master of suspense and character driven pieces. Those two quality’s are already in the terrific original. The audience knows what’s going on from the beginning but when is Rosemary going to find out? What is in the room next door or rather… whom and when are we going to get a look at it…him? How far is Guy willing to go for his career? Is Rosemary going to be driven insane by her frail paranoia? The betrayal theme is a good one! Such amazing parts for the leads.

Jeffrey Combs & Barbara Crampton (FROM BEYOND).

I generally think you shouldn’t remake a great, but do the ones that could have been good, but weren’t because of a bad performance or lesser production value. But hey, this is fantasy, and you asked….and I wouldn’t want to risk making another clunker! I’d remake this movie because it is character driven and coming from the actors background, relationships in a story is what most intrigues me the most. Could I improve upon it? No, are you kidding? But what I would do is make it a bit scarier. More dreams with scarier SFX. I would also explore the devil a bit more. Who is he? Perhaps with the angle that you create the devil out of your own sins. Could Your Evilness coupled with the energy of others (Roman and Minnie) create the thing that is most feared in life. What if the devil isn’t real, unless you create pain and misery in others. Perhaps you (Guy) are the devil and your bad energy is unleashed on a world because of the choices you make.

At this point I would, of course play the Ruth Gordon part!

What’s next for BARBARA CRAMPTON?  I can honestly say that I’ve missed you from the horror scene and am hoping we start seeing more and more of you.  The genre needs more beautiful, strong, sexy women in horror!!

We’ll see what the future holds …

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A huge thanks to Barbara Crampton for taking the time to answer these questions for me at anythinghorror.com!!  Barbara said she would check in on the interview after I post it, so make sure you say “hi” and show your support for getting Barbara back into films (preferably horror films)!!  You can follow her on twitter here.

And please don’t be a stranger at anythinghorror.com Barbara; keep in touch with all you future projects (whether or not they are horror), and definitely keep us updated about YOU’RE NEXT … I think I speak for everyone when I say that I can’t wait to see it!!

Stay Bloody!!!

Horror Interview: III Slices of Life Writer-Director Anthony G. Sumner

Writer, director, & filmmaker extraordinare Anthony G. Sumner.

I’m excited people!!  In 2010 my theory that the future of the horror genre lies with indie horror filmmakers was proven.  I saw some truly amazing GENRE films like DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK, SHELLTER, and SELLA TURCICA.  But as you know by now my two favorite genre films of 2010 were VINDICATION and III SLICES OF LIFE.  I already have my interview posted with VINDICATION director Bart Mastronardi (see here & here), and now I have my interview with III SLICES OF LIFE writer-director Anthony G. Sumner.

III SLICES OF LIFE is Sumner’s first feature length film and this was truly an indie project.  Besides being the writer and director, Sumner also served as the executive producer, editor, special makeup effects artist, did the sound recording, and built the props.  Hell, he probably even did the friggin’ catering himself!!  But all his blood. sweat, and tears paid off.  III SLICES OF LIFE is a fantastic anthology film with great stories, great acting, and it’s gory as hell.  I encourage you all to take advantage and catch it ON DEMAND (it’s being offered in about 14 million homes, including AT&T’s U-Verse) and pre-order it on Amazon (click here).  Trust me on this one … you’ll thank me later!!

So let me shut up and proceed to the interview with Anthony G. Sumner.

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Anything Horror ScottTell us a little about yourself Anthony.  How did you get into filmmaking and what brought you to making horror films?

Anthony G. Sumner:  I grew up on horror movies and started watching them religiously at the tender age of 5 years old. I had such a passion for the genre that I started making my own movies in 6th grade with a super 8 film camera.  This ultimately lead to film school and then a career in advertising and new media — but I never lost my desire to revisit making low-budget feature horror films.  By 2004 technology had reached a point of affordability and higher image quality that it seemed insane not to do a feature.  I was already working in media and owned the necessary equipment — So producing partner Eric Richter and myself decided to maintain our regular commercial clients, but reinvest the profits back into a feature.  From that III SLICES OF LIFE came to fruition.

Tell us about III SLICES OF LIFE.  How long has this been in the works?  Where did the story come from?  

When we decided to produce a feature film on a super micro-budget, it seemed only logical to work with stories that we had already developed, many of which were short form, so we decided to do an anthology.  This worked to our advantage in many ways. First; I LOVE horror anthologies and shooting it as an anthology would allow us certain freedoms that wouldn’t exist with a single story narrative. Second; we could shoot as we made money from other projects and spread it out as long as necessary without putting ANYTHING on a credit card-  the movie would be completely paid for when it was done. Three; we could use a large diverse pool of actors and not worry about character continuity since the separate stories would be tied together by the framing device. And four; this would allow us to switch up our styles and really try something a little different with each segment, as a way to sharpen our skills with different sub-genres of horror. Each segment was developed with this intent, to create three disparate stories in three varied styles, all inspired by classic low-budget horror sub-genres.

Sumner doing Alan Rowe Kelly's makeup.

We had been lucky enough to meet and become friends with the incredible ALAN ROWE KELLY while we screened JITTERS in New York.  From day one he has been an inspiration and support system for us in moving forward on the project.  He lent both his great acting skills and screenwriter talents to the project (he scripted the Amber Alert segment). We had released the W.O.R.M. segment as a short to festivals, just to get some feedback. The response was incredible, we won about 6 awards, including the STEPHEN KING AWARD from Silver Screams and that really motivated us to move forward.

We spent four years total completing the entire project, one segment at a time as we had the money to pay for it.  This allowed for many talented people to be involved, our composer Gene Hodsdon, literally created a different musical theme for each of the four stories and really helped to define each story.  Jeremy Selenfriend from MONSTER IN MY CLOSET did the creature effects for the “Pink Snapper” segment.  Chad Norris and Paul Mackey pulled off some incredible VFX, many that you would never even notice (unless you watch the extras on the DVD) and of course the awesome cast that has continued to have such success following III SLICES OF LIFE; Deneen Melody [a favorite here at AnythingHorror.com], Toya Turner, Helene Alter-Dyche, Marv Blauvelt, Kaylee Williams, Judith Lesser, Galen Schloming and Jack Guasta are all incredible.

This isn't a shaving accident!! Actor Bruce Varner going through the paces.

III SLICES OF LIFE is pretty gory with the kind of plot that likes to screw around with your head.  Are you a big fan of gore flicks?  What are some of your favorites and which ones have influenced you the most? 

I have never seen a movie where I thought it had too much blood shed and III SLICES OF LIFE does have some gruesome moments. We would have had more if the budget allowed. The last segment in particular was a dream come true for me, as far as having a location in which I could completely go ballistic with the blood.  I have always been a splatter and special effects fan and the gore films of the late 70’s and 80’s are really what lead me to film making in the first place.  As for influences, I enjoy almost all horror films from big budget to low budget.  The ones that inspire me the most are the ones that really have a rogue “anything could happen” feel to them.  I love BASKET CASE, THE BEYOND, RABID, RE-ANIMATOR, BRAIN DAMAGE, DEAD ALIVE, INSIDE, AUDITION, THEY CAME FROM WITHIN,  DEMONS, SUSPIRIA, THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD, DON’T LOOK NOW, POSSESSION (Zulawski), SANTA SANGRE … many new and old horror classics.  I’m also a big fan of alternative cinema like early Todd Haynes, early films of John Waters, Kenneth Anger, Maya Deren, David Lynch, Warhol/ Morrissey and many more.

Sumner & Anything Horror fav Deneen Melody on the set of III SLICES OF LIFE.

III SLICES OF LIFE has some great awards already under its belt form various festivals.  It has a “Best Film”, “Best Special Effects”, and an “Audience Choice Award”.  Has this helped you with finding distributors for your film?  

You know, Distribution is a mysterious and changing aspect of this business; and to be honest, with this film we were completely charting new territory for ourselves on how to make sure we handled the distribution in the smartest way to get market penetration AND possibly make our money back.  For me, it was THE most stressful and worrisome part of the process.  I do think the awards helped, but honestly we had offers prior to most of the feature awards. The incredible poster art by Mike DiGrazia brought us a lot of attention and I also think having some really positive early reviews from places like ANYTHING HORROR helped the most of all. We had already spent an enormous amount of time researching markets, companies and the distribution methods of comparably low budget films, from this we drew up a list of about 20 companies that we thought would best serve our project.  Then we sent each of Distribution Company a screener packet with photos, press, bios and awards.  And waited….

Sumner on the set composing a rather nasty set-piece!!

Who’s distributing the film?  When can we expect to see it?  Where can my readers buy a copy?

Eric and I made the decision very early on that we really wanted to enter the VOD market as soon as possible.  I personally watch a lot of movies through ON DEMAND and I felt that this was the best market for low budget rentals.  So I looked into who was the most common aggregate of indie VOD films and one name is the leader: GRAVITAS VENTURES and The BOSKO GROUP.  They are the ubiquitous source of VOD content and they loved III SLICES OF LIFE, by signing with them directly we were able to retain an additional 40% on the return that was not being offered through other distributors who were going to act as middlemen.  It was at this point that we decided to add a “3” to the beginning of the title, just to make sure we would receive top placement on the screen menus (since numbered titles are always first).  3 SLICES OF LIFE is currently available ON DEMAND in 14 million homes across the US and Canada.  A short list of the cable providers can be found here http://www.gravitasventures.com/3-slices-of-life/ .

Elizabeth (Judith Lesser) needs more blood on her shirt like she needs another hole in the head ... oops.

The DVD will be available on June 7. Midnight Releasing and Acort International are handling the North American and International DVD distribution. We had 4 offers on the table and two we looked at seriously, ultimately it really just came down to personality.  Dustin Lowry, the VP of acquisitions is such a cool guy and an independent film producer himself (THE FRANKENSTEIN SYNDROME [see my review coming soon] and DEATH FACTORY BLOODLETTING); so he really understands the indie filmmaker and has kept us involved in the process every step of the way-  it has been awesome.  I couldn’t have dreamed of a better fit for our first feature. Check out all there great product here: http://www.midnightreleasing.com/slicesoflife.php

Indie horror films are my crack Anthony.  I love to watch and support them.  How would you describe the indie horror scene today?  Is it thriving?  Are the pressures greater than bigger budget movies?  

I think Indie horror is absolutely thriving and better than ever– technology has opened up the process to so many talented people.  You need look no further than Alan Rowe Kelly, Bart Mastronardi, Greg Lamberson, Sean Tretta, Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska, Brandon Slagle, Andrew van den Houten, Eric Stanze, Paul Solet, Ti West and so many others. All of whom who are just making it happen on their own terms, at different budget levels and through vastly different channels- but they have all started with work in low budget independent horror.

From the looks of it she's gonna be in that shower for a very long time!!

I think the pressure for Low Budget films is different than the pressures of Big Budget films,  a big budget film is a corporate enterprise whose sole purpose is to appeal to the broadest audience and make money back for the shareholders.  That is a pretty big pressure that leads to some pretty awesome theatrical releases, full of spectacle!

With Low /micro budget filmmaking the pressure is always time and resources, but past that you have more creative control from beginning to end. The limitations often bring happy accidents that turn the project into its own living breathing entity.  I really love the controlled chaos of an independent production set.  Split moment decisions are always being made and each one has a real impact on the final product. You want to have as many resources as possible, but you have to keep the budget at a level where there’s not so much pressure to appeal to every demographic. I really want to make films that I love to sit and watch. Then you just cross your fingers and hope that people are a bit like you and will like it also.

Sumner's new project, BY HER HAND, in the anthology film GALLERY OF FEAR.

Tell us what’s next for Anthony G. Sumner.  What new projects are you working on?

As I mentioned before I co-produced with Alan Rowe Kelly and directed the short BY HER HAND, SHE DRAWS YOU DOWN (By Her Hand Movie website) which is based on the short story of the same title by award winning genre author Douglas Smith.  I am so proud of this project and it has done incredibly well at the festivals this season, bringing home Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Cinematography and best original score awards. If you would like to get the Official Movie Companion eBook which contains the story, storyboards, interviews with the producer, director, lead actor & actress, photos from the shoot, and more. It can be ordered at Amazon for only $2.99 (click here).

BY HER HAND is a part of Alan Rowe Kelly’s awesome anthology GALLERY OF FEAR, which will be coming out this summer and features an all-star cast of indie horror favorites: Jerry Murdock, Zoë Daelman Chlanda, Debbie Rochon, Raine Brown, Terry West, Susan Williams-Adriensen, Terry Shane, Joshua Nelson, and many more.  Be sure to follow the progress of film on its Facebook page (click here).  So that will be the second film we’ve been with coming out in 2011 and we just started shooting another feature which we are keeping on the down low until we are headed into post production.

Once again, thanks so much for inviting me to this interview and for supporting independent horror,  your site is awesome!!

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Thanks so much to Anthony G. Sumner for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer these questions for me at http://www.anythinghorror.com!!  Anthony also included a few video links for us all to enjoy.  The first one is the official III SLICES OF LIFE Redband Trailer:

And as a bonus, Anthony included a 45 second “gore teaser” trailer:

Oh yeah … that’s the stuff!!  So get out there everyonbe and support III SLICES OF LIFE and all the indie horror films Anthony talked about in the interview!!

Thanks again Anthony and …

Stay Bloody!!!

Texas Frightmare Weekend 2011: Interview with Lucky McKee, "Cinematic Transvestite"

Lucky McKee in the press room at the 2011 Texas Frightmare Weekend.

By now you might be sick of me talking about writer-director Lucky McKee.  If you are, tough shit!!  I feel like I discovered this huge talent and he’s been right under my nose the entire time.  I was lucky enough (seriously, no pun intended) to catch the screening of McKee’s THE WOMAN (see my review here).  I think I’ve already raved about that film enough.  So imagine how happy I was to learn that on the Saturday of the Texas Frightmare Weekend Lucky McKee was going to be in the press room doing some interviews.  Please note that I unfortunately wasn’t lucky enough to be one of the interviewers.  All the interviews were set up the week before and I wasn’t aware that McKee was going to be available.  So the clips below with McKee’s answers are shot by me, but I was not the one asking the questions.  Just wanted to be clear on that.

For those of you that might need a refresher, Lucky McKee came a horror household name in 2002 with his debut feature film, MAY.  MAY starred Angela Bettis who would become a staple in McKee’s films.  Then in 2006 McKee did one of the better installments for the Showtime MASTER’S OF HORROR series titled SICK GIRL, which starred Angela Bettis.  He also then did another feature film in 2006, THE WOODS, starring Bruce Campbell and Patricia Clarkson.  I honestly didn’t care for this one and felt it was very slow and didn’t really offer anything new or interesting.  Then in 2008 I was really stoked to see Mckee tackle a Jack Ketchum novel.  He was slated to direct RED, starring Brian Cox.  We all know how dark Ketchum’s novels get even when they don’t seem like they’re going in that direction.  But McKee, who was shooting the film for a few weeks, was mysteriously fired from RED and replaced by director Trygve Allister Diesen.  To even add to the mystery, Angela Bettis was also in the film and was just as mysteriously fired and replaced by another actress.  If I had to guess as to the reason why, I would say that it had something to do with the production having eight producers!!  These producers were probably bombarding McKee with “notes” on the filming and he either told them all to go fuck themselves, or he ignored the notes and just went along and made the film he wanted to make.  This is one thing I admire about McKee; he has a laser-like focus on every film he makes, and come hell or high water he’s gonna make the film he wants to make.  That’s my guess as to what happened!!

Anyway … McKee sat in the press room for quite a while and did three different interviews.  I taped all three interviews and then went through and edited them to give us the really interesting answers that expose a little bit about McKee’s style of filmmaking and his approach and philosophy of filmmaking.  Enjoy the interview and I’d love to hear what you think about both the interview and Lucky McKee!!

Question 1:  Interviewer asks him to discuss why it seems that in most of his films the protagonist is female.  Is this something planned or does it just happen through the writing process?

Question 2:  McKee is asked if he ever gets frustrated that he’s considered an “indie” director that hasn’t really had a breakout, mainstream hit.  He’s asked if he’s happy with his success.

Question 3:  McKee’s asked if he ever gets annoyed that his films, especially THE WOMAN, is labeled an “offensive film” while movies like SAW and HOSTEL get huge releases.

Question 4:  McKee is known for not being interested in making films that are sequels and for directing films that he wrote.  THE WOMAN is both a sequel and he wrote it with someone else (Jack Ketchum).  How, he’s asked, did he end up doing a film that’s a sequel and written in conjunction with someone else?  Why did he decide to do it?  “It seems kind of outta left field”

Question 5:  McKee is asked about his motivation for writing the Cleek family the way he did.

Question 6:  McKee is asked about the soundtrack on THE WOMAN and how the music is reserved for special parts of the film.

Yeah; Lucky McKee is a pretty damn intelligent man marked by incredible focus and sticking to his guns and making the film he really wants to make.  I really admire the fact he won’t compromise, especially in the face of a bunch of asshole producers who generously provide him with “notes” about how to make a “great” film.  THE WOMAN is not a film you want to miss people.  I’ll keep you all updated on it’s distribution as it becomes available!!

Stay Bloody!!!

Texas Frightmare Weekend 2011: Day 2 — Press Conference with Sid Haig

Actor Sid Haig

Day 2 (Friday) proved to be a pretty hectic day!!  In all there were press conferences with many of the celebrities, it was the first day the convention floor was open, and there were a few screeners going on.  But the coolest thing that occurred on Day Two was the Red Carpet Affair where all the celebrities walked down the red carpet and the press, including yours truly, got to take close-up photos and ask them some questions.  I’ll be posting all the pics I took and talking about some of the questions and answers with the celebrities in another post coming soon.  But earlier on Friday I was told Malcolm McDowell was in the press room answering questions so I rushed over.  Somehow there was a miscommunication.  No McDowell, but in his place was genre favorite SID HAIG.

You all know who this man is; you’ve seen him in a ton of both genre and non-genre films.  Haig’s been in 120 films spanning 6 decades … SIX DECADES!!  Recently he’s best known for and most recognized from Rob Zombie’s HOUSE OF A 1,000 CORPSES (2003) and THE DEVIL’S REJECTS (2005) but also had roles in Quentin Tarantino’s 1997 JACKIE BROWN and 2004’s KILL BILL, VOL. 2., and Rob Zombies HALLOWEEN (2007).  If you’re not as familiar with Haig’s career and only know him as “Captain Spaulding” from HOUSE OF A 1,000 CORPSES & THE DEVIL’S REJECTS than you may not realize what an intelligent, very well-spoken, and general nice guy he is.

2011’s TEXAS FRIGHTMARE WEEKEND was the first time the organizers set up a press room and Sid Haig was the first press round table I sat in on.  In addition to the typical questions he was asked, Haig also went on an over 12 minute long political discussion.  Haig has some really intelligent and thought out ideas!!  I’m not really going to get into his politics (this is anything HORROR, not “political”), but I will say that like most genre actors, he is much more brilliant than the characters he portrays.  In the first clip I have, Haig was asked what he enjoys playing more:  “good guy” roles or “bad guy” roles:

Haig then went on to relate a really fun incident that occurred during the filming of HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES.  The film was made by Universal studios and after every day of filming the dailies would be sent to the producers and the studio head.  Well after the film was completed and they were ready to screen the finished product to Universal’s head honchos, the head of the studio told them she was excited to finally see the completed film.  The night of the screening the head of the studio who, keep in mind was supposedly watching the dailies, completely broke down during the screening and was so upset by the content of the film that she had to be driven home.  The next day the film was shelved (put on hold, possibly forever).  Then when asked later why the film HANNIBAL was given the green light and HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES was shelved, the Universal Studio head replied:  “Because I know Anthony Hopkins isn’t like that in real life.”  And yes; she was referring to Sid Haig!!  Ultimately Lion’s Gate picked it up and when it was released it made back it’s budget in 1 day (ONE DAY).  Good decision Universal!!

In another really interesting clip, Sid Haig talks about his brush with Quentin Tarantino and the fact that he was up for a major role in PULP FICTION.  The original question was, “Has a big director like a Quentin Tarantino ever approached you?”  The reply is gonna shock you!!

Finally, in the last clip I taped of Sid Haig at the 2011 TEXAS FRIGHTMARE WEEKEND, he’s asked what are the kinds of films he’d like to be making.  But brace yourself people; the answer is gonna shock the shit outta ya!!  It seems that good old Captain Spaulding loves … aahhh just watch the clip!!

If ya couldn’t tell by now, Sid Haig is a great interview!!  He’s extremely honest (like in telling how he blew the role in PULP FICTION), and he’s a genuinely nice guy.  Something you’re gonna read over and over again on my coverage of the 2011 TEXAS FRIGHTMARE WEEKEND is that all the genre celebrities that come out are extremely down to earth, they all love their horror fans, and they go out of their way to make their fans feel special.  I woke up early on Saturday morning and went down to the hotel lobby to get some coffee.  There I saw Angus Scrimm sitting in the coffee shop.  I normally never bother a celebrity when they are eating or relaxing like that, but I just couldn’t resist; I had to go over and tell Scrimm what a huge fan I am and that his Tall Man was the first iconic horror character to truly scare the shit out of me!!  Well of course I cleaned up my language (I really need to start doing that more often).  I said my thing to Angus Scrimm, and as I turned to walk away he graciously invited me to have a seat and have some coffee with him!!  I was blown the f*&k away.  This is how genre stars are (I’ll cover Angus Scrimm’s Q & A session in another posting).

Sid Haig as Captain Spaulding

But what made everything so great (besides the stars and all) was that everything was so organized!!  Remember, this was the first year the TEXAS FRIGHTMARE WEEKEND had a press room, but you’d never know it.  The girls running the press room had it running like they’ve been doing this for the last 20 years.  Everything was smooth and well planned out.

This is just the tip of the iceberg!!  In my upcoming postings I’ll show you my pictures from the Red Carpet, the press conference with Lucky McKee, and various Q & A sessions with Roger Corman, Angus Scrimm, Jason Eisener (director of HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN), and the cast of crew of CHROMESKULL: LAID TO REST 2 (complete with the premier of LAID TO REST 2 clips).  Plus my reviews of the premier of McKee’s THE WOMAN and MUTANT GIRL’S SQUAD.  Lots to cover so stayed tuned and …

Stay Bloody!!!

Horror Interview: Indie Actor Dan Ellis

Actor & all around great guy Dan Ellis.

Been a while since I posted an interview, but after you read this one you’ll realize it was worth the wait!!  DAN ELLIS should be no stranger to horror fans and fans of anythinghorror.com.  Dan Ellis is a staple in the over-the-top horror films of indie filmmaker Ryan Nicholson.  Dan’s starred in Nicholson’s GUTTERBALLS (2008), HANGER (2009), & BLEADING LADY (2010) and has starred in horror cult films MONSTURD (2006) & RETARDEAD (2008).  If you haven’t seen any of the above films then what the fuck are you waiting for???  Go get them all, lock yourselves in you house or apartment and have a weekend movie marathon!!

Dan Ellis and I have been corresponding through twitter and facebook for a while and had such great stories that I wanted to share them with you all.  I asked Dan if he’d be interested in doing an interview and he agreed.  So let me “shut up” and hand this over to Dan Ellis.  Enjoy!!

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Anything Horror:  Tell us a about yourself Dan Ellis.  How long have you been acting professionally?  In one of our email correspondences you mentioned you worked in kitchens for many years (I’ve been an executive chef for the last decade).  Tell us about that experience.

Dan Ellis:  I started acting professionally at about 11yrs old. I went to a performing arts school and if there was a commercial, theatrical or film production taking place locally they would come to the school if they needed kids for anything. There was a “young peoples special” that was being filmed and they needed a kid, about my age, to play the lead so I auditioned. A couple days later they called my mom and told her that I got the part, I was so excited I remember having a shit eating grin for days and it was all I could think about until we finally began production. I had so much fun and it was that experience that convinced me that acting was the most funnerest thing EVER! Hahaha…. I did a couple commercials and a theater production that following year but then I got all pissed off and said fuck it, left the school and decided that I just wanted to check out what was out there and just live for a while. So at the tender young age of 19 I joined the Navy…

When I got out of the Navy I was having a hard time finding a job but a friend of mine said he could get me a job washing dishes at an Uno’s [pizzeria] down the street if I wanted and if I busted my ass they’d let me do prep or the line. I need a job so I took him up on it in the hopes to be moved to the line, my mother loved food and cooking so some of that rubbed off on me I suppose and after a few months in “the tank” [also called “the dish pit” – AH] I was promoted to line cook. I left Uno’s and went to work at a real restaurant where there was a lot for me to learn but the Chef and I became good friends so when the Sous Chef position became available I jumped at it but they forget to tell me Sous is French for bitch! Hahaha  So after years of stress beyond belief and working for any number of psychos, tyrants and dictators I decided to hang up my apron till I can get my own spot. That has always been the second dream, owning my own pub/restaurant….

Dan Ellis as "The John" in HANGER. Think he's having fun??

What brought you to the horror genre?  Have you always been a fan of horror films?  What are some of your favorites?  What figures in horror (directors, actors, f/x gurus, etc …) have had the most influence on both your overall career and your acting style?

It’s all my mom’s fault! My mother took me to see THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA when I was about 6 and it really made an impression on me, scared the shit outta me but made an impression none the less. I became obsessed with horror make-up and Lon Chaney and I would spend hours at the library reading about him and how he would get those looks. I started buying thearical kits and doing  some effects on myself and friends (gunshots and such) then we would run around acting like fools. After a summer of this it became clear that I enjoyed wearing the stuff and acting crazy more than applying it, so that’s when I decided I wanted to be in horror films. Luckily I had the best mom in the world, she was so supportive and to this day loves horror movies so we talk about what she’s seen, it’s cool. I love you mom and thank you!

It was mostly mom and I growing up so I didn’t really have a father figure around growing up so those guys on the screen (Horror, Action and the old Spaghetti Westerns being the top 3) became the “dad” or “big brother” I wanted.  So here’s a couple: Lon Chaney and Lon Chaney Jr., Alfred Hitchcock, Boris Karloff, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Vincent Price and I know there are a lot I’ve missed but this list could go on for pages and pages literally and I don’t know if “Popeye” counts…. He should.

Ellis as Donald Q. Cardini in BLEADING LADY.

How did you originally hook up with indie horror filmmaker Ryan Nicholson?  Tell us how it is working with him.  Which has been your favorite role in a Nicholson film?

I just moved to Vancouver and was doing some specialty background work, firearms and military stuff mostly, but I was also trying to get some real gigs. I was still new to the area, didn’t have an agent and my resume was very light. I was mainly looking on Craig’s List for gigs and there was a casting call for “Horror Feature” so I jumped on it. It was an audition for GUTTERBALLS and that’s where I met Ryan, to be honest, I had no idea who he was until after the audition when I got home and looked him up on IMDB. I was pleasantly surprised to see all his FX credits because I knew I was going to see some cool stuff…. And I did!

Ryan is awesome to work with when you can get him to sit for a minute hahaha! But really he’s a fun guy to work with, he listens and as an actor that’s a very important quality for a director to have. He has always been very honest with me as far as my performance goes and no matter how busy he is he still manages to give you some time if you really need it.

And speaking of GUTTERBALLS, I think THE JANITOR is and always will be my favorite. The whole cast and crew were awesome, I got to see some cool FX and the part was just so much fun. I don’t mean to take anything away from the other roles I’ve had, they’ve all been fun, but that will always have a special place with me.

Ellis as "The John" in HANGER. That's actually his real nose!! (I'm KIDDING).

I loved you in HANGER and thought that was one crazy ride of a film (and a crazy performance by yourself).  Tell us your thoughts on the film and what went through your head the first time you read the script.  Nicholson is known for pushing the envelope in the genre; do you think Nicholson ever goes too far?  Are there any future plans on working on another Nicholson film?

I remember when Ryan first sent me some slides to look at to see if I was interested, it was the scene in the truck with Debbie and it was all sensitive and he seemed like a real softy kinda guy so I asked Ryan why he sent this to me? Hahahaha, he said “No man, ‘The John’ is kick ass! It gets better” and he wasn’t joking. One thing to remember is the script that I first read was different from what we did because some things changed. I remember being excited to do it, I like fucked up stuff, and yes, there were some things I didn’t agree with but not because of content after talking to Ryan and getting his point of view, it was what it was. I still think people take that film too seriously and doing that really is the wrong approach, we had fun making it and honestly even the grossest scenes had us laughing our asses off. It wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea (no pun intended), that’s for sure, but I wonder sometimes what people think when (or if) they read a synopsis of films like ours and act like they didn’t see the content coming.

Ryan and I have a few things cooking and there might be a “creature” film but it’s too early to talk about right now so you’ll just have to keep your ear to the ground. I can say we do plan to shoot THE MURDER MACK at some point this year but there might be a project or 2 between now and then..

How did you hook up with Rick Popkop & Dan West?  MONSTURD and RETARDEAD are 2 of my favorite over-the-top indie films (Dan West did a interview with anythinghorror.com last year.  Check it out here & here).  Tells us what part(s) you played in those films.  How was that experience?

Ellis is NOT afraid to get dirty (from HANGER).

Those guys kick ass! I was working at a sign shop in San Francisco and that’s where I met Dan Burr (the Evil Dr. Stern). Dan introduced me to Dan West and Rick Popko and we used to go over to Dan West’s house every Friday to hang, talk and have some drinks. I had been going over there for a couple weeks and was becoming good friends with all of them and one day Rick and Dan approached me with a part. Rick told me they heard I was an actor and that they needed someone to play a doctor in the movie and that’s when Rick told me the name…. MONSTURD! I remember looking at Rick and asking “Really?” and once he told me “No shit” we had a laugh and I told them I’d love to! So that’s how I got the part of “Dr. Johnny Waters”…. I had a blast man, those guys are so damn funny and really talented. They are also some of my best friends and I miss them an awful lot.

What’s coming up next on the chopping block for Dan Ellis?  Any interest in taking the director’s seat in the future?

This is the second time I’ve been asked that so maybe someone is trying to tell me something? I’m in the middle of writing two scripts now.  That and I’d really like to direct as well. It’s something that really interests me so if the opportunity presents itself then I’ll jump all over it!

Ellis' Donald Q. Cardini kinda looses his cool in BLEADING LADY.

Here’s a question I ask all the people I interview:  Money and time are no issue and a big studio comes to you and says they want you to star in and/or direct a remake of any horror movie of your choosing.  What would it be?  Why?

DR. JEKYLL & MR. HYDE without a doubt! I have seen a few, except for the one that was just done in 2008 and they all seem to fall short. I would have to do is as an independent because I would make it a very dark and brutal film, there is so much to explore there why pussy-foot around and try to make a pig be a swan? It’s a brutal story so it should be portrayed as such and it would be fun to do a period piece but setting it in the present would work just fine. I’m really excited to see that someone finally got around to making a proper H.H. HOLMES film…. That only took forever! Hahaha!

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer these questions for anythinghorror.com Dan!!  Are there any final words of wisdom or bits of info you’d like to leave us?

I just want to say a big “thank you” to anythinghorror.com and to all the people that continue to support underground cinema no matter what genre. It is the last great frontier and there is so much to explore still so wether you make or watch them thank you…

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You do NOT wanna know what else this skank does to Ellis in HANGER!!

Another huge thank you to Dan Ellis!!  You can see Dan in his most recent role, BLEADING LADY (a.k.a. STAR VEHICLE; see my review here).  I’ll keep an eye on Dan and his career and will keep you all updated.  Thanks again Dan!!

Stay Bloody!!!

Indie Horror Interview: The Passion Project: Hardcore Indie

Tonight I have yet another special treat for you all.  Sezin Koehler, who you’ll remember wrote that kick ass article on Jason Voorhees (here), scored a great interview with some huge talent on the indie scene.  She interviewed Oklahoma Ward, Nicole Alonso, and David Baker who together are undertaking an independent film venture first.  I read the interview on Sezin’s website (http://www.sezin.org) and immediately contacted her to let her know how great it was.  She then had the idea of me posting the interview in order to get these three indie filmmakers more exposure for their projects.  I thought about it for like 2 seconds and agreed and here we are.  Enjoy the interview and if there’s anything you can donate to these talented filmmakers remember that every little thing counts!!  Enjoy.

THE PASSION PROJECT: HARDCORE INDIE
interview by Sezin Koehler

Oklahoma Ward, David P. Baker, & Nicole Alonso (l-r)

One year ago two directors and an actor connected via Twitter and came up with the idea to pool their resources to make three films they’ve always wanted to make. Oklahoma Ward and Nicole Alonso packed up their lives and moved from L.A. to Tulsa where they had an offer of land to build their warehouse to finally make the horror/thriller CRAWL that had been on their minds for years. For Oklahoma, CRAWL represents a passion project that has now turned into a redefinition of what independent filmmaking means, the idea of extreme independent films, i.e. a film with a budget of less than $5,000. For Nicole, the film represents a chance to have a lead role as well as creative involvement in other aspects of the process, such as contributing music, that she wouldn’t have in a more traditional Hollywood setting. David Baker’s plan is to take his drive-in horror movie SCREEN off the back burner and finally put it on film.

When I first met them via Twitter last year, Oklahoma and Nicole were already on Day 126 filming behind the scenes videos of the making an extreme indie film. Little did I know that behind the behind-the-scenes-videos Oklahoma and Nicole had joined forces with Scottish filmmaker David Baker, who they also met via Twitter, and their plan is embodied in their current Kickstarter campaign: The HARDCORE INDIE Documentary.

The goal: To bring David Baker to Tulsa in order to film his horror movie SCREEN at the same time as Oklahoma’s horror/thriller CRAWL, pooling sets and resources as well as actors. Simultaneously, they’ll be shooting footage for the “HARDCORE INDIE Documentary” with the ultimate goal of setting up a studio in Tulsa that will make and bring into the world more true low-budget great-quality independent films of all stripes. In short, the HARDCORE INDIE campaign aims to make three films for the price of one. In these ridiculous economic times, what could be better?

I’ll tell you what! CRAWL and SCREEN won’t be released in just any old movie theatre, no siree. Should Oklahoma, David and Nicole’s Kickstarter campaign be successful both films will premier at aHallowe’en night double feature drive-in movie event extravaganza, October 31, 2011. Yes, you read that right. The films will be made and released within a matter of months and will launch this year. Boom!

I had a chance to chat with these three amazing people and aside from debating the value of Rob Zombie films and the role of horror in society, the overwhelming sense I got from these three artists is their plan to take horror back to its roots of great storytelling that touches upon the modern fears and preoccupations. They also have the easy familiarity of long-time friends and as I watched and listened to them chatting, I could see what a kickass team they make.

Let’s hear from them directly, shall we?

Can you each define how you approach the concept of “hardcore indie”?

David: Hard core indie to me is simple. The term “indie” used to mean something. If you spoke about an “indie” film twenty or more years ago. Now it means “everybody” I personally want to get back to the spirit of making films that really do stand out from the mass of crap out there. I want to do what Hollywood is not doing, and I also dislike what most indies are doing, which is trying to win awards at Sundance and various festivals. That kind of indie film bores the arse off me. I want to see “cinema”. New ways to tell stories, and reach your audience too. Use all the tools we have.

I was excited when I first saw films like “Reservoir Dogs”. There was a real spirit of indie filmmaking. But today, A lot of filmmakers get seduced by Hollywood and they lose that edge. I don’t hate Hollywood but I just can’t see why they can’t balance the two. I don’t want to be held by any rules. I don’t want to be told what I can and can’t show, and I don’t want to write my work so that I can capture the 15 year old market. I want to do what I want, my way. NO RULES! NO COMPROMISES.

Nicole: To me HARDCORE INDIE means getting your project done no matter what! Not complaining about what you don’t have or what you wish you had, just putting your nose down and pushing through it to get it done!

Oklahoma: HARDCORE INDIE is very simply an attitude. The term ‘Independent Film’ has lost it’s definition. A 16 million dollar movie can be termed ‘Independent’. My $5,000 dollar independent film The Isolation of Subject #136 would have been in the same submission category in consideration at Sundance with Moon. Now, to me, that’s ridiculous. My Big Fat Greek Wedding is termed an ‘Independent Film’ – Tom Hanks’s wife backed that movie financially. Now maybe that’s what Hollywood considers ‘Independent’, fine, I’m not gonna be able to change Hollywood’s definition of independent. So, for me, HARDCORE INDIE are those films made by filmmakers that don’t have Tom Hanks’s wife’s money. They have the drive, some gum, some duct tape, and a camera or a phone, or a whatever. BUT they have the drive and passion to visually tell a story. That’s HARDCORE INDIE. Getting it done and putting it out there.

What’s your background in the arts? What inspired you to get involved in filmmaking? How long have you been in working in the film industry?

Oklahoma: The arts have been in my life from the minute I was born. My mother is an artist, and most of my earliest memories are of her painting. My father is also an artist as he has always customized muscle cars. I followed step with the artistic gene and that path took me to the College of Santa Fe, which took me to New York, which took me to Chicago where I made a living painting and creating installations. Those three cities and their art scene validated my love for the arts. I’ve been working on/with film for 15 years now.

David: I spent several years in London pursuing an acting career. I went to the Lee Strasberg school they had in London, but left after a few weeks. I hated people trying to teach me how to act. I decided I just wanted to do it, so I acted in a lot of student films, shorts, features. I was one of those pains in the backside actors who gives suggestions to directors, until a director told me to “Go and make your own bloody film”. So that’s what I went and did.

Nicole: I’ve been into performing since I was very young. I started dance classes at the age of six and have loved being on stage ever since. I did plays all through middle school and high school, and as soon as I graduated I started to pursue my acting career. Oddly enough, my first step was to work at one of the top talent agencies in Los Angeles. I knew I needed to get an agent at some point, and I wanted an inside view of how that works. I worked there for a year before leaving to begin auditioning for roles. The first film I auditioned for was Oklahoma’s film The Isolation of Subject #136 and needless to say I got the part! :)

There is something about being on set, or on a stage, or in a recording studio that drives me more than anything I’ve ever done. I love it to the core, and I’m willing to give everything to be able to pursue this dream.

Oklahoma and David: Can you tell me about previous films you’ve directed and what those processes entailed? Were those also extreme indie films or did you have studio backing?

From CRAWL.

David: I went all over the world to try and get the money for “Pasty Faces“, a silly caper comedy about a gang of out of work Scots actors who go to the USA to try and get work. The film was made by the producer of “Hellraiser”, and financed by the executive producer of Guy Ritchie’s “Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barells” and “Snatch”. A top international sales agent was also on board, and a UK distributor pre-financed half of the movies budget. I then shot the film in Scotland, LA, and Las Vegas. It was a bad experience. Too many voices. But it was my film school!

I’ve also made a film called “Mission X” about a documentary filmmaker making a film about war who ends up going out on a mission with a gang of mercenaries ,which is currently in the remaking process and I hope to have that one finished by the end of 2011.

Oklahoma: The Isolation of Subject of Subject #136 has not been seen by anyone yet, and thus will be brand spanking new for viewers when it is released after the horror film CRAWL is released. (Small secret here – five minutes of Isolation will be exclusively seen by all backers of the Kickstarter campaign for HARDCORE INDIE.)

Oklahoma and Nicole: what was it that prompted you to drop everything in California and move to Oklahoma for CRAWL? Was it an accumulation of things or was there an event that spearheaded the project?

Nicole: Well – there were a couple reasons. We knew it was going to take us a several months (maybe more) to get CRAWL done, and being independent we couldn’t afford to pay rent for our apartment in California and afford to make CRAWL. Also, we had an offer of a free place to stay with plenty of land and places to film, so that was a big influence.

Oklahoma: Hollywood has a way of beating filmmakers down, especially independent filmmakers, in this way: If you’re not making a multi-million dollar film in Hollywood, you’re not making a movie. And, I was surprised at how easy, after a few years of being around people like that, I started to buy into it. It wasn’t until I saw David Baker’s video, where David was speaking very honestly into a phone camera in the middle of a park, leaned up against a tree, by himself, in the snow, and stating “Screw it – I’m making another movie this year.” And I thought, “Yes! He’s got it! He knows it! The “it” is Nobody can keep me from making a movie.” Yes, it is true that an independent film that is not backed by money, noted talent or a studio stands very little chance in getting noticed by a distribution company that will spend the money to get that movie in front of an audience. But, they still can’t keep you from making a movie. So I wanted to get out of Hollywood and get to a place where people were excited to get something done, to film something, to make a movie, whether or not Viggo Mortensen was starring in it.

Nicole: I’ve seen your scenes from “CRAWL” and I’m wondering if you are claustrophobic, or becoming so while filming? I am terrified of small spaces (I almost had several panic attacks the first time I watched “The Descent”) and I must admit I get really stressed watching you crawl through that pipe. How do you cope?

I’ve actually gotten this question a couple times after people watched the Teaser. I’m not claustrophobic. Since I was a kid  I’ve always loved hiding in small spaces, making tents, hiding under the bed. I was a master at hide and seek. However, there is something about getting in that small tunnel and looking forward, and seeing how far you have to go that is creepy. Filming that first teaser I got a little panicked towards the middle of the tunnel, but I had to remind myself that I wasn’t trapped, there was an end to the tunnel, and there was plenty of air to breathe. But I do think this movie will make a lot of people uncomfortable in the good, horror movie type of way.

David: Your proposed film SCREEN (which sounds fantastic, by the way!) is about a group of kids going to a drive-in movie. I’ve always thought this was a very American thing. Are there drive-ins in Scotland? Or did the idea for this film spring from the plan to make a movie in Tulsa with Oak and Nikki?

We have no drive-in’s in the UK. The idea came to me in a pub in Scotland. I had just watched a ton of horror movies for about six months, and thought I could come up with a better one. The concept pitch came into my head within a few minutes, then the story developed over six months. The idea behind this film is to tap into the psyche of current fears. SCREEN is about a group of kids found dead in a drive-in and going backwards to try figure out what they saw on the screen that killed them. These days everything is about screens, computers, TVs, and I want to tap into what is scary about this.

Oklahoma and Nicole, what inspired you both to start documenting the process of making an indie film right from the beginning?

Nicole: Well, we noticed through social media that there were a lot of people out there talking about the how to’s of filmmaking, but very few actually doing it. So we decided the best way to show people was to just get on with it and they could watch videos of filmmakers actually making a film instead of just talking about it online.

Oklahoma: I think social media is the absolute savior for independent filmmakers. What I don’t like about social media is you can’t go on social media and say “The sky is blue” without 100 people wanting to argue what shade of blue the sky is. So I noticed tons of people screaming “You have to do this,  you have to do that, it has to be done this way” when talking about making a movie. When I did some research on these people I noticed the vast majority of them didn’t have a movie to their credit. I decided to hell with all these people screaming ‘It has to be done this way, it has to be done that way’. I’ll just show them one way. What worked, what doesn’t work, on the making of this movie.

from CRAWL.

Plus, it was very creatively satisfying to be able to create and put something out every week. I find that if artists are not creating something at least once a week they tend to get depressed and down on themselves. Creating something and putting it out always validates an artist within him or herself. It’s grand self medication/therapy.

Nicole: I loved the video of you going through your character notebook for how you prepare for a role. What film and which actress are your biggest inspirations for CRAWL?

Yes! This has got to be my favorite question I’ve gotten to date. I am HUGELY inspired by other actors. I am absolutely obsessed with movies. One of the first things Oklahoma did when he told me I was going to play this role was give me a list of film/actors in those films that he wanted me to watch. So far my favorites/biggest influences off that list are as follow:

1. Sigourney Weaver/Ripley in Alien
2. Noomi Rapace/Lisbeth in The Dragon tattoo series
3. Keira Knightly/Domino Harvey in Domino

There were other films on the list like G.I. Jane and High Tension,  which also helped, but those three really shook me to the core. I could literally get into this conversation for an hour, so I’ll just say that I will definitely be pulling from all of them when it comes to my role in CRAWL. :)

David: Why is the HARDCORE INDIE documentary a cornerstone of this Kickstarter project?

The reason I want to make “HARDCORE INDIE” [the documentary] is because I think it will be a great universal story of these two filmmakers meeting via social media from opposites sides of the world, then coming together to kickstart a company. If we pull off these two movies (Which we will if I can get there), and we do our distribution tour, then “HARDCORE INDIE” will be a movie on its own. I also want it to appeal to a universal audience, in the way that “Anvil” didn’t just appeal to heavy metal fans.

Oklahoma: Where will the Hardcore Indie Studio be located? Will you be able to set one up in the UK as well?

That depends on if this campaign is successful or not. If this campaign is successful that gets us to the next step, which is building this studio here in the state of Oklahoma. The next step would be Santa Fe, New Mexico. From there, it’s open, but it all comes down to this campaign.

It’s totally cheesy but I have to ask, what’s your favourite scary movie?

Nicole: As I mentioned before the ones I’m drawing from the most at the moment are Alien, High Tension andThe Girl WIth The Dragon Tattoo. [After a bit of cajoling in which I rephrased the question as “What’s your go-to scary movie?”] Silence of the Lambs and Zombieland. I’m also a big fan of Rob Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects and his Halloween remakes. I also love this show called I Survived, which is basically about real people who survive the most horrible things you can imagine. This one episode was about a man who dressed in a ninja outfit and hid in a woman’s attic for a month. One day she was in the shower and the dude attacked her with an axe and put it through her head. He even stomped on it to make sure it really got in there. AND SHE SURVIVED! She’s sitting there talking about it! You couldn’t even put that in a movie because everyone would be like, “Pffft. That could never happen.” But it did!

Oklahoma: If I were on a desert island the one scary movie I’d take is Alien. No contest. The film is subtle, strong, it has beautiful acting and the best part is how grounded in reality the film is. The characters don’t have superpowers or superstrength, they have to use their brains to figure it all out. I also love classic horror like Hitchcock and anything Kubrick. I recently watched The Serbian Film and while it is not a movie I will ever watch again, it is a great horror movie in that there were no holds barred. The acting was excellent and they absolutely broke every taboo possible.

David: I like the horror genre but I’m not a HUGE fan of most horror movies.  [FOR SHAME ;-)] I’ve always loved genre films like sci-fi and westerns more than horror. But I would have to say my favourite horror movie is the British film “Peeping Tom”. Last year I spent about 6 months watching horror movie after horror movie and I found there to be a real lack in variation. Plus I just don’t scare that easily. Like that Paranormal Activity.I’m not scared of a bunch of chairs moving around. [To which I asked, “So, David, what does scare you?”] The world terrifies me. Every day what’s on the news. Governments scare me. These people who could control the web.  The horror movies I always appreciated the most are the ones where it’s people who are the monsters.

I must admit, I was very sad to say goodbye to these three creative forces. Their rapport is the easy friendship of people who have known each other for a long time, even though technically they’ve only been friends for a year and not even met physically in person yet. I was also energized by the feeling that these filmmakers are interested in going back to the roots of great storytelling rather than relying on cheap tricks and new ways to torture the characters. I kept thinking to myself that their goal is to make exactly the kinds of films I and so many others want to watch. The fact that the movies in the pipeline are horror films is icing on the cake.

Let’s hear your thoughts on indie film and horror in the comments below! And please donate to their campaign if you can. No contribution is too small. 😉

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Thanks for the awesome interview Sezin!!  I  love their vision and can’t wait to see their films.  I’ll be following the progress of these and all their projects very closely and let you all know when they’re available.  If you’re interested in following their progress yourselves you can check them out on Twitter at the following addresses:

Oklahoma Ward:  @oklahomaward

Nicole Alonso:  @bellanikki85

David Baker:  @davidpbaker

Stay Bloody!!!