First of all, why don't you introduce yourself to all of us who don't
already know you?
My name is Alan Rowe Kelly. I'm an
actor, director and producer. I make Horror Movies!
What can you tell us about your upcoming anthology movie Gallery
It's a piece I'm very proud of. I
decided on the old school anthology approach featuring a wrap-around tale
called Critic's Choice. It's about a maligned art critic (Debbie
Rochon [Debbie Rochon
interview - click here])
who is whisked away to a creepy mountain estate to report on a private art
show for her weekly news column. What she discovers is a very surreal
exhibit with only one covered easel that transports her into three virtual
tales of terror.
The first tale is By Her Hand, She Draws You Down, based
on the short story by Douglas Smith about a mysterious nomadic couple who
make their living as boardwalk sketch artists and have a very deep need
for completing portraits on some unfortunate patrons. Directed by the
talented Anthony Sumner [Anthony
G.Sumner interview - click here], I co-produced the piece and it stars Zoe Daelman
Chlanda and Jerry Murdock in the leads. It has done wonderfully on the
fest circuit so far and garnered about 8 awards!
The second tale is Down
the Drain with Jerry Murdock playing lonely substitute high school teacher
who's only friend is some 'thing' that lives in the local sewage drains
and follows him from place to place. I think it's his best performance.
This piece also stars Raine Brown in a GREAT character role and Mike Lane
as the kind of principal we always love to hate!
The third tale is
A Far Cry from Home, the most brutal of the three, about an urban gay couple
(Myself & Don Money) that stop at a small rural junk shop off an old
abandoned road and encounter a group of malicious, hate fueled zealots
with only murder and redemption on their mind.
What made you choose the anthology format
the economy drop and no immediate resources for funding features on the
horizon, I wasn't ready to just stop what I was doing and not produce any
material. So in 2009 I decided to do an anthology and use old school
formulas from Night Gallery, From Beyond the Grave, Tales
from the Crypt, etc.
Since I had not worked in the short narrative format before I found it
challenging to write stories within 20 pages or less and still bring the
feel of feature, or mini-movie, to viewers. What I did discover these past
3 years while assembling Gallery of Fear was that I never lost any quality in
production, story or visuals - I simply had to do it in half the time.
This not only made me a more efficient writer, but also a much better
editor. It's been a great education and enabled me to tell some really fun
and creepy stories that were always in my head, but knew weren't full
enough to expand into full features.
segment of Gallery
of Fear, A Far Cry from Home, has already
drawn quite some critical acclaim as a standalone short. Would you like to
elaborate on that?
Gladly! This was quite a personal
piece to me and I was actually able to exorcise a few demons while filming
it. The theme is simple enough; A couple traveling through the country
take a wrong turn and end up at a roadside junk store owned by religious
fanatics and killers. The only switch in this very familiar premise is
that the couple is gay, so the material takes a new and very different
twist. We shot the entire film in sequence for 5 days and I feel it is my
best piece to date. Everyone in the cast and crew corralled around the
story and gave their best. It is not an easy film to watch. But I wanted
to do a serious piece of horror that would make people think and also show
audiences that I could do more than just black comedy and camp.
The credits of Gallery
of Fear boast quite a few recognizable names. A few words about your film's
How lucky am I? Jerry Murdock,
Katherine O'Sullivan and Zoe Daelman Chlanda have been my friends since
1999 when we started I'll Bury You Tomorrow. I never do a piece without
them because they never repeat the same performance - EVER!! Terry M. West
is such a fine talent as is my pal Susan Adriensen, who always brings
great fun to every set she is on. Raine Brown and Debbie Rochon [Debbie
Rochon interview - click here] I met
through the convention circuit and I am very close with both. What a treat
it has been to write something for each of them and also get to work with
them on other films. Don Money was my saving grace by stepping in 4 days
before shooting began on A Far Cry from Home when my original leading man
backed out last minute. As serendipity will have it, the film only
advanced with Don Money's appearance. The rest of the cast includes the
fabulous Mike Lane who played my brother Hubcap in The Blood Shed,
newcomer David Marancik who is really taking on steam with great upcoming
roles, the always amazing 'Benzy', and New York actors Miguel Lopez, Keith
Fraser, Shane Kulman, Jessie Mae Laumann, Joshua Nelson, Terry Shane, Tom
Lanier, Robb Leigh Davis and Robert Norman. Behind the scenes were the
masterful talents of cinematographers Bart Mastronardi, Anthony Sumner [Anthony
G.Sumner interview - click here] and
Dominick Sivilli along with composers Gene Hodsdon (By Her Hand, She
Draws You Down) and the incredible Tom Burns to score the entire film. And
but not least the Special FX headed by Benzy, Anthony Sumner, Michael Todd
Schneider, Nikki McIntyre, and Brian Spears. I certainly lucked out with
this Who's Who of talent!
The $64-question of course: When and where
of Fear be released?
3.5 years in the making Gallery of Fear will FINALLY be ready by summer's end.
Then it's off to screenings and conventions to promote it. I haven't
approached any distributors with it until it is completely finished and I
can look at it and say 'DONE'. Hopefully a decent release awaits in the
you have also co-written the anthology movie Slices
of Life with your Gallery of Fear-collaborator Anthony
G.Sumner interview - click here]. What can you tell us about that movie?
is Anthony's first feature
and he has done amazing things with it - it is now available everywhere and he
has cut through so much distribution red tape to get exactly what he wants! I
have a fun, disturbing cameo role in the first story of the anthology titled
W.O.R.M. and was thrilled when Anthony asked me to write the second segment Amber
Alert! This is the first time I ever wrote something for someone else to
produce and have nothing to do with it's production - I'm very proud with the
results. Anthony Sumner's future in film is sealed as far as I'm concerned and I
will work with him ANYTIME!
can you tell us about your critically acclaimed The Blood Shed -
and is it true you gained 50 lbs. to play the lead in that film?
Oh yes! Lol! I actually gained more
than that and nearly barreled up over 300 lbs. Since we couldn't get a
plus-sized actress to play Beefteena (and who could blame them!), my
cohorts convinced me to play the role myself. So I began a magnificent
3-month eating frenzy of 5 meals a day! By the time we started shooting I
was almost too big for the costumes. The effect definitely worked for the
character to the point of me being almost unrecognizable. But in
retrospect it was a huge mistake. I was in my mid forties at the time and
you simply don't put on 50+ lbs for a role. My energy is always very
high, but with all that extra padding I found myself exhausted and out of
breath most of the time. It wasn't a healthy decision and I would not
recommend this to any actor. The downside was appearing in many films
scheduled right after Blood Shed and begging cinematographers to 'be kind'
in regards to how they would shoot me and what lenses to use so I would
not appear so huge. It has taken me 4 years to get it off. But I must say,
playing Beefteena and putting myself 'out there' in regards to making
myself look awful all the time has offered me a great array of characters
to play and I love it. But I admit, I no longer wish to play roles where
the main requirement for the part is described simply as FAT - lol!! One
Shelley Winters or Divine is enough and I'd have a long way to go if I
ever thought of attempting to fill those shoes. I'd rather just wear my
other movies you want to talk about? Any future projects?
Oh YES! I am currently in production on Bart Mastronardi's anthology Tales
of Poe. It has been one of the most creative experiences I have had
to date. Bart has already wrapped his first segment, The Tell Tale
Heart with the gorgeous Debbie Rochon [Debbie
Rochon interview - click here], Lelsleh Donaldson, David Marancik, Joe
Quick, myself, and a truly amazing performance by Desiree Gould. The
beauty of Poe is that his tales are so open to reinterpretation. Bart has
brilliantly readapted the story by placing it in the 1950s and switching
the genders of the main characters to female. It's a great twist and with
Dominick Sivilli's fantastic cinematography, they have brought a unique
new storyline to this ageless tale.
The segment we are now working on is The
Casque, based on The Cask of Amontillado. Bart gave me the green
light to write and direct a new version of this classic and we put quite a
new stamp on the theme; gay marriage, gone very, very wrong!
It stars Randy Jones (he's magnificent!), Brewster McCall (what a
hearthrob!) and myself in a deadly love triangle of greed, deception,
murder and revenge. Bart is lensing the entire production and with great
help from producers Robert Kuiper, Amy Lynn Best, Mike Watt and David
Marancik, it has become its own animal in the vein of a 70's Italian
Giallo / Film Noir à la Double Indemnity. It's been too much fun to shoot!
In addition, I have the remarkable talents of Jerry Murdock, Zoe Daelman
Chlanda, Douglas Rowan, Susan Adriensen, Amy Lynn Best and Carl Burrows.
Bart also has some more great surprises in store for his third segment. He
is collaborating with the uber-talented Michael Varrati and has an amazing
cast lined up of classic Final Girls whose names I can't release just yet!
But oh man, will I be a total gushing fan on this set, for sure!
much all your films are of the horror variety. Why is that, and is horror
a genre especially dear to you?
what I know best. My love of the genre has been in my blood since
childhood. And to have made such a drastic career change in mid-life and
follow my lifelong dream was really the best decision I ever made. I'm
Besides being a
director, you also have quite an extensive resume as an actor, and one
should point out here that you are cast in male as well as in female
roles. A few words about that aspect of your career, and your approach to
acting as such?
simply a character actor and will take on any role that is challenging and
attached to a great script. The fact that I play both genders may tend to
confuse folks, but when they see the films they seem to accept my
role-playing and invest in the character, not the actor behind the part.
It is an odd niche and keeps me on my toes! As an actor I'm very fortunate
to get so many opportunities to step into a new skin. And the best part
about the acting aspect is if there is a role I really want to try - I'll
simply write it and produce it. In a way I've become my own casting agent.
Apart from that you are also a writer,
Yes, that is what
got me started in this crazy business in the first place. I write all my
own screenplays and and it is an arduous process that takes a lot of time
and a lot of self editing because I tend to go on, and on... and on! Lol!
Writing shorter tales and becoming a film editor has been a great
discipline for me and has also enabled me to go back and condense and
tighten all my feature scripts. I'm constantly learning and have an
automatic splicing tool in my head. When I do table readings with the cast
before filming, I get to hear how the words translate and remove all the
exposition and endless babble. And even once filming begins, everything
changes again because the actors will bring so much more to the table and
ask me about lines, changes, condensing and interpretation. I'm never
glued to my words on paper. My scripts merely act as a template for the
day's shooting and I'm always open to any suggestion that makes the day
move more efficiently.
A few words about your production company Southpaw
SouthPaw Pictures when I made my second film The Blood Shed. I'm based in
Paterson, New Jersey.
How did you get into filmmaking in the first
place, and did you recieve any formal training on the subject?
never went to film school. But working as a make up artist and hair
stylist on films, television and in the fashion industry for over 20 years
was the best hands-on training I could have ever received. I always kept
my eyes and ears open to everything happening on a set and absorbed
everything that the crew was doing. It was excellent training. So when the
opportunity arrived to actually make I'll Bury You Tomorrow in 1999, I
jumped at the chance and took on every responsibility I could from
production, locations, casting, writing, directing, editing, sound, acting
and distribution. Through that film I encountered every obstacle that
could happen on a set. It was a great experience that really opened my
eyes and taught me many valuable lessons. That the film itself was
actually accepted into the indie horror community was the biggest bonus I
could have ever hoped for.
who influence you?
John Lwellyn Moxey, Curtis Harrington, Val
Lewton, Roger Corman [Roger
Corman bio - click here], Ida Lupino, Bart Mastronardi, Anthony Sumner [Anthony
G.Sumner interview - click here] & Alfred
Actors and actresses who inspire you?
I'm so old school on this one Mike; Humphrey Bogart, Ruth Roman, Bette
Davis, Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Crawford, Edward Arnold, Ava Gardner,
Rosalind Russell, Beverly Garland, Richard Widmark and my all time favorite
- Vincent Price [Vincent Price
bio - click here]! If they're on TV, I stop everything I'm doing and
watch them - even if I've seen the film 50 times.
But there are particular actors in my circle who really inspire me -
Jerry Murdock, Katherine O'Sullivan, Zoe Daelman Chlanda, Raine Brown and
Debbie Rochon [Debbie Rochon
interview - click here]. I've done many films with these great talents and they
never cease to amaze me. Acting opposite them makes me strive to better
myself as an actor and I learn something new every time.
Your favourite movies?
many to even mention, and my list changes weekly! But my top all timers
are Horror Hotel, Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte, On the
Beach, All About Eve,
The Poseidon Adventure (original), The Uninvited, Games,
Night of the
Living Dead, William Castle's House on Haunted
Hill, Double Indemnity
& Female Trouble.
and of course, movies you really deplore?
Well there are some films I truly detest but, being a filmmaker, I feel
that's so uncool to point out one particular flick just because it doesn't
fit my taste or mood. And there's a lot of folks out there who think my
work stinks and they have no problem verbalizing it. I was raised better
than that. Nobody sets out to make a 'bad' film. They're someone's baby
and I respect anyone who can finish a film. It's a lot of work and a real
accomplishment. I am not a fan of 'Hollywood' horror because I know they
are just 'cashing in' on the genre to the lowest common denominator. But I
will say that lately I'm very concerned about the growing amount of lazy 'independents'
out there who are nothing more than excessive, ego-driven dilettantes
concerned more with 'being known' than actually producing a single work of
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
just there !!!
I have busted my ass for well over a decade and I give it my all, as
have many other filmmakers I truly respect like Anthony Sumner [Anthony
G.Sumner interview - click here], Bart
Mastronardi, Eric Stanze [Eric
Stanze interview - click here], Mel House, Joshua Grannell, Mike
Watt [Mike Watt interview - click
Alvarez, Jeremiah Kipp [Jeremiah
Kipp interview - click here], Abel Berry, Richard Griffin and many, many others.
There's passion there and a drive to nothing else. What I seriously cannot
understand are filmmakers who will release a 'finished' film that looks
and sounds like a roughly edited First Cut . To them, it's good enough and
perfect and they have no care about their audience. Makes no sense to me.
If I did that everyone who works with me would have my head! I depend on
them for honest criticism while I'm in post because sometimes you're just 'too
into it' to see past it. I'm in this for the long haul. One should hope
that you'd eventually be known for a decent body of work that improves
with each film instead of a scrapbook full of news clippings with your
name plastered all over it. It's very short-lived. C'est la vie!
Facebook, whatever else?
Anything else you are dying to
tell us and I have merely forgotten to ask?
for Gallery of Fear later this year! Also just wrapped on Happy Cloud
Pictures' Razor Days, due out in late 2011/2012, and have a real cool
cameo in Abel Berry's new feature Kodie, which I believe is due out in
late 2011! Thanks so much for the interview Michael!