Your film Burlesque
Massacre - in a few words, what is it about?
is just a classic 70s drive-in exploitation/slasher film, with a
backdrop we haven't seen before (at least I don't think) in a horror movie.
Why choose the Burlesque scene as a backdrop for your story? And
do you have any personal connections to the Burlesque?
kinda happened in a weird way. I had an itch to do a old school horror.
like a Slumber Party Massacre-type thing. Today's horror to me seemed to
be trying too hard, trying to top themselves. Be darker, bigger etc. But it
was failing on one major level: It wasn't fun. I wanted to do something
old fashioned, blood, boobs, a house, a few young pretty actresses etc.
I asked Crystal if she wanted to do something like that. She had jsut been
our fan film Friday the 13th - The Storm and we got along
well. As it turns out she was also a Burlesque dancer and it was she who
suggested that. I have to be honest I didn't know much if anything about
as it turned out it was a great idea because while the film still had the
old school style, it still had something a bit new to offer.
Massacre shows more than a few influences from grindhouse movies
from the 1970's and slasher flicks from the 1980's - what do you find so
appealing about those, and some of your genre favourites?
LOVE Friday The 13th and
Jason. I grew up on him actually. Other horror
came to me as I needed more fixes faster than they could produce Friday The 13th-films, but Jason was really my god. Well, Jason and Darth Vader, which I
think was probably scary to my parents looking back. It wasn't really the
kills and stuff like most fans either. I was fascinated with the levels to
Jason, and how, almost by accident over the years developed much more
depth and conflicts than the creators I think were attempting. It just
happened because there were so many films and each writer and director
added to him. When Kane Hodder arrived it added an incredible level that
made Jason himself much more complex than the films ever were.
I got older I took a liking to Elm Street for the complexity of the series
itself, and Freddy was cool as well. But Jason was still my favorite. I
liked how he wasn't a dirty evil guy like Freddy, Jason was something
else. Not a good guy for sure, but not 'evil' either. When they made
Freddy Vs Jason I was glad I saw that I wasn't the only one who thought
that way, because when compared to Freddy, Jason kind of became the
think one of my favorite horror films is Wes Craven's New
a masterpiece. I love that film. I LOVE the complexities and depth of Rob
Zombie's Halloween films. While I'm the first to agree that he has vastly
changes the series, to me it's for the better. While I think Halloween is a
classic, the Halloween sequels have never really impressed me. In fact I
only like Halloween 4 and parts of H20. Rob raised that series to a whole
other level. I saw his Halloween II six times in the theaters.
A few words about your key
main cast were real Burlesque dancers and were a lot of fun. You can
easily look up Crystal and Olivia. They have pages devoted to them. I also
'reuse' actors a lot. Jake, Keith, Marie are all in Photographic as well.
was a crazy over the top shoot, just like the film. The
girls really brought a lot to the film, like I said I knew nothing about
that world of Burlesque, so they had a lot to share.
just have to talk about the bizarre mask of your killer for a bit!
mask was not made for the film. It was actually made by Gene Mazza II
years ago for a short film directed by Joe Patnaud (Snuff, Friday the
13th: The Storm). Gene has made hockey masks for all of our Friday The 13th
fan films, and we just had this old skull mask lieing around that he had
made before he became a pro mask maker. I used it because I felt horror of
today tried to hard too be clever and have a 'great' mask, but the truth
is, if some dude made a mask it would look like that skull mask. Yes it
was amateur looking, but amateur looking looked REAL. It also, by pure
chance had a bit of a Burlesque-ish feel to it anyway, so it really fit
Massacre is a pretty violent film, but time and again, there are
splashes of comedy as well. How would you describe your film's brand of
humour, and would you describe yourself as a humourous person?
have to admit I don't think I'm that funny, and Burlesque
really my usual style. I'm also not a fan of most comedy, especially
today's comedy. I do like Burlesque
Massacre's style of 'straight faced
comedy' though I guess, and that is probably how that came to be. I was
watching the original Last House On The Left, which is a pretty dark
rape and revenge film. But right in the middle of the whole thing are
these two almost slapstick cops. I found that really amusing that Wes
Craven almost didn't know what kind of film he was even making, maybe just
happy to be making his first film at all. I tried to keep that attitude
though I had made many shorts and stuff before. I liked the idea of the
cast and crew of Last House On The Left
just being happy to be making a movie. Not trying to
be famous, not trying to make a blockbuster - just happy to make it at
all. I think my films shows that.
film like Burlesque
Massacre suggests a sequel almost by definition. Is there one
planned by any chance?
we have one planned. We were going to do one this summer, but we decided
to wait one more year for the first one to find its audience... and boy is
it ever now. While the first one was a 70s drive-in type film, the sequel
will be in the style of a 80s DTV sequel. The first one is a splash of
Slumber Party Massacre, the sequel will be a splash of Sleepaway
Other than the darkly humourous Burlesque
is a dead serious film (pun inevitable) - in a few words, what is that one
and twisted, lost souls. Basically how far a person will go. I was kinda angry
and in a dark place when I made it, and it shows. I was not working, I had lost
a girl I thought I loved - all of that usual bullshit. But it helped me make a
great film. I could not make Photographic
today. I don't have it in me to be
that mean and angry.
Parts of Photographic
feel like a Hollywood cautionary tale. Are any parts of the film based on
actual events or Hollywood's own urban legends?
don't think it was 'based' on anything particular, however it was written
to be a precautionary tale to those girls in LA, or anywhere really. You
see I am also a photographer, and there are many actresses and models in
my life, some of them I consider very close to me. In discussions they
have had with me over the years, I have heard some very creepy tales of
'photographers' and indie movie makers and even guy fans that have crossed
the line. Thankfully, as far as my friends are concerned, nothing
'dangerous' - but still downright bizarre and simply wrong. It's amazing
what a man thinks is 'normal' or acceptable behavior when trying to flirt,
or hook up with a woman, especially when the woman isn't there for that at
all. She is there for work. I took that and amped it up to a level of rape
and murder. What COULD happen if you met the wrong people. It was imortant
for me to show that the killers don't think they are doing anything wrong
- just like those stalker-ish people my friends have met.
the flip side, the human mind is fascinating to me, and the idea of
revenge and being pushed too far, especially applied to a woman is a
fascinating subject. I used these two ideas to form the film.
as "an exploration of the addictions to both fame and violence,
and how these meet in snuff movies" - a comment you can at all live
with, and would you like to elaborate?
think that is accurate. In fact I wish I had more 'movies' within the
film. I think it would have been interesting for one of the girls, or even
the villains watching more of what they had recorded in the past to really
show how sick and addicted they are.
But yes, Amanda is clearly blinded by
the need for fame. Yes she is raped, and is a victim, but before that, she
was more than willing to have sex for a role. She was already on a
slippery slope before her attack. Several of the characters have many
levels. I very much like exploring people and behaviors.
features quite a few interviews with aspiring actresses/future victims
about their hopes and motivations. Were these at all genuine, scripted or
a mix. I love actors, and what they can bring to the table. So while it
had lines, and a focus, I did let the actresses explore their characters
in those scenes. So it wasn't 'ad-libbed' so much on the spot, but it was
discussed, and explored over a few takes beyond the written page.
Your personal views on Hollywood?
could write 4 paragraphs. But overall I think they are too much about
money now. I'm not stupid, I know its always been about money. I want to
make money too. But there is a fear to take chances now on films that
leads to very standard, and predictable fare. I think the difference now
is before they would take a chance on stuff that they pretty sure COULD
make some money, now they seem to do stuff designed ONLY to make money
based on the stuff that made money last week and nothing else... Even
lower budget stuff on the whole seems so pre-planned. You don't see as
many chances today. Don't get me wrong, I love many of the superhero
movies and the like. I also love some really stupid teen comedies. I love
all sorts of films. But I see it getting very repetitive lately to a level
it NEVER has before. Sometimes the more people like the same film means
the more watered down and generic it is. The films that are interesting
are the ones people fight about. I know they can't make a 50million art
film - but they can take a chance on something a little different, a
little new. That's how Jaws was made, Star Wars, Godfather etc etc.
still get Black Swan and stuff here and there, but it's few and far
between. I don't think Pulp Fiction could happen today. They would not
can you tell us about Photographic's
cast and crew, and the on-set atmosphere given its rather downbeat topic?
set was a bit more focused on this compared to Burlesque Massacre, which
was a bit more silly and fun. Not that it wasn't fun, but there was much
more time spent preparing and discussing the conflict and the characters.
The cast was very interested in keeping it very real and very dark. We got
along great and it was still relaxed when it needed to be. But I think
everyone knew what we were trying to achieve.
feature quite a bit of violence. How were your special effects achieved,
and is there actually a line you refuse to cross?
effects were mostly traditional fake blood in a bag and stuff like that.
But we did have a couple digital effects as well. I'm very pleased with Photographic
as far as effects, but if I could do it again I would have a
bit more 'over the top' Friday the 13th style kills in
We have a couple but I think we drifted into strangulation one or two
times too many. Which was on purpose at times since strangulation is
slightly 'sexual' in some ways, so the theme of the film allowed it. But,
if we do a sequel, I would like to see a few larger classic 80s style Friday the 13th
Massacre and Photographic
seem to be quite straining on their actresses and require quite a bit of
nudity. So how easy or difficult was it to cast these movies?
doesn't really have as much nudity as it 'feels' like it
does. It's a bit front loaded with the nudity and I think it gives the
impression it's loaded with it. But it really doesn't have 'a ton' overall.
Maybe for the US these days it does, but for the European market or 70/80s
films it's just the same as most other horror. I also write very strong
female roles, so the actresses were up for the challenge anyway. In
addition, if you notice, the rape scenes don't have nudity, but the
voluntary sex scenes do... and that was intentional. I wanted to show rape
as dirty and hidden, and sex and love making as natural and free. Then of
course I intercut the rape scenes with the love scenes to make it awkward
and uncomfortable. I am very European and natural in my views and style. I
don't like how sex and nudity are viewed as dirty and 'wrong' in America
by some, but we can watch Rambo mow down and entire country. Don't get me
wrong.. I LOVE Rambo... lol. But if I had to choose I think I would rather
my kids see some boobs than people getting shot, stabbed and killed.
lead Jill Evyn was very brave and loved the idea of the film from the
get-go. She even helped cast a few other roles All of the actresses were
very talented and professional and we didn't have any real issues with
them. The guys were much harder. It took a long time to cast the two
'rapists' and it fact Keith was brought in later. One of the original guys
quit after shooting a few scenes. The content was just too strong for
most of the actors we auditioned.
Burlesque Massacre does have a lot of nudity, and its very exploitational, but the
actresses are mostly actual Burlesque dancers and nude models. The two
girls in the woods are actually adult film actresses, so there were no
issues. It was a fun and silly set.
go back to the beginnings of your career: What got you into filmmaking in
the first place, and did you receive any formal education on the subject?
so much, I kinda studied film since I was little on my own. I did go to
college to learn about editing and shooting on a more technical business
level. But the creative side I developed myself.
read somewhere that one of your first films was the unfinished fan movie Friday
the 13th: The Obsession. What can you tell us about that project, it's
resurrection as a webseries, your other Friday
the 13th-fan films, and your (inevitable pun alert!) obsession
the 13th to begin with?
haunted me for years. I shot the first one with my friends from a
restaurant I worked at back then. A few had some acting background, but
mostly it was friends getting crazy with other friends. But it was a very
serious idea to me, and a story that was partly true (not the killing part, but the romance and the fan fascination part). It was too big for a
bunch of friends to make and it was never finished. Eventually i moved on
to original stuff, but Obsession was always eating at me.
started to get popular for its fan films and for its original work, but no
matter what I posted about new ideas and new films we were making, people
would go "Yea, that's cool... but what about Obsession?" It haunted
me on a fan level and on a personal level as I wanted to tell that story.
In 2004 I re-wrote Obsession and even started to shoot it as an original
project, replacing Jason with "Jack" from my
Samhain films (Legend Of Samhain and Samhain 101, the later a short directed by Joe
Patnaud). While Joe was the DP and he achieved a new technical level with
the 2004 Obsession, the story just didn't work, it was missing something
without Jason. So we dropped it and moved on.
moved to LA in 2007 (I'm from Rhode Island) and started a new larger
projects but Obsession was still eating at me. After making Burlesque Massacre
I decided now or never. I had co-produced a web
series Diary Of A Black Widow with a group called Ynot/Sin
Pelo and it turned out very well with a workable budget. Uploading full
productions in high quality wasn't available in 1997/1998 when making the
original Obsession. I felt this was the a great way to reach out and
finally make it. Hannah Townsend from Diary of a Black Widow
actually also stars in Obsession.
re-wrote it a bit and made the lead character woman fan instead of a guy
like in the original, but the story is very much the same. 6 of the 7
episodes are online as of March 8th 2012 and the final show will be on in
a couple of weeks. The Friday
the 13th-fan community has really latched on, and even
non-fans have liked it as well for its great story. While it wouldn't make
a good 'official sequel' as it takes place in the real world, it's a great
story to hold over fans for the next studio sequel. I am so very happy I
finally made it and can move on.
is about to move to another level of production on our next feature, and I
wanted to bring that part of my life to a close before we did that. I am
so glad so many people enjoy it.
What can you tell us
about your movie Summer's End: The Legend of Samhain?
Of Samhain was my first original attempt at a feature (not a fan film) -
It's a simple guy in a mask stalking teenagers. It
was a mix of Halloween and
Friday The 13th with a few of my own twists.
Shot it in 2000/2001 on miniDV. Much like Burlesque Massacre, it was what
it was and didn't try to be anything else. A good review at the time said
it felt like someone found a old slasher on VHS from the 80s, and decided
to release it on DVD... I was very flattered by that. I guess that is a
recurring talent of mine. Making films for the audience it's meant
for, and not showing off. Sure even Burlesque Massacre
has a deeper level
for those that look - but at the end of the day it's a 70s drive-in
exploitation film, and doesn't try to be anything else.
Joe Patnaud directed a short film 'follow-up' called Samhain 101, which is
on the Detour Into Madness Vol 1 DVD.
back I really like Legend
Of Samhain actually, and we are discussing a remake/reboot
few words about your Detour into Madness-anthologies?
Patnaud and I made a bunch of short films from 2004 till 2006 to try out
cameras, story ideas etc. After we released them on two different DVDs. It
was a great way to learn and create and we met many great actor/actress
friends in the process. A few of the shorts are now online, but the DVDs
are still available on Amazon for those who want to own a higher quality
version of them. Vol. 1 is more straight horror, where Vol. 2 is more of a
mixed bag with a dark comedy and a heavy drama as well as horror.
of the stories have been updated and made into new productions. Rydell
Danzie and Ynot/SinPelo made my short film Diary Of A Black
Widow into a web series last year that is FAR better than the
original short. This year I am turning The Boyfriend Killers into a
web series and Lesser of 2 Evils (a vampire tale) into a feature film.
other films of yours you'd like to talk about, any future projects?
are currently prepping a Vampire feature film called Lesser of 4
Evils based on my short film. This will be a much more polished film
than the last two, but still be very violent. While there will be serial
killers and stuff in it, it's not as dark and hopeless as Photographic,
it has a love story and is more tragic than mean-spirited.
am also making a web series about a group of girls who decide to kill off
cheating boyfriends in The Boyfriend Killers which is a dark
comedy in the Heathers-vein - but with a gorier and more violent feel.
are also releasing the film Lucid Fear, which is already completed.
It stars Marie Lynn and Hannah Townsend and is about two sisters who kill a Call Girl who then seems to
haunt them for the next few days. It's loosely based on a short I did
called The Call Girl in 2005, but we changed the title because
the feature really took on a life of its own and really has little to do
with the original short other than the initial thrust of the Call Girl's
murder. That should be out by summer.
who inspire you?
Spielberg, Rob Zombie (odd mix huh?), Alfed Hitchcock, Milos Forman, Stanley Kubrick,
Darren Aronofski, Sylvester Stallone... he really is an incredible artist.
Your favourite movies?
would be surprised. Overall I am not a HUGE horror fan. The horror movies
I like, I LOVE, but when I was younger I never really enjoyed much beyond
Jason and Freddy. I also don't like 'monster' movies. To explain, I like
the Predator much more than the
has a personality, the Alien
is just a creature and I don't really find that interesting. People,
or at least 'things' with levels, complexities interest me.
my favorite film of all time, oddly is Jaws, which is a monster movie more
or less. But the complexities of everyone else, the great acting, and
characters bring that to life. It's the only movie I've ever seen that
seems to be everything. It's a action movie, a horror film, a buddy
picture, while it gets too violent for little kids, it still leans toward a
family film as it's not 'offensive' or anything like that. It even is a bit
of a romance with the Sheriff and his wife. It has so much going on.
Favorites in order:
People Vs Larry Flynt
Craven's New Nightmare
Zombie's Halloween II
Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)
the 13th (all of them.. except Jason X)
and of course, films you really deplore?
kinda learned not to hate as usually someone likes it. But back in the day I
hated, and I mean hated Halloween 6, I mean it's just plain awful. A
horror film buff I knew once said it's not the worst film ever, but it could be
the worst studio franchise horror ever. I think what he meant by that is there
is no reason for a sequel to a series to turn out to be a film so, so bad.
They should have had the budget and knowledge by then to at least have the ABC's to
make it watchable. They didn't!
I also really hated Jason X for the same obvious
reasons as H6.
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