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An Interview with Jim Wynorski, Director

by Mike Haberfelner

January 2013

Films directed by Jim Wynorski on (re)Search my Trash


Quick Links

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Schoolgirl Report

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Three Mesquiteers

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Wizard of Oz

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Wonder Woman




Let's start at your very beginnings: What got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal education on the subject?


I hate this question. I've been asked it a million times before. I'll make it simple. I grew up watching horror and sci-fi flicks on New York TV. Whenever anyone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I'd simply say I wanna be Roger Corman [Roger Corman bio - click here]. I got thrown out of the film program in college. They said "You have no aptitude for it." I said "Fuck You."


Roger Corman - what's it like working under him, and in what way has he influenced your filmmaking style?


See answer one. I love Roger. He's a tightwad, skinflint and one of the best film makers it's ever been my pleasure to know. Taught me everything.


According to my rather conflicting information, your first movie as a director was either The Lost Empire or Chopping Mall - so I guess I'll just have to ask you to talk about both movies for a bit, and how did they come into being?


The Lost Empire was the first movie I directed,; but it was not for Corman. I used his studio, however, to build many of the interior and exterior sets. Roger hated it, but acknowledged I'd put the camera in some very interesting places and the girls were pretty.


Chopping Mall was next and that was done for Corman's lovely and talented wife, Julie. She's an amazing producer and gave me free reign on the set. Before production began however, Roger took me out to a 3 hour lunch and gave me 'pointers' that I wrote down on a yellow legal pad - which I still have to this day. There was more good, solid film-making knowledge thrown out at that lunch than in an entire semester of film school.


Is the rumour true that for Not of This Earth, you made a bet with Roger Corman you could shoot the movie in even less time than he shot the original [click here] - and what else can you tell us about the film?


This story is so outlandish, you might think it's a tall tale. Well you know what they say in the newspaper biz, when the history seems boring ... always print the legend. As for Not of This Earth, it brought me together with one of the sexiest ladies in Hollywood, Traci Lords - whom I'm still good friends with today. We had a twelve day schedule on that one, but I got through nearly a day early, so I went back to several sets and re-shot many scenes with Traci again - since she'd improved so much since the first day of filming.


Beginning with Scream Queen Hot Tub Party, you have worked with fellow exploitation director Fred Olen Ray time and again over the years - so what can you tell us about working with him?


Fred is one of my best friends, and a fine film-maker in his own right. We shot Dinosaur Island together as a directing team and he produced Sorceress for me.


You started your career in what many would label the classic scream queen era, and have worked with most of the "original" scream queens. So what was it like working with them, and in your eyes, what makes an actress a scream queen?


The term is archaic, you're living in the past. This is 2013, not 1983.


Your films are often of the horror and/or erotic variety - out of choice, or rather out of economic necessity. And what kind of movie do you enjoy to direct the most?


I enjoy all genres, and I think I've run the entire gamut since first starting back in the '80s. I love horror and sci-fi because it's what I grew up on as a kid. I love the soft erotic genre because it brings me in contact with the sexiest ladies in Hollywood.


Also, many of your movie have a comical edge to them - so how would you describe your movie's brand of humour?


I'm afraid my films have become somewhat 'branded' with my humor over the years. So be it! it comes out as I go along scene by scene - can't help it. The only time I kept in totally in check was while shooting The Haunting of Morella, the Edgar Allan Poe adaptation I made back in the early 90s.


Over the years, you have cast quite a few porn stars in your erotic films, most notably perhaps Jesse Jane, Nikki Nova and Sunny Leone in Busty Cops - so what kind of quality do they bring to the table, and (if you excuse the question) did you ever consider going hardcore?


Jesse Jane hadn't gone hardcore yet when she did Busty Cops and neither had Sunny Leone. And I don't think Nikki Nova has ever done hardcore. (If you know different, let me know as I'd like to see it!) So to respond to your question, I'm not a fan of hardcore and have no interest in making it.


Looking back onto a career of more than 25 years, how would you say the industry has changed over time, and how do you as a director manage to stay on top of things?


These questions are getting more and more boring as we go along. C'mon, you've got my ear - ask me something juicy - not these mundane interview questions that have been asked over and over to everyone in Hollywood. I'm falling asleep here.


Of late, you have made quite a few films for SyFy - when working for television, does your directorial approach at all differ from when working for a straight-to-video or even theatrical release?


No. (That's what you get for asking another 'snoozer' question.)


You seem to put out movies at a rather breathtaking speed - so what keeps you going, and where do you find the energy?


Are you implying I'm getting old? Hope not. I'll sic Julie Strain on you. But then again, you may like that.


Of all the films you made - any you're particularly fond of? 


It's always the one I'm about to make. All the others are 'babies' that for one reason or another I have fond memories of.


And any you wish you wouldn't have made?


Just one, Vampirella. It was one cluster fuck after another. I can look back on it today and just say "Oh well", but back when the memories were fresh and the blood on the floor was yet to dry, it was painful to even edit.

What went wrong??? Wrong choice for the star, massive union problems in Vegas, studio interference, theft, accidents, 112 degree heat, you name it, we had it happen. But as least I got to see Soupy Sales perform.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


Feeling lucky ?
Want to
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?

The links below
will take you
just there!!!

Find Jim Wynorski
at the amazons ...


Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)

Germany (East AND West)

Looking for imports ?
Find Jim Wynorski here ...

Your shop for all things Thai

Something naughty ?
(Must be over 18 to go there !)

x-rated  find Jim Wynorski at

Hypnotika - an erotic version of Total Recall.

Tornado Alley - an efx show for Lifetime.

Cobragator - for Roger Corman.

Heartland Strike - Red Dawn remade correctly.


Your dream project - what would it look like (no matter how inconceivable)?


A remake of Sinderella and the Golden Bra with me as Prince Charming.


How would you describe yourself as a director?


Rich and almost famous.


Filmmakers who inspire you?


Roger Corman [Roger Corman bio - click here], Russ Meyer, Don Siegel, Sergio Leone, Sergio Corbucci.


Your website, Facebook, whatever else?


None, no and nothing more I suppose.


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
content of sites from a third party.

Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
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tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD